Automation: Prioritize Employee and Equipment Safety

Understanding the levels of automation and the benefits they offer

Joshua A Horn

2 min read

Introduction to automated systems

Automation systems come in all sizes and levels of integration. Whether you need a small sump pump to automatically maintain a level or an entire manufacturing line to perform in unison; an automated system can be tailored to your specific needs.

Digital Control & monitoring : Manual

Automation systems even in their most basic form provide customizable control interfaces that tailor the user experience to the task at hand. Human machine interfaces (HMI) can provide control points that hurdle multiple worksite obstacles, space constraints, weather exposure, mobility, and quick adaptability to name a few. This is generally labeled as “Manual” or “Hand” on a control interface.

Program Managed equipment Startup and shutdown: Hybrid

Automation systems also quickly integrate a limitless number of sensors and conditions that can be interlocked for the desired equipment / personnel protection. These integrations greatly simplify diagnostics and provide for enhanced control without being at the mercy of an operator’s reaction time.

Diagnostics are simplified by reducing the complexity of plant wiring. Systems are no longer linked together by tangles of daisy chained wiring. They are now cleanly separated between input and output wiring. This allows for timely tracing of power and functionality throughout the system.

Automated control systems respond quickly to specified run conditions. These fast reactions are integral to preventing hazardous conditions that would pose a danger to employees and equipment. This method of control will either show up in “Manual / Hand” or will sometimes be used for stand alone systems in fully automatic.

Program managed system startup and shutdown Auto

Fully automatic controls limit the operators control interactions to a minimum, controls for entire systems can run as needed or be as simple as “start / stop”. The logic controller measures field readings to determine output parameters. This type of system is crucial for preventing catastrophic failures in large systems where failures can cascade if they go unnoticed. Fully automatic will show up as “Auto” on a control interface.

Automatic system control re-establishes process efficiency as the business focus. Cumbersome, restrictive control systems are a thing of the past.

Efficient protection of your teams and tools

The increased traceability of automated systems allows for greater interlock integration. System troubleshooting time no longer scales with system size, testing systems are now built into the logic programming. This allows a business to integrate the safety systems needed without worrying about possible downtime repercussions. Safety of employees and equipment can be prioritized without worrying about increased unnecessary down time caused by system complexity.

Precision control

Its time to fully utilize the equipment on hand. Critical system parameters can be monitored automatically, allowing operators to remain process focused without having to attenuate system output for fear of inadequate headroom incase of a malfunction.

Machine maintenance has never been easier. Integrate statistical process control into your control systems to alert you instantly when equipment begins to perform outside of statistical norms. Preventative maintenance can now be deployed dynamically to keep your equipment running in top shape without surprise shutdowns.