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During the development of advanced manufacturing systems and industrial automation equipments, the developer has to consider a lot of Control Applications (CA). There are always growing need, for manufacturers to improve their capacity and flexibility to quickly respond to market requirements by designing novel CAs, modifying legacy ones and integrating them together. In the paper, Distributed Control Application Platform (DCAP) is presented as a control platform for developing CAs of advanced manufacturing systems. The DCAP can collect data over a heterogeneous control network from any device. The DCAP can then control, monitor and optimize the operations of the systems, whether for large and complex plants or for simple and single-user devices. The DCAP provides a software framework and tools to develop and deploy CAs for complex manufacturing systems. With the help of the DCAP, it is easy and fast to build complex control systems. A modular robot based manufacturing work cell system is adopted as a case study and the DCAP is used to develop CAs for the system.