Application drives automation

Automation technologies are used to improve product and process consistency and quality and are used for integration both on the plant floor and over the industrial networks that have become so vital to the day-to-day activities.

02/18/2013


Applied Automation cover, February 2013, Plant Engineering, Control Engineering, CFE MediaThe fact that automation technologies are used in manufacturing to increase product and process consistency and quality, reduce lead times, simplify production, and improve work flow is understood and widely accepted. While the aforementioned characteristics are true, I firmly believe automation transcends simple definitions. Application drives automation and automation, in turn, enables more applications. You guessed it—that’s what AppliedAutomation is all about. 

Another term that’s deeply embedded in applying automation is integration. As with automation, integration can have many definitions and contexts. However, the context I’m talking about is that of combining diverse automation technologies in a manufacturing environment to harmoniously provide benefits well beyond the sum of its individual components. 

For example, consider an automotive manufacturer with assembly lines capable of producing a batch size of one unit with any product mix for which the lines are designed. Now, consider RFID technology for product location and communicating workstation assembly instructions from an enterprise sequencing server. Also consider high-speed RFID communication segments for communicating large amounts of data quickly. 

Now, expand these theoretical automotive assembly lines by introducing servo-driven nutrunners with torque measurement capabilities. Torque values can be communicated to the servo system via the RFID system, and verified torque measurements can be uploaded to the appropriate enterprise server in case recalls or serial-specific audits are required. 

Finally, place mobile handheld devices in the hands of authorized personnel in this automotive plant. Then tie all of this distributed architecture together with an industrial Ethernet-based network.

With the exception of Ethernet, the topics covered in the stories below—RFID, servo technology, and mobilization—are integrated into this column. 

This article appeared in the February 2013 Applied Automation supplement to Control Engineering and Plant Engineering, both part of CFE Media.



No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2013 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
The true cost of lubrication: Three keys to consider when evaluating oils; Plant Engineering Lubrication Guide; 11 ways to protect bearing assets; Is lubrication part of your KPIs?
Contract maintenance: 5 ways to keep things humming while keeping an eye on costs; Pneumatic systems; Energy monitoring; The sixth 'S' is safety
Transport your data: Supply chain information critical to operational excellence; High-voltage faults; Portable cooling; Safety automation isn't automatic
Case Study Database

Case Study Database

Get more exposure for your case study by uploading it to the Plant Engineering case study database, where end-users can identify relevant solutions and explore what the experts are doing to effectively implement a variety of technology and productivity related projects.

These case studies provide examples of how knowledgeable solution providers have used technology, processes and people to create effective and successful implementations in real-world situations. Case studies can be completed by filling out a simple online form where you can outline the project title, abstract, and full story in 1500 words or less; upload photos, videos and a logo.

Click here to visit the Case Study Database and upload your case study.

Maintaining low data center PUE; Using eco mode in UPS systems; Commissioning electrical and power systems; Exploring dc power distribution alternatives
Synchronizing industrial Ethernet networks; Selecting protocol conversion gateways; Integrating HMIs with PLCs and PACs
Why manufacturers need to see energy in a different light: Current approaches to energy management yield quick savings, but leave plant managers searching for ways of improving on those early gains.

Annual Salary Survey

Participate in the 2013 Salary Survey

In a year when manufacturing continued to lead the economic rebound, it makes sense that plant manager bonuses rebounded. Plant Engineering’s annual Salary Survey shows both wages and bonuses rose in 2012 after a retreat the year before.

Average salary across all job titles for plant floor management rose 3.5% to $95,446, and bonus compensation jumped to $15,162, a 4.2% increase from the 2010 level and double the 2011 total, which showed a sharp drop in bonus.

2012 Salary Survey Analysis

2012 Salary Survey Results

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.