Trends in control and automation show an increase in data processing and communication in embedded automation controllers. The eXtensible Markup Language (XML) is emerging as a dominant data syntax, fostering interoperability, yet little is still known about how to provide predictable real-time performance in XML processing, as required in the domain of industrial automation. This paper presents an XML processor that is designed with such real-time performance in mind. The publication attempts to disclose insight gained in applying techniques such as object pooling and reuse, and other methods targeted at avoiding dynamic memory allocation and its consequent memory fragmentation. Benchmarking tests are reported in order to illustrate the benefits of the approach.