The concept of automated machinery was born in 1908, when Henry Ford, in an effort to increase productivity on the assembly floor of his new car company, created the assembly line. Though workers still used their hands at first, the idea was the same: stand in one place, performing one task over and over again, rather than assembling an entire product yourself.
The assembly line revolutionized manufacturing processes because reduced production times from hours to minutes. When the fully human assembly line gave way to automated machinery, this efficiency increased again by leaps and bounds. Today, assembly machinery is a type of automation equipment, used to manufacture and assemble products without or with minimal human operation or control.
These machines are valued for their ability to consistently produce high quality results that reduce both material and labor costs; once programmed, they can carry out repetitive tasks accurately at fast speeds. Assembly machinery is usually an element of a larger production system, most often a conveyor belt assembly line. As a part of such a system, individual assembly machines each perform one construction action as the product moves down the line.
Other types of automation equipment include axial inserters, bulk feeders, injection molding systems, laser marking and component sequencers, material handling systems, plastic processors, and radial inserters. Assembly machinery and automation equipment may be found in so many forms because they are not subject to the constraints of any one standard arrangement or setup. Read More…
Automation equipment is essential to the functioning of a wide variety of applications, including assembling, finishing, and manufacturing processes like: coating, cutting, grinding, forming, marking, molding, packing, riveting, smoothing, turning, and welding.
It is found in food and beverage processing plants and medical research facilities, where it replaces human contact that could lead to product contamination or harm; it is found in factories and plants, where it helps create and assemble parts and products, working independently or integrated into a system.
Automation equipment is also integral to operations in the computer, electronics, microelectronics, semiconductor, telecommunications, electrical, fiber optics, aerospace, automotive, food and beverage, agriculture, furnace and heat treat, plumbing, medical, and general manufacturing industries. Automation machines may also be seen in laboratories and in waste processing plants.
There are a few different styles of automation equipment, which include manufacturing automation, factory automation, and robotic automation.
Both manufacturing and factory automation are types of industrial automation, designed to primarily handle applications related to quality control, materials handling, and, of course, general manufacturing. They are also both computer programmed and operated. The main difference between the two lies in their purpose: while manufacturing automation equipment is designed to make parts and products, factory automation equipment is designed for more general movement functions.
Robotic automation, or industrial robotics, is a subgroup of machines that may serve any type of application. Like so many others, robotic machines may be integrated or stand alone. Either way, they are designed to move tools, devices, or parts in preprogrammed movements. Among other tasks, they may provide welding, painting, assembling, material handling, machining, and moving services.
In addition to these basic styles, companies may request custom machinery, manufactured to specific dimensions, with specific combinations of functions. Note that, customers may purchase not just one piece of automation equipment, but a whole slew of machines, assembled in such a way as to combine the various parts of each and create a larger functioning system. Automation systems include components like lifts, conveyor belts, pick and place equipment, and palletizers.
Assembly machinery and automation equipment offer so many advantages to a customer. They can work in environments where humans cannot, such as spaces with extreme temperatures or radioactive or toxic atmospheres; they offer faster, more accurate production; they lower labor costs; they can be maintained with quality checks and they all but eliminate human error. Automation equipment does have some limitations and disadvantages, such as high initial costs and their lack of human-level language comprehension and pattern recognition. However, as technology advances, we can expect automation capabilities to advance along with it.