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12 Topic Section

Automated Systems Industrial and Commercial Applications

Content - What you need to know Main Aspect F/G/C Why we need automated systems Social Implications

• • • •

Speed Hazardous environment Repetitive tasks Retraining

Technical Implications Economic Implications

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• Efficiency • Accuracy

• Adaptability

• • • •

Changes in nature of job Increased leisure time Safety precautions Industrial automation

• Design of workplace • Modern factory • Need for systems analysis

• High initial cost • Long term savings • Replacement costs

The Big Picture Automated systems are found in everyday life, eg. a washing machine, digital camera or a set of traffic lights. They are also found in factory production lines, eg. manufacturing cars or circuit boards for mobile phones. Automated systems often require no human intervention. They are usually programmed to take input from sensors, process the data and use the output to carry out the task.

Advantages of automated systems • • • •

The robots work much faster than humans The task is repetitive so humans would get bored The robots work 24 / 7 so they are more efficient The robots are more accurate than people and can do very detailed work without making mistakes

The Linn factory (video) - used an automated production line to assemble circuit boards for their hi-fi products

Automated systems can work in hazardous environments which could be harmful or dangerous for a human • • •

Spray painting a car – toxic fumes Loading the fuel rods at Torness – radioactive hazard Bomb disposal – risk of explosion.

Automated systems are adaptable because they can be programmed to carry out different tasks.

This robot is adaptable – change the program and the tool and it could be used to drill, weld or lift.

Implications of using automated systems Social implications - automated systems have taken over many of the jobs that people used to do:• • •

Some people will be retrained to do other jobs Some people will have to acquire new skills as technology changes the nature of their job People could have increased leisure time as the boring, repetitive tasks are done by machines.

DGS S Grade Computing Studies

Staff members in Linn Systems have had to be trained to carry out a range of tasks such as: • using the controlling software • maintaining the robots and the robot arms • supplying the robot arms with parts

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Technical implications - industrial automation has meant that factories now have people working alongside robots. Safety precautions are essential : – • mobile robots should have flashing lights and sirens • caged-off areas where robot arms are working • pathways for mobile robots could be clearly marked • mobile robots could have sensors to prevent them running someone over A modern factory will be designed to suit the way machines operate rather than people. Robots don’t need heating, canteens or rest rooms. The design of the workplace is likely to be planned around the position of the robots, cabling and safety zones. Before a new factory is built a systems analysis is needed to look at how various jobs are done and how the automated system could be designed to do these jobs as efficiently as possible. Economic implications - automated systems are expensive to install. There is a high initial cost, but there are some long term savings : – • lower wage bill and less heating and canteen costs • increased productivity – more goods made in less time A company will need to consider replacement costs as robots need to be repaired or replaced if they are no longer competitive.

The mobile robots in the Linn factory had sensors in the front bumper to detect an obstacle. Automated warehouses have products stacked on very high shelves. Only the machine could reach tem.

The design of the workplace could involve planning where to place the cabling for guiding mobile robots.

Linn systems depend on their automated systems to maintain a high rate of production and to produce goods of the highest quality.

Questions 1

Give an example of an automated system in everyday life.


Give an example of an automated system in industry.


Why are automated systems suited to repetitive tasks ?


Give two other reasons why automated systems are better than a human worker.


A robot arm is described as adaptable because it can do different tasks. What two things might need changing?


Give two social implications of introducing automated systems into a factory.


Give a technical implication of introducing automated systems into a factory and explain why systems analysis is needed before changing the way the factory works.


Give two economic implications of introducing automated systems into a factory.

DGS S Grade Computing Studies

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12 - Automated Systems 1