Guidebolt

Automation

Revised 2018.01.03

Automation saves time in distinct ways:

Data Processing - Just as a calculator solves math problems, data processing combines raw data with configured logic to arrive at certain conclusions. Consider computer vision, voice-to-text algorithms, sensor-driven controls, and question-answer mapping.

Process Unification - When you start a car, it automatically activates the radio, dashboard, and temperature controller, as well as energizing all power windows and sensors.

Physical Substitution - The checkout process at a fast food restaurant involves basic steps that a computer interface can easily displace. The same applies to the repetitive tasks at a factory.

Sensors

Sensors that transmit analog signals are simple to implement but vulnerable to interference. Consider a long electrical cable that is intermittently affected by the magnetic flux of a nearby transformer. Even the slightest disturbance of an analog signal results in inaccurate communication. The effects of electromagnetic interference (EMI) are mitigated by using shielded signal cables and performing analog-to-digital conversion (ADC) close to or inside the sensor module. Digital signals are more resistant to interference because they communicate with distinct voltage ranges that provide a margin of safety against light interference.

Analog signals are also vulnerable to attenuation across the resistance of the transmission cable. The attenuation weakens the signal voltage and this effect is more pronounced with longer cables. Attenuation can be compensated by calibrating the receiving controller. But note that this solution is inconvenient in dynamic environments or after periods of maintenance where sensors, cables, and controllers may be moved, changed, or replaced.