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Recently, distributed agents are increasingly adopted in automation control systems, where they are used for monitoring, data collection, fault diagnosis and control. However, existing agent platforms do not always fulfill the requirements of practical automation applications in respect of real-time properties and resource usage. Often, they offer a lot of functionality that is not necessary in automation and leads to significant overhead in respect of design effort and runtime resources. To meet the specific requirements of the automation domain, a resource-efficient agent platform was developed, which relies on established concepts of agent platforms, but modifies and supplements them accordingly. This platform is implemented in Java and in several C++ variants. This paper describes the architecture of the platform and discusses several performance issues. Results of various performance tests are presented in comparison to the established agent platform JADE. Finally, a practical use case is presented, where the platform is utilized to drive a hardware-in-the-loop emulation and testing environment.