Modular Plant Automation for Smart Manufacturing and Agile Operations

With the increasing adoption of Industry 4.0, industries require rapid scaling while enabling the integration of shopfloor, enterprise systems and the value network in the most efficient way. There is a growing demand for shorter product launch times, particularly in industry segments like fine chemicals, pharma/biopharma manufacturing, food & beverage, oil & gas, and energy & utilities. Although large-scale or traditional automation systems have been commonly used in the manufacturing process for decades, they lack the flexibility required to support the rapidly changing demands of the industry. The batch size can vary, and typically, a batch size of one is also targeted.

This requires a new approach to automation that provides increased flexibility and modularity to support quick changes. There is a need for a different approach towards automation that incorporates the plug-and-play concept and enables flexible integration and orchestration of processes.

Modularizing process automation solutions will enhance production operation flexibility, increase the efficiency of automation systems, enable faster time-to-market, and reduce operating costs. This requires a standard way of information exchange between vendor systems, which enhances the interoperability of control systems while having vendor neutrality.

This white paper focuses on the approach to building modular automation solutions based on NAMUR standard Module Type Package (MTP - NE 187, VDI/VDE/NAMUR 2658) specifications for the manufacturing industry that has batch operations, require rapid delivery times and customized product offerings.