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Improving Automation

We’ve come a long way, but we still have a long way to go.

Automation may seem like a relatively modern concept, with its buzzworthy contribution to the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and already monumental importance to the future of global enterprise. However, the technological birth of automation as we know it today dates back centuries.
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The first recorded use of automation control was a feedback control mechanism used to tent the sails of windmills, patented by English inventor Edmund Lee in 1775. Automation came to America in the late 18th century with the centrifugal governor, invented by Scottish mechanical engineer James Watt in 1788 to help regulate the admission of steam into the cylinders of his steam engine. American inventor and engineer Oliver Evans later used the centrifugal governor to adjust the gaps between millstones in his automatic flour mill, making this the first completely automated industrial process in history.

The innovations snowballed from there, culminating in a present-day automation boom. In 2016, automated mining, retail, security systems, highway systems, waste management systems, homes, offices, and industrial plants are no longer pipe dreams, but exciting realities with lush opportunities for growth.

For a more detailed assessment of automation’s leaps and bounds over the past few years, Quality asked two automation insiders for their takes: John Neeley, product manager of mobility solutions at Fluke Corp.; and Michael Lindley, vice president of business development and marketing at Concept Systems Inc.

What recent strides has your company made toward improving automation, and how do these strides fit into the broader automation landscape? Continue Reading →