Changing instrumentation, building motorcycles

Re: Schneider Electric and Orange County Choppers to build hybrid motorcycle, Online news, 09/24/2009 That’s cool, but……. “As one of the premier builders of custom motorcycles, Orange County Choppers will bring an unprecedented level of expertise and creativity to showcasing our mission (of energy efficient management methodology) through their design.


Re: Schneider Electric and Orange County Choppers to build hybrid motorcycle, Online news, 09/24/2009

That’s cool, but…….

“As one of the premier builders of custom motorcycles, Orange County Choppers will bring an unprecedented level of expertise and creativity to showcasing our mission (of energy efficient management methodology) through their design.”

Please!!! Have they ever watched the show?

Mikey will short out the super duper nickel metal halide battery pack and it will burst into flames. The old man will see the fire and start swearing and throwing stuff, knocking the bench over with the fancy schmancy electric motor on it. Then Pauly will refuse to unplug the wires before he welds crap onto the frame and smoke the “Intelligent energy management system” into oblivion.

And that’s just what happens before the first commercial break.

Scott Lufkin

Dashboards vs. real-time data

Re: Enterprise software: Dashboards present more than just information, online tutorial, 08/27/2009

It seems so simple to state that 'dashboards can present real-time information from multiple systems’. The elephant in the room, however, is that those 'multiple systems’ need to be able to accommodate, record, and transact that data in real time. So in the case of Infor’s multiple ERP and supply chain products, that ability will vary wildly, with most of them unable to do most of those things in real time. Real time postings to the ledger at time of receipt? For lot controlled inventory? With the material certification detail as passed by the quality department? All in real time? Nah, with Infor those all come from different systems, if the data is even stored in a database as opposed to comment fields, document attachments, etc. Infor’s dashboard is one big stick of lipstick that covers all the pig products underneath.

Jeremy Stavit , Consultant

Changing instrumentation settings

In a newsletter article entitled “Who’s changing settings on your instrumentation?” (online news, 09/03/2009), Peter Welander noted that it’s a relatively common practice for operators to go into the plant with a hand-held interface and tweak settings on instrumentation. One vendor sales manager weighs in:

AST has seen this when quoting two product families. The AST4300 series is our standard Class I Div 2 pressure sensor and the AST4310 is a field adjustable version. The AST4310 series has zero and span potentiometers that can change the zero or span output signal. Certain customers avoid the adjustable version because of fear of field technicians and operators making unnecessary changes: “If they see somewhere they can put in a screwdriver, they are going to change it.” Some prefer to maintain control at the PLC.

Greg Montrose , AST sales manager, Mount Olive, NJ

DAQ questions

In a Soapbox editorial entitled “Factory floor visualization” (Control Engineering print edition, January 2009), the authors state that “with the capabilities of Flash technology, a Web browser can be embedded on a SCADA operator panel, thereby avoiding duplication of client HMI applications.” A reader is wondering how to apply that advice to a data acquisition system in a laboratory environment:

I am in a research environment. I need to build a distributed data acquisition system incorporating a wide variety of communication protocols. What would be the recommended base server software package? An off the shelf SCADA package? LabVIEW? The Physics community uses EPICS? There has to be something between the sensors and instruments and the web server. What is the author using? I have considered using Flash? What is the learning curve?

Christiana Grenoble , computer scientist
Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility

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