Driverless vehicles have big advantages over human-driven forklifts, but many of them can only be driven over predetermined routes or need other human guidance.
Automation uses technology to improve the speed, performance and optimization of labor-saving devices, equipment and systems at the unit, line, plant and enterprise levels.
Automation used to centered on repetitive operations for labor savings, but now also refers to incremental improvements in processing power, safety, batch control, enterprise integration, wireless communications, robotics, measurement and control…and a host of other aspects.
Some developments that have dramatically improved packaging automation this century:
- Communications through networks and wireless capability;
- Motion control including servo drives;
- Robotic systems that are faster, nimbler and more robust;
- Sensors and machine vision systems;
- Touchscreen human-machine interfaces.