9 Benefits of Intelligent Automation
Automation has been part of the manufacturing industry for decades. From simple tasks like threading to more complex processes like welding, manufacturers have been steadily implementing automation solutions to boost efficiency and reduce costs. But it’s not just about replacing humans with robots. Intelligent automation also combines innovations such as cyber-physical systems, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning to enable manufacturers achieve greater visibility across their operations and automatically take corrective actions in real time based on a pre-defined set of rules or deviations from standard operating procedures. Let's take a detailed look at what some of the benefits of intelligent automation are.
What is Intelligent Automation?
Automation is the use of machines or software to do activities that would normally require human participation. Intelligent automation is a complex system that combines machine learning and AI with cyber-physical systems (CPS) for informed decision-making and increased visibility across the entire supply chain. Also, it can be explained as the process of automating a complex process from start to finish using advanced technology tools (such as computer vision, machine learning, natural language processing, and others) in order to save time and boost productivity.
How does Intelligent Automation work?
An intelligent automation system uses sensors to track the conditions of the production line, raw materials, and finished goods. It automatically adjusts the system based on the data collected by the sensors. For example, an intelligent automation system would monitor the temperature of an oven used to bake a product to make sure it doesn’t exceed the required temperature. If the temperature goes above the threshold, the system would automatically open the door to lower the temperature. There are three main components of an intelligent automation system: sensors, gateways, and cloud platforms.
Benefits of Intelligent Automation
●Improved efficiency: Machines can be programmed to run at optimal schedules and produce more while reducing the likelihood of errors. An automation system will also save you money by minimising the consumption of energy and other resources. It also allows for greater scalability and consistency.
●Another significant benefit of automation is increased visibility. With automation, you can see everything that is happening at all times. You can do this through real-time data feeds and software-as-a-service (SaaS) monitoring tools.
●A centralized control and management system: A centralized platform is critical for an automation system since it allows for management of different systems and processes across the facility from a single point.
●Easy upgradability: Automation systems are built to last for long. They can easily be upgraded as your business changes over time.
●Fail-safe design: Automation systems have fail-safe designs in place to ensure that the production process continues even when there is a failure.
●Better customer relations: Automation assists by streamlining and simplifying operations that directly affect how customers engage with and experience a brand.
●Scalable production: Scalability is greatly enhanced through automation, which allows for more service to the client while reducing the need for human resources..
●Reduced risk: By reducing irregularities and uncertainties in the production process, automation lowers risk over time.
Future of Intelligent Automation
As automation gets more technically advanced, it will assist in the detection of problems in the supply chain. With AI, businesses can detect patterns and abnormalities in data to identify potential issues or defects. AI can also help to predict demand and forecast future sales. These developments can significantly enhance supply chain visibility and transparency. Manufacturers are also trying to integrate IOT devices into their current automation systems. This can be done by using sensors that can be connected to the internet.
Key Areas for Intelligent Automation
●Increased productivity: Intelligent automation procedures are more productive since they can operate around the clock. With intelligent automation, the rest of your staff are working on more serious challenges that are more important to the mission and goals of your organization..
●Inventory management: Inventory management is essential to ensure smooth operations. An inventory management system that is integrated with the rest of the automation system can help with inventory forecasting and more.
●Quality control: Quality control is a critical aspect of production. It ensures that your product meets all safety standards and specifications.
●Troubleshooting: A centralized system would allow you to easily troubleshoot issues and identify the root cause of problems.
Limitations of Intelligent Automation
One of the biggest limitations is that an automated system will never completely replace a human. Humans are needed to set up the system, troubleshoot issues, and perform other important functions. Another major drawback of automation is that it requires significant investments. You also have to consider that automation does not happen overnight. You have to plan for it, and it can take months or years before the system is installed and becomes fully functional. With the many type of automation technologies available, it might prove difficult to choose a system that's appropriate for your business.
How to Choose the Right Automation Platform?
When choosing an automation platform, make sure that you select a system that provides all the functionalities that you need. You will also want to ensure that it’s easily scalable to accommodate for growing business needs. Other factors to keep in mind when selecting an automation system include:
●Budget: How much are you willing to spend on automation?
●Functionality: Which functions do you want to automate?
● Scalability: What is your anticipated growth?
●Integration: How easily can it be integrated with other software?
●Vendor: Who are the reputable and reliable vendors in the industry?
As technology continues to advance, manufacturers are looking to implement new automation technologies that offer more visibility and efficiency across the supply chain. There are several benefits of implementing an intelligent automation system, including improved efficiency, increased visibility, and easier troubleshooting. There are also several limitations of automation, including the upfront cost and the fact that humans will always be needed to install and maintain the system. When choosing an automation platform, make sure that it supports all the functionality that you need and that it is easily scalable so that it can adapt as your business grows.
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