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This paper provides a comprehensive overview of long-term R&D activities of the Rockwell Automation (RA) company in the field of holonic and agent-based manufacturing control systems. It presents a coherent framework of methodologies for designing agent-based control systems, tools that support implementation and validation of them, and agent applications that were developed for various industrial systems. The common attribute is the integration of novel techniques, such as multiagent systems or semantics with the current “old-fashioned” automation architectures represented mainly by programmable logic controllers. Retaining the ability of the control system to meet the strict real-time constraints and concurrently raise its intelligence has always been of highest importance. The paper does not focus merely on RA's work, but discusses all its aspects in a context of other existing works in this area.