Automation is the creation of technology and its application in order to control and monitor the production and delivery of various goods and services. It performs tasks that were previously performed by humans. Automation is being used in a number of areas such as manufacturing, transport, utilities, defence, facilities, operations and lately, information technology.

Automation is greatly improving productivity, saving time and cutting costs.

Automation is evolving quickly and business intelligence in applications is a new form of high-quality automation. In the technology domain, the impact of automation is increasing rapidly, both in the software/hardware and machine layer. However, despite advances in automation, some manual intervention is always advised, even if the tool can perform most of the tasks.

An automated warehouse and transport technologies system that could receive shipments, receive orders, and fulfill them with little or no intervention from humans in the industry are:

1. Automated Storage/Retrieval Systems (ASRS).
Cranes or lifters that move goods from one shelf to another to maximize use of space and increase the convenience of retrieval.

2. Carousels.
A combination of conveyors and ASRS that allows goods to remain on a single shelf, while the shelf itself revolves into the correct position for sorting.

3. Conveyors.
Conveyor belts, boxes, or cars on rails that deliver goods from one section of the distribution centre to another.

4. Sorters.
Identify products and mark them for placement or place them in conveyors to be moved.

5. RFID (Radio Frequency Identification), Bar Code & QR Code.
Radio-enabled or visual coding that allows other systems to identify an item.

6. Robotics System – Picking & Palletizing.
Robots, usually in fixed positions, that assemble packages of large items, assemble whole pallets for delivery to a single location, or move large numbers of items from storage to a staging or picking area.

7. Verification Systems.
Barcode or RFID readers, scales, or other mechanisms to identify and verify a package is where and what it is supposed to be. Inconsistencies in weight or label identification can cause items to be rejected.

8. Scalable Case Picking.
Planning systems that analyze order data and assemble pallets optimized for the most efficient picking and shipment to specific customers.

9. Autonomous Vehicles
Driverless vehicles (AGV) or MHE.

10. Drones – (UAV)
Transport, inventory, and surveillance.

In this module, participants will be able to learn the advantages and disadvantages of automation, its impact on the work environment, scalability, and lastly feasibility of adoption.

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