Control Engineering top articles, January 2012

The most-visited articles at during January 2012 included articles on control panel safety, programming software and controller hardware, 100-ft high dancing robotic birds, articles on best products, video on system integration project management, temperature sensor best practices, and energy management tips.


Results from two questions regarding NFPA 70E standards and industrial control panels requiring their own arc flash standard.What do those interested in the control engineering topics consider important reading on the Control Engineering website? The following list of automation favorites may include articles you haven’t read yet but should. The most-visited articles at during January 2011 included control panel safety, programming software and controller hardware, 100-ft high dancing robotic birds, articles on best products, video on system integration project management from the Control Engineering System Integrator of the Year winners for 2012, temperature sensors best practices, and energy management tips.

How safe are your electrical system work practices? Survey results show many don’t always follow the rules when working on industrial control equipment. Is failure to wear required protective equipment a foolish choice or an acceptable risk? Clamor for regulatory reform among survey respondents tells the story.

Inside Machines: PC versus PLC: Comparing control options - To choose between a PLC or PC, analyze and compare characteristics that could differentiate the two technologies, such as operation, robustness, serviceability, hardware integration, security, safety, programming, and cost. Graphics illustrate some key considerations.

The Rockwell Automation RSLogix 5000 v20 programming software, in combination with scalable, right-sized control system components, allows users to scale from 200 to 10,000 I/O points using a single control platform and common user experience.

How to choose the correct programming language - What kind of applications and operations best fit which of five IEC 61131-3 programming languages? Depending on what you’re doing, relay ladder logic could be wasting significant time and effort.

Even the giant LED screen on each bird is positioned by a hydraulic cylinder to synchronize its display angle with the bird’s motion.

System Integration Case Study: 5,000 hp Robotic Birds - Giant dancing birds at a Singapore resort help define the limits of synchronized, large-scale motion control. Mega-scale robotic animatronics system guides two large steel crane structures, each weighing 80 tons and standing 100 ft tall. Four giant hydraulic power units, totaling nearly 5,000 hp, drive an elaborate 10-min. dance.

Control programming software strategies for industrial systems - Control programming strategies for industrial systems are changing because of the desire to reuse and adapt programming for a variety of controllers: PLCs, PACs, IPCs, and embedded controls. Control Engineering Poland provides answers.

2012 Engineers' Choice Award2012 Engineers' Choice finalists - Engineers' Choice Award finalists for the 2012 awards follow by category. Subscribers voted on the best products in automation, control, and instrumentation, based on technological advancement, service to the industry, and market impact. Winners and honorable mentions will be featured in the February 2012 issue.

Codes and regulations: Electrical Controls’ Dirty Little Secret: We Don’t Follow NFPA Rules - Of course safety is important, but most don’t follow NFPA 70e safety rules for working on an energized electrical panel. Risky? Yes. Unsafe? No, according to this system integrator. Perhaps industrial control panels need their own arc flash standard. (Link to related articles.)[tt_news]=59407

From left, Dave Bishop of Matrix Technologies, Rick Pierro of Superior Controls, and Lee Juckett of Mangan Inc., representing the three 2012 System Integrator of the Year Award winning firms. CFE Media video with Vance VanDoren by Peter Welander.Video: 2012 System Integrator of the Year winners - Design system integration projects for success - See tips and tricks on automation and control system integration project management: Advice from the 2012 System Integrator of the Year winners. See related videos.

Figure 1: Flow around a thermowell Courtesy: ABB

Back to Basics: Thermowell protection - Thermowells, while protecting temperature sensors from a process fluid, can undergo tremendous stresses. A new standard is designed to lower risk of failures.

Better energy managment - Cascade Energy

Eight steps to better refrigeration energy management - Energy management starts with leadership, clear goals, accountability, and measurable results.

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- Compiled by Mark T. Hoske, CFE Media, Control Engineering,

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