Advantages commonly attributed to automation include higher production rates and increased productivity, more efficient use of materials, better product quality, improved safety, shorter workweeks for labour, and reduced factory lead times. Higher output and increased productivity have been two of the biggest reasons in justifying the use of automation. Despite the claims of high quality from good workmanship by humans, automated systems typically perform the manufacturing process with less variability than human workers, resulting in greater control and consistency of product quality. Also, increased process control makes more efficient use of materials, resulting in less scrap.
Worker safety is an important reason for automating an industrial operation. Automated systems often remove workers from the workplace, thus safeguarding them against the hazards of the factory environment. In the United States the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSHA) was enacted with the national objective of making work safer and protecting the physical well-being of the worker. OSHA has had the effect of promoting the use of automation and robotics in the factory.
Another benefit of automation is the reduction in the number of hours worked on average per week by factory workers.