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The role of standardization in factory automation is a subject that needs to be addressed. Industry can greatly benefit from the use of automation. On the other hand, the sheer diversity of automation can create barriers.
A standard can be best described as “an acknowledged measure of comparison for quantitative or qualitative value, criterion, or norm.” In its barest essence, a standard is an agreement between all interested parties that there should be one way of doing something. However, standards can become barriers when applied to the more advanced technical products of a manufacturer. If manufacturers used the same standards at all levels, there would be very little difference between their products. Any opportunities for a manufacturer to innovate would be stifled.
How can standards be obtained that will not be barriers? There are several ways: getting experts together to discuss the issues, encouraging government agencies and professional societies to determine possible solutions, and having corporate leaders propose, advocate, and negotiate applications of standards.
factory automation, standardization
Senior Vice President, Industrial Electronics Business Group, General Electric Company, Charlottesville, VA