Modular production: realize potentials with zenon

Fast facts

  • zenon supports VDI/VDE/NAMUR 2658 Standards
  • Modularization of equipment/package units in accordance with MTP standards
  • Centrally manage all MTP-compatible modules (PEAs)
  • Automatically generate the POL
  • Batch-based recipe management in accordance with ISA 88

MTP Modular Production

Fact Sheet

MTP Modular Production

95 KB

When great things are made using small parts – the potential of modular production


The rising demand for individual solutions and small batches is leading to increasingly shorter product and innovation cycles. This is a challenge facing the pharmaceutical industry and process manufacturing in particular. Conventionally structured process plants in the fields of chemistry, food, cosmetics and pharma are usually not flexible enough. They cannot efficiently manage the introduction of new products or changes to production quantities. Digitalization and modularization offer solutions to these challenges as they simplify the process. Modular production allows the overall task to be subdivided into small parts. In contrast to previous monolithic approaches, the production process is divided into individual services and standardized. Logical interconnection enables the individual modules to be connected in multiple different ways, a.k.a. plug & produce. The result is a high-performance solution for agile production that not only offers advantages for the pharmaceutical industry and process manufacturing, but will revolutionize production in many industries.





see the zenon MTP Suite in action (6 videos)

Cross-industry advantages of modular production

High innovative capacity

Modularization reduces the investment risk associated with market entry as the production capacity can be adapted to the market, thus ensuring greater competitiveness.


Reduction of production costs by 40 %*

The efficient set-up of modular plants reduces the conversion/initialization costs of a production plant. The reduced production costs make themselves felt especially when producing small batches.


50%* faster time to market

The time to market is significantly shorter in modular production as the majority of engineering takes place using prefabricated modules. These can be integrated into the process control system with minimal outlay. Scaling from the laboratory to production phase is also made much easier, thus reducing overall product development time.


Maximum flexibility

The flexibility of plant use increases considerably thanks to modularization because modular units can be re-used or easily substituted without any further outlay for engineering. The freedom from being tied into machines from particular manufacturers that zenon delivers increases flexibility still further.


*Source: ISBN: 978-3-89746-191-2 Modular Plants



Module Type Package – a paradigm shift in production

The basic requirement for consistent modularization in production is a uniform description of the information about the individual modules. Which data objects are recorded? Which services are to be executed? The description is completed in a uniform manner via the cross-industry and manufacturer independent standard “MTP” (Module Type Package). All information is provided in a standardized format, facilitating integration into a superordinate Process Orchestration Layer (zenon POL). zenon POL and the zenon Engineering Studio interlock in a fully automated manner here. All work steps are thus automated in the Engineering Studio and transferred to the Service Engine via the POL, resulting in a fully automatically generated process control system (DCS) in just a few steps.



The majority of engineering already incorporates modular engineering. Subsequently, the integration of fully automated modules into the process control system involves far less outlay for engineering. Older existing plants can be made MTP-compatible and integrated into the POL without excess programming outlay using the integrated zenon Soft Logic.


As an idea, MTP can be compared with a printer driver. The printer (a subsystem) is connected to a central computer independent of the manufacturer. The aim is to make connecting the device as simple as possible to enable it to be used without delay. The computer can easily access the services “print” or “scan”. Similarly, the POL detects the available services of the individual modules via MTPS and can access them directly. “Plug and print” becomes “plug and produce” in factory automation and process engineering – after all, digitalization can be easy even on a larger scale!



The zenon MTP Suite from COPA-DATA provides all the services you need to implement end-to-end modular production. Optimize existing production processes in your business and benefit from agile manufacturing that meets all the relevant standards.


