N. Petkov. How Process Control Systems Development Supports Digital Transformation

Key Words: Digital transformation; digitalization; process industries; process automation; simulation.

Abstract. The remarkable evolution of technologies in the last decade enables producers of automaton products, software, and systems to goes further in their solutions. At the same time process industries are challenged by the continuously changing competitive environment, keeping new health and safety regulations, and developing environmental-friendly products. New business models are created, and producers need to fit to be successful in their markets. Digital transformation (DT) is the way how process industries could go further. Process automation systems takes significant part in that transformation using the latest developed technologies. Different studies and research in the automation control theory, especially in the last decades, provides us the available knowledge base for further technology improvement. Normally there is a timeline gap between the theory and the practice due to the complex mathematical models and algorithms which were difficult and expensive to be executed in a real production process. With the development of the new automation hardware, software technologies and edge devices, driven by Industry 4.0, the implementation of theory is more applicable, and the return of investment is more visible. Nowadays, the development of science and production processes go more and more hand in hand from the stage of conceptual design the products production. The leading role has the rapid development of artificial intelligence, supported by the availability of new computer technologies, computational algorithms, and programming languages. The aim of this paper is to show a difference in digital transformation of discrete and process industries. The focus is the DT of process automation using parallel examples from the automation control theory and currently available software and hardware solutions.