Industrial automation is the use of set technologies and automatic control devices that operate manufacturing processes with minimal human intervention. Almost every industrial operation has some form of automation being done with a Programmable Logic Controllers (PLC).  These are often buried inside of a control panel somewhere and operate behind the scenes from what workers or maintenance people normally see, but they are a key component of the operation.  

The biggest benefit to automation is that it improves production rate through a better control of production. It helps to produce mass production by significantly reducing assembly time per unit with a greater production quality. 

PLC programming entails creating internal logic for a programmable logic controller. Programmable Logic Controllers deliver automatic control functions based on input from sensors.  This comprises of various communication modules, which perform certain automatic operation on process. They can be designed for multiple arrangements of digital and analog I/O, extended temperature ranges, immunity to electrical noise, and resistance to vibration and impact. Programs to control machine operation are typically stored in battery-backed-up or non-volatile memory.

A common unknown risk to businesses utilizing automation is that the programs that reside inside of those processors are unique to the machine or operation and if lost, would require significant time and resources to reproduce.  Imagine your production being down a month or more while a new program is developed! A PLC is a small computer and just like any computer, they are susceptible to corruption, hardware failure or even cyber-attacks. It is critical that the information that resides on them be backed up safely and strategically.  Manufacturers come and go, machines become obsolete, people with inside knowledge move on; whatever the reason, if you are not confident in the ability of restoring information to your controllers, you could be at significant risk.  

At Electri-Tech, we strongly advise companies in the industrial sector to explore and integrate reliable automation and control solutions that cater to the needs of their business, while also advancing it with the latest technological features.

 If you are unsure about any of your machines or processes and how they are controlled, please give us a call for a free evaluation/consultation.

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