Monday, May 28, 2018

IAM Search

INDUSTRIAL CONTROL HANDBOOK - 0.2 THE ENVIRONMENT FOR AUTOMATION

Automation, the subject of this textbook, is not a magic solution to financial problems. It is, however, a valuable tool that can be used to improve product quality. Improving product quality, in turn, results in lower costs. Producing inexpensive, high quality products is a good policy for any company.

But where do you start?

Simply considering an automation program can force an organization to face problems it might not otherwise face:

  • What automation and control technology is available?
  • Are employees ready and willing to use new technology?
  • What technology should we use?
  • Should the current manufacturing process be improved before automation?
  • Should the product be improved before spending millions of dollars acquiring equipment to build it?

Automating before answering the above questions would be foolish. The following chapters describe the available technology so that the reader will be prepared to select appropriate automation technology. The answers to the last two questions above are usually "yes," and this book introduces techniques to improve processes and products, but each individual organization must find its own improvements.

 

0.2.1 Automated Manufacturing, an Overview

Automating of individual manufacturing cells should be the second step in a three step evolution to a different manufacturing environment. These steps are:

  1. Simplification of the manufacturing process. If this step is properly managed, the other two steps might not even be necessary. The "Just in Time" (JIT) manufacturing concept includes procedures that lead to a simplified manufacturing process.
  2. Automation of individual processes. This step, the primary subject of this text, leads to the existence of "islands of automation" on the plant floor. The learning that an organization does at this step is valuable. An organization embarking on an automation program should be prepared to accept some mistakes in the early stage of this phase. The cost of those mistakes is the cost of training employees.
  3. Integration of the islands of automation and other computerized processes into a total manufacturing and business system. While this text does not discuss the details of integrated manufacturing, it is discussed in general in this chapter and again. Technical specialists should be aware of the potential future need to integrate, even while they embark on that first "simplification" step.

The large, completely automated and integrated environment shown in figure 0.1 is a Computer Integrated Manufacturing (CIM) operation. The CIM operation includes:

  • Computers, including:
    • one or more "host" computers
    • several cell controller computers
    • a variety of personal computers
    • Programmable Controllers (PLC)
    • computer controllers built into other equipment
  • Manufacturing Equipment, including:
    • Robots
    • controlled continuous process equipment (e.g., for turning wood pulp into paper)
    • assorted individual actuators under computer control (e.g., motorized conveyor systems)
    • assorted individual computer-monitored sensors (e.g., conveyor speed sensors)
    • pre-existing "hard" automation equipment, not properly computer-controllable, but monitored by retro-fitted sensors
    • numerical control machining equipment (NC, CNC, or DNC)
  • Computer Peripherals, such as:
    • Printers, FAX machines, terminals, paper-tape printers, etc.
  • Local Area Networks (LANs) interconnecting computers, manufacturing equipment, and shared peripherals. "Gateways" may interconnect incompatible LANs and incompatible computers.
  • Databases (DB), stored in the memories of several computers, and accessed through a Database Management System (DBMS)
  • Software Packages essential to the running of the computer system. Essential software would include: the operating system(s) (e.g., UNIX, WINDOWS NT, OS/2 or SNA) at each computer; communications software (e.g., the programs which allow the LANs to move data from computer to computer and which allow some controllers to control other controllers); and the database management system (DBMS) programs
  • Assorted "processes" which use the computers. These computer- users might include:
    • humans, at computer terminals, typing commands or receiving information from the computers
    • Computer Aided Engineering (CAE) programs
    • Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM) programs, including those that do production scheduling (MRP), process planning (CAPP), and monitoring of shop floor feedback and control of manufacturing processes (SEC)
    • miscellaneous other programs for uses such as word processing or financial accounting
    • Computer Aided Design (CAD) programs

As of this writing, very few completely computer integrated manufacturing systems are in use. There are lots of partially integrated manufacturing systems. Before building large computer integrated systems, we must first understand the components and what each component contributes to the control of a simple process.

Fig. 0.1 A computer integrated manufacturing environment

Fig. 0.1 A computer integrated manufacturing environment

GO TO NEXT PAGE: INDUSTRIAL CONTROL HANDBOOK - 0.3 CONTROL OF AUTOMATION/PROCESS CONTROL

GO BACK TO PREVIOUS PAGE: INDUSTRIAL CONTROL HANDBOOK - 0.1 AUTOMATE, EMIGRATE, LEGISLATE, OR EVAPORATE

GO TO MAIN PAGE: INDUSTRIAL CONTROL HANDBOOK - TABLE OF CONTENTS

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment

security code
Write the displayed characters


busy

Related Articles

Promotions

  • ...more

Disclaimer

Important: All images are copyrighted to their respective owners. All content cited is derived from their respective sources.

Contact us for information and your inquiries. IAMechatronics is open to link exchanges.

IAMechatronics Login