What is the difference between Robotics and Automation?

Industrial automation, Robotic Process Automation; what do the terms mean? Are robotics and automation the same thing? Business owners are asking “Should I invest in automation?” and “Should I invest in robotics?” 

This article breaks down the differences between the various terms.

Automation and robotics – Do I need it?

if you are a business owner, chances are that you asked yourself the question “Is automation or robotics right for my business?” It really depends on your current business needs.

Consider these questions:

  • Are any tasks in your business currently done by human workers that are repetitive and boring?
  • Are any tasks in your business creating a bottleneck to productivity?
  • Are they physical tasks or virtual tasks?

If you can think of even one or two tasks which are repetitive or cause a bottleneck, they may be a good candidate for automation. If they are physical tasks, industrial automation or robotics could be the answer. If they are virtual tasks, a form of software automation might work.

What are automation and robotics?

The basic difference between automation and robotics can be seen in their definitions:


Automation means using computer software, machines or other technology to carry out a task which would otherwise be done by a human worker. There are many types of automation, ranging from the fully mechanical to the fully virtual, and from the very simple to the mind-blowingly complex.


Robotics is a branch of engineering which incorporates multiple disciplines to design, build, program and use robotic machines.

Do I Want Robotics or Automation?

When deciding whether to invest in automation for your business, consider the following:

  • Decide if you want to automate part of your business.
    • If the tasks or processes you want to automate are virtual, look into software automation.
    • If the tasks or processes you want to automate are physical, look into industrial automation.
  • Determine if your physical tasks or processes could be performed by a robot.
    • If so, look into robotics as a solution.
    • If not, look into other industrial automation options

In closing

Robotics and automation are here to stay. Are you ready to climb aboard and make use of this exciting technology?

For more information contact Ryan Danvers of Abacon IT on 0726012858