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Feasibility Study on Virtual Process Controllers as Basis for Future Industrial Automation Systems

Michael Gundall; Calvin Glas; Hans Dieter Schotten
In: 2021 IEEE 22nd International Conference on Industrial Technology (ICIT). IEEE International Conference on Industrial Technology (ICIT-2021), March 10-12, Valencia, Spain, IEEE, 3/2021.


Industry 4.0 offers many possibilities for creating highly efficient and flexible manufacturing. To create such advantages, highly automated and thus digitized processes and systems are required. Here, most technologies known from the office floor are basically suitable for these tasks, but cannot meet the high demands of industrial use cases. Therefore, they cannot replace industrial technologies and devices that have performed well over decades “out of the box". For this reason, many technologies known from the office floor are being investigated and adapted for industrial environments. An important task is the virtualization of process controls, as more and more devices use computation offloading, e.g. due to limited resources. In this paper we extend the work on our novel architecture that enables numerous use cases and meets industrial requirements by virtualizing process controllers. In addition, a testbed based on a factory scenario is proposed to evaluate the most important features of the presented architecture.