Automation is Green

Automation for lights, according to Rexroth-Bosch’s research, can save up to 60% in energy consumption. Sounds green? It is.

We’re all aware that automation increases throughput and decreases staffing costs, thereby creating greater productivity with lower costs. But did you realize that automation is also good for the environment?

The main reason that automation is environmentally friendly is that it cuts down on waste. The lights are an example: it’s not that the lights become vastly more efficient because they’re automatic, so much as that they’re only providing the light that’s actually needed.

People decide how much of something they need based on all kinds of criteria. Lights may be on because we need them to do our work, because we’re too lazy to turn them off, because we have the habit of turning all the lights on, because we’re too preoccupied to turn them off, because it’s a gray day so feel like we need more light, or because the occupant of a room is an extrovert (statistically speaking, they turn on more lights). Automated lights are on because they’re needed, and they’re on to the degree that they’re needed, based on a dispassionate, data-driven decision.

It’s not just lights, either. Robots are precise, so they waste less raw material in manufacturing. Automated systems don’t fling ink around lavishly because they’re in a good mood or use extra power because they’re mad. Servomotors use precise responses to feedback to keep things operating at the most appropriate speed; they never speed up just for the thrill of it.

Just the reduction in friction means less energy is used, as well as less oil and grease. Increased efficiency can even mean a reduction in the use of paper as fewer memos, directives, and work orders are needed (but you know how people are — this won’t always happen).

Beyond waste, automation has had environmental benefits in terms of pollution and environmental toxins. Most automated systems use less energy than the systems they replace, and they often run cleaner. Automation allows machines to do tasks that would expose human beings to toxic substances.

Companies that use automation to streamline production instead of sending their factories overseas may be benefiting the environment by allowing consumers to avoid buying items that have been transported from Asia or Latin America at tremendous cost in terms of fuel. Such companies are also probably meeting stricter environmental standards by staying in the U.S.

When someone tries to suggest that modern automation is the opposite of the beautiful green of nature, wise them up. Automation is green.


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