Top Control Engineering articles, November 2012

The most-visited articles at during November 2012 included the following topics: Leaders Under 40, best products, mobile apps, feedback controllers, machine commissioning, System Integrator Giants, fieldbus project help, level control, project management, and lean manufacturing, among others.


Most-read Control Engineering online articles for November 2012 at included these topics: Leaders Under 40, Control Engineering Engineers’ Choice Award voting (open through December), mobile apps, feedback controllers, machine commissioning, System Integrator Giants, fieldbus project help, level control, project management, lean manufacturing, and control programming, among others. More about each article and links follow.

Leaders Under 40 - Winners

Control Engineering, Leaders Under 40Control Engineering Leaders Under 40 is a recognition program designed to identify and give recognition to young engineers who have made significant contributions toward the control engineering profession. The goal is to get more young people interested in engineering. For this recognition, we seek successful and well-rounded control-engineering-minded individuals 18 or older and under 40 years of age.

2013 Engineers' Choice Awards - Finalists

Vote now! 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. Subscribers to the North American print and digital editions are asked to select the best products based on technological advancement, service to the industry, and market impact.

Apps 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.

Feedback controllers do their best

This strip chart shows a process variable (black line) responding to a setpoint change (green line) in a case where the controller has been tuned to be particularly aggressive about eliminating slack between the two as soon as possible.

But meeting a specific performance measure is harder than it looks.

Machine commissioning: A programmer’s checklist

Inside Machines tips and tricks: Control engineers need to practice these programming tips to ensure project timeline pressure doesn’t harm the machine project.

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.

Figure 3: Function blocks enable FOUNDATION fieldbus to take a comprehensive, object-oriented approach to process control. The technology supports standard function blocks, advanced function blocks, and additional function blocks. Courtesy: Fieldbus FoundMaking fieldbus projects as painless as possible - Designing and implementing a successful—and painless—fieldbus project requires mapping out network requirements as well as understanding the plant’s information, diagnostic, and maintenance needs.

Optimizing strategy for boiler drum level control

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

Scoping automation and control projects

A decision to leverage the relatively small cost of a quality scope and solid conceptual design can create significant long term savings and achieve an optimum solution.

Successful lean manufacturing implementation: 5 fundamental jigsaw pieces

Siemens Guadalajara manufacturing plant employs approximately 700 people, and produces three-phase and one-phase motors using lean manufacturing methods. Courtesy: Siemens Industry

Implementing lean manufacturing requires participants to review job environment and satisfaction, motivate participation, demand leadership responsibility, develop new behavior patterns, and insist on lean methods and tools.

UML use cases, sequence diagrams: easily converted into executable code

Engineering and IT Insight: UML (Unified Modeling Language) is the language of software engineering, and State Models in UML are used to define internal logic. When state diagrams, use case diagrams, and sequence diagrams are combined with UML class diagrams they define a system, can be easily understood by non-programmers, and can be rapidly converted into executable code. 

Automated container handling in port terminals

Automation Integrator Guide: Motion control and automation integration challenges reside where containers are stacked. Multiple automation container terminals operate and more are in development, presenting a grand-scale motion control opportunity.

Additional highly read articles online during November follow, below.

How to select a VFD - These guidelines dispel the confusion about matching variable frequency drives (VFD) and motors to fans and pumps that are typically encountered in commercial building applications. While the motivation to increase energy efficiency could be financial (reduced energy costs) or ethical (reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with power production), it is taken for granted that VFDs are an easy way to improve energy efficiency in a motor application. And with these noble intentions in mind, the engineer will specify a VFD for his client. Oftentimes, that isn't the end of the story for the engineer.

Effective bonding, grounding: The backbone of electrical safety - Providing and maintaining an effective impedance path to ground is critical to maintain reliable, efficient, and safe operating facilities. 

Disturbance-Rejection vs. Setpoint-Tracking Controllers - Designing a feedback control loop starts with understanding its objective as well as the process’s behavior. 

When worlds collide - Does a meeting of the IT group and the controls group always have to result in a collision? Can we avoid the broken glass?

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

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