Industrial Automation and Control

Monitor, automatically manage, and empower human control of production processes and machines with ease.


Industrial automation helps manufacturing and other industrial organizations to streamline industrial processes, reduce costs, improve quality control, manage supply chains, and achieve energy efficiency by connecting, monitoring, and programming industrial assets. As part of Industry 4.0 trends, organizations are embracing industrial connectivity, IIoT, data collection, machine vision and machine learning, robotics, programmable logic control, and other solutions to automate production processes and meet today’s most important production goals.

Industrial automation and Industry 4.0

The fourth industrial revolution, also called Industry 4.0, has introduced a new age of automation and efficiency that’s transforming the manufacturing industry. Today’s smart factories are relying on artificial intelligence, automation equipment, SCADA software, and IIoT devices for connected and automated production processes. By embracing these efficiencies, manufacturers are reducing costs, eliminating errors, increasing efficiency, and supporting long-term innovation.

Industry 4.0 Solutions

Advantages of industrial automation

Industrial control and automation offer manufacturers the solutions they need for a true competitive advantage.

Embrace Flexible Data Collection

Collect, aggregate, and manage data to easily adjust and improve production. Take action on these insights and adjust machines and processes with simple commands to save time and money.

Increase Productivity

Use aggregated data and insights to reduce downtime and increase reliability while hitting production targets. Automation helps to eliminate errors and ensure that each run delivers maximized productivity.

Improve Quality Control

Gain visibility into quality control and information accuracy with automation tools for data aggregation, seamless communication, and real-time monitoring of production projects.

Reduce Costs

Manage the bottom line with less unscheduled downtime and better cost management, by using industrial automation to streamline production management.

Industrial Connectivity

Hierarchy of an industrial control system

An industrial control system brings together information from multiple sources into a single system for faster production, higher product quality, and lower costs. Information is integrated for industrial automation at the field level, control level, and enterprise level.

An industrial control system brings together information from multiple sources into a single system for faster production, higher product quality, and lower costs. Information is integrated for industrial automation at the field level, control level, and enterprise level.

Field Level

Field level devices include sensors or actuators that measure specific factors such as temperature or pressure and transfer that data between machines used in production.

Control Level

At the control level, controls engineers gather insights from sensors, including automation devices such as PLC, CNC, and SCADA systems to drive the production process forward.

Information or Enterprise Level

Enterprise industrial automation takes a top-level view for managing the production process based on a continuous flow of information from the factory floor to the top floor.

Types of industrial automation

Fixed or Hard Automation

Fixed automation, also called hard automation, uses permanent equipment to create a fixed assembly process. It’s often used in environments that rely on standardized machinery to complete set tasks. This type of industrial automation can have a high barrier to entry and be difficult to change. It requires a significant upfront investment. However, in structured environments with high volume production, continuous workflows, and a long-term production plan, fixed automation can yield powerful benefits.

Programmable Automation

Programmable automation systems offer an approach to manufacturing products in batches through the ability to change machine configurations and operation sequences through computerized interfaces. They are a cost-effective alternative to fixed automation systems. These solutions are often used in production settings with a low production variety and high-volume settings, where a fixed system won't work. However, changes require extensive programming which must be factored into each production change.

Flexible or Soft Automation

Flexible or soft automation systems empower your team to enter codes into a computer-controlled manufacturing environment. Instructions at each production node can trigger things such as changing tools, loading components, or transferring end products to new machines with ease. In manufacturing settings that serve a range of customers with low-to-medium production volume, flexible automation can provide the benefits of automation with a higher degree of control to support fast-changing production models.

How is industrial automation used?

From automotive factories to healthcare and beyond, industrial automation and control is helping manufacturing companies to increase efficiency, reduce cost, and streamline essential production processes. See what our industrial automotive customers are saying.

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Faurecia Improves Automotive Tracability

With 330 sites including 30 Research & Development centers in 34 countries around the world, Faurecia is a global automotive leader. Discover how industrial automation improved their supply chain traceability. Read the full story

ABB Expands and Automates Connectivity

Global power and automation leader, ABB, used KEPServerEX with its wide range of communication protocols to seamlessly develop greater connectivity and visibility for its data center customers. Read the full story

IMA Group Advances Automation for Pharma and Beyond

IMA Group’s sophisticated pharmaceutical and retail packaging solutions form an integral part of their customers’ factory lines. With advanced analytics and predictive maintenance, they created new value for pharmaceutical and other industry customers. Read the full story

Industrial control systems

A distributed control system is an integrated web of sensors, computers, and controllers that are connected through diverse communication networks. By following standard automation protocols, manufacturing companies are able to implement and achieve their production goals through systematic industrial process control planning. Using an HMI (Human Machine Interface) and object-oriented programming, organizations can empower their workforce to use industrial control systems to configure production, improve productivity, and much more.
MT Connect

MT Connect

MT Connect offers a universal language for manufacturing systems with no proprietary format that allows users to share structured, contextualized data.

MT Connect
OPC

OPC DA

OPC Data Access (OPC DA) is a communications protocol that lets programmable logic controllers (PLCs) to share data with SCADA systems.

OPC
OPC Historical Data Access

OPC HDA

OPC Historical Data Access, also known as OPC HDA, allows control systems to exchange archived and historical data.

OPC Historical Data Access
OPC UA

OPC UA

OPC Unified Architecture (OPC UA) offers open, secure, and platform-independent communication between different asset classes within industrial settings.

OPC UA

Industrial automation software

Kepware has been automating industrial operations for over 25 years. With connectivity solutions for the plant floor, boardroom, field, and beyond, Kepware industrial automation software helps you harness, control, and utilize your industrial data to improve operational performance and efficiency, reduce downtime and waste, save cost, and provide insight into all aspects of the manufacturing process.

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The future of industrial automation

Automation is a crucial investment for manufacturers and industrial organizations to stay competitive. Increasingly, leading companies rely on connectivity, flexible computer-controlled industrial automation systems, and evolving technologies to grow and meet their objectives. Establishing the foundation for automation today—from OPC communications to automation software—will help manufacturers to successfully scale and prepare for tomorrow's innovations.