Artificial intelligence, Deep and Machine Learning, drones and robots, Smart Technology, the Internet of Things, and Cyber Security: this is the mix of ingredients that today revolutionize industrial automation, tracing the course of future applications. After all, Digital Transformation and Machine Automation shortly will represent a priority for companies even more than in the recent past.
And this is because they impact every area of the business, from the supply chain to the user experience. The evolution path is only in its infancy. Companies’ level of applications in progress is often limited mainly to low-complexity activities. Even the most traditional sectors must take up the challenge and change their approach to industrial production.
Industrial Automation Systems: Towards Completely New Horizons
The most important and original development will come from entirely new directions and results, as it always has been, and as the moments of true momentum and change of the past demonstrate. The future of industrial automation will be characterized, for example, by networked nanotechnologies entirely based on wireless; cloud solutions for the management of big data and the use of IT resources; edge computing that moves data processing capacity closer to sources; evolution of collaborative and mobile robotics; increasingly sophisticated analytical software.
Industrial Automation: Examples Of What Awaits Us In The Future
The market requires more customized products which do not cost too much and guarantee high performance. For this reason, the machines must be able to adapt to the changing conditions of demand through the realization of the principles of Industry 4.0. On the technological front, there are many tools integrated into Machine Automation, capable of effectively responding to the market’s new needs.
For example, intelligent modular transport systems, capable of increasing flexibility within production plants, or software solutions for predictive maintenance and condition monitoring, allow you to check the health of the machinery and intercept potential failures thanks to the analytics and data of IoT sensors.
5G Is Coming
The advent of 5G, in addition to allowing the improvement of current 3G and 4G applications, could allow for the first time the effective use of wireless technologies in industrial control applications without sacrificing reliability and performance. The new protocol implies a further acceleration in the innovative path towards the Connected Factory paradigm, for example, with the development of video surveillance systems and collaborative robots based on 5G.
Remote Automation And Control
The final goal is to have fully automated factories that can be easily configured, remotely managed, and have high operational adaptability. In this way, high costs of reprogramming and modification of manufacturing processes are avoided, with the economic and strategic advantage of having faster and more flexible production systems. In the most advanced and dynamic Machine Automation field, the prospect of fully automated remote factories has already existed for some time. It is destined to become the norm for any production process in the future.
Collaborative Robots For Light Factories
There are also other relevant trends and development prospects of industrial automation, such as collaborative robots and wearable devices. Industrial and mobile robots will be increasingly equipped with force, contact, proximity sensors, viewers that recognize objects in the field of action, and systems that also perceive acoustic vibrations, in a continuous development between safety, speed, versatility, and precision.
However, these new sectors of robotics will not replace, for example, the automated assembly systems that we already know and which are used in large factories. Still, instead, they will increase the automation offer, expanding the market. A further evolution is that of wearable robotic solutions to support tiring and repetitive movements, such as the screwing phase in the final assembly of a product (a car, an appliance, or a smaller product), and in all those situations that require manual operations to make up for the high level of detail and precision.
Need For Change Management
In practice and perspective, the future of the manufacturing industry pushes toward increasingly pervasive and intelligent process automation, capable of restoring production speed, operational continuity, and plant flexibility. However, to embrace the industry 4.0 paradigm, it is not enough to implement the technological infrastructure.
Instead, it is necessary to work towards a profound cultural change at all levels of the company organization chart. Automation projects in a 4.0 key only work if people, from management to middle management to line operators, fully understand the value and functioning of new technologies. Thanks to proper change management strategy support, the organization will be able to reap all the benefits of modern industrial automation today and in the future.