Thursday, April 30, 2015

Benefits of the Industrial Automation Process and Control System

When rugged data acquisition and monitoring is needed in a variety of industrial applications, automation can provide many benefits. The technology is especially helpful in marine and offshore applications, where feedback signals, logic and switching functions can all be automated.

Automation utilizes information technologies and control systems to improve dependability and productivity. Machine automation processes can help to increase efficiency and consistency beyond a level that is possible with human effort. Automation goes one level above mechanization. While this streamlined process offers human technicians equipment to physical support to their regular tasks, the automation process decreases the need for human labor altogether. Depending on the industrial function, consistency and creation time can see a substantial increase. Optimizing drive systems to through robotic automation and control technologies can assist the manufacturing to be more efficiency and accurate.Today, energy efficiency in industrial processes is becoming more and more relevant. As energy costs continue to rise, automation can help work to decrease these costs.

Another benefit of automation includes an improvement in overall product quality. The use of automated systems also reduces the amount of time from beginning to end during the physical operations process. It provides benefits in instances where a high degree of accuracy and consistency are required. Automation can also replace the need for human workers in tasks where difficult physical labor is required. Robotic engineering can perform tasks that are simply beyond scope of human beings. Systems can be customized to ideal production without having to worry about human capital and the inherent limitations that go with it, such as physical endurance and mental concentration.

Most importantly, it can also replace the need for human workers in dangerous environments. This is especially beneficial in marine and offshore applications. Automated systems can withstand dangerous work environments and work around hazardous substances. By removing workers from these unsafe areas, and assigning them in more challenging operating and programming jobs, industrial automation improves quality of life and protects the company from costly insurance claims.

Robotic automation can also help to reduce costs. It not only can cut down on labor costs, but also can also reduce operation time and handling time significantly. It essentially allows workers to take on higher-level jobs in the automated processes. Fully integrated automation systems can provide piece of mind in knowing that not only is production efficient and reliable, but that tasks are being performed safely without putting employees at risk.

For more information about Automated Control Systems, visit
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Monday, April 27, 2015

Good Reasons for Robotics and Manufacturing Automation

Good reasons for the use of robotics and manufacturing automation come as both positive increases of assets and capabilities and reductions to costs and efforts in the production process. Couple these together and there are very strong arguments for the implementation of robotics and manufacturing automation in any business that has any kind of production as part of its operations. Once a business looks in detail at all the increases and reductions involved here, it is very hard to argue against the use of robotics and manufacturing automation to make a manufacturer efficient.

On the reduction side, robotics and manufacturing automation can reduce overall operating costs in a plant. Such a cut in expenditures will make a business much more competitive in any market where it competes. Along side the reduction in short-term expenditures, a business that implements robotics and manufacturing automation will have reductions in its outlay for inventories. There can be a distinct reduction in inventory in progress and cuts in allocations for long-term inventories. The accuracy of robotics and manufacturing automation can also reduce the amount of waste that is generated in production, thus further cutting costs for inventory. There can be reduction in manual labor and the associated cost for accidents, sickness, and insurance.

Robotic automation can cut the turnover rate for highly skilled workers by replacing a lot of the tasks that these workers perform with automation that is very efficient. There should be a complimentary reduction in the amount of effort and expense that is incurred in the recruitment of skilled workers with robotic automation as a part of overall operations.

As for the increases that robots and manufacturing automation give to a business, there can be a definite increase in the quality of the environment where workers are required to put in their time. Robotics automation must work effectively in harsh and hazardous conditions so that employees do not have to. Robotics gives the company an increase in the compliance to safety rules and the overall health of employees. Employees are kept out of those areas that are not healthy or could cause injury or lost time.

Production rates are increased by manufacturing automation with robotics. Human operators do not have the consistent, overall high quality performance on the production line that robotics can offer. Output levels can be increased because the robotics can work continually day and night without a break, if automation is configured correctly. An increase in the accuracy of meeting the deadlines that are required by customers is achieved by the robotics in manufacturing.

Overall product quality that comes off the production line is increased by robotic automation. Tiredness, boredom, laziness, inconsistent work, and the effects of tediousness does not factor into the production that is done by robotics. Manufactured product quality is kept high and very consistent. The flexibility of manufacturing is increased with the advent of automation robotics. When the programs that control automation devices have been optimized, it is very easy to move the concentration of robotics from the production of one product to another simply by changing the program in the controller.

