Networks and Communications Award Winners


EnclosuresVortex A/C Model #7770

Vortec - ITW Air Management


With essentially no maintenance, the Vortex A/C 7770 provides total enclosure protection from heat and contaminants, with thermostatically controlled, two-stage refrigeration to conserve energy. The new 5,000 BTUH Vortex A/C model 7770 features dual vortex tube cooling units, each with its own reliable mechanical thermostat to provide two-stage levels of refrigeration. The compact, UL listed, Vortex A/C provides reliable, below-ambient cooling in environments up to 175 °F (79 °C), keeping panels safely within a range of 80-90 °F (27-32 °C). The vortex tube technology converts filtered compressed air into a low pressure, refrigerated air stream distributed throughout the enclosure. It also provides a light positive purge to seal out contaminants.


Net-Access Overhead Cable Routing System - Panduit


It is a modular, 2 piece injection molded design that installs quick and easily to the top of the NET-ACCESS cabinet, eliminating need for other supporting infrastructure. It provides a high capacity data cable pathway directly over the cabinet.




Ethernet Hardware, GeneralCompact Link Selector

B&R Industrial Automation


Compact Link Selector from B&R connects Ethernet Powerlink controlled nodes, adding cable redundancy and reliability in unlimited tree structures. Process control and manufacturing automation often require cable redundancy and long cable runs, but closing a ring can cause cable feedback. Ethernet Powerlink protocol and double cabling can be made into unlimited tree structures, permitting data transfer via the highest quality network lines. The 62.5 mm wide Compact Link Selector module is operated as stand-alone unit, enabling as many Powerlink devices as needed on one network with cable redundancy. The link selector function is integrated in the X20 bus controller BC8884 for connecting an X20 System.










EK1501 and EK1521 - Beckhoff Automation

Fiber-optic EtherCAT Coupler and junction terminal for EtherCAT I/O networks enable extremely long distance networking up to 2 km (1.24 miles) with 100BASE-FX. The EtherCAT I/O Terminal system from Beckhoff supports all common wiring topology methodologies: line, ring, tree, and star.




Ethernet SwitchesStratix 8000 Switches

Rockwell Automation


Rockwell Automation and Cisco collaborated on new industrial managed switches to address network convergence activities in manufacturing and IT organizations today. This convergence of technologies provides opportunities to reduce risks and costs, provide secure access to information, and improve agility and overall business performance. The new series uses Cisco Catalyst switch architecture and features, along with established configuration tools familiar to IT professionals. The switch can be configured using Allen-Bradley RSLogix 5000 programming software, automatically generates Logix tags for integrated diagnostics and includes FactoryTalk View faceplates for status monitoring and alarming.
















750-871 Ethernet TCP/IP Programmable Fieldbus Controller - Wago Corp.

Integrated Ethernet switch functionality enables 750-871 Ethernet TCP/IP 2-Port Programmable Fieldbus Controller to optimize networking capabilities while streamlining associated costs.




I/O Systems

Snap I/O for Allen-Bradley Systems


Opto 22


Snap I/O for Rockwell Automation/Allen-Bradley systems provides advanced I/O options and functionality—including distributed control capabilities—when building, modifying, or expanding A-B automation architectures. Opto 22 has assisted engineers who build or work in this environment by introducing Snap I/O for Allen-Bradley systems, to offer advanced distributed control functions for PLC-based systems, including PID loop control, high-speed counting and latching, quadrature counting, pulsing, thermocouple linearization, analog scaling, time-proportional output, and others. Snap I/O for A-B systems communicates using EtherNet/IP, the same protocol used by A-B PLCs, such as ControlLogix and CompactLogix.




IP67 Ethernet I/O Module - Molex

It controls simple input and output devices via industrial Ethernet networks and is said to be the most advanced and useful harsh environment I/O block. It communicates via three industrial Ethernet protocols. An integrated switch makes cabling easier. It has an M12 quick disconnect on each port; an LED scrolling display show errors and more.



