Plantwide software, hardware tools highlight NMW exhibits

New and innovative plant engineering and management products and services were abundant during this spring's National Manufacturing Week at Chicago's McCormick Place.


New and innovative plant engineering and management products and services were abundant during this spring's National Manufacturing Week at Chicago's McCormick Place. But the exhibition also brought the introduction of a variety of interesting and useful software and hardware offerings. A selection of products is summarized here.

Software configures and manages automation

Simatic Step 7 Professional, a fully-extended version of Siemens' universal development environment software, configures, manages, and maintains a plantwide automation system. Unified configuration tool includes all IEC 61131 programming languages and a simulation program to let users subdivide an automation project into different phases. Package offers a common engineering and configuration environment for dedicated hardware (PLC), PC-based, or Windows CE control solutions. All data need to be entered only once and the familiar Windows environment makes data entry simple, even for first-time users.

Siemens Energy & Automation, Inc.

Circle 201 on card


Controller offers multiple capabilities

CQM1H controller is rackless, modular, and low cost. Device incorporates sophisticated features including protocol macro and large I/O capacity and memory. It also offers PID and floating point math capabilities. Ideal for applications that require communication among PLCs, the unit manages up to 512 I/O points with data memory of 12K. High communications capability is available with the company's ControllerLink. The module lets large amounts of high-speed data be exchanged between multiple PLCs or a PC.

Omron Electronics, Inc.

Circle 202 on card


ERP system combines and visualizes real-time data

EnterpriseRT software combines and visualizes real-time data from multiple company systems including ERP, supply chains, customers, product management, manufacturing, and control. Based on a technology foundation developed by IndX Software Corp., Aliso Viejo, CA, the package uses web technologies to provide a single portal for real-time monitoring and reporting of various systems and processes. The improved combination of information lets users make informed decisions about processes as they occur.

GE Fanuc Automation

Circle 203 on card


Operator interface features flat panel display

PanelMate Power Pro 5000 operator interface features a 14-in. color TFT display, is lightweight, and is energy efficient. Compact unit meets NEMA 4, 4X, and 12 classifications and offers simultaneous communications with multiple brands of PLCs or PLC networks. It also includes advanced machine diagnostics and troubleshooting. The depth of the electronics platform is half that of previous models and the unit now operates at 24-V dc. Models are available with a one-piece keyboard for dirty environments. Interfaces are compatible with all major PLC manufacturers.

Cutler-Hammer, Eaton Corp.

Circle 204 on card


Controller makes use of distributed I/O

FlexLogix distributed control system expands the concept of distributed I/O to provide highly efficient control capabilities close to the application. Strategy provides a single development environment and common control technology across multiple form factors and disciplines. Users can mount the controller onto a DIN rail close to the point of application. This feature reduces expensive I/O wiring by allowing communication to the rest of the plant's control architecture over a single network cable.

Rockwell Automation/Allen-Bradley

Circle 205 on card


Tool simplifies network design process

DeviceNet Assistant helps users design a DeviceNet network with ease and accuracy. Users can build a network node by node to meet specific application needs while the design tool checks for configuration errors. It calculates necessary electrical parameters, identifies potential problems, and helps avoid costly mistakes. Users select devices from the multivendor ODVA product catalog or link to the web to obtain product data and specifications using a web connectivity feature.

ODVA, Inc.

Circle 206 on card


Electronic calendar helps control schedule conflicts

Maincor Conflict Manager helps eliminate conflicts that result when preventive maintenance is scheduled at times when production schedule changes prevent the work from being done. Conflict calendar provides views by month, year, and work center and displays conflicts with icons. Double clicking on an icon lets the user drill down to reveal conflict details. Both affected maintenance and production work orders are displayed. Multiple calendars can be viewed to permit easy rescheduling. Package is part of a

suite of maintenance management software designed to boost efficiency, maximize operating time, and cut downtime costs.


Circle 207 on card


Surfing... now includes an e-commerce extranet for and about boilers. The site, developed by Babcock and Wilcox Co., makes enterprise information globally accessible, facilitates business transactions, and enhances customer service. It includes access to a catalog of more than 30,000 aftermarket parts; real-time quotes and order processing; FAQs about servicing and maintaining plant equipment, a multimedia tour of the company's products and facilities, and more. now allows online purchasing of all Chromalox published catalog items plus additional parts. E-commerce capability should reduce users' purchasing costs by simplifying and speeding up the design and procurement process. Engineers can build sample bills of material for budgetary pricing and proposal generation. features two updated sections to help visitors to the Pittsburgh Corning Corp. site learn anything they need to know about insulation. Virtual facility provides a virtual tour of any kind of facility to discover the benefits of using proper insulation. Industry index provides a shortcut to product information most applicable in a specified industry. is designed to help compressor operators save money and get the most from their compressed air systems. Collection of information comes from mechanics, maintenance supervisors, plant engineers, and others who work with compressors. Exchange of ideas and solutions includes technical information and success stories. offers information on Baldor's updated Save software, an easy-to-use method of calculating energy savings related to electric motor use. The new Save-Plus package is available on a PC adaptable disk or as part of the company's new CD-ROM electronic catalog. It helps users compare annual energy costs of standard and high-efficiency motors to competitive motors. offers ZeksPro, a compressed air treatment specifier CD-ROM that simplifies the task of specifying and selecting equipment for a compressed air application. Software lets users calculate the factors for an efficient compressed air system at the touch of a button. It includes product and technical information, animated presentations, and an energy savings calculator for conducting professional cost justification analyses. Tool is also available at 800-392-7727.

Top Plant
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America.
Product of the Year
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
System Integrator of the Year
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.
October 2018
Tools vs. sensors, functional safety, compressor rental, an operational network of maintenance and safety
September 2018
2018 Engineering Leaders under 40, Women in Engineering, Six ways to reduce waste in manufacturing, and Four robot implementation challenges.
GAMS preview, 2018 Mid-Year Report, EAM and Safety
October 2018
2018 Product of the Year; Subsurface data methodologies; Digital twins; Well lifecycle data
August 2018
SCADA standardization, capital expenditures, data-driven drilling and execution
June 2018
Machine learning, produced water benefits, programming cavity pumps
Spring 2018
Burners for heat-treating furnaces, CHP, dryers, gas humidification, and more
October 2018
Complex upgrades for system integrators; Process control safety and compliance
September 2018
Effective process analytics; Four reasons why LTE networks are not IIoT ready

Annual Salary Survey

After two years of economic concerns, manufacturing leaders once again have homed in on the single biggest issue facing their operations:

It's the workers—or more specifically, the lack of workers.

The 2017 Plant Engineering Salary Survey looks at not just what plant managers make, but what they think. As they look across their plants today, plant managers say they don’t have the operational depth to take on the new technologies and new challenges of global manufacturing.

Read more: 2017 Salary Survey

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