2011 POY Finalists: Automation and Control
Finalists in Automation and Control in Plant Engineering’s 2011 Product of the Year competition
The Web-Mon Enterprise Edition is an Internet-enabled energy monitoring platform that provides real-time and historical energy data via any Web browser without add-on software or extra programming. Web-Mon affords multiple users access to key energy data and usage patterns critical in today’s energy-intensive environments. The ability to view usage on demand either on-site or remotely allows energy managers and others to easily stay on top of energy conservation programs, green building initiatives, or overall efficiency analysis. Other features include Modbus TCP/IP communications and internal memory that stores up to 36 days of 15-min interval data.
The GXM radio enables OEMs to use existing designs in international markets where 900 MHz spectrum is unavailable. It is also designed for places where space is limited. Other features include 500-mW maximum output power with an optional 100-mW limit for compliance requirements and LED support with an optional 24-pin connector. The GXM radio can also operate as a master, slave, repeater, or slave/repeater. The GXM is compliant with FCC, IC, ETSI, and UL Class 1 Division 2, making it suitable for a wide variety of users, especially industries that use SCADA applications.
The PosiTrack PCV Data Matrix Positioning System is a 2-D camera-based position feedback system that uses data matrix technology to solve numerous linear feedback applications common to automated storage and retrieval systems, overhead monorails, lifts, and rotary turntables. The PosiTrack PCV system is capable of fast read speeds to 41 ft/s, and the high data density of the 2-D code square allows continuous reading over distances up to 6 miles. Thin strips of adhesive-backed data matrix codes placed along a carrier’s travel path continuously update its movement with +/- 0.1 mm resolution.
The Valueline industrial PC product range now includes the VL BPC Mini, a miniature embedded box PC. The Mini BPC family employs a fan-less design in a compact, DIN rail-mountable package. It has high shock and vibration ratings, making it suitable for rugged applications. Interfaces include six USB 2.0 ports, one VGA port, and one RS-232/422/485 port. Two gigabit Ethernet ports are available, as well as a CompactFlash slot and digital I/O. In addition, it can accommodate SD cards up to 2 GB in size for additional data storage.
PlantPAx Process Automation System is an integrated control and information solution that helps manufacturers achieve plantwide optimization in several industries. PlantPAx System Release 2.0 adds new features for high availability, device integration and asset management, design productivity, batch and sequencing control, and operations productivity. The program helps OEMs and skid builders serving process industries to reduce overall costs and minimize their time to market while simplifying the integration of their equipment into the process system. New capabilities include EtherNet/IP network support for redundant systems and Device Level Ring network topology.
The turbomachinery control (TMC) package incorporates standard, commercial, off-the-shelf control, and visualization technology for fast installation and troubleshooting. The single-valve steam turbine governor solution is preconfigured with proven TMC control algorithms and offers extensive communication and diagnostic capabilities for improved uptime. With the alarm-management capabilities, operators can identify specific hardware and sequencing failures to solve downtime challenges more quickly than with traditional solutions. The TMC integrates into existing control infrastructures for easier expansion with fewer control components. The single-valve steam turbine governor solution features a graphical interface to provide comprehensive diagnostics and trending capabilities.
The Allen-Bradley ControlLogix 5570 series programmable automation controllers are ideal for improving production rates, boosting overall equipment effectiveness, and providing more timely data for improved decision-making capabilities in process, discrete, and motion applications. Enhanced memory and process capabilities in the PACs help enable seamless integration with motion drives, supporting up to 100 axes for high-performance-motion synchronization. 5570 series controllers are equipped with a 1 GB secure, digital card and USB port to provide improved data integrity with faster reads and writes, and an on-board display that provides enhanced controller diagnostics and run-time information.
The Allen-Bradley PanelView Plus 6 human machine interface terminal was designed for large-scale applications where there is a need to monitor, control and display information graphically, and quickly understand that information. This version of the HMI features several new features including more memory for significantly faster refresh rates and more on-device storage. The HMI includes the latest FactoryTalk View Machine Edition and FactoryTalk ViewPoint software running on the Windows CE 6.0 operating system, which provides new time-saving design enhancements, including a new extensive graphics library, enhanced color animation capability and access to a multi-language font library.
The Harmony XB5R is a battery-less push button that offers freedom and mobility for plant personnel by eliminating wires. This functionality becomes invaluable in industrial environments where personnel and equipment rarely stay stationary, such as conveyance machines in automotive, mining, and logistics applications and palletizers. Features include wireless signals that can be passed through doors, walls, and floors. The operator can remotely control machines at a distance of up to 25 m. Equipment operators have the added option to send a one-time radio message to one or multiple receivers, or sync up to 32 push buttons with one receiver.
The Totally Integrated Automation Portal is a software engineering framework that enables users to develop and commission automation systems quickly and intuitively, eliminating traditional time-consuming and costly integration of separate software packages. The TIA Portal is suitable for both first-time users and experienced users. The design of TIA Portal is based on advanced object-oriented software architecture and centralized data management, providing data consistency by automatically avoiding data entry errors. Users can find data and program blocks across the entire automation project using a project-wide cross-reference system, which reduces the time to troubleshoot and debug a typical software project.
Levalign Expert is designed to measure the flatness and straightness of machine bases and foundations, split machine casings, as well as flatness and parallelism of circular, rectangular, and odd-shaped flanges. The system consists of a self-leveling motorized rotating laser and a sensor that interfaces wirelessly with a geometric measurement computer. The surface of the measured component is displayed in full color 3-D graphics for accurate evaluation. Features like InfiniSplice allow measurement files to be merged and let the rotating laser reposition to another location during measurement to overcome obstructions.
Annual Salary Survey
After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.
The respondents to the 2014 Plant Engineering Salary Survey come from throughout the U.S. and serve a variety of industries, but they are uniform in their optimism about manufacturing. This year’s survey found 79% consider manufacturing a secure career. That’s up from 75% in 2013 and significantly higher than the 63% figure when Plant Engineering first started asking that question a decade ago.