Network Hardware, GeneralVersacard PCIe



An intelligent network interface card that can communicate on up to 25 disparate industrial networks simultaneously over a PCIe backplane. Versacard PCIe is the first intelligent multi-protocol implementation in the industry. The Versacard PCIe is also the only card to support new PCIe technology for most of those networks, enabling new computer system adoption. The Versacard has a common API to all protocols which saves development time. And, the Versacard PCIe advanced diagnostics and data server software enable commissioning savings.




SeaLink USB Serial Adapters - Sealevel Systems Inc

SeaLink software-configurable USB serial adapters offer 1, 2, 4, and 8 serial ports that are individually software configurable for RS-232, RS-422, or RS-485.




Signal Conditioning or DiagnosticsminiMoore

Moore Industries


With instrumentation, panel space equals money, so these new miniMoore analog signal conditioners offer large features in a small package. The miniMoore delivers up to
four low-cost input/output (I/O) channels in a 1 in. (25.4 mm) footprint, which equates to 0.25 in. (6.35 mm) per channel. Providing 1,000 V rms input-to-output and channel-to-channel signal isolation, the products can isolate, convert, boost and split analog signals inside rugged industrial metal housings, providing superior protection against unpredictable and harmful effects of RFI and EMI interference common in most industrial environments. Both 2- and 4-channel models provide isolated 4-20 mA outputs ready for interface with an indicator, recorder, DCS, PLC or PC-based SCADA system.




EtherStax Analog Input Modules - Acromag

Units accept 32 differential dc current or voltage inputs and interface the signals to monitoring or control devices with Ethernet Modbus TCP/IP or UDP/IP communication.


Wireless, GeneralIon Wireless Security

Apprion Inc.


Layered security architecture for industrial environments to secure wireless networks and proactive security scans to detect and deter system attacks that could lead to system downtime and the introduction of erroneous information. The Ion Wireless Security application enables security policies at each layer for a secure wireless network: user authentication with secure role-based access, continuous proactive network monitoring for network vulnerabilities and rogue devices, and wireless network intrusion detection. The Ion application enables an open, technology agnostic approach to industrial wireless. This is critical for industrial wireless installations that employ multiple technologies, as all installations eventually will.




ConnectPort X4 NEMA - Digi International

The ConnectPort X4 NEMA is an industrial–grade gateway that provides ZigBee to cellular (GSM) connectivity and is integrated into a NEMA 4X/IP66 enclosure for harsh weather conditions.


Wireless, IEEE 802.11ILX34-AENWG

ProSoft Technology


Wireless 802.11g I/O adapter ILX34-AENWG is a high-speed, standards-based wireless I/O module that supports integrated wireless architecture and familiar programming with the EtherNet/IP protocol. ProSoft says the adapter fully supports its Integrated Wireless Architecture. It also provides a familiar programming experience to users by utilizing the EtherNet/IP protocol and allowing configuration with RSLogix 5000. The device employs 802.11i WPA2 with AES Encryption for security. Common applications are said to include packaging, material handling, oil and gas, and other remote or moving distributed I/O applications.













MatchPort b/g Pro - Lantronix

Secure WiFi for any electronic device: Embedded module, an application-ready device server, provides 802.11 b/g wireless connectivity for devices with a microcontroller serial interface.


The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2015 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering and Plant Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners in three categories.
Pipe fabrication and IIoT; 2017 Product of the Year finalists
The future of electrical safety; Four keys to RPM success; Picking the right weld fume option
A new approach to the Skills Gap; Community colleges may hold the key for manufacturing; 2017 Engineering Leaders Under 40
Control room technology innovation; Practical approaches to corrosion protection; Pipeline regulator revises quality programs
The cloud, mobility, and remote operations; SCADA and contextual mobility; Custom UPS empowering a secure pipeline
Infrastructure for natural gas expansion; Artificial lift methods; Disruptive technology and fugitive gas emissions
Power system design for high-performance buildings; mitigating arc flash hazards
VFDs improving motion control applications; Powering automation and IIoT wirelessly; Connecting the dots
Natural gas engines; New applications for fuel cells; Large engines become more efficient; Extending boiler life

Annual Salary Survey

Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

Read more: 2015 Salary Survey

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