Automation is a subject that divides opinions. Some are so irritated by it they reject the whole concept, while others offer enthusiastic visions of transparent production, limitless data flows and access to the worldwide production network. Karsten Becker, head of Corporate Engineering and System Planning at the Lägerdorf plant of Holcim (Deutschland) AG, belongs unambiguously to the enthusiasts. Together with Martin Wieczorek, who heads up the Electrical Planning group in Lägerdorf, he is working on a truly ambitious project. The aim is to pull down the barriers between process control technology and electrical engineering and allowing data to flow unhindered in both directions. The integration solution between the Engineering Base tool and the Siemens PCS 7 process control system allows all the hardware planning to be transferred to the PCS 7 by means of an export function, with the control software being generated at the touch of a button. But Becker and Wieczorek are already thinking several steps ahead: networking the planning tool with a geoinformation and a document management system to enable access to knowledge from anywhere in the plant.