The manufacturing of industrial automation systems and robots has grown by leaps and bounds over the past few decades. Following the global reduction of production costs and an increase in productivity, technology has completely revamped manufacturing operations as we know it. For instance, the application of technology has revamped the industrial automation industry by leaps and bounds, allowing them to produce high-standard cars at affordable prices.
The manufacturing industry is no stranger to technology. Machines have taken over many of the soft production tasks that demand high levels of efficiency, such as network connectivity and home automation. The automation industry uses almost half of the world’s machine control technology. With this growing consumer demand, the automation technology has a wider scope and applicability. This, coupled with home control processes, has helped manufacturers increase their earning potential to meet market expectations.
In the MENA region’s industrial automation space, the leading market segment in the region is still oil and gas. However, we have seen a growing market for segments such as water and waste water, for new desalination plants and treatment plans. We’ll most likely see more demand for automation solutions, given increased digitalisation of plants and operations.
The automation journey
When we talk about process automation, these can be large projects. The vendor will often engage directly. For smaller projects, channel partners may be involved. This may change as process automation becomes more commonplace, and more end users adopt these solutions. Typically, the vendor and consultant engage with the end user organizations during early stages of the project. They support the end user in defining the system architecture and technical requirements. The end user will use this information for feasibility studies and internal evaluations, which will help them on further defining costs and technical issues.
Once a project is green-lighted, there’s two approaches based on whether this is greenfield or brownfield. For greenfield projects, a large EPC would be selected for the execution. This EPC would reach out to automation vendors to validate the technical requirements and final costs.
For brownfield projects, an EPC or consultant may be involved. Often, a customer will take direct control and engage with the automation vendor. In both cases, the automation vendor will execute the project based on the technical specifications. After project is complete, the automation vendor will offer the end user maintenance and post-sales services to optimise the system’s performance.
The new normal
The current situation has transformed how vendors interact with customers and execute projects. Restrictions on traveling and face-to-face meetings have triggered this massive growth and use of digital technologies. At Schneider Electric, we have used these technologies to keep interacting with our customers, and our teams internally. The use of cloud and virtual meeting technologies has been used to virtually test our systems and to provide remote support to our customers when it hasn’t been possible to be physically present with our customers. We have adapted to the new normal, supported by our extensive digital resources and know-how.
Automation leads to greater tech control
Industrial technology is continuously improving, striving to meet the increasing demand for quality. This is compounded by the fact that the nature of competition is changing too, on both national and global levels. The operation of technology in factories has procured opportunities for companies to explore new possibilities for serving unique and dynamic expectations.
Existing features of automated devices involve repetitive operational tasks, including material handling, metal production, site welding, spray painting, and packaging. In the coming generation, machines will be able to perform a great number of tasks in a shorter span of time.
Machines have a broad base of potential programming in manufacturing, due to their flexible and applicable nature. Aside from this, automation systems enable these devices to listen, see, and experience the environment, which makes them crucial for the home control and measurement processes.
Here are some of the benefits of automation and robotics in terms of tech control:
- Efficiency in production and high-quality work
- Producing a large number of products in a shorter amount of time
- Improved safety and facility conditions
- Performing in tough conditions where even humans cannot operate
- Can be reprogrammed and used for the manufacturing of various goods
Organisations have now realised that automation systems and robotics offer a golden opportunity to improve productivity levels. A sharp growth in the use of automated systems will shape the way businesses evaluate their manufacturing processes and expansion plans. From efficient machine control and assembling to material handling, automation systems have been making work simpler for everyone all around the world. Thus, it’s the peak time to unlock the next phase of productivity by automating one’s production operations.