With so many things in today’s world being automated, you may have never wondered “What is industrial automation, and what are the different types?” well, we’re here to tell you! As your full-service industrial automation and electrical contractor for over 25 years, we’ve summed up a few key points to help you better understand what automation is, and what different types are available today.  


What is Industrial Automation 

Let’s start with the basics: Industrial automation is the use of control systems (like computers or robotics, or information systems) for different processes. Essentially, it takes a human out of the equation and replaces them with an automated system.  The purpose of industrial automation is to increase productivity and keep it running 24-7 with very little human intervention.  


What are the different types of industrial automation?  

Since its inception, industrial automation has been categorized based on its level of integration and flexibility in the manufacturing process. Some of the most used types are: 

Fixed Automation 

  • Generally, fixed automation is used for mass production systems and is used to streamline specific processes This form of automation is typically used in high volume production settings complete with dedicated equipment and equipment operation sets. Fixed Automation systems are typically used in industries that have to produce stable and sustainable product designs over a long period of time.  


Programmable Automation 

  • Like fixed automation, programmable automation is typically used in mass production systems, but can also be used for low to medium production levels and is designed to facilitate product changeover. Using electronic controls, programmable automation systems facilitate changeable operation sequences and configurations.  Unlike their fixed counterparts, programmable automation systems require minor programming efforts in order to run effectively.  


Flexible Automation 

  • Flexible Automation is a more sophisticated and refined form of programmable automation that easily allows for changeover of the equipment. Best used for batch processes or high product varieties, flexible automation systems require a human operator to input commands in the form of computer codes and sequences – the machine or system gets directives from a human and carries out the task. 


Integrated Automation 

  • Integrated automation is the complete and total automation of processes and functions throughout a facility. All process function is controlled with digital information processing coordination and/or computer control and requires very little human input after parameters have been set.  Integrated automation is compatible with both batch processing and continuous flow processing. 


RBT Electrical & Automation 

No matter what automation system you need, the pros at RBT can help you all the way from design to installation! With 25+ years under our belts, we’ve proudly provided full-service electrical contracting and industrial automation services to keep all types of businesses running smoothly! Give us a call at +1 519-752-3675 to get started.