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Automation drives smarter operations

By Donna Donnowitz
November 15, 2013

Automated production is one of the most talked about trends in manufacturing today, with massive growth in industry intelligence and the opportunity to reduce process failure. However, many firms are still leery about adopting automation solutions for several reasons. Some worrying about workforce downsizing and the effect this will have on the economy, while others question the actual potential for safer, more efficient work processes.

Workforce optimization
According to Automation World, automation is the smart way to enhance production and see the positive effects that companies need to boost operational efficiency today though. As the standards of automation are better defined, many enterprises find that they already lack the workforce to properly improve their operations, and automation doesn't replace their workforce, but enhances it. At the same time, the devices being used that allow automation still require upkeep and monitoring, often by these same individuals. And they often require customization as well.

"These devices don't come from the factory pre-set with the specific configurations needed for an application," Herman Storey, a former Shell Oil employee, told the news source. "There are a huge amount of options; you have to tell an instrument what you want it to do. Then you have to create a backup database to maintain configuration accuracy over the lifecycle of the device."

These efforts allow companies to optimize the workforce they already have, rather than put it at risk and limit their opportunities.

Technology brings it all together
Another catalyst for automation, beside the need to improve the workforce, is the drive toward wireless technology. According to the news source, more firms are adopting wireless technology for their IT networks, and want to bring the advantages it offers to their production networks as well. However, integrating wireless often requires a switch from serial to Ethernet connectivity, and firms need to invest in the proper media converters to optimize this switchover. Once this focus is accomplished, however, taking these systems wireless allows for remote monitoring and many other advantages that optimize automation and bring in added value to operations.

Automation isn't just an advantage but a change in the basis of how a business operates. By automating production, a firm helps bring the focus to value and speed, without sacrificing quality. Ultimately, investing in the right technology and network infrastructure solutions to implement and streamline automation will help ensure the future of a company and bring its operations in the 21st century.

Perle's serial to Ethernet converters connect serial based equipment across an Ethernet network. The Perle IOLAN range of Console Servers, Device Servers and Terminal Servers feature built-in support for IPv6 along with a broad range of authentication methods and encryption technologies.


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