Top Control Engineering articles, May 2012

The most-visited articles at during May 2012 included articles on a video-game-like human-machine interface, process control and safety systems, data packets, VFDs, and engineering project management, among others.


Most-read Control Engineering online articles for May 2012 at included articles on video-game-like human-machine interface, process control and safety systems, data packets, VFDs, and engineering project management, getting beyond hardwired logic, and PLC upgrades, among others. More about each article and links follow. 

Video game or HMI?

Industrial HMI developers consider how video game technology can change the way operators work with control systems. Video: ABB demonstrates some interesting possibilities.

Buy or build your process control system

One DCS supplier makes the case for buying a comprehensive control system to run your process unit rather than a do-it-yourself PLC-based approach.


Control Engineering Cover, April 2012 April print and digital edition: When Can The Process Control System And Safety System Share Field Devices?When can the process control system, safety system share field devices?

An SIS and BPCS can sometimes share components, but not without careful analysis.


Back to Basics: Data packets

Putting data in packages is basic to virtually all our networking concepts.


The possibilities, limits of VFDs

The scope of product use has expanded beyond energy efficiency.



Most integrated controller and HMI packages have relatively small displays. Adding membrane push buttons allows for more functions without a touch screen, Courtesy: Maple Systems.Integrated HMI/PLC packages offer convenience, but only in the right applications

Choices of controllers that include an integrated HMI in one package are growing. These promise greater simplicity if the combination of elements works in your situation.





DMC Inc. offers Microsoft SharePoint consulting services. Courtesy: DMC Inc.Engineering project management: How Microsoft SharePoint and dashboards can help

Aggregating and sharing information from multiple sources helps motivate teams and deliver projects on time and budget, according to DMC Inc., at the CSIA Executive Conference.




Moving up from hardwired relay logic

If you’re still trying to control machine functions with relays and discrete electromechanical devices, you should be looking at the small and inexpensive PLCs available these days. Their versatility and simplicity may surprise you.



Video-enabled HMIs help manufacturers be sure that what they are producing is coming out as intended. Video also enables an accurate visual record to capture abnormalities for quality control and process refinement. Courtesy: Maple SystemsInformation systems: Adding video to your HMI

Growing demand for a more precise, accurate eye on operations—on the plant floor and in remote locations—is fueling the use of video-enabled displays. And advances in cameras, processing power, storage capacity, and connectivity are creating the perfect storm to put this technology within reach of nearly every plant.




Upgrading PLCs

Integrator Update: Why wait to replace PLCs without Ethernet communication with little memory for storing troubleshooting data, beyond their supported lifecycle? PLC upgrade advice follows.


Links to the next six most-read online articles

Your best day today: Engineers get advice on communication, leadership

Mobile workers respond to alarms, view data logs

Process control maintenance services: Inhouse or hired out?

Industrial mobility: Information where needed

Apps for Engineers - Product Exclusive

Safety control systems: Essential considerations, costs 

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

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