Automation gives a business an increase in the utilization of space required for manufacturing. The devices that are placed to do the production work on an automated line take up less space that what would have to be allocated for manual production operations. The way that the automation system is designed can squeeze a lot of work into a small space. Robotics can be mounted on the wall, on the ceiling in a multitude of ways to get the most from the space that is available for manufacturing. Confined spaces become very productive when robotics are assigned to them. As production begins every inch of the manufacturing floor space can yield some profitability.

There are just to many positive effects from the implementation and utilization of robotic automation in any manufacturing process to ignore. The costs of gaining all these capabilities has been falling over the last several years. The competitive nature that is in the market that supplies the automation devices has pushed the prices down considerably. Technology continues to drive the ability of machines higher and higher, so it would be the best consideration for manufacturers of all sizes to find the area of automation that will work best for their operation and implement automation to realize the positives for their business.

John Mitchell is President of Provision, Inc, an online publisher of information about the application of automation in business. Mitchell has years of experience in the management of manufacturing, warehousing, and transportation. The company website,, assists companies in the evaluation of the benefits and capabilities of production automation. Thoughts on how to evaluate automation for a business are presented, and ways to begin the automation process are discussed. Insights into the use of vision systems, RFID and other topics in automation are covered. Requests for quotations and questions about automation can be submitted to the consulting engineers of leading automation companies.
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Friday, April 24, 2015

Calibration Of Electrical Test Equipment

Maintaining and ensuring your test equipment is properly calibrated is essential if you are to obtain good and usable results from your experiments. Test equipment machines are only as good as the results they provide and if your machine is poorly maintained and inaccurate then obviously so will your conclusions be.

When you first purchase a brand new piece of testing equipment it should normally arrive with a certificate confirming that it was calibrated before leaving the manufacturers. Throughout the life of the apparatus it is important to have it regularly serviced and maintained and most importantly calibrated. The certificate that comes with re-calibration is your proof of a well-maintained machine and this will work in your favour when qualifying your test results.

A calibration certificate is also useful should you wish to sell any piece of machinery. You are more likely to get a good price if you are able to provide an audit trail, which proves that your equipment has been well looked after and cared for, and that its reliability can be confirmed.

Along with proof of calibration for quality audits and proof that your apparatus meets nationally accepted requirements it will also show the level and professionalism to which it has been calibrated.
When checking on the calibration certificate for a particular machine, especially if you are buying a used or second-hand model, make sure it has the following information: The correct instrument identification number, environmental conditions at the time of calibration, proof that the tests were conducted to a high standard and that there is an auditable, paper trail for the particular machine.

Quite often used models are sold as seen and you will have to pay an additional cost for calibration to be undertaken. Should you require this additional service, make sure you have the correct documentation afterwards.

You can also request a calibration certificate with data. While most certificates confirm the working parameters you may wish to have a copy of the actual data modes and ranges that the machine was tested against. Although tests conducted with data provided give you an accurate indication of the machine's capabilities, the extra information does also tend to cost that little bit extra.

Remember, whether you are buying a brand new test appliance or a second-hand one, or if you are perhaps leasing it, always check to make sure the equipment has been accurately calibrated to produce the desired information you are looking for.

As an engineer, Alex has re-calibrated used test equipment for years. Although his expertise is centred around electrical test equipment, he has been involved with project of many other natures.
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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Industrial Robots - A Marvel Of Engineering

Invention of Robots has brought about revolutionary changes in the field of industrial manufacturing. In the earlier part of the century humans were engaged in jobs, which were very dangerous and involved serious health hazards, but in 1956, Unimation a company founded by George Devol and Joseph F. Engelberger invented the first robot. These were initially used in industries where it was required that dangers involved in working should be reduced like in spot welding, die casting and forging and then gradually they were employed in areas requiring greater strength and accuracy than human beings.

Industrial Robots are automatic devices, which to an extent simulate the human behavior or more specifically human activity. Robots are important part of the science of Automation. Automation involves machines and computers that are capable of learning and performing various types of operations. The word robot has been derived from the Czech word "robota" meaning compulsory labor. The robots are used in industries to perform various functions like material handling, spot welding, spray painting, die casting, ironing, forging, assembly operations, palletizing, dispensing, testing, water jet cutting, picking and placing heavy goods etc.

