Selected Events in the History of Automation
• Organized automation, mechanization: Industrial revolution, 1770-
, England, Europe, US
• Hard automation and transfer lines: Henry Ford, 1900-, USA
• Numerically Controlled (NC) machine tools, 1952 (US Air Force,
• Microchip computers: late 1960-, USA
• CNC (computer numerical controlled) machine tools, 1970-, USA
• Industrial Robots, USA, Japan, 1970-
• Computer networks, DARPA USA, 1970-
• Flexible Manufacturing Systems (FMS), Japan, 1980-.
Types of Automation
Low Medium High Parts per year
Examples of Automation
Automatic rice cooker
Put the rice and water in it in the morning, set it to start cooking at 6pm.
It turns on automatically.
When the rice is cooked, it switches to “keep warm” mode.
Q1. How does it control when to turn
Q2. What type of sensor(s) and actuators are inside this
Q5. The cooker can be set to cook different food types (rice, congee, fish…
How is the logic for so many functions controlled?
Q4. How can the rice be kept warm for up to 12 hours?
Q3. How would you sense when the rice is cooked?
Examples of Automation
Park and Shop
The sales clerk ‘swipes’ item across a glass sheet on top of the counter.
The price (and name) of the item are automatically printed on the receipt.
The receipt also calculates the total price of all items you have bought.
Q1. Identify the sensors and actuators in this
Q5. How can the information of “which item is purchased” be used
to improve customer service?
Q4. How does the system know the price and name of the item?
Q3. How does the system know what item was swiped?
Q2. Is this an example of digital or analog control?
Open Loop, Closed Loop Systems
Actuator DeviceSignal -
Basic Structure of Automatic Control System
Sensors and Actuators
REASONS FOR AUTOMATING
High cost of labor.
Trend of labor towards service sector.
High cost of raw materials.
Improved product quality.
Reduced manufacturing lead-time.
Reduction of in process inventory.
High cost of not automating.
ARGUMENTS AGAINST AUTOMATION
Automation will result in the subjugation of the human
being via machine.
There will be a reduction in the labor force with resulting
Automation will reduce purchasing power.
ARGUMENTS IN FAVOUR OF AUTOMATION
Automation is the key to the shorter work week.
Automation brings safer working conditions for the
Automated production results in lower prices and
The growth of automation industries will itself provide
Automation is the only means of increasing our
standard of living.