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Communication Middleware Technologies for Industrial Distributed Control Systems: A Literature Review


Research group:

Publication Type:

Conference/Workshop Paper


International Conference on Emerging Technologies And Factory Automation






Industry 4.0 is the German vision for the future of manufacturing, where smart factories use information and communication technologies to digitise their processes to achieve improved quality, lower costs, and increased efficiency. It is likely to bring a massive change to the way control systems function today. Future distributed control systems are expected to have an increased connectivity to the Internet, in order to capitalize on new offers and research findings related to digitalization, such as cloud, big data, and machine learning. A key technology in the realization of distributed control systems is middleware, which is usually described as a reusable software layer between operating system and distributed applications. Various middleware technologies have been proposed to facilitate communication in industrial control systems and hide the heterogeneity amongst the subsystems, such as OPC UA, DDS, and RT-CORBA. These technologies can significantly simplify the system design and integration of devices despite their heterogeneity. However, each of these technologies has its own characteristics that may work better for particular applications. Selection of the best middleware for a specific application is a critical issue for system designers. In this paper, we conduct a survey on available standard middleware technologies, including OPC UA, DDS, and RT-CORBA, and show new trends for different industrial domains.


author = {Ali Balador and Niclas Ericsson and Zeinab Bakhshi },
title = {Communication Middleware Technologies for Industrial Distributed Control Systems: A Literature Review},
isbn = {978-1-5090-6505-9},
month = {September},
year = {2017},
booktitle = {International Conference on Emerging Technologies And Factory Automation},
publisher = {IEEE},
url = {}