Control Engineering predictions for 2014

Think Again: 10 predictions follow for Control Engineering subscribers in 2014.


Ten Control Engineering predictions for 2014 follow. May Control Engineering’s 60th anniversary year propel you and your organization to new heights. This year, not necessarily in this order, more subscribers will use automation, control, and instrumentation products, software, and networks to:

1. Secure control systems and connected networks using industry based best practices, ceasing to ignore threats as if cyber security threats do not pertain to them.

2. Integrate the latest safety best practices into automation designs and culture, doing risk assessments and applying the latest local, national, and international standards to minimize risk and ensure compliance. This includes safe-speed zones when humans enter traditional high-speed robots and lower speed and inertia robots that can operate next to humans without traditional guards in many cases.

3. Optimize energy use by measuring, looking at systems (beyond just components), and applying instrumentation and human-machine interfaces to involve and educate users about energy use. Plants and other facilities will power down various processes as practical for additional savings.

4. Seek more places to apply closed loop control, finding and closing control loops that are open or set on manual, and seeking additional places that could benefit from fully automated controls, moving more analysis and optimization in-line in real time.

5. Measure more processes by applying more sensors and vision systems, connecting to smarter and faster logic devices wirelessly and with industrial Ethernet where it makes sense, communicating with actuators to close the control loop, optimizing along the way.

6. Use more mobile machine interfaces with secure web-based software, allowing tablets, smartphones, and PCs to create greater efficiencies in getting information to where it needs to be.

7. Integrate disparate systems, ensuring information flows through the supply chain, improving security and quality during the product life cycle.

8. Design for reuse. A little more time up front, separating functions in logical ways, can ensure that intellectual property is preserved and can be replicated and upgraded as needed, in automation, controls, instrumentation, networking, and human-machine interface (HMI) software.

9. Streamline processes and apply automation, including robotics, to increase throughput, boost quality, and lower overall costs. Applying the latest automation to tired processes seldom maximizes return on investment. ROI is better when applied to lean processes where all the stakeholders participate in the upgrade.

10. Read, view, learn from the global resources of Control Engineering available at to be more profitable in 2014. Think again about sharing your success stories, lessons learned, and other advice with your peers. Learn how at

- Mark T. Hoske, content manager, CFE Media, Control Engineering,

ONLINE extras

Add your Control Engineering resolutions using the comment section at the bottom of this posted article. What are you going to do in 2014, why, and what are the anticipated benefits?

See and comment on the most read articles of 2013, linked below. Do these reflect your top issues and concerns? 

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