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Machine automation policy guidelines

Originally Published:
Sep 2018

Many industries rely on machine automation to save money and reduce risk. However, along with the benefits comes the critical need to implement policies for its proper use. This set of guidelines will help your organization keep its machine automation safe, reliable, and in compliance.

From the guidelines:

Machine automation is widely used across diverse industry sectors because it is cost-effective and risk reducing. Its applications include but are not limited to CNC machines in manufacturing and fabrication, industrial robots that pick, pack, load, and transport goods in warehouses, unmanned drones that deliver shipments to customers, automated machines that aid in the life sciences and in pharmaceutical development, and telesurgery. Machine automation performs vital and sometimes lifesaving functions, but it can’t succeed without rigorous policy guidelines that ensure safe, compliant, uninterrupted, and proper use.

Since machine automation is a combination of hardware and software that is ultimately connected to either internal or external communications networks, keeping the physical machine and its operating software updated and in compliance and ensuring that the automation is functioning in an environment that is protected from hacking, malware, and/or other network interruptions is paramount. So too is ensuring that only staff with proper security authorization and training are operating the equipment. Insurance and legal liability issues must also be taken into account when machine automation policies are developed.

The spectrum of machine automation is vast. Companies that manufacture plastic enclosures by using a CNC machine to cut patterns will develop machine automation policies that are substantially different from what an operator of a telesurgery robot will require. The policies below are broken down into general categories of consideration that should be taken into account as part of your due diligence during the formation of a machine automation policy.

Depending on what your business application is, the key points within each topic will be of more or less importance to you. The recommended best practice use of this list is to focus on those guidelines that are directly relevant to your business model as you formulate a machine automation policy that is customized to your company’s circumstances—but it’s a good idea to review the other topics that are listed to ensure that there isn’t a relevant area you might have overlooked.

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