  • The MTP Editor makes it easy to create and edit MTP files for new and legacy systems. Every single step is checked in real time to ensure the process complies with the VDI/VDE/NAMUR 2658 standard.
  • The COPA-DATA Validation Service for MTP files verifies that new MTP files are compatible – even during configuration. Once imported into the zenon MTP Suite, all files are managed in a central database. This provides operators with an overview at any time of all the MTP files in use.
  • Each MTP file is a template for a specific piece of equipment. If you have several of the same type, multiple instances can be created from the template using the service for managing process equipment assembly (PEA) instances.
  • In the Process Orchestration (POL) step, users link up the newly generated PEA instances and logically connect the equipment via drag & drop in a graphics editor. All process images, variables, basic functions for ISA 88 batch control, the OPC UA configuration, reports, alarms and audit trails are generated automatically at the push of a button.
  • With the PEA Software Suite, COPA-DATA provides operators with a local control system directly on the machine. A state-of-the-art, user-friendly HMI – including features such as ISA-88 batch control, user management and audit trails – enables operators to manage processes securely and ergonomically. The application also ensures data integrity in accordance with FDA 21 CFR Part 11 and Annex 11 of the EU GMP guidelines.
  • If legacy equipment needs to be made MTP-compatible when setting up modular production, the MTP Gateway can help. It connects the legacy systems and sends the relevant information to orchestration via OPC UA and in accordance with MTP standards. This ensures users remain manufacturer-independent and can choose the machines and software solutions that best meet their needs.





MTP – modular production with zenon by COPA-DATA


COPA-DATA has been committed to simplifying processes with digital and automation solutions for over 30 years. Today, the technology behind it has a name: MTP. We draw on our extensive experience to continuously advance the zenon software platform. 

You can rely on us to meet your modular production requirements both now and in the future. When well thought through, modularization via MTP can revolutionize the process manufacturing sector and make it competitive for the future.


Get in touch with us today to find out more about zenon.


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MTP and zenon 14




MTP and zenon - the perfect match! Start the training now




MTP Tech session 


Together with Sebastian Böse (Beckhoff), Giuseppe Menin, Bernhard Korten, and key COPA-DATA colleagues are showcasing how industrial businesses, large or small, will find the MTP concept invaluable in the ever-evolving market landscape. In turn, this delivers greater operational efficiency across all aspects of manufacturing processes.


The following session was presented at the zenonIZE23 event in Salzburg in June 2023.


Watch the video now 




MTP a Success Story

Are you curious how successfully MTP can be used in practice?


Read here how Merck modularizes its process development (Germany) and listen to Dr. Andreas Bamberg while watching the video below.

Merck modularizes its process development...

Success Story

Merck modularizes its process development (Germany)

1 MB

Plug & Produce and Modular Production by Dr. Andreas Bamberg


Seamless Digitalization from lab to production is made easy with modularity!



Dr. Andreas Bamberg (Executive Director Integrated Supply Chain at Merck) is showcasing the inherent virtues of modularity that will allow for scalability, so companies could easily increase or decrease production levels as per their demand. Leveraging the digitalization of these systems means that businesses’ tasks will become automated, resulting in a reduction of errors and increased efficiency through streamlined processes. This means that if one embraces modularity with digitalization and integrates lab-to-production operations, one can look forward to an overall efficient production process leading to higher productivity and profitability.


The session was presented at the zenonIZE23 event in Salzburg in June 2023.


Validate your MTP files for free



The Validation Service of MTP files checks the compatibility of your configured MTP file.




The certainty of your MTP files working properly 1. Click the link below
Check of 3rd party MTP files 2. Insert your mail address
Online validation according to VDI/VDE/NAMUR 2658 3. Upload the MTP file(s) you want to validate
Validation report in HTML format via e-mail 4. Get your result immediately
Free of charge service  





Our MTP Insights

Product and innovation cycles are getting shorter and shorter, thanks to an increased demand for small batches and individualized solutions.

Modular plants in life sciences: Dream or reality? 

Interested in this article? It was published in our INFORMATION UNLIMITED magazine Vol. 38.

Please find the online version here.






Improving Systems Integration in Manufacturing

Giuseppe Menin of COPA-DATA was interviewed by Innovation in Pharmaceutical Technology magazine on the subject of interoperability. 

Check out the interview here.

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