The impact of new technologies on automation and digitalization system architectures
Regardless of the advances in telecom and computing technologies, automation architectures have not changed much. While many components have advanced, their underlying architectures have largely remained the same. New system architectures for automation should be adopted that better fit with new industry operational and business challenges.
Even when new automation systems are currently using updated technology, their architectures are too vertical. Field devices, connected through a telecom infrastructure to SCADA/DCS, then tied to a historian, then connected to applications and business intelligence systems, in a sort of a totem fashion, raise problems by having diverse user interfaces, many interfaces among layers and the use of multiple databases. New architectures must be flatter, with fewer database layers and less interfaces among levels. The entire system should be based on a unified digital platform that includes most of the functionality in fewer levels. This digital platform must also be flexible enough to leverage on existing instruments, automation devices, and systems as much as possible.