Automation software architectures in automated production systems: an industrial case study in the packaging machine industry

Eva Maria Neumann, Birgit Vogel-Heuser, Juliane Fischer, Sebastian Diehm, Michael Schwarz, Tobias Englert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


In the era of Industry 4.0, advances in production engineering are driven by modern machines and equipment, whose evolution depends primarily on software nowadays. These machines are combined in automated Production Systems (aPS), whose software is characterized by high complexity, long lifetimes, and strong coupling of mechatronic disciplines. The development of modular, flexible software architectures that adapt to company- and process-specific boundary conditions is an essential prerequisite for companies to compete globally. While there are many approaches in computer science, a clear definition of control software architecture in aPS and systematic approaches to analyze company-specific software architectures and the underlying design decisions are still missing. This gap is addressed by defining control software architecture in aPS, including architectural views to address the heterogeneity of influencing factors on control software. To enable a systematic architecture analysis, templates are defined for visualizing design decisions to derive concrete recommendations to support practitioners in improving software. An in-depth interview study in three renowned companies from packaging machinery confirmed the benefit of the proposed architecture analysis to systematically identify optimization potentials and concrete starting points for the implementation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)847-856
Number of pages10
JournalProduction Engineering
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2022


  • Automated Production Systems
  • Automation software architecture
  • Design decisions
  • IEC 61131-3


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