Top Control Engineering articles, September 2012

The most-visited articles at during September 2012 included the following topics: mobile software applications for engineers, direct-drive rotary motors, industrial Ethernet article and webcast, best automation products, servos versus induction motors, PLC developments, danger of what you don’t know, largest system integrators, and level control, among others.


Most-read Control Engineering online articles for September 2012 at included these topics: CFE Media’s “Apps for Engineers,” direct-drive rotary motors, industrial Ethernet tips – article and webcast, Engineers’ Choice Awards, servos versus induction motors, PLC developments, danger of what you don’t know, largest system integrators, and level control optimization, among others. More about each article and links follow.


The CFE Media Apps for Engineers software is an interactive directory of approximately 60 mobile engineering-related software applications, with profiles, including AutoCAD WS, shown. Courtesy: CFE MediaApps for Engineers

Product Exclusive: CFE Media’s Apps for Engineers software is an “app of apps,” providing an interactive directory of approximately 60 mobile engineering-related software applications useful for Control Engineering, Plant Engineering, and Consulting-Specifying Engineer areas of coverage. Available for Apple iPads and tablets.


Figure 1: Direct drive rotary (DDR) torque motor cutaway shows how DDR motors transmit mechanical power in the form of torque and speed directly without the need for any power transmission elements, such as gears, belts, pulleys, or chains. Courtesy: EtelAdvances in direct drive rotary servos

Inside machines: In performance and market growth, direct-drive servo motors are outpacing conventional servo motors and gear motors. Advanced designs and new technologies can add efficiency.


Industrial switch with gigabit Ethernet cables. Courtesy: TriCore Inc.Industrial Ethernet essentials: What you need to know

Ethernet of the industrial kind requires specialty knowledge and practices, unlike Ethernet for home and office. If you are installing or operating an industrial Ethernet network, here are five need-to-know essentials about cabling, signal quality, ground loops, switches, and traffic.


Control Engineering - Engineers' Choice AwardsEngineers' Choice Awards

Control Engineering Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by Control Engineering's print and online subscribers. Survey respondents are asked to select products based on technological advancement, service to the industry, and market impact.


Servos versus induction motors: Look at performance, costs

Choosing between servos and induction motors depends on the level of performance required by the application and costs. Induction motors are simple, low-cost, and straightforward. Servos can offer higher performance, faster speeds, and smaller sizes.


Control Engineering Industrial Ethernet Best Practices Webcast – RCEP accredited

Blue Ethernet Cat 5e. Courtesy: TriCore Inc.Archived version now posted: With Q&A, about 1 hour, 25 minutes. 1 PDH available for all registrants - Join Control Engineering for a Webcast to discover best practices for industrial Ethernet implementations based on experiences of two automation system integrators. Apply these lessons learned to help your current or next application design, start-up, and implementation of industrial Ethernet provide maximum benefits and quickly as possible. An exam and certificate are available for one professional development hour (PDH), according the Registered Continuing Education Program (from the American Council of Engineering Companies).


PLC developments increase flexibility and speed - New architectures are expanding capabilities, blurring the line between programmable automation controllers and PLCs.


The danger of what you don’t know you don’t know

Think of an engineering degree as a license to learn rather than an end in itself.


Table polling the SI Giants on what their biggest corporate challenge was in 2011. Courtesy: SI Giants 2012, CFE Media

System Integrator Giants of 2012

These 100 firms represent the largest system integrators of 2012, from among 2,334 in the Control Engineering Automation Integrator Guide.


Optimizing strategy for boiler drum level control

Avoid trips and maximize steam output by reviewing your control equipment, strategy, and tuning.


Additional highly read articles online during September follow, below.


Machine Safety: Only engineers can lead the Risk Assessment process? An incremental documented process called “Risk Assessment” is required in many updated standards. And, a new standard, ANSI B11.0 – 2010, Safety of Machinery – General Requirements and Risk Assessment, is dedicated to this topic. With all this attention folks still are not clear regarding whether an engineer is essential to lead the risk assessment process.


Beyond the network firewall - Since many industrial devices are soft targets for hackers, placing smaller firewalls deeper in networks near PLCs or embedding them in such controllers is a practical way to add a higher level of protection.


Precision control of fluids, including salt brine, is part of the cheese-making process at Gunn’s Hill Artisan Cheese. Courtesy: DanfossArtisan cheese maker shares secret technology ingredient - Case Study: Gunn’s Hill Cheese uses 15 variable frequency drives (VFDs) to improve consistency and quality. In one application, the installation of a variable speed system resulted in a 50% reduction in horsepower compared to a traditional fixed speed system.


Where is all the wireless process instrumentation?

The catalog of native wireless instrumentation devices is still pretty thin. What’s holding this process back?


Top Control Engineering articles, August 2012 - The most-visited articles at during August 2012 included articles on the Mars Rover Curiosity, industrial Ethernet essentials, System Integrator Giants 2012, Engineers' Choice Awards 2012, PLC developments, simulator training helps operators, good motor decisions, level control optimization, among others.


Making good motor decisions - Correct motor sizing is critical for maximum efficiency, as is making the right rewind-versus-replace determination.


Industrial gas producer standardizes control strategy for multiple plants - Using a common integrated DCS, SCADA, and asset management platform at its hydrogen plants will help Praxair save on engineering, commissioning, and maintenance.


Evaluating a process safety system - Maybe your company bought a legacy facility, or you have moved to a different plant, but you have to determine if an existing safety system is up to snuff. Where do you start?


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

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