Automation allows for greater consistency and speed in operations. It can help eliminate human error. It also helps to reduce operating costs and labor costs. The most basic form of automation involves digitizing simple, repetitive tasks. The next level of automation includes programmable processes. The most advanced is intelligent automation, which uses AI and ML capabilities to improve IT operational efficiency.
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What is an Automation System?
An automation system is a complex collection of computer software and automated machinery to control industrial processes. It includes everything from computer systems that help IT administrators provision and manage workloads to industrial robots. A building automation system is a dashboard that combines all mechanical and electronic procedures to be managed in one place. It can include HVAC, lighting and security. It can also have a voice assistant to respond to customer requests and perform simple tasks. It can also provide data analytics to improve productivity in the automation industry.
What is an Actuator?
Upon receiving a control signal, an actuator converts electrical energy into mechanical motion. These devices come in various styles, power configurations, and sizes. Performance metrics are important when selecting an actuator for a particular application. Torque, or force, is one metric to consider, along with the device’s load capacity (static and dynamic). Speed is another factor to consider. An actuator’s design and manufacturer determine the device’s stroke length, which decides how far it can move. This metric is especially critical when selecting an actuator to operate in a harsh or rugged environment.
What is a Controller?
A controller is an electronic, software or electrical assembly that takes inputs from sensors and transmits commands to actuators to achieve the system’s intended behavior.
A complete automation system eliminates the need to pay employee wages and benefits. It can also reduce the amount of human error in the manufacturing process resulting in higher-quality products. For example, a building automation system can save energy costs and extend the life of HVAC equipment. It can also make occupants feel more comfortable. A successful Controller has the same skills as a great accountant: superior logic, organization and problem-solving abilities.
What is a Sensor?
Sensors are devices that share input as a signal with other systems. It could be an analog voltage or a digital signal. The signal is then sent to other electronics, usually a computer processor. Sensors can be found in everything from lamps that dim or brighten when you touch the base to touch-sensitive elevator buttons. Automation uses machines to operate and oversee industrial equipment that once required human labor. It includes feedback controls and machine programming, allowing the system to execute functions without an operator.
What is a Programmable Logic Controller?
An industrial solid-state computer called a PLC monitors operated automated equipment or processes. These computers gather information, execute a program, then control output devices according to the program’s coding. They’re designed to be easily programmable using ladder logic that mimics control circuit schematics. They’re also physically rugged and capable of withstanding factory conditions like heat and dust.
What is a PLC?
A PLC is an industrial computer designed to tolerate the harsh conditions of a factory floor. It resembles a personal computer with a power supply, microprocessor CPU (Central Processing Unit), input and output devices and memory. Engineers program the microprocessor CPU with instructions recognizing specific values and conditions to control the system. A programming language was used to write these instructions. These instructions then tell the PLC to change the status of its outputs.
What is a Motion Control System?
Motion control is a sub-field of industrial automation. It focuses on controlling motors’ position, speed and torque in manufacturing and production lines. Motion controllers use software to command movements on automated pieces of machinery. They send low-power commands to a drive or amplifier, which converts them into high-power signals to power the motor. The drive also uses feedback devices (absolute or incremental encoders) to monitor the motor’s position. It helps the system to close its position loop and maintain accurate positioning.
What is a Variable Frequency Drive?
A motor controller known as a variable frequency drive (VFD) may change the frequency and voltage of the power supplied to an electric motor. It can control conveyor system speeds, blower or pump speeds & machine tool speeds. The VFD converts the alternating current power to the direct current and then adjusts the voltage of the DC power. This filtered and buffered direct current gets converted back to alternating current at the desired frequency using IGBTs which act as switches. It can significantly reduce energy consumption compared to traditional flow control methods, such as dampers or throttling, which impose restrictions on the system and waste energy.
What is a PID Controller?
A PID controller maintains zero error between a measured process value and its desired set point or output by closed-loop operations. It can reduce the degree to which a system overshoots its set point and the degree of system oscillation. It can regulate temperature, pressure, force, flow rate, chemical composition, weight, position, speed, and virtually any measurable variable for which a measurement exists. The basic structure of a PID controller consists of three control modes: proportional, integral, and derivative. It is known as the parallel form of the PID controller.
What is a Variable Speed Drive?
A Variable Speed Drive (VSD) – also known as an AC drive, micro drive or inverter drive – uses frequency variation to control the speed of an electric motor. It helps reduce wear and tear on mechanical equipment such as pumps or conveyor belts and conserves energy consumption. VSDs can control anything from elevators and conveyor belts to mills, drills, or pumping equipment. They are the most effective way to reduce the electricity your business consumes. It could result in tax deductions and reduced maintenance costs.