Robots are made in various shapes and sizes and generally their load carrying capacity depends up on their size and strength. An average human sized robot is capable of carrying a load of more than 100 pounds and can also move it very quickly at the rate of +/-0.006 inches. One of their major advantages is that they can work continuously for days and years at a stretch without developing any fault. Due to this persistent accuracy robots are fast becoming indispensable part of various industrial set-ups. Most often these robots are used for repetitive painting, welding and operations like picking up and placing products into the machines.

The industrial robots can be programmed for performing a single function at a time and can only perform that particular function till they are reprogrammed. The cost of a robot is not very huge, but generally the cost of programming the robot is so high that instead of reprogramming it the manufacturers find it more economical to buy a new one for a different task. In simpler terms we can say that usually the cost of the robot is just a fraction of the cost of programming it.

Robots are made up of easily available materials. Steel, cast iron and aluminum are commonly used for making the arms and bases of robots. In mobile robots, rubber tires are fixed for smooth and quiet operation. Robots may be electronically operated and also laser or radio controlled. The exposed parts of the robot are enveloped with flexible neoprene sheaths and bellows.

The importance of robots in industries is increasing day by day and they constitute a very important part of the modern industries. Robots have made so many things possible, which could not be even thought of around 6 decades ago. They have taken the place of manual labor, especially in places where people worked in very dangerous and hazardous conditions like welding, die casting and forging. They have brought about revolutionary changes in the field of industrial manufacturing. According to a research conducted by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe the worldwide purchase for robots is increasing at the rate of approximately 19% every year.

In recent years Robots are also being used in industries like consumer electronics and food packaging where robots outweigh the precision and quality of assembling the products as compared to work done by human hands. Earlier on some people protested the inclusion of robots in industries on the account that this will render many people unemployed. But these fears have also been allayed and the best argument in this regard has been given by economist James Miller. He says "True, the existence of automation might depress workers' wages but it shouldn't ever leave them unemployable."

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Saturday, April 18, 2015

The Practical Benefits of Automation in an Industrial Setting

Today, we live in the age of technology and are rapidly relying more and more on machines to make our lives easier. This also applies to our industries where machinery is replacing evermore people in the day to day operations. Although some people are against this, any practical person would see that the machines, without question are a boon to all humankind. By taking over repetitive tasks, they leave human minds free to explore about new and creative ways to get the job done. This obviously is a good thing as we are now in a position to enjoy the finer things in life. The following article explores some of the advantages that are to be had if a company chooses to adapt automation in its processes.

Faster Production

This undoubtedly is a major advantage of working with machines. Since they are programmed exclusively to perform certain tasks, machines accomplish them at a faster rate when compared to their human counterparts. Machines are also free of boredom and fatigue and hence are able to perform the same tasks over and over again with the same speed. The best example for this would be automated dispensing machines. These can be adapted into any production line which requires dispensing. This would drastically reduce the amount of time taken for a single production cycle and thereby increase the productivity of the undertaking. If fully fledged automation is not an option at the moment, it might beneficial to know that there are manufacturers who offer contract dispensing services. This would also increase the rate of productivity by a considerable percentage.

High Degree of Efficiency

It is not just enough to increase the rate of production as who would want a product that is faulty no matter how fast it is produced. Since machines are fatigue free, they also accomplish tasks with zero errors. Such high degree of efficiency is mandatory for certain crucial processes such as air plasma surface treatment which used for ultra-fine cleaning. In such cases using manpower to accomplish the task is definitely not recommended as the saying goes 'to err is human'. There is just no room for error in such processes and programmed machines are literally our only option. A high degree of efficiency also means that wastage is almost zero and in today's world of fast depleting natural resources, this point cannot be stressed enough.

Reduced Cost of Production

Though the initial cost of automating your factory might cause a dilemma, in the long run this would certainly play to your advantage. By implementing automated dispensing machines, you would no longer require as much man power as previously required. This would obviously cut down all the expense relating to human resources which is a contributing factor to the overall cost of production. Less wastage would also translate to reduced expenditure and in an industrial setting where production is undertaken in a very large scale, the savings would be too much to neglect.

Steve Elbert has expertise in writing articles related to industrial Equipments including Automated Dispensing Machines. In this article, he writes some Practical Benefits of Automation in an Industrial setting like how to increase the rate of productivity Using Contract Dispensing.
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Wednesday, April 15, 2015


PROTEUS Mini-Me is a color graphic display providing Automatic Tank Gauge (ATG) users the freedom to gain access to current tank gauging, leak detection and alarm status from ATG consoles.

