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Encyclopedia > Automation
KUKA Industrial robots engaged in vehicle underbody assembly


Automation (ancient Greek: = self dictated), roboticization[1] or industrial automation or numerical control is the use of control systems such as computers to control industrial machinery and processes, replacing human operators. In the scope of industrialization, it is a step beyond mechanization. Whereas mechanization provided human operators with machinery to assist them with the physical requirements of work, automation greatly reduces the need for human sensory and mental requirements as well. Image File history File links Industrial Robots in the car production. ... Image File history File links Industrial Robots in the car production. ... KUKA industrial robots welding a car body in the white section of a production line. ... An industrial robot is officially defined by ISO[1] as an automatically controlled, reprogrammable, multipurpose manipulator programmable in three or more axes. ... Note: This article contains special characters. ... Numerical control or numerically controlled (NC) machine tools are machines that are automatically operated by commands that are received by their processing units. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Control theory. ... The NASA Columbia Supercomputer. ... A machine is any mechanical or electrical device that transmits or modifies energy to perform or assist in the performance of tasks. ... Industrial processes are procedures involving chemical or mechanical steps to aid in the manufacture an item or items. ... Mechanization is the use of machines to replace manual labour or animals and can also refer to the use of powered machinery to help a human operator in some task. ...


Automation plays an increasingly important role in the global economy and in daily experience. Engineers strive to combine automated devices with mathematical and organizational tools to create complex systems for a rapidly expanding range of applications and human activities. The world economy can be represented various ways, and broken down in various ways. ...


There are still many jobs which are in no immediate danger of automation. No device has been invented which can match the human eye for accuracy and precision in many tasks; nor the human ear. Even the admittedly handicapped human is able to identify and distinguish among far more scents than any automated device. Human pattern recognition, language recognition, and language production ability is well beyond anything currently envisioned by automation engineers. Pattern recognition is a field within the area of machine learning. ... Pasienten er en 78 ar gammel kvinne med ingen tidligere kjente sykdommer. ...


Specialised hardened computers, referred to as programmable logic controllers (PLCs), are frequently used to synchronize the flow of inputs from (physical) sensors and events with the flow of outputs to actuators and events. This leads to precisely controlled actions that permit a tight control of almost any industrial process. (It was these devices that were feared to be vulnerable to the "Y2K bug", with such potentially dire consequences, since they are now so ubiquitous throughout the industrial world.) PLC & input/output arrangements A Programmable Logic Controller, PLC, or Programmable Controller is a digital computer used for automation of industrial processes, such as control of machinery on factory assembly lines. ... The year 2000 problem (also known as the Y2K problem and the millennium bug) was a flaw in computer program design that caused some date-related processing to operate incorrectly for dates and times on and after January 1, 2000. ...


Human-machine interfaces (HMI) or computer human interfaces (CHI), formerly known as man-machine interfaces, are usually employed to communicate with PLCs and other computers, such as entering and monitoring temperatures or pressures for further automated control or emergency response. Service personnel who monitor and control these interfaces are often referred to as stationary engineers. // Human–computer interaction (HCI), alternatively man–machine interaction (MMI) or computer–human interaction (CHI), is the study of interaction between people (users) and computers. ... User in computing context is one who uses a computer system. ... Temperature control is a process in which the temperature of an object is measured and the passage of heat energy into or out of the object is adjusted to achieve a desired temperature. ...


Another form of automation involving computers is test automation, where computer-controlled automated test equipment is programmed to simulate human testers in manually testing an application. This is often accomplished by using test automation tools to generate special scripts (written as computer programs) that direct the automated test equipment in exactly what to do in order to accomplish the tests Test automation is the use of software to control the execution of tests, the comparison of actual outcomes to predicted outcomes, the setting up of test preconditions, and other test control and test reporting functions. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... A computer program (often simply called a program) is an example of computer software that prescribes the actions (computations) that are to be carried out by a computer. ...


Finally, the last form of automation is software-automation, where a computer by means of macro recorder software records the sequence of user actions (mouse and keyboard) as a macro for playback at a later time. Business process automation (BPA) is the process of integrating enterprise applications, reducing human intervention wherever possible, and assembling software services into end-to-end process flows. ... A macro recorder is a piece of software that allows a user to record mouse and keyboard functions for playback at a later time. ... A macro in computer science is an abstraction, that defines how a certain input pattern is replaced by an output pattern according to a defined set of rules. ...

