The Optimal Level of Automation in the Manufacturing Industry to Improve Process Efficiency Open Access
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According to Parasuraman et al. (2000), automation is achieved when “a device or system accomplishes (partially or fully) a function that was previously, or that conceivably could be, carried out (partially or fully) by a human operator.” Thus, an increase in production rate, a reduction in flow time, and improvements in productivity and efficiency are generally expected with automation. The question then is how can the full potential of automation be realized? Which process has the highest potential of automation and to what level of automation? The objective of this research is to determine the process that has the highest potential of efficiency improvement by automation in manufacturing processes and to optimize the level of automation with the ultimate aim of achieving the maximum improvement in efficiency (OPE or OEE). This was achieved through an analysis of three key factors: level of automation, cycle time variation, and efficiency of the manufacturing process. In addition, this research proposes a practical four-step roadmap for the implementation of the automation.