Monday, January 21, 2013

ARC 2013 Preview

Automation is grounded in the routine – in fact, it’s kind of the basis for the entire concept – but is flush with the potential for innovation. The possibilities of automation are constantly developing and evolving, with its benefits becoming more apparent with each advance. Sometimes it’s not even an advance, but just a sea change in the industry. For instance, for a long time, automation was seen as a great way to make repeating processes quicker and more accurate. At that time, energy conservation wasn’t something that many facilities thought about. Now, though, the energy saving potential of automation is seen as a key factor. Nothing changed about automation, views just shifted.

The ARC Advisory Group is a major supporter of innovation in automation and manufacturing, and the ARC World Industry Forum 2013 is the annual showcase for the best of these breakthroughs. More than that, it’s the best place to generate ideas and possibilities for what’s next. With energy savings such a hot topic, that will certainly be discussed at length. Other automation advances like Ethernet integration, unique equipment replacements and upgrades (like those provided by IIS), and even process control via cloud computing, will all be explored. Have you been to ARC before? Are you going this year? Let us know your best remembrances – or what you’re looking forward to!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Going Green With Motion Control

With keeping a “green” mindset in energy usage no longer a simply a PR move or a long-term investment for manufacturers, automation and motion control systems remain among the best ways for facilities to reduce their energy consumption quickly and efficiently. As energy and fuel costs remain high, the energy savings and cost savings realized an investment in motion control machinery to a plant are tangible and immediate. Servo control and increased automation can in some cases reduce energy expenditures by 20 – 30%.

Servo control. Servo motors draw, on average, 20% less energy than their induction counterparts to produce the same amount of power. This much greater efficiency adds to the overall efficiency of the system and provides a major contribution to energy reduction.

Increased automation. Automated, feedback-driven production creates additional efficiencies in the manufacturing process by placing greater emphasis on each action of a machine being the correct one – using no more nor less energy than is absolutely necessary. Servomechanisms aid in this, as do other meters and monitors that can be installed in a system.

The availability and relatively easy installation of these systems has made them more and more prevalent in manufacturing facilities around the world. Cost savings combined with more stringent standards from OEMs and other suppliers in terms of carbon footprint and energy consumption simply add to the factors in support of automation.