Automation of Industrial Processes

The rapid expansion of a huge international market requires the industrial sector to optimize production processes to achieve a greater market share and increase competitiveness. To achieve this, engineering has promoted the development of areas such as mechanics, electronics and robotics to manage and consolidate the automation of industrial processes.Automation is the implementation of intelligent systems and technologies to operate machinery and control production processes, regardless of human operation in jobs that require greater effort and represent a huge risk to the health and welfare of workers. Currently, there are three types of automation in accordance with the degree of production and needs of a certain industry:Fixed Automation:Designed for large-scale manufacturing: A specialized machine or equipment is used to produce a part of a product or the product itself, in a fixed and continuous sequence. This type of automation is ideal for producing large volumes of products that have a long-life cycle, an invariable design and a broad consumer demand. Its main limitations are the high initial cost and the lack of flexibility of the equipment to adapt.

Programmable Automation:Suitable for a smaller production volume, segmented by batches, programmable automation allows to change or reprogram the sequence of operation, by means of a software, to include the variations of the product. Among the most used equipment for this type of automation are numerical control machines, robots and programmable logic controllers.Flexible Automation:Designed for an average production level, flexible automation is the extension of programmable automation. It reduces the programming time of the equipment and allows to alternate the elaboration of two products (in series) when mixing different variables. Flexibility refers to the ability of teams to accept changes in the design and configuration of the product, thus reducing costs for companies.Advantages of Industrial Automation
Decreases manufacturing costs
Increases the efficiency of the production process.
Speeds the response to market demands.
Replaces the man with complicated industrial processes that endanger his physical integrity
Favors business competitiveness.
Improves the security of the processes and the quality of the production.

Disadvantages of Industrial Automation
Generates technological dependence
Requires a large initial investment
Lack of trained personnel to manage the equipment
Susceptibility to technological obsolescence
The resistance of the workers to the change
One of the main challenges of the implementation of automated systems in industries is to balance the work done by computerized equipment and robots with the work performed by the operators. While technology helps to optimize processes and limits human intervention, it does not replace it completely. The error is to associate industrial automation with unemployment since human presence is necessary for the management, supervision and control of complex production processes.

Building Team Confidence

Team Confidence
When a Team Has Confidence
The coaches interviewed gave several tips to look for when a team has confidence such as:
a) They are prepared for the game and they understand what needs to be done
b) The way they carry themselves, a little strut, but focused.
c) They have routines before a game that make them feel special.
d) They have a focused look in their eye.
e) They are not afraid to ask questions at practice.
f) They are likely doing well in school and in relationships.
g) At video sessions they ask questions and make notes.
h) They have success on the field and they know they have achieved success.
i) They sound like coaches at practices, games, and in the locker room when they talk to each other.
j) They reassure each other as to what they have to do in this game.

In addition the coach needs to learn to recognize the symptoms that suggest low team confidence. There are obvious symptoms which a coach can notice such as:
a) A decrease in game and practice team statistics
b) Losing streaks
c) Slumps-not performing up to their ability
d) General lethargy at practices
e) Shoulders slumped forward when they walk as a group
f) Looking at opponents and dreading the game against them
g) Talking about losing or failing before playing an opponents
h) Saying that our team is not very good
i) Lack of eye contact with others
j) Nodding their head “no” when speaking of reaching the team goal
k) Non-verbal signs that indicate a loss of confidence or faith in the team

Team Confidence Exercises
These exercises can be used at the start or finish of practices when a team is in a slump, lost a number of games in a row, are not performing as well as they have the ability to perform, or are showing symptoms of lacking confidence.

1. At the end of practice have the players on the team stand in a circle and tell the player on their left what that player did well today at practice. Make sure they look into the player’s eyes when they speak. Have the player receiving the compliment say “thank you”. Players will leave the practice felling good about themselves.

2. At the end of practice have each player tell the team what the team did well at practice today. This can be a technical or non-technical comment. For instance a player can say that the team communicated well today during the scrimmage or that they played tough defence.

