Advances in digital technologies are improving manufacturing systems dramatically. These advances, along with increased interconnectivity of devices, have launched the Industry 4.0 initiative that is concerned with how cyber physical systems and the internet of things can create adaptive, modularised, efficient, and reliable processing systems. This work presents a perspective on how equipment automation can contribute to this goal. Some of the main obstacles in the way of efficient and flexible operations are highlighted. How these may be overcome through equipment automation to form a cyber physical automation network is also presented. The effective integration of these methods can realize the vision of Industry 4.0 in the processing industry.