It’s critical to recognise the concerns that industrial automation and ideas like Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT) can have for workers who aren’t trained in these fields, as well as for poorer economies lacking the means to upskill their workforce.
But it’s also critical to comprehend the whole – and ever-expanding – spectrum of advantages that industrial automation Malaysia provides. As the COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on supply chains and industries, it’s worth reflecting on why automation should be welcomed rather than feared.
1. Industrial automation boosts productivity
Industrial automation, for starters, boosts the productivity of jobs, processes, and enterprises in factories and on shop floors dramatically. Processes that once required armies of workers (think car manufacturing or food processing plants from 20, 30, or 40 years ago) now require a fraction of that labour – an important consideration given today’s supply issues and labour shortages caused by slowing population growth in many parts of the world.
But it’s not only about saving money on labour and getting more done in less time. Because machinery is used and maintained more efficiently, the digitalization of production, and especially the emergence of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), means improved throughput and reduced downtime.
The IIoT also gives you the ability to change output based on demand. New open source approaches, for example, are more simply upgradeable. Operators will spend less time reprogramming or re-engineering if orders change, resulting in enhanced machine availability.
Finally, well-configured industrial automation systems reduce error and variability, resulting in increased production. Stamping, soldering, welding, material handling, and packing are just a few of the repetitive operations that may be automated to produce consistently high-quality goods.
2. The industrial worker is better equipped thanks to industrial automation.
Companies that were sluggish to implement industrial automation tools before COVID-19 are now being compelled to reconsider their strategies. Workers were frequently unable to physically access industrial locations, warehouses, and logistics centres due to lockdowns and social-distancing techniques.
This has underlined the need for tools and technology that allow employees to safely access, monitor, operate, and service machines, control systems, and other equipment from afar.
This includes augmented-reality glasses and other wearable technology, as well as IIoT connectivity, enhanced analytics, and cloud-based technologies that improve the monitoring of industrial operations. Supervisors may make data-driven decisions, more precisely modify output, and improve real-time operational efficiency – all while working from afar.
Meanwhile, data exchange and digital traceability technologies have dramatically increased firms’ ability to obtain visibility and transparency across their value chains in order to validate the origin of parts and products. This is now an essential approach to create confidence while making operations more resilient to possible supply challenges, especially as organisations are increasingly held accountable for the activities of their suppliers and partners.
3. Industrial automation can reduce industry’s environmental impact.
The third major advantage of industrial automation, and one that is less visible, is that it may help us lessen our environmental effect.
To reduce greenhouse gas emissions, energy and carbon-intensive businesses need greater management of operational indicators and efficiency levers. Digital automation solutions can help, as shown in a new breed of industrial plants that manage production, resources, and business operations in an environmentally friendly manner by managing asset and operational data across numerous sites and whole value chains.
Thousands of data points are displayed in real time on dashboards, providing comprehensive insights into resource management, overall equipment effectiveness, and enterprise-wide optimization.
Even notoriously high-emitting industries in difficult-to-abate sectors are combining industrial automation with energy management technology from a central command centre to get a better picture of where energy can be saved and waste can be minimised.