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Germany — Automation has always been characterised by rapid growth, constant innovation and new working patterns. However, the events of the last two years have increased the need for automation technology in all industries. So what trends will influence automation in 2022?
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If you had to sum up automation in one word, it would be agility. The speed at which the industry is introducing disruptive ideas, innovative technologies and new concepts is amazing. That’s why it’s often no easy task for manufacturers to keep up. While it is difficult to know in advance which technologies will be worth investing in by 2022, Neil Ballinger, Head of EMEA at automation components supplier EU Automation, presents the three key trends most likely to change the face of automation.
According to Ballinger, Cloud Native is predicted to become the most popular cloud application by 2022. Such cloud-native technologies are a new approach to developing and operating workloads that are integrated in the cloud. Their main role is to break software into smaller, more manageable pieces and scale small areas of a complex infrastructure as needed without completely redistributing them.
According to the Cloud Native Computing Foundation, these technologies, combined with robust automation, allow engineers to “make frequent and predictable changes with great impact with minimal effort.”
Cloud Native can increase operational efficiency while reducing time-to-market for new services because the software is more decoupled from the main hardware and decompressed into smaller pieces, allowing for faster automatic updates, it said.
Low-code automation platforms enable users with limited programming skills to automate processes through graphical interfaces — without traditional computer programming. They also enable teams of engineers and IT professionals to reduce manual workloads and focus instead on core strategies to drive business growth. This trend has been steadily increasing and will account for more than 65 percent of all app development functions by 2024, according to Gartner. Similarly, around 66 percent of large enterprises will use at least four low-code platforms.
The benefits of low-code automation platforms include greater flexibility through shorter development times, lower costs for hiring talented developers and better compatibility with other third-party modules and programming interfaces.
It is not a surprise anymore that technologies that make it easier to work and maintain remotely are best received by manufacturers and automation professionals. Digital Twins will become more and more prevalent: More than 70 per cent of manufacturers are expected to use them to perform scenario analyses and process simulations by the end of 2022.
According to simulation solutions specialist Cadfem, Digital Twins can reduce maintenance costs by 30 percent, reduce technical defects by 75 percent and lead to 45 percent less downtime.
This technology takes augmented and virtual reality to a new level by enabling manufacturers to monitor their operations in real time and take action to prevent downtime. A Digital Twin can be connected to a machine’s sensors to display its parameters throughout its lifecycle and report faults.
In addition, Digital Twins can be used to simulate programmes for new processes and equipment before resources are invested in their implementation. This saves costs and time and reduces material waste to support the development of smart, sustainable factories.
In 2022, technologies that serve the industry’s need for digitisation, remote working and faster implementation will experience significant growth. EU Automation aims to play an essential role in the development of automation technology by delivering automation parts to the enterprise ecosystem as quickly as possible and training and educating professionals on their automation journey.
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