September 2020

Trends and Resources

Business Trends: Autonomous operations in process manufacturing—Part 1

Progress in the driverless car segment has served to illuminate one of the major future goals in industrial and process manufacturing: autonomous operations in process plants—in other words, the autonomous plant. While AO for process plants has received interest from the process automation and control industry, limited serious discussion has taken place in the process operations and IT domains.

Agnihotri, R., IBM Corp.

Progress in the driverless car segment has served to illuminate one of the major future goals in industrial and process manufacturing: autonomous operations (AO) in process plants—in other words, the autonomous plant (AP). While AO for process plants has received interest from the process automation and control industry,1,2,3 limited serious discussion has taken place in the process operations and information technology (IT) domains. Conversely, the combination of manufacturing imperatives with intelligent process workflows, along with the latest IT technologies4—artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), the cloud, digital technologies (Industry 4.0), edge computing and 5G—

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