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Before You Automate, Contemplate

Fri, 01/03/2014 - 12:00pm
Todd Brun, Senior Validation Engineer, E-Technologies Group

Faster turnovers, higher line speeds, more throughput, less operator intervention, Big Data, virtualization, “lights out” manufacturing  these are all hot topics in automation circles. Our success as a system integrator depends upon us being conversant in these topics and using available technology to deliver them to our clients.

But before we can jump into delivering any of these solutions, we need to step back and take into account the rapidly changing environment of controls and automation. Case in point, control systems once had a life span of decades, but now the range is between three and 10 years.

Here is a reality check as we look at some comparables of the recent past:

  • I once had a GPS that quickly became out-of-date. Now that function is a free app on my phone with up-to-date maps, including street views and phone numbers of businesses.
  • I once referenced catalogs to select my instruments. Now I search the internet to get competitive pricing and comparative reviews.
  • The company I once worked for is out of that specialty line of business.

Things change.  Embrace the fact and use it to your advantage.

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