Automation is:

the transfer of work from man to automatic machines implemented with the help of machines, usually by advanced mechanical engineering and software techniques.

Current situation:

At factories in industrial nations, goods are largely produced by machines and the role of humans has moved from production to administration, planning, control, maintenance and services.

Many simple activities (which are perhaps also dangerous, monotonous or entail particularly onerous requirements regarding precision and speed) can be carried out by machines with the help of automation technology. And this can be much more productive and cost-effective under certain circumstances. Activities in which humans still have advantages over machines usually require a higher qualification than automated activities.

Reasons for automating:

  1. Product quality improvement
  2. Standardisation of the product quality
  3. Increasing the throughput rates or production volume
  4. Replacing modules for which spare parts are no longer available. Reduction of personnel costs
  5. Relieving human beings of strenuous physical or monotonous work
  6. Reduction of rejects (important in processes with many production steps)

Source: Wikipedia Automation