Automation Pyramid


Automation Pyramid

Integrated technologies in the industrial automation pyramid.

Since the beginnings of industry, the automation of manufacturing and production processes has constantly evolving. This evolution is made possible due to the integration of classic technologies like mechanics and electricity with other more modern ones such as electronics, computer science, communications, etc. playing a greater part day by day.

This integration of technologies is represented well by using a “Pyramid of Automation”, which includes the five technological levels which can be considered in an industrial environment. The technologies interrelate, both within each level and between the different levels by using industrial communications.



The automation pyramid provides a very visual scheme for a better understanding of how automation and control systems are integrated in an industrial plant. It is shown through a hierarchy of levels where each level has its own function and contributes to efficiency, safety and productivity in the industrial environment. Communication and data transfer between these levels are essential for the proper functioning of an industrial facility. The different levels shown in the automation pyramid are described below:


Levels of the automation pyramid

  • Imagen TicAzul Level 1 or "FIELD level"

It comprises the physical devices existing in industry such as actuators and sensors. These devices collect data on the production process and control physical actions in real time. 

  • Imagen TicAzul Level 2 or "CONTROL level"

It includes logical devices such as PCs, PLCs, PIDs, etc. As its name suggests, it is responsible for controlling and supervising operations at the field level, processing sensor data and making decisions to control actions. 

  • Imagen TicAzul Level 3 or "SUPERVISORY level"

It corresponds to control and data acquisition systems (SCADA). It is responsible for monitoring and controlling different processes and areas of an industrial facility. Graphic interfaces are used to monitor the status of the process, receive alarms and make important decisions. 

  • Imagen TicAzul Level 4 or "PLANNING level"

The manufacturing execution systems (MES) are at a higher level. It focuses on the planning of the entire industrial installation. The data collected from the previous levels are used for strategic decisions such as production scheduling or preventive maintenance. 

  • Imagen TicAzul Level 5 or "MANAGEMENT level"

The top of the pyramid is comprised of the company’s integrated management system (ERP). The decision making in which it is focused on are at a corporate level for the global management of the company.