Automatic Tank Gauges monitor storage vessels for level, temperature, volume and potential leaks. Typically ATG's are located where audio visual alarms and level information are not conveniently accessible due to installation constraints. These tank gauges are often difficult to use and understand. They are installed in locations that are out of the operator's normal work area therefore rendering potential alarms unnoticed.

PROTEUS Mini-Me allows the user to easily and intuitively gain access to these alarms and level information anywhere throughout a facility. It provides both wired and wireless access to industry standard ATG's providing easily accessible information where required.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

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Thursday, April 9, 2015

Introduction to SCADA

SCADA is an acronym that stands for Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition. SCADA refers to a system that collects data from various sensors at a factory, plant or in other remote locations and then sends this data to a central computer which then manages and controls the data

SCADA systems are used not only in industrial processes: e.g. steel making, power generation (conventional and nuclear) and distribution, chemistry, but also in some experimental facilities such as nuclear fusion. The size of such plants range from a few 1000 to several 10 thousands input/output (I/O) channels. However, SCADA systems evolve rapidly and are now penetrating the market of plants with a number of I/O channels of several 100 K: we know of two cases of near to 1 M I/O channels currently under development.

There are many parts of a working SCADA system. A SCADA system usually includes signal hardware (input and output), controllers, networks, user interface (HMI), communications equipment and software. All together, the term SCADA refers to the entire central system. The central system usually monitors data from various sensors that are either in close proximity or off site (sometimes miles away).

An industrial measurement and control system consisting of a central host or master (usually called a master station, master terminal unit or MTU); one or more field data gathering and control units or remotes (usually called remote stations, remote terminal units, or RTU's); and a collection of standard and/or custom software used to monitor and control remotely located field data elements. Contemporary SCADA systems exhibit predominantly open-loop control characteristics and utilise predominantly long distance communications, although some elements of closed-loop control and/or short distance communications may also be present.

Systems similar to SCADA systems are routinely seen in factories, treatment plants etc. These are often referred to as Distributed Control Systems (DCS). They have similar functions to SCADA systems, but the field data gathering or control units are usually located within a more confined area. Communications may be via a local area network (LAN), and will normally be reliable and high speed. A DCS system usually employs significant amounts of closed loop control.

SCADA systems on the other hand generally cover larger geographic areas, and rely on a variety of communications systems that are normally less reliable than a LAN. Closed loop control in this situation is less desirable.

For more SCADA Tutorials visit SCADA Tutorials William Alexander is a wireless consultant based in Singapore with more than 15 years of experience. He writes for
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Monday, April 6, 2015

Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) System to Control Industrial Processes

SCADA typically refers to computer based industrial control system which basically aids to monitor and control facility based industrial processes and infrastructure. Here industrial processes include production, power generation and manufacturing in a repetitive or continuous batch and infrastructure includes treatment of wastewater, water distribution and treatment. Infrastructure processes could be private or public.

SCADA basically works as a centralized controlling and monitoring system for the entire project area or sites. It is practically used in gas refining, power plants, telecommunications, water and waste control systems and transportation. SCADA system includes software and hardware components. This process requires SCADA software installed in a PC where hardware aids to gather and feed data into the computer. Data processing unit of the computer then processes the gathered data of the SCADA system in a timely manner. SCADA also keeps record of all events as a stored file on the PC memory. By buzzing alarms SCADA gives warning of the hazardous condition of processes.

SCADA controls and monitors a process in a loop system. As an example- in an industrial process there is a PLC system to monitor and control discharge, pressure and temperature of steam flow through a pipeline. These parameters bear a significant effect on production. That is why it becomes necessary to control these parameters perfectly to have better production with minimum cost. So the significance of controlling industrial process parameters has become clear to us. Now, the value of discharge, pressure and temperature can be controlled manually by putting required values by an operator. In that case SCADA aids to control the total loop system of the steam flow process. The same thing happens after any chemical plant, and here SCADA plays a great role to overcome the critical situation with pressure and temperature control systems. To produce sulfuric acid, it is necessary to control the temperature and pressure of the process accurately. To do it aptly and easily SCADA loop control system becomes necessary in that production process.

