Top Control Engineering articles, November 2013

The most-visited articles at www.controleng.com during November 2013 included: Control Engineering Engineers’ Choice Award Finalists, PID math, artificial intelligence tools for sensor systems, SCADA technology, automated guided vehicles, plant-to-enterprise integration, technical training advice, cyber security, and more.

12/31/2013


In Figure 5, the sensor systems make weld requirement suggestions to a weld identifier module shown here. This module evaluates suggestions and determines the optimum weld path. Suggestions will then be passed to the existing robot program generator. CourMost-read Control Engineering online articles during November 2013 at www.controleng.com included: Control Engineering Engineers’ Choice Award Finalists, PID math, artificial intelligence tools for sensor systems, SCADA technology, automated guided vehicles, plant-to-enterprise integration, technical training advice, cyber security, connecting sensors to control rooms, Ethernet for process automation, and other articles.

Because Control Engineering posts fresh content each business day, some articles posted later in the month don’t get as much time for exposure as those posted earlier. Therefore, articles are divided into two sections: Those posted during the past two months (October and November 2013) and those posted prior to October 2013. More about each article and links follow, along with links to the most-frequented Control Engineering pages during November 2013. A link to each article or page is provided.

November 2013 most-read online articles, among those posted in October and November 2013

2014 Engineers' Choice Awards – Oct. 17

Engineers' Choice Award FinalistsFINALISTS: 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. February 2014 issue will name the winners.

PID math demystified, part 3: More on derivative control – Oct. 21

Consider how a PD controller would work, without an integral function. Would you ever want to use that approach?

Artificial intelligence tools can aid sensor systems – Oct. 30

At least seven artificial intelligence (AI) tools can be useful when applied to sensor systems: knowledge-based systems, fuzzy logic, automatic knowledge acquisition, neural networks, genetic algorithms, case-based reasoning, and ambient-intelligence. See diagrams.

Selecting the right SCADA technology – Oct. 11

Modern SCADA technologies offer choices that satisfy functionality and security requirements while improving performance for remote users.

Automated guided vehicles integrate power, without batteries – Nov. 15

Automation Integrator Guide case study: SuperiorControls doubles assembly line throughput without increases in floor space or staffing by integrating battery-free automated guided vehicles (AGVs) with controls and manufacturing execution system (MES). See photo gallery of application.

Building an integration strategy – Nov. 8

Few technical barriers stand in the way of plant-to-enterprise integration today. It promises real-time data for making better decisions and optimizing production. But without a comprehensive corporate plan that sets goals and outlines results, mere connectivity is doomed to disappoint.

Maximizing the effectiveness of technical training – Nov. 5

Use current technologies to reduce training costs and improve what your students retain. The latest trend in technical training is working in virtualized environments. I have developed and delivered several sessions using this method with very positive feedback and results.

Cyber security experiment reveals threats to industrial systems – Oct. 4

A recent report shows how “honey pots” designed to look like municipal water utility networks attract many hackers. Security experts offer their analysis of the findings and suggest how they could influence your defensive strategies.

The long and short of connecting sensors to control rooms – Nov. 8

Temperature sensors, more than most other types of instrumentation, can require specialized cabling and treatment to provide accurate data.

New cyber security certification program – Nov. 8

Designed to help bridge the IT and OT divide for cyber security professionals, GICSP certification will help companies understand basic needs for security individuals. Video: Program designers explain its scope and concepts.

Using EtherNet/IP in process automation instead of fieldbus – Oct. 11

EtherNet/IP takes advantage of Ethernet commercial technologies to surpass alternative solutions.

What is FactoryTalk? – Oct. 28

This platform turns up in many places, and can do many things, but there aren’t many that really understand it. Here is a quick guide to explain the basics.

New devices offer higher density in a control cabinet. Courtesy: Phoenix ContactMore with less, fewer, and smaller – Oct. 8

The footprint of control equipment—the number of devices, physical size, and energy consumption—is getting smaller. Three companies offer observations on where technologies are headed in the server room and individual control cabinet. 

