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Automation Engineers


One of the most noteworthy early examples of automation was Joseph-Marie Jacquard’s 1804 method for controlling machinery by means of a programmed set of instructions recorded on a punched paper tape that was fed into a machine to direct its movements.

Many major advancements in automation occurred in the 20th century. Automated industrial temperature, pressure, and flow controllers were first developed and used in the 1940s. Experimental robots were developed during the 1950s, and hydraulic robots, controlled by numerical control programming, were developed in the 1960s. The latter type of robots were first used in automobile industry assembly line operations, and their introduction reduced the numbers of workers needed on assembly lines. Second-generation robots (which were controlled by minicomputers and programmed by computer language) began to be used in the 1980s, and third-generation robots (which can work on their own without supervision by an external computer or worker) were developed starting in the 1990s. Engineers are currently developing fourth-generation robots that incorporate artificial intelligence (machine learning, computer vision, and speech-recognition technology).

The technology company IBM says that the modern era of workflow automation began in 2005 with the introduction of the concept of business process management, which incorporates a variety of methods to discover, assess, measure, improve, and optimize repeatable processes, as well as improve business strategy. The release of Apple’s Siri (a digital personal assistant) in 2011 created new horizons for automation beyond robotics.

Although robotics and other types of automation have been used in the manufacturing industry for decades, it is a relatively new concept in the business, finance, health care, and other sectors. In these settings, automation processes typically focus on service automation and quality assurance testing of automated processes, but they can also be implemented to improve other aspects of a company’s operations. The Internet of Things has created further opportunities for industrial automation, as well as growing automation options in the home. These developments have fueled strong demand for automation engineers.

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