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The Evolution of Smart Automation Technologies: A Dive into the Automation Pyramid


Smart Automation Technologies

In today’s rapidly evolving technological landscape, Smart Automation stands out as a key driver of efficiency and productivity.

At the heart of this revolution is the Automation Pyramid, a structured representation of the different levels of automation in an industrial setting.

The Smart Automation Pyramid Levels

Smart Automation Pyramid

The Automation Pyramid is a hierarchical representation of the various automation levels in an industrial process. It comprises five distinct levels:

  1. Management (ERP): This is the topmost level, focusing on enterprise resource planning and overall business management.
  2. Planning (MES): The Manufacturing Execution System (MES) level focuses on planning and optimizing production processes.
  3. Supervisory (HMI & SCADA): This level deals with real-time data collection and monitoring of processes.
  4. Control (PLC): The Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) level is concerned with the control of manufacturing processes.
  5. Field: This is the base level, dealing with measuring, actuating, and communication tasks.

Control Level (PLC)

The PLC is an industrial computer designed specifically for controlling manufacturing processes. It connects to field equipment through I/O modules and communicates with other devices or systems using various protocols.

Interestingly, the global PLC market is dominated by a few major players.

Almost 80% of controllers are sold by the top seven companies globally, with Siemens leading the pack, boasting a 31% market share.

PLCs come with extended features like:

  • PLC Redundancy: This ensures reliability by using multiple PLCs. Types include Cold, Warm, and Hot Redundancy, with different redundancies like CPU, Power Supply, Communication, and I/O Redundancy.
  • Safety PLC/Systems: These are designed to minimize harm to equipment or people in case of specific failures. They come with special functions, instructions, and dedicated components.
Global PLC Market share Smart Automation
Examples of PLC Systems Smart Automation
Extended Features PLC

Supervisory Level (HMI & SCADA)

SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) is used for real-time data collection from remote locations and is ideal for displaying large-scale process data. On the other hand, HMIs (Human-Machine Interfaces) are supervisory systems used to monitor local machines. They can be computer-based or panel-based.

Popular SCADA systems include:

  • Wonderware Aveva: Supports various PLC brands and is suitable for both large and small industries.
  • FactoryTalk View: Ideal for advanced industrial applications.
  • CIMPLICITY SCADA: Known for its fast response and cost reduction capabilities.
  • Simatic Wincc: Offers high-performance functions for monitoring automated processes.

HMIs, especially industrial monitors, are designed to withstand harsh conditions.

They come in various sizes and interfaces, compatible with many communication protocols.

HMI Panel

Planning Level (MES)

MES software plays a crucial role in optimizing production processes by providing real-time data on equipment utilization and material levels. It can track products throughout the manufacturing process, ensuring any issues are addressed promptly. Furthermore, MES offers valuable insights that can enhance efficiency and reduce costs.

Notable MES systems include:

  • Aveva Wonderware MES: Known for performance management and enterprise integrations.
  • GE Digital: Offers IIoT services to industrial companies.
  • PLEX: Boasts features like production management and ERP integration.
  • DELMIAWORKS: Serves various manufacturing industries worldwide.
  • SIEMENS Opcenter Execution Process: Ensures top-notch quality for process-manufactured products.

Smart Automation Pyramid: leveraging technologies

In conclusion, smart automation technologies, as represented by the Automation Pyramid, are revolutionizing the industrial sector. By understanding and leveraging these technologies, industries can achieve unparalleled efficiency and productivity.

Otofacto provides adapted solutions in order to ensure an added value for its clients by enhancing production performance, maintaining the security of the industrial facilities, reducing the costs, times, risks and working in an eco-friendly environment.

Our Automation Consultants help customers implement process automation systems.

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