Jack Smith, Managing Editor


Workforce Development December 16, 2009

2009 Top Plant: Siemens Industry Inc., Norwood, OH

Keith Lang has a clear view of everything that goes on today from his command center at Siemens Industry Inc.’s Norwood, OH plant. He also has a clear view of the plant’s history. As operations manager, Lang can monitor production and systems from his office. It’s the same office where, more than a century ago, George Bullock managed what was then the Bullock Electric Manufact...

By Jack Smith, Managing Editor
Motors & Drives July 1, 2009

Soft starter technology matches profiles, loads

GE Consumer & Industrial (www.geelectrical.com) announced its latest soft starter. The ASTAT XT soft starter is designed to reduce mechanical wear and tear, and lower peak energy charges associated with motor loads for pumps, fans, compressors, material handling, blowers, chillers, conveyors and machine tools.

By Jack Smith, Managing Editor
Switchgear February 1, 2009

Looking beyond the symptoms for power quality problems, solutions

Sometimes, the reality of a situation is quite different from how it appears. The real problem may be cloaked by what appears to be symptoms of a completely different issue. Knowing how to look beyond the surface problems and having the tools to do so eliminates many headaches in the long run. This is particularly true when it comes to maintaining plant electrical systems.

By Jack Smith, Managing Editor
Safety Standards December 1, 2008

Commitment to change

The pursuit of excellence is more than part of the fabric at Square D in Columbia, MO -- it's the culture

By Jack Smith, Managing Editor
Safety Standards October 15, 2008

The heat is on: Designing Lean manufacturing processes

Watlow is known for its controller systems from Winona, MN; its heaters from St. Louis, Columbia and Hannibal, MO; and its sensors from Richmond, IL. But a little-known fact is the Watlow facility in Batavia, IL is a foundry operation that casts the company’s heater technologies into useful industrial and commercial products.

By Jack Smith, Managing Editor
Vision and Discrete Sensors September 15, 2008

Fieldbus in focus: Understanding network similarities, differences

There is no one-size-fits-all fieldbus. Individual buses are optimized for different characteristics. Building automation has different requirements from networks designed to support manufacturing processes. Minimizing cost is a priority for building automation buses such as LONworks and BACnet, whereas networks for the manufacturing environment focus on robustness.

By Jack Smith, Managing Editor
Safety Standards September 15, 2008

In search of a wireless standard

Although the yet-to-be-completed ISA100 standard promises to establish policies and procedures, as well as best practices for using wireless systems in an industrial environment, there are three “standards” vying for prominence in the field device arena: ISA100.11a, WirelessHART and ZigBee PRO.

By Jack Smith, Managing Editor
Energy Efficiency & Management August 8, 2008

NI Week puts ‘Poetry in motion’

National Instruments kicks off its NI Week 2008 with LabVIEW enhancements, new technologies and an emphasis on green.

By Jack Smith, Managing Editor
Motors & Drives June 15, 2008

Robots on the rise: Showing their metal mettle

Since the first programmable robot design in 1954, much has happened but little has changed. While the first industrial robots were used in 1962 at a General Motors auto plant in New Jersey to spot-weld and extract die castings, nearly a half century later robots are still performing welding and material handling tasks.

By Jack Smith, Managing Editor
Arc Flash & Electrical Safety January 15, 2008

Remote monitoring closes the gap between meters and breakers

Power management solutions – hardware metering devices, protective relays, communications components and software – enable end users to monitor, analyze, diagnose and control their power distribution systems from across the room or across the world. Remote monitoring helps plant managers make informed decisions about operational efficiency, system reliability, employee safety and en...

By Jack Smith, Managing Editor
Vision and Discrete Sensors December 15, 2007

Top Plant: Spirax Sarco: Ahead full steam

As with all stories of creation, in the beginning, there was confusion. Then there was light. The Spirax Sarco plant in Blythewood, SC implemented a team-based manufacturing program with a name acronym: LIFE, or Little Improvements From Everyone. They worked to get employees to execute on that program.

By Jack Smith, Managing Editor
Lubrication December 15, 2007

Top Plant: SEW Eurodrive: Growing a workforce

People make the difference at SEW Eurodrive’s Lyman, SC plant. Family environment, no layoffs, automation to do the heavy lifting and a management team that empowers its employees – it’s no wonder employees say it’s a great place to work. There must be something special about management; there must be something special about the employees.

By Jack Smith, Managing Editor
Vision and Discrete Sensors October 15, 2007

PLC functionality provides application flexibility

Although the basic configuration of Programmable Logic Controllers has not changed much in three decades, the way they are constructed and programmed has evolved. Today’s PLC circuits are more robust and resistant to harsh industrial environments. Programming languages and methods enable PLCs to be used in applications that make them more than just commodities.

By Jack Smith, Managing Editor
Wireless August 15, 2007

ISA introduces Technology Exchanges at EXPO 2007

The Instrumentation, Systems and Automation Society continues to bring new ideas to its main event, ISA EXPO, which will be held Oct. 2 to Oct. 4 at the Reliant Center in Houston. New for 2007 are Technology Exchanges, extended exhibition hours and two new pavilions. ISA is introducing what it calls a Technology Exchange format.

By Jack Smith, Managing Editor
Motors & Drives June 15, 2007

Automation transforms the plant, and is transformed in return

Not only has automation changed the way we manufacture goods, it has also changed the way we view the manufacturing process. In 1947, Yardeny Laboratories introduced the pulsing drive, which controlled the speed, direction and position of electric motors. Material was moved using overhead trolleys, belt conveyors and chain conveyors.

By Jack Smith, Managing Editor
Motors & Drives May 15, 2007

Match the motor to the load for maximum efficiency

When electricity was cheap, efficiency was not necessarily top of mind for many. However, current energy prices force manufacturers to further analyze where they use energy and how they spend their energy dollars. According to NEMA, electric motor and generator driven systems account for nearly 70% of the electricity consumed in the U.

By Jack Smith, Managing Editor
Wireless February 1, 2007

Blurring the line between PLC and DCS

If you work at a refinery or chemical plant, chances are its processes are under direct control of a distributed control system. Industries on the fringe of what has traditionally been known as 'hard’ process industries – or those hybrid industries that run their processes in batches or have characteristics of process and discrete manufacturing – are the ones most likely to bu...

By Jack Smith, Managing Editor