The ability to automate certain tasks within a manufacturing environment has a number of advantages. However, in order to make the most of the opportunities that automation offers, the business needs to ensure that they are using the correct automation control equipment that performs the tasks required, and that they are reliable. Ideally, the business will want the equipment to be set to control the automated tasks and then not have to worry about it again until all the tasks are completed. With the right ACE controls, a number of benefits to the business can be gained, and as this technology continues to develop then the benefits will only increase
Increased Productivity and Higher Output
One of the main benefits of using automation control equipment is the increased productivity of the machines that they control. These machines can often work a lot faster than employees would be able to, therefore it will not take as long to complete as many tasks. Some of these tasks may have been very labour intensive for employees and they can now be completed in a matter of minutes, speeding up the whole production process. The increased productivity of the machines that can carry out automated tasks not only means that work can be completed faster, but also that the workload can be increased considerably too. This leads to a higher output and may help the company to attract more business as they will have a greater capacity to deal with any additional workload. A further advantage of automated machines is that there is likely to be less variability in the quality of the products than would be found with those produced by employees, meaning that quality control is far more consistent.
Reduction in costs
An automated machine may be able to do the job of several employees which automatically leads to savings in terms of staffing, but there are also other costs that may be reduced by the use of automated machines. Because the quality of the products is consistently higher when using an automated process then the amount of wastage is significantly reduced which saves money on materials that would otherwise be deemed unusable, plus it also saves time having to produce the item again.
Automation control equipment can be used to control other factors in the factory rather than just the machines that are used in the manufacturing process. They can also be used to control lighting and heating so that these systems come on when the factory is open, but turn off again when it is closed. This will help the business to save further money on the utility bills for the factory, which are usually a major expense.
Benefits for employees
The use of automated systems is sometimes criticised for taking work away from employees and ultimately leading to a loss of jobs. However, this is not as widespread as is sometimes imagined and automation actually benefits employees in a number of ways. The average working week in manufacturing today is 40 hours. This is compared with over 70 hours in 1900. Working such long hours can cause exhaustion in workers and lead to a number of health conditions. Automation has also increased safety for employees in many manufacturing environments. By taking over many of the jobs that may have been hazardous for employees in the past, the reduction in manufacturing injuries has decreased significantly since their introduction.