How can engineers make the most of automation?
By using it more creatively to replace the human being who would otherwise be subjected to serious health risk (such as those employed in the nuclear industry who handle dangerous/life-threatening materials).
Automation is not simply strapping on a high-tech control system. The biggest gains are made by cleaning up the entire system and ensuring the output meets the requirements reliably and repeatedly.
By always starting with a clear problem statement and ensuring that automation is just one of the considered solutions. It's important that the right solution is found for any problem/opportunity and not a solution shoehorned in for any other reason.
They should use automation for 'unsafe tasks' and any tasks that it is difficult to get people to do. It should not be used to displace workers.
Focus on the areas that add real advancement and improvement to the human condition. The danger is that automation will be a race to the bottom and a swathe of jobs will be lost with no plan on what all these people are now going to do for employment.
As an aid to getting things done--for example inspection and repair where tasks are repetitive or difficult to access and high accuracy is required. I think it will change the nature of work and we have to figure out the respective roles of people in the mix.
The greatest obstacle to the uptake of automation technologies is the lack of knowledge of realistic cost models. I suggest more education on production economics is taught to our nation's engineering undergraduates.
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|Publication:||Professional Engineering Magazine|
|Date:||Jul 1, 2019|
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