The evolution of control architectures for automated manufacturing systems

D. M. Dilts, N. P. Boyd, H. H. Whorms

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

292 Scopus citations


While there have been several control architectures proposed, a framework that identifies the relationships between such architectures has been missing. The purpose of this paper is to trace the evolution of control structures for automated manufacturing systems (AMS), identify the relationships between the architectures, and identify key design decisions that are affected by each type of control structure. AMS control architectures are defined, as are their importance as a critical design decision for automated manufacturing systems. The demands that automated manufacturing make upon a control architecture are discussed. Subsequently the four basic control architectures representing an evolution of design are presented. The characteristics, advantages, and disadvantages of each of the basic forms are reviewed. Examples are presented to highlight these attributes. The paper concludes with projections on possible future directions of control architectures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)79-93
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Manufacturing Systems
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1991
Externally publishedYes


  • Control Architectures
  • Heterarchical Control
  • Hierarchical Control

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering

Cite this