Automation Term Paper

Topics: Manufacturing, Assembly line, Mass production Pages: 12 (4248 words) Published: April 8, 2013
Keywords – Automation, CIM, labor, Production, Rate, Quantity, Profit, Costs


Automation is a phenomenon that is taking over the computer-integrated manufacturing (CIM) world. It is virtually a process that is automatic, requiring no human intervention to perform its tasks – robots integrated into manufacturing. When deciding whether or not to incorporate automation into a system, a couple of factors have to be considered: the rate of production and the quality of production. Automation can be good or bad depending on how those two parameters are controlled and fulfilled. In certain processes, having too much automation can be bad due to the inability of a company to keep up with the costs and in others, the level of automation cannot produce enough quantity fast enough to keep up with expenses. Therefore, a complete analysis of a CIM must be done in order to optimize automation in manufacturing.


The question that is being asked for this research paper is: “Why should the level of automation in a manufacturing facility depend on production quantity and production rate?” One of the main reasons why it is so important is because it helps companies and audiences to further understand why automation is implemented and to what extent it is effective – how do we determine if more or less level of automation is good or bad?. By understanding the concept of automation and the factors in the decision to incorporate it we can see the benefits of it and dis-benefits of either too little or too much automation. We can also see how much the level of automation affects the income of a company when production rates and quantities are involved.

Products are constantly being sold in stores but the environment and method in which they were manufactured are unknown to most. By determining different factors of the product itself, it can help to estimate the methods in which products are manufactured. For example, big name companies such as Honda or General Motors definitely has enough money to afford high-tech production systems. One factor needs to be taken into high consideration in order to see which level of automation is the best: “How much does this product cost and how many operations need to be performed to it before it is finalized?” The question puts high emphasis on production rates. A car for example, costs a lot of money to buy so buying just one will benefit the company a lot. Next, cars require hundreds of different assemblies and operations to build. We also know for a fact that cars are shipped globally to different countries so they definitely need to be manufactured continuously. In the end, almost anything can be manufactured in automated process given the right circumstances. The only question is: what is the level of automation that generates the most income to your company?

A huge note to acknowledge is that product quantities and rates are NOT the same as product variety. “Production variety” is the flexibility of a manufacturing process and can still be achieved without automation, but it is not necessary in every manufacturing enterprise. “Production quantity” measures how much of a product is produced per period of time and “production rate” measures how fast a shop is at manufacturing their products – both these factors are essential in any manufacturing process.

1. What is Automation?

First, in order to understand why production rates and quantities helps to determine the level of automation, an understanding of the concept of “Automation” must first be addressed. According to the dictionary, “Automation” is defined as: “the technique of making an apparatus, a process, or a system operate automatically.” In terms of manufacturing, this means that automation is the technique of making a manufacturing process, or enterprise, automatic through implementation of computer-integrated manufacturing (CIM). Automation is different from “Mechanization” because, unlike...

References: 1. Automation Federation; “What is Automation?” Research Triangle Park, NC; Copyright 1995-2011 <>
2. I.A. Gorlach, O. Wessel. “Optimal Level of Automation in the Automotive Industry”. Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, Port Elizabeth. 19 February, 2008.
3. I.A Gorlach, O. Wessel. 2007. “Case Study: Automation Strategies at Volkswagen”. Proceedings of the World
Congress on Engineering Vol II. July 2-4, London, U.K.
4. I.A Gorlach, O. Wessel. 2008. “Optimal Level of Automation in the Automotive”. Engineering Letters, 16:1. Port
Elizabeth, South Africa
5. Rao, VS Rama; “Advantages and Disadvantages of Automation”. Citman Network, 17 Feb, 2006 <>
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