Discrete manufacturing involves the assembly of component parts to construct products that can be measured in units, such as automobiles, household appliances and computer systems.

This contrasts with process automation, which typically produces a continuous stream of product, such as chemicals, paper, foods and beverages, etc. Discrete manufacturers may use both programmable logic controllers (PLCs) and distributed control systems (DCSs) to operate and control the motors, conveyors, robots, inspection systems, and similar devices which work together to complete the manufacturing process.

APEC offers customers both proven the "building blocks" for constructing the manufacturing system, as well as the software and hardware solutions necessary for them to interact efficiently.