Advances in Industrial Automation: Historical Perspectives

Part of the Springer Handbooks book series (SHB)


Automation is a way for humans to extend the capability of their tools and machines. Self-operation by tools and machines requires four functions: Performance detection; process correction; adjustments due to disturbances; enabling the previous three functions without human intervention. Development of these functions evolved in history, and automation is the capability of causing machines to carry out a specific operation on command from external source. In chemical manufacturing and petroleum industries prior to 1940, most processing was in batch environment. The increasing demand for chemical and petroleum products by World War II and thereafter required different manufacturing setup, leading to continuous processing and efficiencies were achieved by automatic control and automation of process, flow and transfer. The increasing complexity of the control system for large plants necessitated applications of computers, which were introduced to the chemical industry in the 1960s. Automation has substituted computer-based control systems for most, if not all, control systems previously based on human-aided mechanical or pneumatic systems to the point that chemical and petroleum plant systems are now fully automatic to a very high degree. In addition, automation has replaced human effort, eliminates significant labor costs, and prevents accidents and injuries that might occur. The Purdue enterprise reference architecture (PERA) for hierarchical control structure, the hierarchy of personnel tasks, and plant operational management structure, as developed for large industrial plants, and a frameworks for automation studies are also illustrated.


Equipment Usage Petroleum Industry Petroleum Refining Process Synergy Effect Pneumatic System 
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Purdue enterprise reference architecture


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of EngineeringPurdue UniversityWest LafayetteUSA

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