3. At the end of practice have players identify one strength the team has from their perspective. The coach must make a note of some of the strengths that were pointed out and during future practices and games, reinforce these strengths. This will help the team to think more positively about their abilities because they identified those strengths. The coach must be sure to emphasize the fact that these are the strengths the team has identified. The coach needs to emphasize those strengths that they agree with so that they are sincere when they point out the team strengths.

4. In a setting away from the court have them participate as a group to create a list of strengths for each individual on the team. Give each player an index card and a sticker label for each player on the team. If there are 12 players on the team you will need 11 stickers per player. Each person writes one to three positives aspects that their teammate brings to the team, on the sticker label. The positive comments can describe the teammate’s attributes that help the team. After the team has completed this task, one teammate passes their index card around and each teammate verbally tells them the strengths they bring to the team and places the sticker label on the index card for the player. Every player does the same for this player. When each player has told the teammate their list of positive attributes the teammate has an index card filled with 11-33 positive statements about themselves. The player is told to keep the index card and refer to it whenever they doubt their contribution to the team or lose confidence.

5. If number 4 is too time consuming the coach can have the players do this at home and bring back their list of positive attributes for each teammate to the coach. The coach or manager can compile the list of attributes for each player and give it to them.

6. Have each player bring an inspirational quote, poem, or slogan for the day or week to practice and read the quote to the team. It is important that the quote has a special meaning to the player presenting it. The coach can then collect the quotes and distribute them to the players via email or paper. The coach may want to give the responsibility to each player to email the quote to each team member. If the coach puts the quotes on paper they should be placed in the players’ journals/self-esteem books for future reading.

7. Practice focus or goals

a) At the start of practice identify the focus of the practice in one to three goals.

b) At the end of practice ask the team how they did in their progress toward the identified goals.

c) For example the goal may be to improve a technical skill such as rebounding in the game of basketball. In a 10 minute scrimmage the goal may be to get 5 offensive rebounds per team and 5 defensive rebounds per team.

d) The coach can have the manager count the rebounds for each squad. At the end of practice you can put this in their team room if one is available or you can share it with the team verbally at the end of the practice session.

e) Each coach can choose their own goals and create their own list. For example the coach and team can decide that they want a goal of 20 offensive rebounds and 80% foul shooting.

f) During games there may be statistical sheets available by the league. If not the coach can have the manager or assistant keep statistics for the team.

g) In the team setting it is important to discuss team statistics and not individual statistics.

8. Recognition

a) Sincerity in recognition by the coach is key

b) If an athlete performs especially well recognition in front of the group is good. I would suggest that a player who does not play regularly or one that is not usually recognized should be recognized for good play in front of the group.

c) Recognition by the coach for the players who work hard on defence or are good passers is excellent feedback for the team. This will show the team that the coach values hard work and effort in areas where there is not a great deal of recognition. The coach may say, “great pass John, you set up the goal with that pass” or “Brian, your hard work on defence really kept us in the game. Your tackling was excellent today”

d) Remember that the high scorers and the stars get recognition publicly so you do not have to do it in front of the team. Individual recognition in private by the coach is a better way to show your recognition to the stars. For example, “Ken you are always leading with your good play and scoring. I want you to know that I appreciate your contribution to the team.”

9. Self-esteem books/journals -Allison McNeill, Canadian National women’s basketball coach

a) Write 5 things that you add to our team

b) List 10-15 things that you really like about yourself

c) List the qualities that you admire most in others

d) During the season players write something positive in each other’s books. This is done usually mid way into the season

e) The coach may say, “great pass John, you set up the goal with that pass.” or “Brian, your hard work on defence really kept us in the game. Your tackling was excellent today.”

10. In a school, club or university place the photos of the players on a bulletin board with their names under the photo so that people will know who they are. Players get confidence when they know people care about them even though they may not be the best team.

11. At practice put on 7 attackers against 5 defenders if a team has a problem scoring. This way they can achieve success easier and confidence in their offence will improve.

12. Create a highlight video of the team’s successes against great teams to show them what we can do as a team. If you do not have highlights of the current team then use former teams from the program to stress the program’s success. It is useful because they are part of a program that is larger than this particular team.

13. Talk about your team and program successes to the team. Brag about them but remember you cannot say things that are not true.

