Automation is changing the world as we know it. As technology advances and companies grow, the use of automation increases constantly. As a result, companies are increasingly seeking to automate their day-to-day processes to save time, money, and resources.
- What is Automation?
- Best Automation Companies
- Siemens Automation
- OMRON Industrial Automation
- Mitsubishi Electric
- Emerson Process Management
- Fortra’s Automate
- Yokagawa Electric
- Schneider Electric
- Benefits of Automation Companies
- How to Choose the Best Automation Provider
- History of Automation
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Automation is the process by which machines perform tasks without human involvement. This is achieved through robots and other automated devices or computer software. Companies automate processes to increase efficiency and productivity as well as reduce errors.
The four most common types of automation include:
This type of automation provides a predetermined response to predetermined input values. For example, an assembly line might be set up so that every time one product part is inserted at one end, it travels down the assembly line automatically until it comes out the other side with all of its pieces assembled.
This automation allows users to set rules for decisions based on input values. So, instead of having a single preset response to input values, programmable automation lets you set different responses depending on other inputs.
This type of automation combines the best features of both fixed and programmable automation. It allows you to use preset options and enable changes to them like with programmable automation.
Integrated automation is when software and hardware are seamlessly integrated to produce an automated system that can perform various tasks. These systems rely on predefined data, rules, and procedures to complete functions without human intervention or time delay.
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Automation companies provide ways to balance human creativity with machine-driven efficiency. With the help of automation, humans can do more in less time. The best automation companies offer various services, such as industrial equipment, environmental engineering, and marketing for worldwide businesses.
Honeywell International Inc. is a Fortune 100 company that offers industrial and consumer products, technologies, and services. Mark Honeywell founded the company in 1906 in Wabash, Indiana, to manufacture and market his invention, the mercury seal generator.
The company operates four main business groups, including aerospace, home and building technologies (HBT), safety and productivity solutions (SPS), and performance materials and technologies (PMT).
Honeywell provides various automation solutions across its business groups, such as Automatic Identification System (AIS) and RF Receivers for aerospace; access systems; biometric readers; building operation experts (BOE); intrusion detection systems; heating, ventilating, and air conditioning control systems for residential and commercial buildings; safety systems for homes, schools, businesses, plants, and public spaces. It also provides specialty materials with innovative properties used to create engineered products from advanced materials found in everything from aircraft engines to home appliances.
Siemens is an industrial company that provides automation products and services. With a global workforce of more than 303,000 employees worldwide, and offices in over 100 countries, Siemens is one of the largest engineering companies in the world. Many industries use their products, including power generation and energy production, healthcare and medical engineering, automotive manufacturing, process industry (like petrochemicals or chemicals), aerospace, transportation systems including trains, and vehicles.
Siemens offers several automation products, including industrial automation systems (SIMATIC), motion control systems (SIMOTION), CNC automation systems (SINUMERIK), and process control systems like SIMATIC PCS 7 and SIMATIC PCS neo.
Totally Integrated Automation (TIA) is Siemens’ industrial automation tool that integrates hardware, software, and services to provide customers with a complete digital enterprise solution. In addition, TIA leverages connectivity and cloud technologies to make automation solutions available on demand.
Siemens’ portfolio includes solutions for factory operations optimization, predictive maintenance, quality assurance, smart buildings and city management, project management support tools (PMST), service operations excellence, plus other solutions tailored to specific customer needs. It also offers a 3D simulation environment called Simcenter, which allows users to perform design, simulation, test, and data management.
ABB is one of the world’s leading automation technology providers, products, and services. With a presence in over 100 countries, ABB employs around 105,000 people. ABB has four main divisions: electrification, power grids division, robotics division, and process automation division.
ABB process automation and digitalization solutions make processes more efficient and productive by automating typically time-consuming and labor-intensive tasks. It offers controllers for pneumatic valves and actuators, programmable logic controllers (PLCs), servo amplifiers, and DC drive systems as well as Fieldbus protocols such as Profibus, Ethernet/IP, or DeviceNet.
ABB robotics division develops, manufactures, and markets robots for heavy manufacturing to light assembly. Their product portfolio includes industrial robots, collaborative robots, autonomous mobile robots, controllers, equipment and accessories, OmniVance application cells, functional modules, and machine automation solutions.
