Industrial automation is one of the most important techniques of modern industry capable of improving production efficiency and reducing significantly costs. Over time, the introduction of the latest technologies has allowed the creation of two types of automation; the centralized automation and the modular automation.
Centralized industrial automation, as the name suggests, focuses on using a centralized system to control and monitor all production line operations. All decisions regarding the operation of the entire production line are made by a single control system, such as a PLC (Programmable Logic Controller), which manages all the components of the production process.
Centralized automation was the predominant technology until a few years ago, but that is changing with the introduction of modular automation.
Modular automation is a new form of industrial automation based on the use of autonomous process modules or skids, which can be combined with each other to create a complete production line. This means that each single production module can have its own integrated control system capable of managing the various components and communicating with the central system only when necessary. In this way, greater flexibility of the production line is guaranteed, as the modules can be easily adapted, increased, replaced or simply eliminated as needed, without having to worry about affecting the entire production line.
The main difference between centralized automation and modular automation is, therefore, the level of flexibility you have available. Centralized automation is a very rigid method, which works well if the production line remains constant over time. Modular automation, on the other hand, adapts perfectly to a constantly evolving production, giving the possibility to easily apply changes and improvements.
Modular automation also has the advantage of reducing downtime, since any malfunction of one of the modules does not affect the others and also allows for a reduction in repair and maintenance costs, since any problems are more easily identified and solved within a single module rather than throughout the production system.
Conversely, in the case of centralized automation, a failure on just one component can cause the entire production line to stop.
In conclusion, modular automation represents the automation technology of the present and of the future, capable of guaranteeing greater flexibility and production efficiency compared to centralized automation, guaranteeing greater cost control and a greater ability to adapt to the demands of the market.
This technology is destined to become increasingly present in all sectors of modern industry.
For this purpose Studio j-Omega has developed a modular automation system also at the level of the graphical interface which extends the advantages of the hardware modularity to the management software allowing to control and operate all the single modules as if they were a centralized automation.