Have you ever visited any electrical appliances shop, and noticed a conversation between the buyers and shopkeeper.
If not, please go and pay attention. You would hear the word “Automatic”.
Plz go someday and try it.
Now, Have you ever seen an advertisement showing some guys speaking to a device like this, hay Alexa, turn on the fan; hey Siri, lock the door, etc. Have you paid attention?
Have you ever listened to an industrialist’s conversation about who was planning for an automatic factory or automatic machines?
What is happening, everyone is talking about automation and automatic machines.
What is automation? and why is everyone crazy about it?
If you are willing to learn about Automation, then keep reading.
Definition of Automation
Let’s understand the definition of automation first.
“The automation can be defined as the use of proven technologies and automatic control devices to acquire automatic operation and control of industrial processes with very less human intervention to achieve superior performance than manual control.”
Difficult to understand?
Ok, let me try with simple words.
“Automation is basically the delegation of human control functions to machines to increase safety, productivity, quality and to reduce cost.”
Don’t get yet?
Ok, no issue!
Let me tell you some examples.
Have you ever entered in the hall, having self-opening and closing doors? Most probably you will find it in big corporate buildings and somewhere in shopping malls. This is a kind of automation because no human is there to open and close that door. Only an automated control system is controlling the door with proper accuracy and without any error in 24×7 in weeks.
Another example would be the entry of the metro train.
Whoever shows his/her ticket or Metro card to the machine, the gate opens for him/her only.
No unauthenticated person can enter in. These machines do an excellent job without human intervention.
Ok, what do you think now! Got some ideas?
Before understanding how automation is achieved, let’s first understand the types of automation and its utilities.
Let’s dive into deep
The first and most popular types of automation are known as industrial automation.
As the word itself indicates the industry, it is related to the automated processes in any industry.
As you know that in every industry a lot of work is done with the help of machines to manufacture the things which we are to use daily.
During manufacturing a factory, many works, which are dangerous for a human, are done with the help of automatic machines or automation. For example, lifting or handling heavy or hot items.
Some processes are to be done at very high speed which is beyond the human capacity, are also done with automation.
In industrial automation robotics plays very important role.
Nowadays in the factories, almost every process is done by automation.
Robotic process automation RPA
Have you ever noticed that when you subscribe to any online services, you start receiving notifications via email or SMS?
You received those emails containing your name with greetings. It seems a human being replied to you. But just imagine, is this possible to reply to thousands of subscribers daily with perfect time and accurate information. Isn’t it?
Then who does this job?
The answer is a virtual robot.
It is a computer program with a sequence of instructions which has to be done after each subscription.
This type of automation is known as Robotic process automation, in short RPA.
Not only subscription, it plays a very important role in various other activities virtually, like online payment gateway, virtual assistance and customer relationship management etc.
Suppose you are in a hurry to go somewhere and you have driven your car very far, suddenly you realize that you left your home with many appliances in ON state.
“Oh Shit” These Golden words will come out from your mouth…!
Does it happen to you and you imprecate yourself?
But don’t worry, Now.
You can apply automation in your home too, and make most of the activities automated.
If nobody is there, light and fans will automatically turn off. You can also set the times of on and off your AC as per temperature and weather conditions and available person.
Nowadays, one more interesting concept is being introduced to the Robotic kitchen, which means the robot will cook delicious food for you. amazing isn’t it?
Wondering? Yes, this is also part of home automation.
Like home automation, Nowadays a large building can also be automated by applying the concepts of home automation on a large scale. Water supply and electricity are optimized by building automation.
Automation in agriculture
Automation is also going in agriculture. We can automate the water supply in the field as per the moisture available, types of crop, and weather conditions. The ripe crop being harvested by Automatic harvesting machines.
This was a brief description of the types of automation.
Now let’s understand how automation works.
How automation systems Work
There are three main components in the automation setup. Sensor, controller, and actuator.
Sensors are the devices that detect the condition of the field and give digital or analog signals to the controller in the form of electric voltage or current. The sensors are of various types. For example, proximity sensors detect the presence of objects, temperature sensors to sense the intensity of heat, pressure sensors to measure the pressure of the environment.
There are some more sensors also available, like humidity sensor, color sensor, and moisture sensors, etc.
The controller is a device that has an input and output module inbuilt with a microprocessor. The microprocessor works like a brain. It may be said to be a dedicated computer. It receives the signal from the sensors in the form of electric voltage pulses. It can be programmed for a specific task. It makes decisions and gives output signals to actuate the output relays of actuators.
In a small machine, we use a small microcontroller with a circuit board. But in the industries, we need a robust system, that’s why we use PLC there. PLC stands for Programmable Logical Controller.
Actuators are the devices that work on the front line of the field. They are responsible for all the motion in a machine or in industry. These are classified in many groups.
- As per the motion generated they may be Rotary or Linear actuators
- As per the functionality, they may be Electric, Hydraulic, and Pneumatic actuators.
- As per the force required they may be heavy-duty or light-duty actuators.
I hope you have a piece of good knowledge of automation now. If you want to learn through videos, then you can subscribe to my YouTube channel.