We live in a world where traveling is the trend. Have you ever wondered how the traffic is controlled so efficiently that makes traveling fun? Who controls the traffic? Count the various household chores to be done. If all these chores have to be done by us, what time-consuming and manual work it would be?
Many such situations come across in our day-to-day life, where we hope someone or something does all these jobs and reduces our effort in completing the jobs. The solution to these requirements is automation, and over the years, mankind has invented a lot of devices, which have reduced manual labor to a great extent. These inventions led to industrialization and thus industrial automation.
Industry and Automation have different definitions, the most common definition says,
“Industry is an economic activity concerned with the processing of raw material and manufacturing of goods.”
“Automation is the introduction of automatic equipment in manufacturing or other processing facility.”
The question that comes up is what are the industries which are looking for automation?
Industries are broadly classified as discrete/ manufacturing industries and process industries.
Discrete/ Manufacturing Industries
In discrete or manufacturing industries, the different components are brought together and assembled to get a final product. The best example would be a car manufacturing industry. The different parts that make a car are assembled one by one in a sequential manner to get the final finished car. The block diagram below shows the sequential steps followed in a car manufacturing industry.
In discrete industries, the final products would be similar and they would be produced in specific lots. The production process of these goods would be based on demands.
The process industries are the ones in which there is a complete transformation of raw material to final product, by subjecting the raw material to physical and chemical changes. The changes that occur in a process industry are such that once the final product is produced it cannot be reversed to obtain the raw material. The best example of a process industry would be Oil and Gas Refinery. In this plant, the raw material, crude oil, is heated and at different pressures the different products such as diesel, petrol, jet fuel, etc., are extracted.
In both the above industries, there are a lot of steps involved that have to be done sequentially and in a precise manner to get the final product. This is enabled by the usage of machines and robots, which can do the process efficiently. This method of usage of machines, robots and other control devices to complete a job, that has quality and quantity product, is automation.