Contents

Social issues of automation

Automation raises several important social issues. Among them is automation's impact on employment. Indeed, the Luddites were a social movement of English textile workers in the early 1800s who protested against Jacquard's automated weaving looms— often by destroying such textile machines— that they felt threatened their jobs. Since then, the term luddite has come to be applied freely to anyone who is against any advance of technology. The Luddites were a group of English workers in the early 1800s who protested – often by destroying machines – against the changes produced by the Industrial Revolution that they felt threatened their jobs. ...


Some argue automation leads to higher employment. One author made the following case. When automation was first introduced, it caused widespread fear. It was thought that the displacement of human workers by computerized systems would lead to severe unemployment. In fact, the opposite has often been true, e.g., the freeing up of the labor force allowed more people to enter higher skilled jobs, which are typically higher paying. One odd side effect of this shift is that "unskilled labor" now benefits in many "first-world" nations, because fewer people are available to fill such jobs. This article does not cite any references or sources. ...


Some argue the reverse, at least in the long term. They argue that automation has only just begun and short-term conditions might partially obscure its long-term impact. Many manufacturing jobs left the United States during the early 1990s, but a one-time massive increase in IT jobs (which are only now being outsourced), at the same time, offset this. Information and communication technology spending in 2005 Information technology (IT), as defined by the Information Technology Association of America (ITAA), is the study, design, development, implementation, support or management of computer-based information systems, particularly software applications and computer hardware. ...


It appears that automation does devalue labor through its replacement with less-expensive machines; however, the overall effect of this on the workforce as a whole remains unclear. Today automation of the workforce is quite advanced, and continues to advance increasingly more rapidly throughout the world and is encroaching on ever more skilled jobs, yet during the same period the general well-being of most people in the world (where political factors have not muddied the picture) has increased dramatically. What role automation has played in these changes has not been well studied.


One irony is that in recent years, outsourcing has been blamed for the loss of jobs in which automation is the more likely culprit[2]. This argument is supported by the fact that in the U.S., the number of insourced jobs is increasing at a greater rate than those outsourced[3]. Further, the rate of decline in U.S. manufacturing employment is no greater than the worldwide average: 11 percent between 1995 and 2002[4]. In the same period, China, which has been frequently criticized for "stealing" American manufacturing jobs, lost 15 million manufacturing jobs of its own (about 15% of its total), compared with 2 million lost in the U.S.[5]. Outsourcing became part of the business lexicon during the 1980s and refers to the delegation of non-core operations from internal production to an external entity specializing in the management of that operation. ... Motto: (Out Of Many, One) (traditional) In God We Trust (1956 to date) Anthem: The Star-Spangled Banner Capital Washington D.C. Largest city New York City None at federal level (English de facto) Government Federal constitutional republic  - President George Walker Bush (R)  - Vice President Dick Cheney (R) Independence from... Insourcing is the opposite of outsourcing; that is insourcing (or contracting in) is often defined as the delegation of operations or jobs from production within a business to an internal (but stand-alone) entity (such as a subcontractor) that specializes in that operation. ...


Millions of human telephone operators and answerers, throughout the world, have been replaced wholly (or almost wholly) by automated telephone switchboards and answering machines (not by Indian or Chinese workers). Thousands of medical researchers have been replaced in many medical tasks from 'primary' screeners in electrocardiography or radiography, to laboratory analyses of human genes, sera, cells, and tissues by automated systems. Even physicians have been partly replaced by remote, automated robots and by highly sophisticated surgical robots that allow them to perform remotely and at levels of accuracy and precision otherwise not normally possible for the average physician. See Robot doctors and Surgical robots. ECG may also refer to the East Coast Greenway Lead II An Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG, abbreviated from the German Elektrokardiogramm) is a graphic produced by an electrocardiograph, which records the electrical voltage in the heart in the form of a continuous strip graph. ... A radiograph of a right elbow-joint Radiography is the use of certain types of electromagnetic radiation—usually ionizing—to view objects. ... This stylistic schematic diagram shows a gene in relation to the double helix structure of DNA and to a chromosome (right). ... Blood plasma is the liquid component of blood, in which the blood cells are suspended. ... Drawing of the structure of cork as it appeared under the microscope to Robert Hooke from Micrographia which is the origin of the word cell. Cells in culture, stained for keratin (red) and DNA (green). ... Biological tissue is a collection of interconnected cells that perform a similar function within an organism. ...


Current emphases in automation

Currently, for manufacturing companies, the purpose of automation has shifted from increasing productivity and reducing costs, to broader issues, such as increasing quality and flexibility in the manufacturing process.


