Control, Automation and Digitalization: An Industrialist’s Perspective

Peter Terwiesch

08:30 - 09:30 | Wednesday 22 August 2018 | Grand Ball+Amalienborg



Closing loops has been a key paradigm in automatic control for a long time, enabling better and more consistent performance of the underlying processes around which control loops were closed. Control was one of several enablers for the first three industrial revolutions. During most time since the introduction of digital technologies for closed-loop control, memory, processing power and communication bandwidth limitations were the active constraints towards the application of advanced control concepts in industry. During the last two decades, the continued advances in underlying information technologies delivered by "Moore's law" have gradually lifted those constraints, except for the most complex control problems. Today, efforts related to process modelling and control engineering are increasingly the active constraints that limit further progress. Automation continues to evolve, from originally isolated applications to today's typically connected ones, towards more collaborative and, ultimately, more autonomous operations. Latest with the declaration of a "Fourth Industrial Revolution" since 2012, work has been intensified on deploying new sensing and information technologies towards closing new loops. Beyond traditional variables, such as throughput or product quality, availability and performance of the production assets are being added to the consideration., Self-configuration, mass customization and, more generally, the automation of knowledge work are declared as objectives. Information is combined across the traditionally separate operations and enterprise/IT domains and different sensors, models, and algorithms are required to extend close-loop control concepts to a much broader domain. This presentation aims at presenting a snapshot of this development from an industrial perspective, using current industrial application examples to identify both actual progress and areas for further research and development.