Jack Smith, Senior Editor, Plant Engineering Magazine
From datalogging to supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA), plant processes and maintenance functions frequently require collecting, analyzing, trending, and archiving data from multiple sources. One application is collecting temperature data to find hot spots on a boiler. Another is collecting flow and pressure to troubleshoot flow valves in the field.
Today's plant engineer is transcending the longstanding stereotype. The plant engineering function is no longer just nuts and bolts. Today's plant engineer is mature, educated, and tends to stay in his or her job. And the job requires an increasing amount of software.Software is a fact of life on the plant floor of today and tomorrow.
The National Electrical Code typically views an industrial control panel as a piece of equipment with proper installation being the major concern. Titled the “Standard for Safety for Industrial Control Panels,” UL 508A covers industrial control panels intended for general industrial use, operating from a voltage of 600 V AC or less.
Electronic circuits require dc voltage and current to operate. Some circuits use a "single-sided" power supply, meaning that the reference voltage is 0 V and the operating voltage is some positive value, such as 5, 12 or 15 Vdc. The value of the voltage depends on the type of circuit or equipment to be powered.
The efficiency of a switching mode power supply can be much higher than that of a linear power supply — especially near full load. Switching mode power supply efficiencies can exceed 85% as compared to 50%-60% for typical linear supplies.
Before you get out of bed each day, an electronic clock radio awakens you so that you can get ready for your commute to the plant. Perhaps your car or truck has electronic fuel injection — not to mention a main computer that can be serviced only at the dealership. At the plant, you encounter electronic circuits, equipment, and systems — some of which you probably take for granted.
The term control automation strategy has no "official" definition. It was chosen to demonstrate that the traditional roles of automation in manufacturing have changed over the years and the lines that separate them is becoming increasingly blurred. The types of control systems used in manufacturing plants depend on the processes and operations companies use to produce their products.
The OPC Foundation (OPCF) has joined the international cooperative team of the three leading fieldbus organizations, the Fieldbus Foundation (FF), HART Communication Foundation (HCF), and PROFIBUS Nutzerorganisation e.V. (PNO), to extend the reach of electronic device descriptions (EDDs) into the OPC unified architecture.
A major National Electric Code change that affects industrial control panels becomes enforceable in January 2005. On the surface, it appears that the change affects only OEMs and panel builders. However, because completed industrial control panels make their way to your plant, you need to know how this change affects you.
The team your plant selected to specify the next software investment, which could require a significant outlay of capital dollars, is looking to you for a recommendation. Your opinion is critical to the team's decision. Where do you start? Perhaps you are upgrading a software suite, or maybe you seek to change vendors.