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Emerson unveils architecture vision for "boundless automation"

Oct. 24, 2022
Software-centric architecture to democratize data and enable innovation.

Emerson today shared its vision of a new software-defined automation architecture designed to catalyze the future of modern manufacturing.

This architecture will empower companies through “boundless automation” to manage, connect and deliver operational technology (OT) and information technology (IT) data seamlessly and easily across the enterprise, per Emerson. Moving data freely and securely across OT and IT domains—from the intelligent field to the edge and cloud—will enable operational and business performance optimization across the enterprise, they claim.

Emerson shared this vision to accelerate manufacturing at its Emerson Exchange event, convening nearly 3,000 industrial experts to discuss emerging ways to optimize business and sustainability performance through advanced automation. This vision follows Emerson’s latest expansion of Plantweb with the Aspen Tech industrial software portfolio.

“The industrial sector is facing a pivotal moment, with the intersecting priorities of safety, productivity and sustainability forcing a crossroads between ‘the way things have always been done’ and the tech-powered vision of tomorrow,” said Mark Bulanda, executive president of Emerson’s automation solutions business. “As an automation leader with expanding software capabilities through our AspenTech addition, Emerson is well-positioned to help the industries we serve navigate a path to a digital future.”

The automation architecture currently used across the world’s most essential industries was purpose-built with operational data isolated from hardware and software systems, notes Emerson. This siloed approach presents a barrier to meaningful data use because separate layers of automation—including sensors and software, cloud-based applications and artificial intelligence—block data access from one layer to the next.

This software-defined, data-centric and app-enabled architecture Emerson outlined at its conference will more easily “democratize” critical data, they note. The automation architecture will gather data from devices and modern edge-based technology control systems and securely move it to today’s cloud-based enterprise for analysis, trending and forecasting, enabling tight collaboration between information technology and OT.

“Emerson has been at the forefront of industrial automation innovation breakthroughs for the past four decades, and our commitment continues,” said Peter Zornio, chief technology officer for Emerson’s automation solutions business. “The shift to a software-defined architecture across the cloud, edge and intelligent field will eliminate functional and architectural silos, creating a ‘boundless automation’ platform. Such a platform is required to truly enable all the benefits promised by digital transformation applications and programs.”