What is automation? In a nutshell, it refers to the application of machines to work originally performed by humans. Increasingly it is used to...

What is automation? In a nutshell, it refers to the application of machines to work originally performed by humans. Increasingly it is used to complete tasks which would have otherwise been impossible. The term mechanization means something slightly different. This is the basic replacement of human labour by a machine, whereas automation refers to an integration of machines in a self-governing process. There is now hardly an area of modern living that has been impacted by automation.

The term was first used in 1946 by the automobile industry and described the greater usage of automatic processes and controls in production lines. The word is attributed to D.S Harder, an engineering manager at Ford in 1946.

Automation can be described as technology that completes processes through the use of programmed controls and automatic feedback. Automation is now heavily dependent on computers and digital technology, making them incredibly complex. Automated systems have now achieved such capabilities and performance that far surpass what a human could achieve in the same task.

The technology of automation has evolved so much that it now has a number of other technologies and industries that have formed around it, such as robotics. This is a branch of automation in which the automated machine consists of certain human-like traits, such as a robotic mechanical arm, for example. This arm can be programmed to carry out a sequence of tasks, such as welding and are used to replace human labour in industrial operations. Many components make up automated machinery, such as Silicone Hoses. For your automated equipment needs, visit Good flex Rubber

Early automation came about thanks to the steam engine, which was a huge advance in the development of powered machinery and marked the start of the Industrial Revolution. Each new development in the evolution of powered machines came with a need for devices to control and harness the power of that machine.

In early machines, this required a person to operate valves, which was later replaced with a sliding valve mechanism instead. And so on, each new stage of development would eventually be replaced by a piece of equipment that could do the job in place of a human.

A further essential development in the history of automation was the invention of the Jacquard loom, the first example of a programmable piece of machinery. In around 1801, Joseph-Marie Jacquard invented an automatic loom that could make complex patterns in fabric by controlling the motion of lots of different threads. The pattern selection was controlled by a program of steel cards with holes punched in them.

These steel cards were the predecessors of the tape and paper cards that controlled modern automatic machinery. Programmable machinery were further developed in the 19th century by Charles Babbage, the mathematician who created an analytical machine that could carry out data and arithmetic processes. This device was the ancestor of the modern digital computer that we know today.