Understating the technicality of the term Automation

There are many definitions of the term “automation”. Automation is a discipline, a function, a set of technologies. They are all correct definitions, but they always explain too much or too little.Start from here. The term automation is born to identify everything that is necessary to make a machine (or a process) work automatically, that is, without human intervention.By merging industrial technologies typical of production processes and information technologies, it is proposed to allow the efficient management of information, placing itself as a branch of modern engineering whose objective is to reduce or eliminate human intervention in the production of goods and services. You can always check the information about car automation online.

How an automation system is made

An Automation system can be described as a Pyramid (CIM model) in which we can identify different levels that start from the base of the system, which is the process to be controlled, and arrive at the general corporate structures. One of the most widespread versions of the CIM pyramid distinguishes four levels the “field”, i.e. the place where the processes to be controlled and the sensors are located the “control”, where are the automation devices such as regulators, controllers, local HMI, etc.The supervision with PCs and monitoring systemsthe “enterprise” level where other business activities reside.Based on the functions performed in the production systems, we can identify three basic types of components of an automation system the sensors , whose objective is the measurement of quantities of interest to evaluate the progress and / or the correct performance of the work in progress the computers , which, on the basis of the measures provided by the sensors and the objectives of the work in progress, decide the actions to be taken actuators , which perform the actions commanded by the processing organs.The automation methodologies offer the tools to design, in abstract and formal terms, the algorithms that the processing organs will use to decide the actions to be performed on the system to be automatedautomation techniques instead deal with the development of physical devices to build sensors, actuators and processors.

A nod to history

Precursor of automation systems can be considered the speed regulator of J. Watt (late eighteenth century) for steam locomotives, whose initial purpose was to maintain the constant speed, regardless of the weight driven or the slopes of the railway. The regulator based on real speed and comparing it mechanically with the predetermined speed, was able to obtain the power necessary to vary the speed.

The evolution of the modern day machines

The modern automatic systems were born at the end of the following century, at the time of the industrial revolution and steam engines, from the need to have ever faster and more precise machines. Therefore,  mechanisms were needed to automatically correct the disturbing factors that altered the functioning of the machines.

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