Home Insights & Advice Industrial equipment automation and development under COVID-19 Influence

Industrial equipment automation and development under COVID-19 Influence

by Hayley Mann
23rd Dec 20 10:43 am

The recent lockdown has changed the approach to managing businesses completely. It has shown that most enterprises were not ready for a new way of working that the pandemic imposed.

Thus, some changes were observed in industrial equipment automation trends. The need for urgent automation became drastic indeed. The importance of industrial electric linear actuators and their control devices has grown. And most likely, the growth will continue.

This is one side of the current situation. There is another side though, too. All the businesses concentrated on taking immediate measures to stay afloat and to survive at least without major losses. That’s why the main resources were directed on continuous manufacturing and other operations to make businesses survive. The research and development sectors were not sponsored, thus, for this area, the year was basically lost.

Now, let us have a look at the trends that are observed and are of major importance for the industry now:

  • A move to software in general and software-as-a-service (SaaS) specifically. It allows manufacturers to collaborate on a global level. No physical presence is required to maintain and handle all the processes. SaaS is the core of all the newest technologies.
  • Digital transformation has brought to life components that are completely new to the industry. But right now, they are changing the industry forever. Those components are the augmented reality, virtual reality, smart solutions, the IoT.
  • Cybersecurity gains in importance. All the above-mentioned innovative approaches and technologies are connected with security concerns. To keep business information safe, new solutions are needed. The cybersecurity sector works with such solutions.

Impact of lockdown on manufacturing and the automation industry

In many countries, lockdown measures are implemented. From time to time, they become stricter or more relaxed, but for now, many schools, restaurants, and other business types are closed. Traveling by air is also limited severely.

The manufacturing sector was hit the hardest. Many enterprises around the globe were closed or reduced production significantly. The biggest manufacturers were forced to reduce their capacities to the minimum in an effort to survive. It had a huge negative impact on the automation industry.

The lockdown has a different impact on different manufacturing industries.

The sector of discrete manufacturing

Here belong such directions as automotive, electrical and electronics industry, aviation, metal, and other industries. Here is where the lockdown has had the most immense impact. The sector almost has come to a standstill and is recovering very slowly.

The sector of process manufacturing

Here, we can classify such industries as food and beverages, pharmaceutical, personal care, and similar. While it seems that in this sector, the demand for the products should have boosted, these industries have also suffered. It is connected with the fact that all of them depend to a huge extent on China.

Take the pharmaceutical industry, for example. In 2020, this industry has been under huge pressure. The immense growth in demand was accompanied by the shortage of sourcing in which most countries rely on China. Other countries that used to supply components for medical preparations, such as India, stopped or limited the supplies. They were trying to provide the internal market with the needed amounts of components.

The demand shifted to sanitizers and masks. This is one more challenge that has to be handled by the pharmaceutical industry.

The same trends are observed in the food and beverages industry. This sector has suffered a lot.

Now, enterprises are forced to adopt new ways to work. To reduce manufacturing costs, new solutions are needed. Those solutions shall consider the need to decrease the physical presence of human workers to the minimum. They will enable us to handle as many processes as possible remotely, Finally, it will allow collaboration at all levels. Only in this case, enterprises will be able to function properly even in the conditions of lockdown.

Automation processes nowadays and future trends

The pandemic has had a negative impact on automation. But there are no doubts that automation solutions have helped many enterprises to stay afloat and to handle the main operations while employees were working distantly. It is expected that in the future, automation solutions will help to keep the entire situation under control.

However, automation solutions again are affordable to bigger companies. And only high-qualified workers could take advantage of them. While small enterprises and unqualified employees couldn`t enjoy the benefits that automation offers.

In the future, the need for automation solutions will grow. These solutions will have to comply with very specific requirements:

  • They will have to allow enterprises to reduce the human workforce to be able to comply with social distancing requirements;
  • It is needed to enable most employees to handle their tasks remotely;
  • The new technologies might be used to track sick people and their contacts thus enabling more control over the spread of disease;
  • Finally, travel disruptions have exposed one more need. While earlier, many components were manufactured abroad, now, this approach doesn’t work properly anymore. This was one of the main issues for the majority of enterprises. Thus, new solutions and approaches will have to enable companies to work independently from external suppliers and vendors.

Final thoughts

From one side, the lockdown has caused major issues in the industry all around the world. From the other side, this critical situation has made business owners and vendors reconsider the main business values. They had to approach the adaptation of completely new ways of business management.

Now, even those who were absolutely opposed to working remotely accepted that remote work is the only solution in the pandemic conditions. In this respect, the most advanced automation solutions seem to be a way to save businesses from collapse. These solutions will enable the functioning of any enterprise with a minimum of human workers present physically on site.

Thus, solutions exist, and the majority of enterprises are adopting them right now. In the future, some growth is expected if the companies assess the situation correctly and take the correct steps to fight the consequences of the pandemic.

About the author

Hayley Mann is a technology enthusiast specializing in automation methods of ergonomics devices. Her engineering background helps her to create interesting articles on technical topics, making them understandable for all readers

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