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I Read and translate the text Types of Automation. Types of Automation

Manufacturing is one of the most important application areas for automation technology. There are several types of automation in manufacturing. The examples of automated systems used in manufacturing are described below.

1. Fixed automation, sometimes called «hard automation» refers to automated machines in which the equipment configuration allows fixed sequence of processing operations. These machines are programmed by their design to make only certain processing operations. They are not easily changed over from one product style to another. This form of automation needs high initial investments and high production rates. That is why it is suitable for products that are made in large volumes. Examples of fixed automation are machining transfer lines found in the automobile industry, automatic assembly machines and certain chemical processes.

2. Programmable automation is a form of automation for producing products in large quantities, ranging from several dozen to several thousand units at a time. For each new product the production equipment must be re-programmed and changed over. This reprogramming and changeover take a period of non-productive time. Production rates in programmable automation are generally lower than in fixed automation, because the equipment is designed to facilitate product changeover rather than for product specialization. A numerical-control machine-tool is a good example of programmable automation. The program is coded in computer memory for each different product style and the machine-tool is controlled by the computer program.

3. Flexible automation is a kind of programmable automation. Programmable automation requires time to re-program and change over the production equipment for each series of new product. This is lost production time, which is expensive. In flexible automation the number of products is limited so that the changeover of the equipment can be done very quickly and automatically. The reprogramming of the equipment in flexible automation is done at a computer terminal without using the production equipment itself. Flexible automation allows a mixture of different products to be produced one right after another.

1. Answer the following questions.

1. What is the most important application of automation?

2. What types of automation are used in manufacturing?

3. What is fixed automation?

4. What are the limitations of fixed automation?

5. What is the best example of programmable automation?

6. What are the limitations of programmable automation?

7. What are the advantages of flexible automation?

2. Complete the following sentences.

1. … are several types…

2. … are programmed by their design…

3. … high initial investments…

4. … new product the production equipment…

5. Production rates in programmable automation…

6. A numerical-control machine-tool is…

7. … automation requires time to re-program…

8. The reprogramming of the equipment in…

3. Give definition to following terms.

1. Fixed automation –

2. Programmable automation –

3. Flexible automation –

4. Assembly machines –

5. Non-productive time –

II Read and translate the text New Technologies. Make up the plan in form of questions, render the text.

New technologies

The vision of fully automated factories has already existed for some time now: customers order online, with electronic transactions that negotiate batch size (in some cases as low as one), price, size and colour; intelligent robots and sophisticated machines smoothly and rapidly fabricate a variety of customized products on demand. The promise of remote-controlled automation is finally making headway in manufacturing settings and maintenance applications.

The decades-old machine-based vision of automation - powerful super-robots without people to tend them - underestimated the importance of communications. But today, this is purely a matter of networked intelligence which is now well developed and widely available. Communications support of a very high order is now available for automated processes: lots of sensors, very fast networks, quality diagnostic software and flexible interfaces - all with high levels of reliability and pervasive access to hierarchical diagnosis and error-correction advisories through centralized operations.

The large, centralized production plant is a thing of the past. The factory of the future will be small, movable (to where the resources are, and where the customers are). For example, there is really no need to transport raw materials long distances to a plant, for processing, and then transport the resulting product long distances to the consumer. In the old days, this was done because of the localized know-how and investments in equipment, technology and personnel. Today, those things are available globally.

Industrial automation can and will generate growth with technology related to new inflection points: nanotechnology and nanoscale assembly systems; MEMS and nanotech sensors (tiny, low-power, low-cost sensors) which can measure everything and anything; and the pervasive Internet, machine to machine (M2M) networking. Real-time systems will give way to complex adaptive systems and multi-processing. The future belongs to nanotech, wireless everything, and complex adaptive systems.

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