In addition to robots themselves, the robotics division also provides their customers with application software, connected services, robot control mate, robotstudio, and wizard easy programming tools. The company has production facilities worldwide, including Finland, Italy, the U.S., and India.
OMRON Industrial Automation is a leading global manufacturer of industrial automation equipment. Headquartered in Kyoto, Japan, it has approximately 150 offices in 40 countries worldwide and employs over 30,000 people. It is one of the world’s largest PLCs and SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition) software producers.
The company offers comprehensive systems solutions for semiconductors, medical, food, beverage, oil and gas, pulp, and paper. Its product range includes programmable logic controllers, servo motors, sensors, switches, robot arms and grippers, and machine automation controllers.
Their products are used in various fields, from manufacturing to robotics to heavy industry. They employ many technologies like wireless communications, artificial intelligence, and big data for their product development.
Mitsubishi Electric is a Japanese multinational electronics and electrical equipment company founded in Tokyo, Japan, in 1921. The company’s major focus is manufacturing electronic parts such as semiconductors, electric and hybrid cars, electric trains, aircraft parts, and household appliances.
Mitsubishi Electric employs more than 100,000 people worldwide. It provides automation systems for power plants; robotics for factories and warehouses; air-conditioning units for buildings; and I&C systems for monitoring, protecting, and controlling nuclear power plants.
Mitsubishi Electric factory automation tools include industrial computer MELIPC, human-machine interfaces (HMIs)-GOT, SCADA, industrial/collaborative robots-MELFA, programmable controllers MELSEC, simple application controllers, motion controllers, computerized numerical controllers(CNCs), and data logging analyzer-MELQIC.
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Rockwell Automation, Inc. is a global automation company headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The Fortune 500 company was founded in 1903 by Lynde Bradley and Stanton Allen as the Compression Rheostat Company and changed its name to Allen-Bradley in 1909. It later merged with Rockwell in 1985 and changed its name to Rockwell International.
Rockwell Automation’s products include programmable logic controllers (PLCs), motion control solutions, power systems, and software. This makes it one of the best companies for industrial automation because it provides systems that can be used in various industries such as energy, food and beverage, and pharmaceuticals.
Many devices are available on the company’s website, including PlantPAx distributed control systems, actuators, positioners, and conveyors. These products can be utilized in various ways, and Rockwell also offers complete solutions through its design service.
Emerson Process Management is an engineering and consulting services company focusing on industrial automation, process control, and power delivery. The business offers a wide range of products and services to help clients improve their production processes.
Founded in 1890, the Fortune 500 company’s headquarters are located in St. Louis, Missouri. The company operates through two segments: automation solutions and commercial & residential solutions.
Emerson Process Management also provides solutions for smart buildings, energy management systems, industrial motors and drives, specialty chemicals plants, food processing plants, pharmaceutical plants, refineries, and petrochemical plants. In addition, the company has recently seen growth in sectors such as oil and gas, healthcare, and water treatment.
In addition to designing automated equipment for clients across various industries, Emerson Process Management provides automation and control software solutions such as SCADA software, data acquisition, human-machine interface software, data historian software (DeltaV), and configuration tools.
Its current product portfolio includes components like distributed slice I/O systems, programmable logic controllers, actuators and valves, variable frequency drives (VFD), energy meters, sensing and protection devices, motor controls and relays, and transformers.
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Fortra’s Automate is the leading automation company specializing in building and designing custom automated programs for various industries. Formerly known as HelpSystems, LLC, the company was founded in 1982 to develop solutions to automate complex business processes.
In 2022, it rebranded as Fortra to create a new image for its cybersecurity and automation solutions. Fortra currently employs more than 3,000 people worldwide, with offices in 18 countries.
Fortra’s Automate can automate business processes in various industries, including IT, banking, health, accounts payable, human resources, and user provisioning.
Yokogawa Electric is a Japanese multinational company headquartered in Tokyo, Japan. It was founded in 1915 by Tamisuke Yokogawa and was incorporated in 1920 as Yokogawa Electric Works Ltd.
