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Trends & Challenges in Industrial Automation

Historically, industrial automation was based on proprietary, vendor-specific hardware and software products and archictectures, and constraints on data access and processing power were important limiting factors. Owing to important impulses that the automation field received from other disciplines, most notably semiconductors (for communication and processing power, but also for power electronics) and computer science (software concepts, e.g., objects, components), these earlier constraints are loosing importance. At the same time, global and liberalized markets and a fast growth in electronically conducted business transactions are changing requirements and market structures in industrial automation. As a consequence, products that used to be developed and produced in small variety and large quantity can now be adapted to specific customer needs while maintaining an economically viable production. Modern industrial automation enables significantly shorter lead and production times, instant access to production- and business related information, and an integrated optimization of material, energy, labor, and capital productivity. The talk illustrates trends using recent industrial examples, and a subjective attempt is made to identfy areas of further academic and industrial research and development.

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Type of Seminar:
New Vistas
Dr. Peter Terwiesch
Director, ABB Corporate Research Ltd, Segelhof, CH-5405 Baden, Switzerland
May 29, 2000   17.15

Contact Person:

Prof. M. Morari
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Biographical Sketch:

Peter Terwiesch is managing director of ABB Corporate Research Ltd in Baden-Dättwil, Switzerland (since October 1999). His prior responsibilities include ABB-wide responsibility as a program manager for automation technology research (December 1998 - April 2000), management of the automation & information technology department at ABB's German research center (April 1997 - March 1999), as well as a number of assignments in the field of automatic control and industrial software. He received a Dr. sc. techn. degree from ETH Zürich and a diploma in electrical engineering from Karlsruhe University in 1994 and 1991, respectively.

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