Advantages and Disadvantages of Automation

The main advantages of automation are:

  • Replacing human operators in tasks that involve hard physical or monotonous work.

  • Replacing humans in tasks done in dangerous environments (i.e. fire, space, volcanoes, nuclear facilities, underwater, etc.)

  • Performing tasks that are beyond human capabilities of size, weight, speed, endurance, etc.

  • Economy improvement: Automation may improve in economy of enterprises, society or most of humanity.

For example, when an enterprise invests in automation, technology recovers its investment; or when a state or country increases its income due to automation like Germany or Japan in the 20th Century.

The main disadvantages of automation are:

  • Technology limits. Current technology is unable to automate all the desired tasks.

  • Unpredictable development costs. The research and development cost of automating a process may exceed the cost saved by the automation itself.

  • High initial cost. The automation of a new product or plant requires a huge initial investment in comparison with the unit cost of the product, although the cost of automation is spread in many product batches.

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