Applying flexibility, safety, and control

Learning how flexible and configurable I/O can be applied to more than safety systems could open many doors regarding how engineers approach automation and control projects.


The cover story in this issue of AppliedAutomation is as much about I/O as it is about safety. While safety systems are fundamental to critical processes and operations, extrapolating the implications of how flexible and configurable I/O can be applied to more than safety systems could open many doors regarding how engineers approach automation and control projects.

This issue also includes a case study about a safety system upgrade at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory at Stanford University. Although the lab’s original 1940s-era relay-based system was functional, it had exceeded its useful life span. The lab upgraded its relay-based safety system with a new control and safety platform based on a safety PLC, which includes a safety controller and distributed safety I/O. The new system provides SLAC with preventive maintenance alerts and diagnostic capabilities that were not possible with the relay-based system.

The third article revisits temperature control. Tuning PID control loops can be challenging, and this article offers guidance on proper loop tuning. While most modern temperature controllers employ auto-tune features, units from different manufacturers may not behave the same way. Because control loops are in fact closed loops, tuning is inherently application dependent. The quest for ideal tuning assumes that the system is properly designed. Because the physical environment is part of the loop, the available Btus must be appropriate for the load. As the authors state, “The system is tuned well when it heats up and settles quickly at setpoint and when the temperature settles at a new setpoint without oscillating excessively.” The authors also point out that “quickly” and “excessively” are relative terms. 

See links for ways to manage process safety.

No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2013 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
A cool solution: Collaboration, chemistry leads to foundry coat product development; See the 2015 Product of the Year Finalists
Raising the standard: What's new with NFPA 70E; A global view of manufacturing; Maintenance data; Fit bearings properly
Sister act: Building on their father's legacy, a new generation moves Bales Metal Surface Solutions forward; Meet the 2015 Engineering Leaders Under 40
Cyber security cost-efficient for industrial control systems; Extracting full value from operational data; Managing cyber security risks
Drilling for Big Data: Managing the flow of information; Big data drilldown series: Challenge and opportunity; OT to IT: Creating a circle of improvement; Industry loses best workers, again
Pipeline vulnerabilities? Securing hydrocarbon transit; Predictive analytics hit the mainstream; Dirty pipelines decrease flow, production—pig your line; Ensuring pipeline physical and cyber security
Upgrading secondary control systems; Keeping enclosures conditioned; Diagnostics increase equipment uptime; Mechatronics simplifies machine design
Designing positive-energy buildings; Ensuring power quality; Complying with NFPA 110; Minimizing arc flash hazards
Building high availability into industrial computers; Of key metrics and myth busting; The truth about five common VFD myths

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.

Read more: 2014 Salary Survey: Confidence rises amid the challenges

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.