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Editorials

Benefits of Industrial Automation in Electronic Manufacturing

by Matt Edwards, Director of Professional Services
IntervalZero

Industrial automation is a broad topic that covers everything from digital manufacturing to simple control systems handling machines and processes, Industry 4.0 to the smart factory. It entails the use of technology and control systems to replace human mental and physical labor in the engineering and manufacturing sector. Tasks previously executed by people are automated using systems and products that combine hydraulics, mechanics, pneumatics, electronic and electrical components. Industrial automation is used in numerous sectors, like aerospace industries, automotive, oil and gas industries and the electronics sector.

The Technologies Required to Build Smart Factory

In this post, we’ll discuss the benefits of industrial automation in electronic manufacturing. They include:

Increased efficiency and productivity

Although machines are not error-proof, they make fewer mistakes than humans. For example, machines do not get distracted by environmental changes or work area distractions, and above all, they do not get tired. Hence, they can complete more work precisely and within the shortest time possible. However, machines cannot match human skill and creativity. As a result, industrial automation is mainly utilized in areas that require top-notch accuracy, where the duties are physically draining or must be carried out in dangerous environments with a tendency for monotony.

Improved work quality

If basic electronic manufacturing steps can be completed quickly, more time can be devoted to tackling complexities. Hence, engineers and electronic manufacturers are able to concentrate on higher value activities like finishing touches resulting in high-quality products. Though future workshops will be highly automated, the human touch will be required to boost innovation and skills.

More customization opportunities

The demand for customized and personalized products that cater for special tastes, preferences and market needs is on the rise. Manufacturers must have the capacity to meet such demands while still retaining high quality and safety standards without incurring losses. Smart factories allow manufacturers to increase production flexibility. Additionally, the use of configurable robots and sensors on assembly lines to increase automation allows manufacturers to mass-produce products designed to meet specific customer requirements. For instance, the automotive industry allows customers to design their cars online by adding features defined their taste and style. This is yet to happen in the electronics industry where products are mass-produced to similar specifications. However, smart factories can change this paradigm.

New electronic products

Industrial automation will trigger the development and manufacture of a wide range of new electronic products and systems. A good example is the unveiling of 3D printing prototypes by Siemens in April 2016; the prototypes work collaboratively to print surfaces and structures. Such technological advancements not only boost revenue and OEMs recognition but also play a major role in enhancing automation.

Smart Factory Graphic

While industrial automation originally focused on cutting manufacturing costs and boosting productivity, the emphasis is shifting towards enhancing the quality and flexibility of products. As detailed by the benefits above, industrial automation offers manufacturers the opportunity to explore endless possibilities.

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