This company offers services and solutions for process control technology, industrial automation, and energy management. It has many well-known products, such as PLC, distributed control system, SCADA, and HMI.
Yokogawa works with various industries, including oil and gas, LNG supply chain, chemical, power, pharmaceutical, and food and beverage.
Schneider Electric is a French multinational corporation headquartered in Rueil-Malmaison, France. The company operates in the energy and automation markets. Schneider Electric provides various industrial automation and control products for field, factory, and office use to improve customer operations’ reliability, efficiency, and profitability.
Schneider Electric’s offerings include telemetry and remote SCADA systems, PLC and PAC-dedicated controller, motor starters, motion control, robotics, and HMIs. In addition, Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure product line provides edge control and apps, analytics, and services to homes, buildings, data centers, infrastructure, and industries.
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Automation is a vital part of business development in the current day and age. Automation has become ubiquitous, with many industries adopting it for various purposes. For example:
- The finance industry often uses automation to reduce human error when calculating complex mathematical formulas.
- Retailers use it to manage inventory and perform data analysis for future marketing campaigns.
- The healthcare sector employs automation to keep up with demand from aging populations and new technologies that require constant monitoring.
- Manufacturing companies had used automation since the 1980s when robot arms started replacing assembly line workers on their production lines.
- AI has also become an essential component of automation, especially in customer service jobs. Chatbots can answer common questions more efficiently than humans, freeing time for customer service representatives to focus on more complicated problems.
Automation companies come in all shapes and sizes, but they share two things in common: They make life easier for people through reduced labor needs and improved efficiency, and they offer a wide range of services related to specific industries.
A good automation company will know what its customers want, how to give it to them efficiently, and how it can provide more benefits than competitors. It also should have excellent technical capabilities, so customers can rely on them for maintenance and support over the long term.
When it comes to automation, various considerations come into play. From the specific tasks that need to be automated to the level of investment you’re willing to make, many factors exist to consider when choosing an automation company.
When determining which automation company is right for you, you must ensure they have experience with your industry. The best way to do this is by asking for references from people in your industry or looking at the portfolio of their completed projects. If they don’t have any testimonials or past work in your field, you may want to move on and find another company with more relevant experience.
Range of services and pricing
Before deciding which automation company to hire, take some time to explore what they offer and how much they each cost. Some companies provide one service, while others offer many solutions. Make sure you research each type of service they provide before deciding on a particular company, so you can efficiently compare prices and offerings.
Working with an automation company with dedicated teams ensures every project gets the attention it deserves. Dedicated teams also allow for faster turnarounds, so if speed is vital, then this factor could be essential to consider.
Customer satisfaction rate
You should always look at customer satisfaction rates when researching different automation companies. Reviews are usually available online and give valuable insight into how well a company performs. Another way to assess the quality of a company is by looking at the number of times they’ve been awarded contracts and accolades. Doing your due diligence upfront can help you avoid future problems and costly mistakes.
Look for certifications such as ISO 9001 (Quality Management) and ISO 14001 (Environmental Management). These certifications speak to a company’s commitment to providing high-quality products and sustainable practices. Choosing a company with these certifications is wise because they demonstrate good intentions in providing green solutions with little to no environmental impact.
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Automation has been developing for a surprisingly long time. In the late 1800s, factories used primitive automation to replace human labor and make production more efficient. Automation has come a long way from steam to internal combustion engines.
The invention of automated flour mills in 1785 by Oliver Evans helped push this movement even further, as they could produce continuously without any human intervention. Then, in the 1950s, Joseph F. Engelberger co-founded Unimation, an American company that developed and manufactured robotic machines.
The first machine it built was the Unimate, which could automatically perform tasks like picking up and moving parts on a production line. George Devol invented the first-ever industrial robot arm with six degrees of freedom. His company, Unimation, would license its technology to major U.S. industries, including General Motors.
After that, automation grew into new industries like manufacturing, retailing, transportation, and communication. Today, robots are everywhere, from automobile manufacturing plants to hospitals performing procedures such as brain surgery or installing computer chips into electronic devices. Automation has advanced from solely mechanical and electrical systems to incorporating robotics and artificial intelligence.