Industrial Automation Technology refers to the control of industrial machinery and its various processes thus reducing the need for human intervention. Industrial automation technology makes use of various control systems such as programmable logic control, industrial control and numerical control systems. These applications are usually used in concert with information technology systems such as computer technologies that control the automated machinery.
Automation is a step up from mechanization because it greatly reduces the human mental and sensory requirements, whereas mechanization assists human operators with the muscular requirements for the work.
Industrial automation plays a large part in the global economy, and engineers work hard to combine mathematical tools with automated devices to produce better and more complex systems for the expanding applications and range of human activities.
The automation of machines and other technologies has a big impact on a wide range of industries, for example; telephone operators have been mostly replaced by automated switchboards and answering machines, and automated teller machines now make money transactions much easier and help cut down visits to the bank.
Industrial automation is used in a wide range of industries for many different types of application and some of these can include:
o Mechanical engineering
o Industrial controls
o Electronic engineering
o Integrated circuit design
o Motion control and fluid control
o Data acquisition software
There are many advantages and disadvantages in the scope of industrialization and some of these advantages are:
o Economy improvement
o Can be used to carry out dangerous tasks
o Can replace tedious human tasks
Some of the main disadvantages are:
o Automation has its limits and at present is unable to replace all human tasks
o Development costs can be unpredictable
o Initial set-up costs are usually high
It is thought by some critics that automation will lead to higher unemployment, yet others argue that the opposite is true and that automation has led to higher employment.