Trends in Automation

Part of the Springer Handbooks book series (SHB)


The present chapter addresses automation as a major means for gaining and sustaining productivity advantages. Typical market environment factors for plant and mill operators are identified, and the analysis of current technology trends allows us to derive drivers for the automation industry.

A section on current trends takes a closer look at various aspects of integration and optimization. Integrating process and automation, safety equipment, but also information and engineering processes is analyzed for its benefit for owners during the lifecycle of an installation. Optimizing the operation through advanced control and plant asset monitoring to improve the plant performance is then presented as another trend that is currently being observed. The section covers system integration technologies such as IEC61850, wireless communication, fieldbuses, or plant data management. Apart from runtime system interoperability, the section also covers challenges in engineering integrated systems.

The section on the outlook into future trends addresses the issue of managing increased complexity in automation systems, takes a closer look at future control schemes, and takes an overall view on automation lifecycle planning.

Any work on prediction of the future is based on an extrapolation of current trends, and estimations of their future development. In this chapter we will therefore have a look at the trends that drive the automation industry and identify those developments that are in line with these drivers.

Like in all other areas of the industry, the future of automation is driven by market requirements on one hand and technology capabilities on the other hand. Both have undergone significant changes in recent years, and continue to do so.

In the business environment, globalization has led to increased worldwide competition. It is not only Western companies that use offshore production to lower their cost; it is more and more also companies from upcoming regions such as China and India that go global and increase competition. The constant strive for increased productivity is inherent to all successful players in the market.

In this environment, automation technology benefits from the rapid developments in the information technology (IT) industry. Whereas some 15 years ago automation technology was mostly proprietary, today it builds on technology that is being applied in other fields. Boundaries that have clearly been defined due to the incompatibility of technologies are now fully transparent and allow the integration of various requirements throughout the value chain. Field-level data is distributed throughout the various networks that control a plant, both physically and economically, and can be used for analysis and optimization.

To achieve the desired return, companies need to exploit all possibilities to further improve their production or services. This affects all automation levels from field to enterprise optimization, all lifecycle stages from plant erection to dismantling, and all value chain steps from procurement to service.

In all steps, on all levels, automation may play a prominent role to optimize processes.


Automation System Model Predictive Control Information Integration International Electrotechnical Commission Distribute Control System 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.





American National Standards Institute


computer aided engineering exchange


component object model


distributed control system


disturbance control standard


engineering, procurement, and contsruction


global system for mobile communication


highway addressable remote transducer






instructional design


International Electrotechnical Commission


information technology


multi-input multi-output


mean time between failure


mean time to repair


overall equipment effectiveness


personal computer


proportional, integral, and derivative


programmable logic controller


radiofrequency identification


safety integrity level


short message service


extensible mark-up language


  1. 8.1.
    S. Behrendt, et al.: Integrierte Technologie-Roadmap Automation 2015+, ZVEI Automation (2006), in GermanGoogle Scholar
  2. 8.2.
    T. Hoernfeldt, A. Vollmer, A. Kroll: Industrial IT for Cold Rolling Mills: The next generation of Automation Systems and Solutions, IFAC Workshop New Technol. Autom. Metall. Ind. (Shanghai 2003)Google Scholar
  3. 8.3.
    IEC 61508, Functional safety of electrical/electronic/programmable electronic safety-related systemsGoogle Scholar
  4. 8.4.
    IEC 61850, Communication networks and systems in substationsGoogle Scholar
  5. 8.5.
    R. Zurawski: The Industrial Information Technology Handbook (CRC, Boca Raton 2005)Google Scholar
  6. 8.6.
    IEC 61158, Industrial communication networks – Fieldbus specificationsGoogle Scholar
  7. 8.7.
    C. Brunner, K. Schwarz: Beyond substations – Use of IEC 61850 beyond substations, Praxis Profiline – IEC 61850 (April 2007)Google Scholar
  8. 8.8.
    K. Schwarz: Impact of IEC 61850 on system engineering, tools peopleware, and the role of the system integrator (2007)
  9. 8.9.
    ARC Analysts: The top automation trends and technologies for 2008, ARC Strategies (2007)Google Scholar
  10. 8.10.
    G. Hale: People Power, InTech 01/08 (2208)Google Scholar
  11. 8.11.
    M. Naedele: Addressing IT Security for Critical Control Systems, 40th Hawaii Int. Conf. Syst. Sci. (HICSS-40) (Hawaii 2007)Google Scholar
  12. 8.12.
    E.F. Policastro: A Big Pill to Swallow, InTech 04/07 (2007) p. 16Google Scholar
  13. 8.13.
    Center for intelligent maintenance systems,

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.ABB Ltd.ZurichSwitzerland
  2. 2.ABB Corporate ResearchBadenSwitzerland

Personalised recommendations