The Future of Automation is Coming, and the Foundational Technologies are Emerging Today

by , , | Apr 30, 2024 | Control & Safety Systems, Digital Transformation | 0 comments

For decades, or perhaps even longer, many manufacturers considered productivity and sustainability to be at odds with each other. Sustainability technologies were expensive, so they weren’t worth implementing because they would eat into profits. However, in the last few years, organizations across the globe have made a startling discovery: performance and sustainability are actually two sides of the same coin.

This dual challenge—the need and ability to increase sustainability while simultaneously improving performance—is at the heart of a new article Emerson’s Claudio Fayad and AspenTech’s Steve Williams co-authored in Efficient Plant magazine. More and more operations teams, they explain, are realizing that today they can optimize sustainability and profitability together. At the heart of this new capability is a Boundless Automation™ vision for moving data seamlessly from the field, through the edge and into the cloud to integrate flexible and powerful modeling and optimization techniques.

Unleashing collaboration

One of the reasons profitability and sustainability seemed at odds for so long is that for decades, the data from automation technologies has been siloed within the plant environment. Operations, reliability, energy use, sustainability, and even various subgroups within those categories all used their own tools and data formats. This limited the ability to create the cross-functional platforms necessary for collaboration and to tension each of these groups against each other for improved performance. Claudio and Steve explain that today companies are implementing new technology to change that paradigm,

“To develop the data-centric platform that enables self-optimizing operation, successful teams driving their digital transformations prioritize technologies that are integrated by design. Such solutions seamlessly and securely pass contextualized data to repositories, where it can be accessed by high-level analytics tools without the need for external manipulation or complex architectures for data transmission. By ensuring that easily consumable data is delivered to the right people and systems at the right time, and with full context, teams can unlock the higher-level automation driving the more flexible operation necessary to meet all their goals simultaneously.”

Such operations will unlock the flexibility of operation and seamless mobility of data necessary to leverage thousands, hundreds of thousands, or even millions of variables to make the best business decisions across the enterprise. Instead of focusing on one single critical factor—reliability, sustainability, energy use, throughput, etc.—teams will be able to look at all those factors and make higher-level decisions.

Tangible benefits

With more available data and easier, faster decision making, process manufacturers can more easily scale production up and down quickly, change out operations to shift manufacturing between products, and even scale production up and down to meet changing market needs. This flexibility will become even more critical as global calls for more sustainable manufacturing pipelines require organizations to be even more particular about the energy they use and the supply chains they rely upon from day to day. Claudio and Steve provide a compelling example in their article:

“Many plants will soon need to shift energy use strategies between fossil and renewable supplies based on availability and market price. As these needs increase, organizations will need the ability to consume and handle large amounts of both external and internal data for analysis, modeling, and optimization. Implementing these technologies with a Boundless Automation vision in mind will enable these teams not only to break free from silos, but to also move the data as quickly as possible, and with as much context as possible, to analytics on the edge, and in the enterprise cloud.”

Planning for tomorrow

While many of the most critical technologies of a Boundless Automation vision are still over the horizon, the foundational technologies to start preparing for that future are here today. Forward-thinking organizations are already working with their automation suppliers to begin implementing the next generation technologies that will help them capture competitive advantage for years to come. Steve and Claudio share some potential examples in their full article over at Efficient Plant. Read it to learn how the coming decades will be some of the most exciting in automation history!

Popular Posts



  • Todd Walden
    Public Relations, Advertising & Social Media Consultant

Featured Experts

Related Posts

Follow Us

We invite you to follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube to stay up to date on the latest news, events and innovations that will help you face and solve your toughest challenges.

Do you want to reuse or translate content?

Just post a link to the entry and send us a quick note so we can share your work. Thank you very much.

Our Global Community

Emerson Exchange 365

The opinions expressed here are the personal opinions of the authors. Content published here is not read or approved by Emerson before it is posted and does not necessarily represent the views and opinions of Emerson.

PHP Code Snippets Powered By :