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It's Time to Set Sail: The Future of Automation Has Begun

A well-established team of competent individuals often works more efficiently than a strictly hierarchical organization. If each person understands their job and the ultimate goal, central management does not have to decide everything on its own.

Efficiently automated machines and plants minimize costs, safeguard product quality and guarantee high availability for production. Break down rigid hierarchies and shift responsibilities to local components.  Decentralized automation also reduces commissioning and time-to-market while simplifying the expansion or movement of production resources. Modularize your plants and machines - this will give you new degrees of freedom in production.

Decentralized Automation: Your Benefits

Short time-to-market


  • Respond dynamically to changing requirements, even during the production phase

  • Test machinery and machine modules offline before delivery using decentralized logic

  • Rapid design phase through reuse of existing modules

Fast commissioning


  • Easy wiring thanks to IP67 components and quick connectors

  • Scale down or eliminate control cabinets altogether so that significantly less wiring is required

  • Perform Factory Acceptance Test within production by using decentralized control



Lower machine costs


  • Reduced design costs through reuse of existing modules

  • Lower personnel costs due to reduced wiring and mechanical work

  • Significant reduction in the necessary control capacities

Higher availability


  • Fewer dependencies on central control systems reduce failure risks

  • On-site machine condition monitoring allows early intervention

  • Simple and low-configuration module replacements in the event of a failure

Decentralized – The Next Evolution in Automation

Automation has been dominated by hierarchies and long decision-making paths, but the levels are becoming increasingly permeable.

You can now utilize sensors that detect machine wear, RFID tags that tell the machine whether it is correctly configured for the next step and what it has to do, or an I/O module that decides independently to operate an actuator. It is no longer possible to place the present and future of automation at the levels of the classic automation pyramid. Decentralized preprocessing reduces machine data to valuable information and thus lays the foundation for a new era of automation.

Dive Deeper with our Whitepaper "Modular Plant Concepts"

The whitepaper surveys the world of decentralized automation and shows the opportunities offered by decentralized solutions in mechanical engineering and logistics.

Three Fields of Application for Decentralized Automation


The benefit of self-diagnosis on machines and plants is that the load is relieved on communication lines to the central control system. Information is not sent to the top until an error or anomaly is detected. Modern sensors and local edge devices are able to decide for themselves when an anomaly has occurred.


  • Increased machine availability through condition monitoring
  • Simple use of status information through efficient data reduction in the field
  • Conservation of PLC and communication resources


Decentralized intelligence makes modular machine construction considerably easier. Each module operates independently and supplies adjacent modules — including the central control system, if necessary — with greatly simplified data with easy-to-use and service-oriented interfaces for control purposes. CODESYS-based IP67 field PLCs also allow modularization of the control programs. Even security applications can be wired or controlled in a decentralized way.  No control boxes are needed on the individual machine module.


  • Faster time-to-market with shorter commissioning times
  • Flexible expansion
  • Fewer errors due to pretesting of the machine modules


Decentralized identification technology allows direct communication with workpiece carriers and products — even without a database. The product tells the machine what to do. This setup offers various advantages — from production to after-sales processes.


  • Faster processes through preprocessing directly at the application
  • Complete transparency through comprehensive tracking — even without a database

Shipshape: Decentralized Automation in Practice

Turck moved toward decentralized automation at an early stage. Many customers have already discovered the benefits of decentralized solutions — here is a small selection of success stories.

IP67 Safety Concept Protects Machine Modules

A passive safety concept protects machine modules at a tier-x supplier. It results in shorter commissioning times and an improved cost structure.


Modular Conveyor System for Battery Production

IP67 PLCs control individual conveyor system modules in a decentralized way, shortening commissioning times.


Tag-Based RFID Production Tracking

The quality and safety of child seat production is monitored without a PLC via a decentralized RFID system.


IP67 PLC Controls A Cold Store Logistics System

A fully automated loading and unloading system for trucks is implemented in a decentralized solution with TBEN-L-PLC.


I/O Module with Integrated Logic Control for A Paper Press

Monitoring and displaying the fill level of a paper press is controlled by the I/O module with ARGEE logic.


Decentralized RFID Package Verification for Pharmaceutical Products

Retrofittable RFID tracking system eliminates errors from the packaging process.


Chemical Skids with Explosion-Protected Ethernet I/O System

Excom-Ethernet process modules networked with the highest packing density: Parallel data access and maximum availability.


Modular Chemical Production with Compact Interface Technology

Compact IMXK interface devices can be accommodated in small switch cabinets on process modules.


Ready to Weather Any Storm: Products for Decentralized Automation

In general, any product can be used in centralized or decentralized architectures. However, Turck has some innovative products that make decentralized solutions much easier.

CODESYS Controls

PLCs with CODESYS are ideal for modular machines since the open control software also enables modular control programs to be set up. You will also benefit from the experience and work results of the CODESYS community.

I/O Modules with Logical Control Function

All I/O modules with Turck multiprotocol Ethernet are equipped with logical control capability. The ARGEE programming interface is used to program control functions on the module — without writing program code, at no additional cost.

Safety Modules with Integrated Safety Controller

IP67 block I/Os enable safety functions to be implemented without control cabinets. Safety applications can be tested offline with their safety controller and controlled in a decentralized way during live operation.

RFID Read/Write Heads and Interfaces

Whether in a control box or directly in the field as a complete IP67 system: RFID technology can decentralize decision-making and information, contributing to greater flexibility and process security.

IO-Link Products

Turck's IO-Link portfolio is impressively comprehensive. As a full provider of both the device and the master side, Turck guarantees easy integration of the IO-Link devices into the control environment.

HMI Control Devices

HMI input systems are used if information needs to be visualized at the machine and commands need to be entered. The TX100, 500 and 700 series offer an impressive range of interfaces without extra costs for licenses of the visualization software.

Set the sails towards decentralized automation

Contact us and we will identify with you the potential of decentralized concepts for your production.

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Design industrial processes digitally, remotely control applications as required, and make use of relevant data – this is all possible at the center of the Digital Innovation Park which is constantly being updated.

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