Industries and particularly the manufacturing sector have been facing difficult challenges in a context of socio-economic turbulence characterized by complexity as well as the speed of change in causal interconnections in the socio-economic environment. In order to respond to these challenges companies are forced to seek new technological and organizational solutions.
In this context two main characteristics emerge as key properties of a modern automation system – agility and distribution. Agility because systems need not only to be flexible in order to adjust to a number of a-priori defined scenarios, but rather must cope with unpredictability. Distribution in the sense that automation and business processes are becoming distributed and supported by collaborative networks.
Emerging Solutions for Future Manufacturing Systems includes the papers selected for the BASYS’04 conference, which was held in Vienna, Austria in September 2004 and sponsored by the International Federation for Information Processing (IFIP).