A machine’s automation system operates very much like the human body. Just as we humans perceive our surroundings using our sensory organs, a machine registers its surroundings using presence sensors, input devices, and measuring systems. It continually receives status information and command inputs, and its control network transports this information as input signals to the controller. The controller interprets these signals, makes a program decision, and responds by sending output signals to actuators and indicators. For example, it may send a signal to cylinder valves and motor drives to move the machine, or to stack lights to signal status and condition to the human operators.
A machine’s automation system is the technical counterpart to the actions of the human body:
- Sight, taste, smell, touch – Vision, pressure, temperature, flow, photoelectric, inductive, capacitive, position/distance measurement sensors
- Listening/reading – Vibration sensors, RFID tag readers
- Nervous system – Control network, cables, connectors
- Brain – Controller, PLC
- Muscles – Valves, drives, motors
- Voice – audio signaling devices, numerical output devices (RFID data to tag)
- Body language (visual signals) – stack lights, display screens, indicator lights, panel meters
Check out the video below to dive deeper into the world of industrial automation and learn the similarities between a machine and the human body.
Stay tuned for future posts that will cover the essentials of automation. To learn more about the Basics of Automation in the meantime, visit www.balluff.com.