System Integration

System Integration December 10, 2004

Is RFID ready for the plant floor?

The latest in wireless identification technology offers potential for using radio frequency identification (RFID) on the plant floor for asset maintenance. Most people use RFID technology on a daily basis without even realizing it. Have you ever used an electronic device in your car to automatically pay tolls? Do you use an access card or fob to gain employee entrance to your workplace? These e...

By Richard Padula
System Integration November 10, 2004

Software and computers – 2004-11-10

HMI growth predicted The human-machine interface (HMI) software market, which totaled nearly $439 million in 2003, will exceed $559 million in 2008, outperforming the industrial automation market and growing at a Compounded Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 5% over the next 5 yr, according to a study by the ARC Advisory Group. HMI and related control software applications remain integral parts of the process, hybrid, and discrete industries for the access, presentation, and exchange of information for managing plant floor production processes. Manufacturers are looking to HMI software systems for a plant-wide information collection and integration tool. HMI software using flexible, multifunctional, and interoperable platforms that provide peer-to-peer interfaces with other platforms is driving factory visibility and intelligence as well as playing a major role in providing plantwide connectivity. That is why HMI software is sometimes referred to as visualization software.

By Staff
System Integration July 8, 2004

Optimizing total cost of ownership

When total cost of ownership (TCO) is applied broadly, the tools and concepts enable users to make a measurable impact in plant operating costs and margins. Their value comes from refocusing decision-making processes based on price and purchase cost to consider all financial impacts associated with a decision.

By Jim Humphries and Brad McCaleb
System Integration June 10, 2004

Electronic controls in genset engines

To understand how electronics have simplified maintenance of industrial engine generator sets, one only needs to look inside the garage at home. The new car parked there does not need twice-annual tune-ups. It probably doesn't need new spark plugs until the odometer hits 100,000 miles. On the whole, it needs minimal maintenance — yet it is far more reliable, more fuel efficient, quieter, ...

By Michael J. Reinhart
Power Systems April 8, 2004

Basics of power management equipment

Electrical power enters the plant, drives the equipment, shines the lights, conditions the air, makes the coffee, and runs the printer that prepares your paycheck — and the check to pay for all this electricity. Are you getting your money's worth? Probably not.

By Jack Smith, Senior Editor, Plant Engineering magazine
System Integration June 15, 2002

Wireless security, partnerships, and DACs

The Chicago Tribune recently reported about a team of computer security consultants that investigated wireless network security. They spent several hours in the Chicago area with two laptops and inexpensive wireless hardware looking for points where radio signals would permit access to computer networks.

By Staff
System Integration March 11, 2002

EAM/ERP integration

Most top-tier EAM/CMMS vendors offer integration products, services, and tool kits that link their products to ERP packages and other business systems. These interface solutions play a prominent role in their marketing literature, web sites, and sales pitches. Many companies start their EAM/CMMS selection process with the intent of tightly integrating their new maintenance package with ex...

By Tom Singer Contributing Editor, Principal, Tompkins Associates, Oak Brook, IL
Power Quality February 15, 2002

Understanding intelligent motor control centers

Lately, there has been a lot of interest in the use of "intelligent" motor control centers (MCCs). But defining intelligence is not as easy as it sounds. To answer the question of intelligence, first take a look at traditional MCC technology.

By David Ray, Square D Co., Seneca, SC
System Integration October 1, 2001

ASP basics

What is an application service provider (ASP)? According to the ASP Industry Consortium (, a trade organization that represents ASPs, "Application service providers deliver and manage applications and computer services from remote data centers to multiple users via the internet or a private network.

By Jack Smith, Senior Editor, Plant Engineering Magazine
System Integration August 1, 2001

Automation issues: SCADA and surveys

Lord Corporation, Erie, PA, produces parts for the aerospace industry. They must be manufactured to precise standards and are unusable if specific production data are not available. The company is required by the FAA to collect and maintain detailed records. In the past, it kept those records by hand.

By Staff