Recent Trends in Industrial Automation

September 22, 2016
Recent Trends Shape Future of

By Bill Lydon, Editor

It is really an update to previous automation and control trends articles and expresses my ideas for 2015 and beyond. These opinions derive from an array of inputs from customers, providers and industry consultants, and from attending greater than 20 industry forums, conferences and industry events this past year. My many years of hands-on experience like a designer and applier of automation and controls within the area will also be reflected during these opinions. I invite visitors to make contact with me ( to critique and share ideas according to their perspectives.

Large Picture - Lean Automation System Architecture

When I have forecast in past trends articles, new technologies are which makes it possible and desirable to produce sleek 2-3 layer automation systems to improve performance, minimizing software maintenance costs. This can be a significant simplification from the five layer system model the automation industry continues to be dedicated to for a long time that's been typically expressed within the 5 level Purdue model.

  • Level 5 - Business Systems
  • Level 4 - Plant Level (ERP, MRP, and MES)
  • Level 3 - Operation Unit Level
  • Level 2 - Machine/Process Automation Level
  • Level 1 - Controller Level
  • Level - Sensor/Actuator Level

Within the new model, remotes/products communicate information to any or all levels from level and 1 to level 4 and 5 while using appropriate methods especially using WEB services having a major concentrate on OPC UA.

This trend is developing because computing has been driven lower into more capable remotes, intelligent products and sensors and as much as plant level computer systems. It's poised to accelerate with initiatives for example Industry 4., OPC UA, and also the Industrial Internet of products Consortium.

This normally takes time for you to develop as new and old system concepts clash and can accelerate with new innovative items.

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Enterprise Automation

The need for tight integration between your plant floor and enterprise business systems in an effort to improve manufacturing has become obvious. Within the plan of economic evolution, this is actually the next logical step of integration. Enterprise business systems (ERP, etc.) systems have typically used a load architecture that don't reflect what's happening real-amount of time in manufacturing before the product is “backflushed” to update information. This produces numerous issues that impact quality, logistics, and customer support. This disconnect is really a use profits. The function of automation systems can change as enterprise business systems evolve to real-time transaction processing, resulting in highly synchronized procedures. Some suppliers happen to be achieving this with automation remotes that directly communicate using OPC UA with enterprise business systems. You will find numerous industry standards which are being utilized to do this, including OPC, OPC UA, B2MML, ERP connects, also it database connects.

Elevated efficiency is accomplished as enterprise business and automation systems interchange real-time transaction information.

Large Data, Statistics, Optimisation Cloud

Large data is going to be utilized to evaluate and optimize automation processes and improve productivity and efficiency. The quantity of data in automation systems continues to be overflowing because we're monitoring more real-time data companies. Tools to evaluate these large large data sets are emerging from the web also it industry. Predictive maintenance is a great one of statistics getting used to calculate issues before they occur, staying away from disruptions being produced. Additionally to lowering down time, this maximizes using skilled maintenance those who are an issue. In addition, sophisticated statistics can substantially improve decision-making to enhance and refine manufacturing processes. More effective automation remotes and embedded intelligence in motor controls, analytic instruments, vision cameras, and sensors will be employed to perform local statistics and optimisation.

Cloud-computing is supplying an origin to complete more cheaper without having to be a database “guru.” The opportunity to use statistics tools like a cloud services are a thrilling chance. Early choices include Google Statistics &lifier Measurement Protocol and Microsoft AZURE Machine Learning.

Cloud statistics is a game title changer for predictive maintenance and enhancing production efficiency.


OPC UA is evolving like a major communication standard that harnesses recognized worldwide computing standards. OPC UA puts automation systems on an amount playing area using the general computing industry and allows the implementation of Digital Factory concepts and elevated production efficiency. OPC UA technology offers an efficient and secure infrastructure for communications from sensor to company for those automation systems in manufacturing, SCADA, and process control. PLCopen OPC UA function blocks, introduced in April 2014, are extensions from the IEC 61131-3 standard that encapsulate mapping from the IEC 61131-3 software model towards the OPC UA information model. The extensions give a standard method for OPC UA server-based remotes to reveal data to OPC UA clients.

OPC UA may be the only open standard for frictionless communications built on recognized computer industry standards connecting industrial software, remotes and sensors straight to enterprise business systems.

Internet of products

Since this past year, the web of products (IoT) developments and application in other industries has faster. There's a lot of value promise and hype about how exactly this can benefit industrial automation. Initiatives including Industry 4. and also the Industrial Internet are impacting on the thinking that's driving this transformation. The brand new, higher level of communications and computing at finish products is opening the options for holistic and adaptive automation with the aim of growing efficiency. This can be a logical evolution in line with the web of products (IoT) trend and can result in more responsive and efficient production. The aim of the IoT would be to provide frictionless communications and interaction from manufacturing area I/O (inputs/results) including sensors, actuators, analyzers, drives, vision, video, and robotics, to attain elevated manufacturing performance and flexibly. This revolution will drive intelligence towards the edge using the ultimate objective of all industrial products supporting IP, including area I/O.

You will find some interesting things happening, including network infrastructure the likes of 'cisco' adding application processors in Ethernet switches that may host statistics and automation remotes.

There's a lot of hype and spin online of products that with time will settle lower and supply clearness.

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