Process manufacturing is one of the supreme disciplines for planning corporate resources. In hardly any other industry are more plants, equipment, locations, process steps, raw materials, shareholders and systems networked. At the same time, the time-to-market phase is becoming shorter and shorter, regulations are becoming stricter and customer requirements for delivery times and individual recipes are becoming ever higher. Companies in the process industry are therefore challenged more than almost any other industry to invest in the automation of their production and the digitalisation of their processes.
Whether in the pharmaceutical, chemical, food or cosmetics industries - modularity is the order of the day for process manufacturers. Under these conditions, centralised process control systems, in which all actuators and sensors of process automation converge, are just as outmoded as immobile, monolithic ERP systems. Lengthy adaptation and testing phases of new plants, process steps and software applications force companies to run behind the market dynamics instead of helping to shape them.