The old focus on using automation simply to increase productivity and reduce costs was seen to be short-sighted, because it is also necessary to provide a skilled workforce who can make repairs and manage the machinery. Moreover, the initial costs of automation were high and often could not be recovered by the time entirely new manufacturing processes replaced the old. (Japan's "robot junkyards" were once world famous in the manufacturing industry.)


Automation is now often applied primarily to increase quality in the manufacturing process, where automation can increase quality substantially. For example, automobile and truck pistons used to be installed into engines manually. This is rapidly being transitioned to automated machine installation, because the error rate for manual installment was around 1-1.5%, but has been reduced to 0.00001% with automation. Hazardous operations, such as oil refining, the manufacturing of industrial chemicals, and all forms of metal working, were always early contenders for automation. View of the Shell/Valero Martinez oil refinery An oil refinery is an industrial process plant where crude oil is processed and refined into useful petroleum products. ... Chemical tanks in Lillebonne, France Chemical industry includes those industries involved in the production of petrochemicals, agrochemicals, pharmaceuticals, polymers, paints, oleochemicals etc. ... Metalworking is the craft and practice of working with metals to create parts or structures. ...


Another major shift in automation is the increased emphasis on flexibility and convertibility in the manufacturing process. Manufacturers are increasingly demanding the ability to easily switch from manufacturing Product A to manufacturing Product B without having to completely rebuild the production lines.


Safety issues of automation

One safety issue with automation is that while it is often viewed as a way to minimize human error in a system, increasing the degree and levels of automation also increases the consequences of error. For example, The Three Mile Island nuclear event was largely due to over-reliance on "automated safety" systems. Unfortunately, in the event, the designers had never anticipated the actual failure mode which occurred, so both the "automated safety" systems and their human overseers were innundated with vast amounts of largely irrelevant information. With automation we have machines designed by (fallible) people with high levels of expertise, which operate at speeds well beyond human ability to react, being operated by people with relatively more limited education (or other failings, as in the Bhopal disaster or Chernobyl disaster). Ultimately, with increasing levels of automation over ever larger domains of activities, when something goes wrong the consequences rapidly approach the catastrophic. This is true for all complex systems however, and one of the major goals of safety engineering for nuclear reactors, for example, is to make safety mechanisms as simple and as foolproof as possible (see Safety engineering and passive safety). Three Mile Island Nuclear Generating Station consists of two nuclear reactors, each with its own containment building and cooling towers. ... The Bhopal Disaster took place in the early hours of the morning of December 3, 1984,[1] in the heart of the city of Bhopal, India, in the state of Madhya Pradesh. ... Chernobyl reactor number four after the disaster, showing the extensive damage to the main reactor hall (image center) and turbine building (image lower left) The Chernobyl nuclear disaster was the worst nuclear accident in the history of nuclear power. ... Safety engineering is an applied science strongly related to systems engineering. ... Passively safe is a form of nuclear reactor which uses the laws of physics to keep the nuclear reaction under control rather than engineered safety systems. ...


Automation Tools

Different types of automation tools exists:


A list of automation tools used in the IT field (past and present): An artificial neural network (ANN), often just called a neural network (NN), is an interconnected group of artificial neurons that uses a mathematical model or computational model for information processing based on a connectionist approach to computation. ... A distributed control system (DCS) refers to a control system usually of a manufacturing system, process or any kind of dynamic system, in which the controller elements are not central in location (like the brain) but are distributed throughout the system with each component sub-system controlled by one or... Human-Machine Interface (HMI) is a term that refers to the layer that separates a human that is operating a machine from the machine itself. ... It has been suggested that Scientific Computing & Instrumentation be merged into this article or section. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... A programmable automation controller (PAC) is a compact controller that combines the features and capabilities of a PC-based control system with that of a typical programmable logic controller (PLC). ... PLC & input/output arrangements A Programmable Logic Controller, PLC, or Programmable Controller is a digital computer used for automation of industrial processes, such as control of machinery on factory assembly lines. ... SCADA is the acronym for Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition. ... Look up simulation in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...

