Effects of Automation in Industry

Industrial Automation, History and Social Effect:

Advances in robotics, artificial intelligence, and machine learning are ushering in a new age of automation in industry. In this report, we analyze the automation potential of the global economy, the factors that will determine the pace and extent of workplace adoption, and the economic impact. Conclusion from different published studies is that humans will still be needed in the workforce: the total productivity gains we estimate will come about only if people work alongside machines.

Brief history of industrial automatic:

From the early 19th century, supremacy of industry and machine had begun. This revolution involve the use of new basic materials, commonly iron and steel. The use of new energy sources including both fuels and motive power, such as coal, the steam engine, electricity, petroleum,the internal-combustion engine. The invention of new machines, such as the spinning jenny and the power loom that permitted increased production with a small expenditure of human energy.

Factory System in Industry:

A new system of work known as the ‘Factory System’ were also introduced. This system entailed increased division of labor and specialization of function. Important developments in transportation and communication, including the steam locomotive, steamship, automobile, airplane, telegraph, and radio, and the increasing application of science to industry were part of this industrialization. These technological changes made possible a tremendously increased use of natural resources and the mass production of manufactured goods.

Developments in Industries:

There were also many new developments in nonindustrial spheres such as agricultural improvements, economic changes, political changes, cultural transformations. Workers acquired new and distinctive skills, and their relation to their tasks shifted; instead of being craftsmen working with hand tools, they became machine operators,subject to factory discipline. Finally, there was a psychological change: confidence in the ability to use resources and to master nature was heightened.

Development in 19th and 20th Centuries:

A new Industrial era began in the late 19th and 20th centuries. In terms of basic materials,modern industry began to exploit many natural and synthetic resources not hitherto utilized. Lighter metals, new alloys, and synthetic products such as plastics, as well as new energy sources.
Combined with these were developments in machines, tools, and computers that gave rise to the automatic factory. Although some segments of industry were almost completely mechanized in the early to mid-19th century, automatic operation, as distinct from the assembly line.First achieved major significance in the second half of the  20th century.

Today is beginning of Fourth industrial Revolution. Integration of robotics, artificial intelligence, nanotechnologies, 3D printing and biotechnology.All are building on and amplifying one another. Smart system such as homes, factories, farms, grids or cities, they will help tackle problems ranging from supply chain management to climate change.

Industrial developments Timeline for automation in industry
Industrial developments Timeline


Automation in Industry:

Automation is the deputation of human control role to technical tools aimed towards getting higher productivity, superior quality of last product, efficient usage of energy and raw material and improved safety in working conditions.There are many examples of Automation in industry’ around us like lifts or printers in home and offices, automated processing plant in industry.

Programmable Logic Controller (PLC):

PLC is basically the Industrial Computer that monitor inputs, makes some decisions based on its program and control the outputs to automate a process or industrial machine.By using PLC, it reduces human efforts and maximum efficiency is gained from machine by controlling then with human logic. By usage of automation in industry, we can control complexity of modern machine processes.This process is not only reduced but make it so easy to control.

Effects of Automation in Industry:

Impacts of Automation on Jobs:

We believe that technology enhance productivity and makes societies advantages, but technology can also have a dark side: technological progress is eliminating the need for many types of jobs and leaving the typical worker worse off than before.These technological changes have been destroying jobs faster than it is creating them.
While much of the current debate about automation in industry has kept on eye on the potential for mass unemployment, predicated on a surplus of human labor.World’s economy will actually need human labor working, in addition to the robots, to overcome demographic aging trends in both developed and developing economies. In other words, a surplus of human labor is much less likely to occur than a deficit of human labor, unless automation in industry is deployed widely. However, the nature of work will change. As processes are transformed by the automation of individual activities, people will perform activities that are complementary to work that machines do. These shifts will change the organization of companies, the structure and bases of competition of industries, and business models.

Social Effects of Automation in Industry:

The study of effect of automation on social activities of people in society, had been started in early 20th century.
In study, workers were asked to compare their last previous job in the non-automated plants with their present job with relation to the following areas:

(1) size of work group, defined as the number of other workers the respondent thought of as “being in the group that works around you;”

(2) size of interaction group,

(3) frequency of interaction on the job.

(4) the nature of this interaction.

(5) number of jobs involving teamwork.


Overall results show decrease in social interaction and verbal communications. Workers on workstations are described as virtually isolated and less friendly. This put more strain on each worker and supervisor have to attend more complex machine-human interface than ever; which increase foreman responsibility and stress during work.

Case Studies for Automation in Industry:

case study 1:

In Taiwan.This study concludes that success of automation in industry is not solely technical, but social interaction also have same significant influence. In an era of hyper competition, automation is a process en-route to high productivity for manufacturing and the service industry alike. We believe that concurrent change in both technical and social systems is crucial to the effective exploitation of the performance potential of new technologies.

case study 2:

 Although automation in industry is a global phenomenon.Four economies—China, India, Japan, and the United States— account for just over half of the total wages and almost two-thirds the number of employees associated with activities that are technically automatable by adapting currently demonstrated technologies. Within countries, automation potential will be affected by their sector mix, and the mix of activities within sectors.


Automation in industry increases the reliability of production with more accuracy and precision.Automation ensures more production using less energy resources. Integration of intelligent techniques in automation made production process better human friendly and reducing the complexity of control of machines. On the other hand the problems arises due to automation like desualization and lesser social interaction resulting in more stress during work on workers. So,where industries are going towards artificial intelligence automation, there should also be policies
for keeping balance between automation and people employment. This will depend on recognizing the problem and taking steps such as investing more in the training and education of workers.

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