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What are the Different Types of Automated Machines?

By J. Airman
Updated May 17, 2024
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The world of automated machines is vast and contains a wide variety of machines and functions, but these machines are typically divided into two major categories: those for consumers and those designed for businesses like retail, health care, and industry. Essentially, an automated machine is a machine unit that performs a function, and often multiple functions, with little or no assistance from a human. Types of automated machines used by consumers include machines for food preparation, transportation, or work. In manufacturing and retail, automated machines can create a product, transport personnel, or vend the product to the customer, usually without the help of a person. Sometimes, a machine used by a business to vend is also used by a customer to buy a product.

Many people deal with an automated teller machine (ATM) to handle everyday banking transactions and get cash. Another of the most common automated machines found in homes is a coffee maker. Bread makers, electric staplers, and copy machines are all machines that automate processes used frequently in daily life. Food vendors and customers alike can benefit from the use of these machines; whenever a person gets a snack from a vending machine, uses the whipped coffee machine at the local convenience store, or fills his own drink at a soda fountain in a fast food restaurant, he is using one.

In manufacturing, automated machines can be used for creating and assembling parts, processing materials, and packaging products for delivery. Many large factories use nearly fully automated systems that receive raw material on the input end and output a packaged product at the end of the production line. Automated machines can also load trucks with the packaged product for delivery to the customer. Most grocery-store packaged snacks are made using a fully automated factory process, yielding snacks that a human hand may have never touched.

In addition to its applications facilitating retail convenience and more efficient manufacturing, automated machinery can also be used to save lives and help people heal. In the hospital, a patient might be on an automated breathing machine to help her breathe. An automated dialysis machine cleans a kidney patient's blood. Some x-ray technicians use automated x-ray machines that rotate and move to provide a reliable x-ray image for the doctor to use in diagnosis. A chiropractor might use an automated massage machine to help relax patients' muscles before providing chiropractic treatment.

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Discussion Comments

By lovealot — On Jul 22, 2011

@whiteplane - I liked your post. I knew that engineers were working on robotics for many of the industrial jobs, but I didn't know that they have actually been put to work.

It's amazing what they can do - sort pancakes, access the size and pick them up at a super speed!

I'm sure they will be engineered to perform tasks beyond our belief in just a few years.

Eventually automated robots will put people out of work. I hope there will be other kinds of jobs for them.

By backdraft — On Jul 21, 2011

I have a particularly complicated coffee maker but I love all the extra features. My coffee maker has a grinder built into it. It also has an alarm clock. You set a presepcified time and a few minutes before that it grinds the coffee and begins to brew it. When you wake up you have a fresh hot cup of coffee waiting for you. I have no idea how the technology works but I'm sure glad it works so well. I'm not sure I could get up in the morning without the help of my fancy coffee maker.

By live2shop — On Jul 20, 2011

Machines owned by consumers are doing a multitude of tasks for us in our homes. It's hard to pick out just a few that have really made things easier. One that comes to mind is the sewing machine.

Not too much more than 100 years ago, most of the sewing was done by hand. Since the first sewing machines, a seamstress can do all sorts of tasks with the newer machines.

Just program the machine for a fancy quilting stitch and it will do it.

There are many more automated machines for the consumer - some big ones are the computer, ATM machines, ice cream makers, vacuum cleaners that scoot across the floor on their own, automated thermostat, and many many more.

By whiteplane — On Jul 20, 2011

A good friend of mine works in industrial robotics and he essentially spends all of his time designing automated machines. For the last year he has been working on a robot that was commissioned by the military. You are probably thinking of some robot soldier but you couldn't be more wrong. The robot will be used to evaluate and sort frozen pancakes at an incredible speed.

They have a working prototype and my friend showed me a video of it in action. It kind of looks like a spider with multiple arms ending in suction cups. Each one of the arms has a camera which scans pancakes traveling by on a conveyor belt. If the pancakes are the correct size and shape it picks them up with a suction cup and places them in a bin. It can pick up 300 pancakes a minute.

It is really an incredible machine to watch an there is a lot of engineering, coding and machining that goes in to making a device with such a mundane function. Automated machines are really incredible pieces of technology.

By starrynight — On Jul 19, 2011

@indemnifyme - That does sound awkward. What a nosy teller!

My favorite type of automated machine has to be the coffee maker. My office has one of those gourmet coffee makers that makes a delicious cup of coffee with just the touch of a button. I drink a cup of French vanilla coffee almost every afternoon!

By indemnifyme — On Jul 19, 2011

I think the ATM is one of the best inventions! I especially like using them to make deposits.

I used to be a waitress, so I would always have a lot of small bills to deposit. Sometimes it got really awkward making conversation with the teller every time I went to make a deposit. "Oh wow, that's a lot of ones!" the teller would say. Then I would explain that I was a waitress. Every single time this would happen!

Finally someone told me I could use the ATM to make deposits and I never looked back. Even now that I get paid on a check I still use the ATM!

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