What is automation Engg?

What is Automation Engineering

What is Automation Engineering

Automation is all about reducing human intervention . Sometimes it is employed to reduce human drudgery ( e.g. crane , domestic washing machine ), sometimes for better quality & productivity ( e.g CNC machine ) . Some products can not be manufactured without automated machine . e.g. Tooth brush , Plastic bucket , plastic pipe etc)
To replace a human being , an automation system also needs to have a brain , hands, legs, muscles , eyes , nose .
So, inventors developed electronic controllers & PLCs to replace the brain. Actuators like electric motors , pneumatic / hydraulic cylinders are developed to take care of movements. Electronic / electromechanical sensors developed to replace eye, nose & other sensory organs . Electrical switchgears are being used to power the actuators , which is nothing but the job of muscles .
To summarise , an automation system is a combination of all engineering branches . Now when a machine is manufactured in millions per year ( e.g. washing machine , ATM machine , coffee vending machine ) , the manufacturer can afford to customise all such automation accessories so as to reduce the cost to survive in the competition. So, when it comes to repair such machine , one is dependant on the manufacturer.
On the contrary , industrial machines ( e.g. Injection moulding machine , CNC machines , Press machines , boilers ) are manufactured in quantity of hundreds per year. Some SPMs ( Special Purpose Machines) are manufactured in a single digit quantity. In such cases, manufacturer can not afford to develop own accessories . So, he prefers to buy reliable & proven automation accessories from reputed manufacturers . So, if you scan across different types of a machines for various applications from different manufacturers, you will find the same automation components being used . e,g, FESTO make pneumatic components , SIEMENS make PLCs, ABB make VFDs , Infra red sensors etc. All such components are readily available in the market .
This commonality gives rise to a new field , which is “Automation Engineering “.
Automation Engineering is all about designing & troubleshooting of control systems of industrial automated machines . To know about how to enter into this field , read my next article “ What is an Automation Engineer ?”

By Nilesh Salgaonkar, Founder Director , TAACT

www.taact.co.in