Data acquisition starts at the PLC level with all readings of pressure, temperature and flow status reports which are communicated to SCADA. The system then compiles the data and allows an operator to monitor position to take necessary supervisory decision. The data acquisition system allows an operator to override or adjust PLC controls.

Finally, it can be said that SCADA refers to the wide range of implementation of distributed database. SCADA systems bear significant importance in the field of water supplies, electric grids and pipelines.

I came to know about all these from online research. I believe this article would help others to know about SCADA and Data Acquisition System.
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Friday, April 3, 2015

Small Manufacturers Ask "Why Automate?"

You may be a small manufacturer that has been in business for several years. Long enough to have established a very steady group of clients. Your customers have been purchasing your products for a period of time and they know they can depend on you to deliver on time. You are not one of those companies out there that just do not wish to change the old traditional ways of producing products. You want to know "Why automate?" You are interested in maximizing the returns on investment that have been made in your operations. In this statement you may have answered the question of why automate. With the cost of raw materials growing as it has been for years, it is almost necessary for your company to keep production growing to maintain the same level of profits over any given period of time.

There are some other reasons for why automate. More than likely you are one of those manufacturers that knows the importance of being diligent in the face of global competition. Just to stay in business these days you need to strive to be an effective contributor of products to an ever-demanding market place. Manufacturing automation can offer you the ability to accomplish this. As the connection of your production to the market is shortened, you need to have the ability to respond to any changes that are required in the market place. Some products are targeted toward niches. But even so the market in those narrow areas can make shifts in product requirements much more quickly they used to. Being able to follow the requirements shift is an effective characteristic that manufacturing automation can give you. Being able to meet the needs of a new niche market can be more easily accomplished with flexible manufacturing automation, thus giving you profitability that would not be there otherwise.

One of the clearly identifiable characteristics that occurs in most markets today is the pressure of new technology to change the way products are created and distributed. As a member company contributing to the production that meets the demands of customers, you should be aware of the need to capitalize to attain the latest advances in manufacturing. Technology is presenting more economical and efficient ways to meet the demands of any market. To not follow the road to up-to-date production devices could be a deathblow for some manufacturers. That same pressure in the market can help push your company to a competitive edge, even with the dynamic shifts in any market.

In your part of the production world you are probably aware of changes that your competitors may be involved in to keep and grow their share of the market. Just having the knowledge of what competition might be doing to take part of your share of the market should be a great incentive for you. Manufacturing automation can help give you the ability to thwart any aggression that a competitor would have in commandeering your part of the market. Developing optimum production processes should allow you to manage your current market share and also to increase your share. It should also assist in the development of new product lines. These can be more readily presented to the market place because of the your optimized production.

Any company that is meeting the demands of its market place by customizing automation to make manufacturing more efficient is doing so because of customer requirements. This is really the only reason for doing such a thing and it can be the one for why automate. After all you are only in business to meet the needs of the market when the market demands for you to do it. Having the speed and accuracy to give customers the products that they want in the form that they want when they want them is your whole reason for being. Any manufacturer will tell you that building extra capacity with manufacturing automation is only done as a response to the requirements of the market place. Delivering those products in a timely fashion is the second half of the answer to the needs of the market. As the response to demands of the market are required to be shorter and shorter, it is imperative that manufacturers have flexible and immediate response in order to stay in business. Pressures in the market place will only continue to grow requiring the responses to be even shorter still to the demands. The only way these responses can be met by manufacturers is to utilize the latest tools available in the form of automation.

You can gave leverage for the future when you meet the demands of the market today by employing the latest automation to do it. You will discover that if you have automation in place when new demands are made on your products like changes in format or size you will be able to meet those changes demands more readily. Automation yields a great amount of flexibility for adjustment to manufacturing configuration. Being able to tweak an existing device to perform a new task is much easier than implementing an entirely new manual process to accomplish a change in production.

Manufacturing automation continues to improve your abilities even after it has made its initial improvements to your production that is why you automate.

John Mitchell is President of Provision, Inc, an online publisher of information about the application of automation in business. Mitchell has years of experience in the management of manufacturing, warehousing, and transportation. The company website,, assists companies in the evaluation of the benefits and capabilities of production automation. Thoughts on how to select the most effective automation for your business are presented. Insights into the use of vision systems, RFID and other topics in automation are covered. Requests for quotations and questions about automation can be submitted to the consulting engineers of leading automation companies.
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