How to Build an Automation System: The Basics of Automation

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Automation is the process of designing machines that are capable of completing tasks without human involvement. Machines have been automating jobs for decades, but with the rise and accessibility of robotics, automation will only continue to grow. Machines can be programmed to perform a variety of tasks, freeing up time for humans to do more. With this in mind, it’s important to understand what an automation system entails and how to build one.

What Is an Automation System?

An automation system is a set of software tools and devices that allows us to automate tasks. For instance, we might have an example of an automation system as follows: When a customer visits our website, a robot will enter the website and select a product that the customer is interested in. The robot will then walk through the interface and find a link that the customer will click on. The robot has the ability to see the customer’s needs and find a way to accomplish those needs. The robot can then act on the decision and make a purchase. We could also be building an automation system that fulfills orders or processes payments. The robot can go to the front office and grab an item from a shelf and have the cashier put it in the customer’s hands.

Why Would I Want to Build an Automation System?

Automation allows a company to save time and money. An automated system can do a task for you that would take a worker two or three times longer and cost the company five times as much. Many automations also have the capacity to save money on maintenance and upkeep, as a maintenance crew would only have to focus on fixing machines that don’t work right. In this way, automation can make a company’s operating costs decrease drastically. This feature alone can make an automation system ideal for businesses of any size. Not only can automation replace jobs that might not be performed to standards that are desired, but it can also save time that could be spent doing other jobs that the company’s workers don’t particularly enjoy.

The Components of an Automation System

An automation system is made up of components and the components include people and equipment. As an example, you might set up a factory to manufacture hockey sticks, and you’d want a complex system that controls the production process. This system would require people, equipment, materials, and the inventory of each component. In terms of automation, the components are the actual people working on the system, as well as any equipment that needs to be owned. The components include people To get started, you’ll need to find a workforce who will perform the jobs. This will depend on the type of system you want to build. The talent pool for specific jobs can be quite varied, depending on the industry, location, and type of automation system you’re creating.

How to Build an Automation System

The system built by simply combining a few machines is called a robot. Robots are in a category called swarms because they are comprised of many units working together to complete a task. A robot, just like other automation systems, is made up of different parts and is specifically designed to accomplish a particular task. A robot would not be able to build the type of thing we see on the show The Jetsons. The Jetsons are pretty smart but there are some things that they could not do because they did not have the proper components and brains. Types of Robotics There are many different types of robots including Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV): As a drone, a UAV can do things like map, capture, transmit, or get pictures. Robotic Arm: Robotic arms are used to pick up or move objects.

Evaluate the Task

First and foremost, identify which tasks are the most likely to require automation. An easy way to do this is to go back to the hiring process. What are the most repetitive and boring tasks in an employee’s job? Hiring a janitor for the office building might be one task that would need to be automated. The same job for receptionists and assistants at an automotive shop could be another. Think about the jobs that are most likely to be automated in the future. Once you have that list, think about how you could automate them. For example, once the cost of smart phones becomes cheap, it won’t be long before the original reasons why a phone was made in the first place are gone.

Design Your Process

Begin by identifying the type of process you want to automate. Deciding this early on will allow you to choose appropriate automation technology. For example, you might want to automate things that can be described in a very few steps, like adding a new option to a form or running another report. You might also want to automate things that require repetitive steps, such as building a report or preparing documents for mailing. From this point on, you’ll need to consider your strengths and weaknesses in designing your process. If you’re good at design work, you might want to automate certain areas of the process you’re most comfortable with. If you’re good at documentation, you might want to automate tasks you are less confident in.

Create a Prototype

Test Your Process

If you’re starting from scratch, the most important thing you can do is test your system. The first step in building your automated system is to ask how your business currently operates. Answer the following questions and see what you can come up with. Who is performing the work and how long is this work taking? What are your current staffing costs? Are you able to get an adequate number of employees to accomplish this work? How does your process make use of the skills of your employees? How does your process limit the skills of your employees? What does your company culture look like? Once you have a good sense of your business, what you can come up with is a few areas where you can focus your automation efforts.


Automation is a key component of modern businesses. We’re living in a very automated world. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a business that doesn’t utilize some sort of automation in one way or another. When you start thinking about a robotic operation, it’s important to have a clear understanding of what an automation system is. Now that you do, there are many ways to develop one. Even if you’re just starting out with robotics, you can create a powerful automated system to help your company.

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