Automation – An Essential Tool For Business Development In 2022?
Advances in robotics, artificial intelligence and machine learning bring us into a new era of industrial process automation. The question is whether US production is closer to modern solutions from the West and full automation of processes in factories, or whether we still treat automation as a “patch” for current problems.
Classical automation systems, based on deterministic algorithms, are able to solve specific problems only up to a certain point. So without the use of artificial intelligence, you get to the point where further automation will not bring the expected benefits. In the case of high-volume production with a high degree of repeatability, the classic approach to process automation works perfectly. There are also still areas where the dexterity of human hands or the ability to react to unusual situations are irreplaceable. However, classic automation does not work when we face high production variability and low inputs.
When classic automation is not enough
That’s where the field of action for artificial intelligence appears. There is a well-founded fear that if manufacturing companies in Europe do not implement intelligent solutions, they will lose competitively with China, where production is cheaper due to lower labour costs. Therefore, we should focus on increasing production efficiency and its other aspects. – There is also a factor related to the flexibility of production, i.e. its planning, adapting it to current needs, managing supply chains, resources in factories, and scenarios – i.e. what will happen when the customer orders or does not order a given product. – lists Paweł Szczerkowski, managing director at Fitech. – In my opinion, factories that can do it optimally will win on the market. – he adds.
Artificial intelligence – fashion or necessity?
Artificial intelligence is undoubtedly a technology that is now widely used. How do production plants perceive it? – Our clients consider it through the prism of functionality, what they can obtain thanks to its use. They do not necessarily want and need to know how a given solution works, and the important thing is that it solves their problems. – notes the expert from Fitech. According to Paweł Szczerkowski, today, all devices should be intelligent. This trend is becoming more and more visible.
What does the industry need?
Statistical data shows that the level of robotization in the industry is 2-3 times lower than in our southern neighbours and eight times lower than in the German industry, not to mention the leaders of Korea and Japan. Nevertheless, it must be remembered that the industry consists of entities of various maturity and capital base.
Some factories have been built from scratch in our home market. Some have evolved from craft firms. Next to them, branches of international concerns are established with a mature production strategy. – I think that the need for automation has already penetrated into the general consciousness and is perceived as an indispensable tool for business development. – says Paweł Szczerkowski.
This approach has been used in factories for years, which were located in the US by world tycoons – greenfield investments made it necessary to purchase equipment and automation. Large production plants and factories that have existed on the market for many years are currently undergoing this process. However, private, smaller plants also invest in automation – according to their own needs and capabilities. So automation is a fact. The question remains open – is it sufficiently?