Next generation of industrial automation: Concepts and architecture of a component-based control system

Teemu Tommila, Juhani Hirvonen, Lauri Jaakkola, Jyrki Peltoniemi, Jukka Peltola, Seppo Sierla, Kari Koskinen

Research output: Book/ReportReport


Recent trends in automation are characterised by geographical distribution and functional integration. On the technical level, the goal is to easily connect devices and software components from different vendors. Functionally, there is a need for interoperability of control functions on different hierarchical levels ranging from field equipment to process control, operations management and various Internet-based service applications. This research report discusses current technological trends and outlines a new, component-based control system platform that supports the reuse of both system and application software. The working hypothesis is that next generation control systems will be a combination of new information technology and the domain-specific concepts found in process automation. The application area is industrial automation, including both process industries (continuous and batch) and discrete manufacturing. In addition, similar applications in other areas, such as environmental monitoring or distributed energy production, have been kept in mind. As this report is an outcome of a research project, the focus lies on concepts and system architectures rather than on hardware issues. To make it more useful however, also selected new implementation technologies have been described. The discussion starts from business and technological trends and their implied requirements for future control systems. Then we introduce the conceptual model of a component-based control platform. Only general ideas of their implementation are given. Based on these concepts, the application needs and middleware architectures related to local-area distribution are analysed. Also a review of a few Ethernet-based communication standards is included. Next, the domain is extended to geographically distributed applications. This emphasises the role of remote monitoring, data-acquisition, and business-level services. In terms of implementation technology, service-oriented architectures and communication over public networks become more important. This report also describes a prototype implementation that was developed to clarify the suggested concepts and to evaluate some technical solutions. The final section sums up the key findings and lists areas that would need further research.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationEspoo
PublisherVTT Technical Research Centre of Finland
Number of pages104
ISBN (Electronic)951-38-6727-7
ISBN (Print)951-38-6726-9
Publication statusPublished - 2005
MoE publication typeD4 Published development or research report or study

Publication series

SeriesVTT Tiedotteita - Meddelanden - Research Notes


  • industrial automation
  • control architecture
  • component-based control systems
  • local-area distribution services
  • information technology
  • domain-specific concepts
  • process automation
  • discrete manufacturing
  • systems architecture
  • implementation


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