We already know that the future of clothing is digital and automated, but within this new reality, many terms and concepts like industrial automation still seem more theoretical and distant than practical and realistic, right?
Among them, industrial automation is one that can generate more doubts, especially due to the proximity to another industrial concept, automation. From now on, we anticipate that there are some differences between the two.
So, for you to understand everything about the concept and how it is related to the world of clothing, the blog Audaces – a specialist in 4.0 technologies – has prepared complete content on the subject, follow:
What is industrial automation?
Automation is the act of automating processes (understood, here, in a broad spectrum, as any action that has a specific mode of performance and a specific duration), but not completely independent.
That is, automation is to make repetitive processes and tasks automatic, but in a way that depends, in a certain way, on human interference. It is even in this aspect that automation differs from automation.
Automation is an automatic but semi-dependent process in which devices depend on some human actions for the proper performance of their functions.
In automation, devices are aggregated with Artificial Intelligence (AI), which makes them more autonomous in relation to activities.
The origin of industrial automation
Automation, as a concept, has been around since World War II, in the 1940s. A few decades later, mathematician Alan Turing, inventor of the first computer and the famous Turing Test, started the first algorithms that came to be developed in applications of Artificial intelligence, computing, and computer science.
In this context, industrial automation, in practice, is predominantly a feature of the so-called Industry 3.0, the transitional model in which production models are found and which began in the 70s.
Industrial automation is closely linked to informatics and computer systems pre-introduction of Artificial Intelligence as a science and standard model of electronic devices and industrial machinery.
What is the difference between automation, automation, and mechanization?
We have reached a very important point – the difference between automation, automation, and mechanization. All three concepts share points of similarity and differences and are part of the complex set of technologies whose main objective is to facilitate, operationalize and make jobs and processes easier, dynamic, and profitable.
Furthermore, it is not just the industrial environment that benefits from these technologies. On a daily basis, we have constant contact with various forms of technologies, resources, and devices that are automatic, autonomous, and mechanized.
But then what is the difference between them? We can divide it into technological levels as follows:
Mechanization: this is a simple concept and applies to the use of machines and equipment to optimize the effort x time relationship in the execution of some activity (for example agricultural machines, pulleys, and the like);
Automation: non-intelligent automation. At this stage, devices are able to make tasks and processes automatic, but they are not able to establish complex relationships with their environment and learn from them (eg mats, sewing machines, etc.);
Automation: it is a complex concept that relates to several areas of knowledge, especially Engineering, Robotics, and Informatics. Automation is the ability to automate tasks intelligently, with minimal human interference and through smart devices and technologies capable of deeply understanding the environment in which they are inserted – machine learning – (for example, automated cutting rooms, management software, etc).
We can also understand these concepts as stages of development of modes of production. However, it is worth mentioning that they are also independent, as they fulfill similar but not identical objectives.
How does industrial automation work?
As we said, the main objective of automation, including in the industrial context, is to operationalize processes and make them automatic – despite the need for human interference, especially for correction of operating errors and the like.
Thus, this is the main form of action of an industry that has invested in industrial automation. In it, it is possible to observe machines and software that replace human activity in repetitive tasks, streamlining the production process, and making it more efficient and standardized.
Automation is a great ally of another very important practice for industries and clothing: production planning and control (PCP). Making activities automatic makes them easier to control and, consequently, makes them more agile and less prone to errors that can cost production time and money.
One of the great examples of industrial automation in practice (and which is also integrated into the PCP) is the so-called programmable logic controller (PLC), a device capable of obtaining and sharing information in real-time about the operation of a given machine, at the same time which can be programmed to issue malfunction alerts and stop failed processes.
This is, therefore, a form of automation that involves human interference (since the device itself needs to be programmed).
In which areas can industrial automation be implemented?
All areas can benefit from automation, at all stages of the industry – whether in the manufacturing, production, addition, distribution, etc., there is benefit in automating processes in each of them.
What is the importance of having automated industrial processes in the fashion area?
In clothing, where there is, to a certain extent, dependence on manual processes (modeling, technical sheet, pilot piece, etc.), automation plays a fundamental role in the creative and technical stages, relieving the workload on the professionals involved and generating a less, leaner and more assertive product cycle.
It is very common to think of fashion as an almost artisanal segment (even in large clothing stores), an idea that is closely linked to its emergence. However, since the rise of prêt-à-porter and large department stores, it is increasingly normal for processes, which were manual, to become automated. It is the best of both worlds: technology at the service of the Fashion Industry.
What are the advantages of applying industrial automation in the clothing sector?
There are many advantages of investing in technology in clothing. We list the main ones below, check them out:
Decreases collection production time
O The end or, in part, the optimization of traditionally manual work in clothing allows them to be planned and executed in less time without losing quality, which results in larger, more profitable, and more agile collections.
Provides a quality standard
Standardization is one of the great benefits of automation, since, programmed, the machines perform their activities to the same standard that, when optimized and perfected, can guarantee a higher quality standard for the parts and for the production of the clothing.
Reducing costs is one of the indirect benefits of automation. This is because, by increasing production efficiency, it is also possible to identify waste, invisible costs, and other production bottlenecks that, when resolved, result in greater profitability.
Do you want to delve deeper into this benefit and understand more about how to save resources in manufacturing? Check out the following ebook produced by the Audaces team of experts:
Ensures the use of raw material
Sustainability is one of the major concerns of the Fashion Industry, especially in recent years. Through the standardization and optimization of the production chain, raw material waste is eliminated, a benefit that is even greater with automation, but which is also present in industrial automation.
Ensures greater precision and quality of parts
Scalability, that is, the ability to produce more with the same amount of resources, is one of the great goals of clothing companies that want to grow and expand their business, increase the number of pieces per collection and make them more agile.
Thanks to the automation not only of steps but of processes, it is possible for this objective to become a reality.
Ensures greater precision and quality of parts
Another benefit allied to standardization, precision is a key characteristic of an efficient confection. So, investing in automation/automation technologies is the right step towards accurate and quality production, which results in an end product that is attractive to the consumer.
Automation, as part of the process of inserting technologies into the industrial context with the aim of maximizing and optimizing production efficiency, is one of the essential steps that industries and clothing companies need to take to become smart factories and also clothing 4.0.
As we have seen, there is a fundamental difference between industrial automation and automation, the main one being the presence of AI to a greater or lesser degree, but which, independently, already provides several benefits to clothing.
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