Importance of process automation

08 March 20174 min reading

“With the process and automation modernizations in flour plants, analysis of various factors in factories such as product quality, production capacity, energy consumption, production errors, disruptions etc. will be possible and competition in the world market can be strengthened. This increases the competency of the producers in global markets. ”

Mustafa TEZCAN Simtez Otomasyon General Manager simtezotomasyon_mustafatezcan87Process in short means “continuum”. Process automation is computer-aided series and accurate operation for consequent systems through minimizing human factor. Increasing needs and economic income-expense relationship together with the industrial revolution made monitoring and analysis processes essential. Nowadays, control processes have spread to each stage of the production, and monitoring efficiency, energy and work­force has become as important as production.

Process automation means collection of all equipment, equipment and devices into a single point in a plant, and control of these elements on computer screen by preparing software based on flowchart in this facility. All information collected in the field is collected on devices called PLCs, communication between these devices is provided. Software is prepared again by computer, and drawings are prepared in accordance with flow in the facility. This will allow controlling and monitoring of the facility via computer. This process is called the SCADA. All movements in the plant is monitored and controlled from a single point.

Considering from the perspective of production quality and cost, these systems are also vital for flour sector as in all sectors. With the process and automation modernizations in flour factories, analysis of various factors in factories such as product quality, production capacity, energy consumption, production errors, disruptions etc. will be possible and competition in the world market can be strengthened. Today, one of most important steps in involvement in the world market is the process automation.

MANUFACTURERS’ ATTITUDE TOWARDS PROCESS CONTROL AND AUTOMATION IN MILLING SECTOR Especially in this sector, manufacturers in Turkey and in the world attach great importance to process control and automation and they demand the latest technology in their current factories and in new facilities. For other manufacturers, this topic is fully based on informing the manufacturer. After this stage, manufacturers are torn between finance and financial issues. Although manufacturers accept the necessity of automation systems, they behave reluctant on prices to be paid to these systems.

BENEFITS OF PROCESS CONTROL AND AUTOMATION Process control and automation is vital for stability, quality and cost analyses in production. Benefits of this system towards manufacturers can be briefly listed as follows: it allows for uninterrupted production with quality products; it saves in terms of energy consumption; it reduces the number of staff employed at the facility; therefore, it lowers costs. It provides opportunity to determine product quality in the plant and to be selective in purchased products. It allows for production analysis by showing input-output product and turnover rates.

IMPLEMENTATION AND MANAGEMENT OF AUTOMATION IN FACTORIES Every business is suitable for automation, but necessity of automation should be analyzed depending on the size of the plant and operation. To demonstrate with a small example, if the plant does not operate under 24/7 conditions and its marketing network is local, transition to automation does not become more of an issue. COST OF AUTOMATION FOR FACTORIES In newly established plants, automation systems do not yield any compatibility problems. Only, if it is preferred to demand and use automation systems during the installation phase, this will cost less than transition to automation in the future.

If we compare automation costs with factory installation costs, we find a cost with a maximum value of 10%, however, this cost is overestimated by business administrations. Transitions to automation in existing factories are provided over available systems. Since the current system is not changed, only software and commissioning are implemented, and quality is offered to our customers with the lowest cost.

BARRIERS BEFORE TRANSITION TO AUTOMATION Very irregular and incomplete mechanical and electrical infrastructures of existing facilities create difficulty for the process of transition to automation. In such facilities, transition to automation is costly and long lasting. At the same time, since this long process is preventing operations of the factory, therefore business managers avoid such renovations. These problems arise from the fact that business managers prioritize cost in the projecting phase. To overcome these problems, especially business managers should behave consciously. If a manager is not experienced on these issues, a consultant will be able to support in such installations, then the business manager will have a more technological and long lasting facility.

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