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This paper describes a vision for utilising service-oriented architectures (SOA) to support the lifecycle needs of automation systems in the context of agile manufacturing, i.e., engineering easily configurable manufacturing systems composed of standard components that may be remotely supported by geographically distributed engineering partners to suit changing and unpredictable business needs. The paper briefly reviews the relevant state of the art in collaborative automation systems and considers the potential of SOA to support the practical implementation of such systems, with traditional product-oriented methods replaced by more service-oriented ways of working. As the SOA paradigm holds the promise of being applicable across the entire spectrum of manufacturing systems and devices, down to sensors and actuators, the paper further addresses issues involved in discovery and orchestration of device-level services and discusses the potential benefits of using semantic Web techniques for automating service selection, invocation and composition, so as to facilitate rapid reconfiguration. This discussion is supported by a practical example of device-level SOA.