Kepware, based in Portland, Maine, specializes in OPC and device-communication technologies for the industrial automation market. ... LabVIEW (short for Laboratory Virtual Instrumentation Engineering Workbench) is a platform and development environment for a visual programming language from National Instruments. ... Compuware World Headquarters on Campus Martius Park in Detroit Compuware Corporation NASDAQ: CPWR is a software company with products aimed at the information technology (IT) departments of large businesses. ... Quick Test Professional (QTP) is an automated functional Graphical User Interface (GUI) testing tool created by the HP subsidiary Mercury Interactive that allows the automation of user actions on a web or client based computer application. ... Rockwell Automation NYSE: ROK is an industrial automation company. ... Simulink, running a simulation of a thermostat-controlled heating system Simulink® is a block library tool for modeling, simulating and analyzing dynamic systems. ... Telvent NASDAQ: TLVT is an information technology and industrial automation company specializing in SCADA, GIS and related IT systems for pipeline, energy utility, traffic and environmental monitoring industries. ... Compuware World Headquarters on Campus Martius Park in Detroit Compuware Corporation NASDAQ: CPWR is a software company with products aimed at the information technology (IT) departments of large businesses. ... Wonderware, based in Lake Forest, California, is a supplier of industrial automation and information software. ...

See also

Robotics Portal

Image File history File links Animation2. ... Garry Kasparov playing against Deep Blue, the first machine to win a chess game against a reigning world champion. ... Autonomous automation refers to the use of autonomous software agents to adapt the controlers of computer controled industrial machinery and processes. The term autonomous automation has in the past, on a limited number of web-sites, been used mainly to refer to the use of autonomous computer controled industrial machinery... Basic Principles A controller is the brain component of a system that monitors certain input variables and adjusts other output variables to achieve the desired operation. ... Cybernetics is the study of feedback and derived concepts such as communication and control in living organisms, machines and organisations. ... (In the automation and engineering environments, the hardware engineer or architect encompasses the electronic engineering and electrical engineering fields, with subspecialities in analog, digital, or electromechanical systems. ... Hardware is an expression used within the engineering disciplines to explicitly distinguish the (electronic computer) hardware from the software which runs in it. ... Light control computerized system Home automation (also called domotics) is a field within building automation, specializing in the specific automation requirements of private homes and in the application of automation techniques for the comfort and security of its residents. ... An industrial robot is officially defined by ISO[1] as an automatically controlled, reprogrammable, multipurpose manipulator programmable in three or more axes. ... M2M refers to data communications between machines. ... Office automation refers to the varied computer machinery and software used to digitally create, collect, store, manipulate, and relay office information needed for accomplishing basic tasks and goals. ... OPC can stand for: Oligomeric proanthocyanidin OLE for Process Control OPC Foundation Orthodox Presbyterian Church Office of Policy Coordination This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists pages that might otherwise share the same title. ... The OPC Foundation is an industry consortium that creates and maintains standards for open connectivity of industrial automation devices and systems. ... Process control is an engineering discipline that deals with architectures, mechanisms, and algorithms for controlling the output of a specific process. ... Retraining is the process of learning a new skill or trade, often in response to a change in the economic environment. ... ASIMO, a humanoid robot manufactured by Honda. ... The systems architect is responsible for: Interfacing with the user(s) and sponsor(s) and all other stakeholders in order to determine their (evolving) needs. ... A system architecture or systems architecture is the design or set of relations between the parts of a system. ...

References

  • IEEE Transactions on Automation Science and Engineering
  • Wireless Networks for Industrial Automation 2nd Edition
  • Jeremy Rifkin: The End of Work: The Decline of the Global Labor Force and the Dawn of the Post-Market Era
  • Ramin Ramtin: Capitalism and Automation - Revolution in Technology and Capitalist Breakdown. Pluto Press, London, Concord Mass. 1991
Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to:
Automation

  Results from FactBites:
 
Surrealist automatism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (260 words)
Automatism is a surrealist technique involving spontaneous writing, drawing, or the like practiced without conscious aesthetic or moral self-censorship.
Automatism in Surrealism has taken on many forms, from the automatic writing and drawing initially practiced by surrealists, to similar, or perhaps parallel phenomena, such as the non-idiomatic improvisation of free jazz [1].
Surrealist automatism is different from mediumistic automatism, from which the term was inspired.
NationMaster - Encyclopedia: Automatism (730 words)
Automatism is the practice or theory of the spontaneous production of words (speech or writing), drawing, painting or other creative production, or behavior in general, without conscious self-control or self-censorship.
Mediumistic automatism, in which the speech, writing or behaviour produced is purported to be communicated from ghosts, spirits or the like, channeling through a psychic or medium For other meanings of medium, see medium (disambiguation).
Automatism rests on the idea that the person acts without thought, but if it is the case that many everyday actions are carried out automatically without there being any distinctive thinking process involved, this situation is not as exceptional as the defence suggests.
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