Insights How do Industrial Automation Expectations Differ from Reality

How do Industrial Automation Expectations Differ from Reality

Author: Matthew Knight

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We’ve noticed questioning over how do industrial automation expectations differ from reality.

As we progress through the age of Industry 4.0, industrial automation is becoming more prevalent across manufacturing environments with industries including automotive, electronics, food and beverages and life sciences all adopting automated processes.

While many businesses recognise the benefits automation can bring such as optimisation of processes and improved productivity, some remain hesitant to implement automation due to their perceived expectations.

Industrial Automation: Expectations Vs Reality

When it comes to automation businesses that are beginning their automation journey will often have a view of automation which guides their expectations. Many of these expectations can involve misconceptions about automation, but once installed, they discover that the reality is often wildly different.

Let’s take a look at the common expectations of automation compared to reality.

What are the expectations of industrial automation?

When most people think of automation, they think of robots and typically focus on the negative misconceptions that come with automation. Businesses are no different, many have fears about automation and whether it will entirely change the way their business operates and not for the better.

While they understand the reasons why they should automate, some struggle to overcome the barriers that prevent them from introducing automation into their manufacturing environments.

Among the most common misconceptions about the expectations of automation are:
Replacing staff and loss of jobs
Businesses often perceive that automation will replace their workforce and lead to mass unemployment. When in fact, automation is designed to make manufacturing processes more efficient and mitigates the need for staff to perform repetitive and laborious tasks.

Without the need to complete such tasks, their skill sets can be used in other areas of the business. While some initial job loss may occur at the early stages of implementation, new jobs and opportunities will be created as the business grows.

Expensive to implement
Undeniably automation can be a big investment for manufacturing companies depending on the scale of automation they undertake, but the long-term financial gains it will deliver to the business must also be taken into account. Increases in efficiency and productivity will lead to greater profit margins that can make the return on investment attractive to manufacturing businesses.

Increased downtime and complexity
It is often a misconception that automation can lead to more downtime and complexity in managing the machines and having skilled staff available to oversee the operation and maintenance of the machines.

However, a good automation company will get the machinery up and running in a short period of time and provide training to staff to ensure they can manage and maintain the machines effectively.

Would you like to speak directly to the RNA team to learn more about how we have serviced many sectors with our innovative automation? You can take a virtual tour now to see exactly what we do.

What is the reality of industrial automation?

Businesses that adopt automation quickly realise that many of their perceived expectations are vastly different from the reality of automation. While it is understandable that businesses will have questions and be hesitant about making a big change to their processes, many find that the reality of automation includes:

  • Boost to productivity – Automation allows manufacturing businesses to overcome specific challenges in their manufacturing processes. When this is coupled with the increases in efficiency they are able to reach new levels of productivity.
  • Surpassing manufacturing targets – With industrial automation comes greater insights into the manufacturing processes which can help businesses overcome bottlenecks to ensure production remains seamless. 
  • Reduced costs – Manufacturing facilities are always looking for ways to reduce production costs without impacting quality and automation is perfect for this. Automating menial tasks can reduce labour costs but will also significantly increase output. While automation of quality control and inspection processes can increase product quality and ensure faulty products are rejected before reaching despatch.
  • Creation of new jobs – Automation technology allows businesses to significantly increase their profits and expand which creates new job opportunities across the business. So while you may reduce the need for staff for menial and repetitive tasks, new opportunities will arise in other areas of the business for existing and new employees. 

What are the 4 reasons we use automation in industrial processes? 

The reasons why a manufacturing facility will decide to implement automation will vary depending on the unique circumstances of the business, but four of the biggest reasons automation is used in industrial processes are:

  1. Increased productivity 
  2. Greater efficiency 
  3. Boost to profitability 
  4. Better product quality


How does automation impact the manufacturing industry?

By far the biggest way that automation impacts the manufacturing industry is the competitive edge it can provide manufacturing businesses. With lower production costs and improvements to productivity, efficiency and product quality comes bigger profits that can help a business quickly expand and scale their processes and output, and therefore their bottom line.

Is automation the way of the future?

The rise of Industry 4.0 is certainly making automation the way of the future. As more and more manufacturing businesses automate their processes the need for others will increase if they are to keep up with the competition. The value that industrial automation can bring will make it difficult for manufacturing facilities to ignore if they are to remain competitive and profitable.

Why RNA for industrial automation?

RNA Automation is a leading supplier of specialised automation engineering solutions. We provide bespoke systems for advanced manufacturing industries including cosmetics, pharmaceutical, medical devices, electronics, plastics, metalworking, food, consumer goods and automotive.

From its modern factory situated in the West Midlands RNA is capable of solving automation requirements in combination with its mission of quality, reliable service and backup. RNA has been established in the UK since 1986 and is renowned for its extensive product range and innovation.

With around 2000 systems supplied annually, RNA has a wealth of experience to draw upon. It can supply bespoke automated systems, , rotary indexing machines, inspection and vision systems and robotics.

Get in touch with our team today at RNA to discover more about how our automations can enhance your company.

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