Automation budgets: more than automation

Think Again: When considering an automation, controls, or instrumentation project, look beyond the price of equipment, software, and networks toward many extended, often unquantified, benefits.


Many industry shows and conferences collect, in one location, the latest applications of automation, controls, and instrumentation, such as in this photo from IMTS 2012. CFE Media image by Mark T. HoskeWhen considering an automation, controls, or instrumentation project, look beyond the price of the related equipment. Because savings bring benefits to many areas beyond where the automation is applied, costs should be defrayed across many departments, not just operations or manufacturing. Redesigned and updated workflows using new automation, controls, and instrumentation can result in faster start-up; greater flexibility and energy savings; higher throughput; better diagnostics and product quality; less downtime, troubleshooting, maintenance, and waste; easier optimization and upgrades; tighter integration; and greater information flow to interdependent areas of the enterprise and supply chain, including lower costs for manufacturing IT.

Where to look

Through the year, we detail such benefits at A few examples, from this issue, follow.

Mark T. Hoske is content manager, Control Engineering, CFE MediaIf information averts an accident, saves a batch, or avoids an unplanned shutdown, think again about the value of automation, controls, and instrumentation in your next return on investment (ROI) calculation.

- Edited by Mark T. Hoske, content manager, CFE Media, Control Engineering,

Go Online

At search for keywords related to your next project for more ideas on how to better quantify benefits and rally support.

No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2015 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...
Safety for 18 years, warehouse maintenance tips, Ethernet and the IIoT, GAMS 2016 recap
2016 Engineering Leaders Under 40; Future vision: Where is manufacturing headed?; Electrical distribution, redefined
Strategic outsourcing delivers efficiency; Sleeve bearing clearance; Causes of water hammer; Improve air quality; Maintenance safety; GAMS preview
SCADA at the junction, Managing risk through maintenance, Moving at the speed of data
Safety at every angle, Big Data's impact on operations, bridging the skills gap
The digital oilfield: Utilizing Big Data can yield big savings; Virtualization a real solution; Tracking SIS performance
Applying network redundancy; Overcoming loop tuning challenges; PID control and networks
Driving motor efficiency; Preventing arc flash in mission critical facilities; Integrating alternative power and existing electrical systems
Package boilers; Natural gas infrared heating; Thermal treasure; Standby generation; Natural gas supports green efforts

Annual Salary Survey

Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

Read more: 2015 Salary Survey

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.
This article collection contains several articles on the vital role of plant safety and offers advice on best practices.
This article collection contains several articles on the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and how it is transforming manufacturing.
This article collection contains several articles on strategic maintenance and understanding all the parts of your plant.
click me