5 things to consider when selecting a safety system – Oct. 29

Performance requirements now drive the selection process. The performance based safety standards (IEC61508 and IEC61511/ISA84) have changed the way safety system selection should happen. Gone are the days of simply choosing a certified product, or selecting a preferred architecture; today’s system selection is driven by performance requirements.

Energy monitoring has a new upper limit – Oct. 12

Images and graphics in this article courtesy: Rockwell AutomationEthernet-based industrial networks can make it easier to pinpoint, and stem, energy losses. It’s time to redefine the term “monitoring” as it relates to managing energy consumption to improve industrial manufacturing. The capacity to access, integrate, and precisely analyze granular-level energy data from the production floor has increased exponentially.

Distillation columns: Product composition control – process identification models – Nov. 12

This technique can help reconnect information and actions that are separated by time. Control of the composition (purity) of one or more of the product streams is invariably critical for economic operation of the column. For precise composition control, on-stream process analyzers are often employed to measure composition of the critical product.

Most read online Control Engineering articles during October among those posted prior to September 2013

How to select a VFD – These guidelines dispel the confusion about matching variable frequency drives (VFDs) 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 (reduced 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. Often, that isn't the end of the story for the engineer.

PID math demystified, part 1

You’ve seen the equations, but have you thought about how those elements work together? Part 1: The basic concepts and proportional control.

System Integrator Giants of 2013 – The 100 firms on the System Integrator Giants list represent the largest system integrators of 2013, among the companies listed in the Control Engineering Automation Integrator Guide. In the survey, system integrator revenue is defined as automation integration services minus the cost of all off-the-shelf products: hardware, software, and equipment. The system integrators who responded to this survey provided information about engineering specialties, industries served, products integrated, associations/affiliations, and challenges from their industry.

Tuning thermal PID loops – When dealing with critical temperature applications, PID controllers are a common regulatory approach, but tuning these often requires a different strategy than other types of loops. Auto-tuning features can help if you understand them.

How to size servo motors: Advanced inertia calculations

Inside Machines: To properly select the appropriate servo motor for a motion control application, find the inertia of the load being rotated. Applications where the center of rotation is on a different axis than the center of mass can lead to some challenging inertial calculations.

PLC vs. PAC

These technologies continue to evolve, making differences harder to distinguish. Here are some thoughts on what does what, and how to choose between a PLC and a PAC for your next application.

Inside Machines: PC versus PLC: Comparing control options

To choose between a PLC or PC, analyze and compare characteristics that could differentiate the two technologies, such as operation, robustness, serviceability, hardware integration, security, safety, programming, and cost. Graphics illustrate some key considerations.

Control Engineering salary and career survey, 2013

Average annual base salary was $92,918 among respondents to the 2013 Control Engineering salary and career survey, with 70% expecting an increase and average bonus of $10,486. Best skills to get ahead are engineering skills, project management skills, communication and presentation skills, and computer skills. Other career advice follows.

PID math demystified, part 2

You’ve see the equations, but have you thought about how those elements work together? Part 2: Adding integral and derivative to the mix.

Artificial Intelligence: Fuzzy Logic Explained

Fuzzy logic for most of us: It’s not as fuzzy as you might think and has been working quietly behind the scenes for years. Fuzzy logic is a rule-based system that can rely on the practical experience of an operator, particularly useful to capture experienced operator knowledge. Here’s what you need to know.

Transformer efficiency: Minimizing transformer losses – Matching a transformer to its anticipated load is a critical aspect of reducing energy consumption.

Pages: Most popular Control Engineering pages in November follow

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Control Engineering System Integrator Hall of FameEach year, a panel of Control Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners in three categories (based on the size of the organization). Three general criteria are considered for the selection of winners: business skills, technical competence, and customer satisfaction. Winners are then inducted into our System Integrator Hall of Fame. This page was updated in December 2012 with the class of 2013. 

Integrator Guide – Search the online Automation Integrator Guide. Selecting multiple criteria will narrow your search results. Integrators wishing to apply for their own listing can do so. 

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

 



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Average salary across all job titles for plant floor management rose 3.5% to $95,446, and bonus compensation jumped to $15,162, a 4.2% increase from the 2010 level and double the 2011 total, which showed a sharp drop in bonus.

2012 Salary Survey Analysis

2012 Salary Survey Results

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