14. Have graduates of the program come back to talk to the team about their positive experiences on the team and what the program did for them and for their confidence in particular.

15. If you have a championship banner, trophy, or memorabilia bring it to the team and show them what this team has accomplished or other teams in the program have accomplished.

16. Handout motivational quotes or stories

Sharing motivational stories or quotes in a written form can be uplifting for a team. Sometimes players are feeling valued and need something tangible to read. “You are a Key Player” is one example.

You are a Kxy Playxr

Xvxn though my typxwritxr is an old modxl, it works vxry wxll-xxcxpt for onx kxy. You would think that with all thx othxr kxys functioning propxrly, onx kxy not working would hardly bx noticxd; but just onx kxy out of whack sxxms to ruin thx wholx xffort.

You may say to yoursxlf, “Wxll I’m only onx playxr. No onx will noticx if I don’t do my bxst.” But it doxs makx a diffxrxncx bxcausx to bx xffxctivx a txam nxxds activx participation by xvxry onx to thx bxst of his or hxr ability.

So thx nxxt timx you think you arx not important rxmxmbxr my old typxwritxr. You arx a kxy playxr. (Adapted from Communications Briefings, 1989)

Team Confidence Anecdotes

I am sharing a confidence story sent to me by one of my volunteer student athletic trainers who worked for me for three years. I told him that I was writing this book and this was his response……… “So, about your project………One thing that you can certainly include is how by someone giving you confidence and letting you believe that you can achieve anything, that this is enough to succeed. A great example of this is what you did to me. You gave me confidence in my abilities to be the team trainer and take care of injuries with the girls when not many people believed, when I first started especially, that I could be a contributor to any team. On days that I would say to myself that I would not be able to achieve a particular task that you had requested from me, I would stop and think that you would not ask me to do it if you didn’t believe that I could do it in the first place. That alone gave me the energy to not just do what you had asked me to do but I would try to go beyond the call of duty as well. Thanks coach and I hope I never let you down.”


One of my co-captains, Angelia Crealock in 2001 made Team Necklaces for each member of the team. She also gave me one as a souvenir. The necklaces were made of white, yellow and black beads. Attached to each necklace was the following explanation written on a card:

“12 white beads=12 members of the team

yellow beads=desire

black beads=courage

This necklace symbolizes the unity of the 12 members.

Wear the necklace to show that you believe, we as a team, can win a National Championship. To do this we must all demonstrate the desire and the courage that the beads represent.”

This is an example of a player taking ownership of the team and showing leadership to provide good team confidence. This was one more step to improved team confidence for this 2001 championship team. The team members were deeply touched and each player wore the necklace everyday, including me. I made sure that the players saw my necklace as I wore it so it could be easily seen most days. That team won the 2001 Atlantic University championship in fine style and went onto the National Championship where the team finished sixth.

Be careful what you say………it might come true

In 1978 which was my first season as coach at Dalhousie University, the women’s basketball team lost in the final by 27 points. The players had their heads hung after such a beating. I walked behind the bench and as they sat feeling dejected and said to them, “In two years the score will be reversed so keep working.” We continued to work toward becoming a championship team. In 1980 we won the Atlantic Women’s Basketball Championship by 27 points. And it was against the same team who beat us by 27 points in 1978. I quickly pointed out to our team during the celebration that I had said two years ago that this would happen. Most of them did not even remember it. However, I did and maybe it was important for me to say so that I would believe in the future of the team.

You might say that it was luck! I disagree. I believe it was planting the seed with these players so they would believe in themselves and following up by doing the necessary daily work to win the championship. This team also finished second in the Canadian University Basketball Championship that season.

Interestingly, in 1999 my Dalhousie University women’s basketball team lost in the semi-final game by 30 points to the same team we lost to by 27 in 1978 final game. After that loss I spoke to the team and said, “In two years the tables will be turned. The score will be in our favour.” In the 2001 semi-final game we beat the same team by 28 points and my basketball team went on to win the 2001 Atlantic University Basketball Championship. Is that luck again? I think not. It is showing belief in your team and doing the work to help them win the championship.