Control Engineering Article Descriptions 2016

Article descriptions below provide some tentative details about the 2016 editorial calendar for Control Engineering at www.controleng.com/mediainfo. Author guidelines and other useful information also may be found at the link above.

Article topics are based on Control Engineering reader research, although articles and subjects in the issue may differ depending on space, author knowledge, and available information. Some research, some special reports, Applied Automation, and Oil and Gas Engineering are not shown. (See Control Engineering media kits and editorial calendars.) 

For best results, articles to be considered should be submitted in final form to the content manager at least 45 days prior to the issue month. As deadlines pass, the descriptions are moved to the bottom of this file. (Please note that article deadlines are considerably earlier than advertising deadlines in the media kit and editorial calendar.)

January-August deadlines have past. See bottom of file for January-August article descriptions.


OCTOBER article deadline: Aug. 15

RESEARCH: Mobility, Ethernet, and Wireless
Control Engineering conducts its 2016 survey on “Mobility, Ethernet, and Wireless” in October. A report will be prepared in December. March 2016 issue will include key findings. Mobility, Ethernet, and wireless technologies are among the enabling tools of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and the Industrie 4.0 platform. [Sponsorship opportunities are available to this and other editorial research during the year.]

IIoT Series, Webcast Three: Security for IIoT, Thursday, Oct. 20, 2016
CFE Media research says data security is a top-of-mind issue. Threats exist from internal and external sources, so manufacturers need a robust strategy to understand the source of threats and how to be prepared to ward them off. This Webcast will look at the issue of data security from all aspects. Security is “top of mind” among respondents to CFE Media research. An RCEP Professional Development Hour (PDH) is available. [Up to four sponsorships are available, with lead-generation opportunities.]

How to implement IIoT, Industry 4.0
Hear from experts about how to implement advice in the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and Industrie 4.0 platforms. Which parts of each platform could help you be more competitive?

Supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA)
SCADA software is quickly advancing. Have you kept up? Think again if you think you’re saving money by not upgrading old systems that still work; more likely, competitors who have upgraded are realizing advantages.

Working with big data analytics
Manufacturers and plants have gathered information for years, but traditionally haven’t looked at or analyzed data quickly enough nor used the resulting information in the right ways to improve. Big data analytics is among the enabling tools of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and the Industrie 4.0 platform.

Smart Grid controls
Making a more intelligent power transmission and distribution system requires more efficient monitoring of grid conditions along with the ability to control electricity flow. A Smart Grid requires specific intelligence: Controlling electricity flow differs from closing a valve or turning on a pump.

Inside Machines and Machine Vision
Technologies used inside machines, including machine vision, will be highlighted in this special section of articles, applications, and tutorials. 


NOVEMBER article deadline: Sept. 15

PID and digital control: process efficiency
Most proportional-integral-derivative (PID) applications use digital controllers, though some still use analog. When there’s a choice, digital control may offer additional process control system efficiencies.

Alarm management help
A cascade of alarms without priority or context can confuse rather than help operators. Ignoring, dismissing, or just dragging them out of sight isn’t the answer. Improving alarm management begins with process and control system design.

Efficiency: Motor-drive integration
Using integrated motor-drive combinations for certain applications adds efficiency through simpler control design, tighter controls, and more effective actuation in the process.

Automotive industry advances, lessons learned
The automotive industry, birthplace of the programmable logic controller (PLC), remains an effective proving ground for many automation technologies. What can you learn and apply from these lessons learned?

Inside Process and Instrumentation
In addition to regular process control and instrumentation coverage, find additional articles on process control and instrumentation technology trends, applications, and system integration in this special section, every other month


DECEMBER article deadline: Oct. 14

IIoT Series, Webcast Four: IIoT case studies: strategies in action, Thursday, Dec. 8, 2016
Organizations promoting IIoT and Industrie 4.0 strategies are working on case studies to show related benefits. In a list of 20 major technology areas, CFE Media research found that IIoT and Industrie 4.0 ranked the highest for potential to increase productivity, and the lowest for having already changed how end users work. This Webcast will review best practices, showing how the strategies have been implemented into operations. IIoT will change the way manufacturing operations personnel work, according to CFE Media research. An RCEP Professional Development Hour (PDH) is available. [Up to four sponsorships are available, with lead-generation opportunities.]

Process: Advanced process control
A world of advantages exists beyond proportional-integral-derivative (PID) algorithms with various advanced process control techniques. Learn a little about each, so you don’t fear (and can take advantage of) what you don’t know.

Industrial communication: Wireless
Industrial wireless standards provide reliable platforms, even for safety-related applications. If multi-ton cranes, diesel locomotives, and multi-million dollar drones can be controlled wirelessly, why not your application? What are you waiting for? Wireless communications is among the enabling tools of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and the Industrie 4.0 platform.

Robotic advances
Robots are faster, smarter, easier to use, and can be made aware of their surroundings to decrease risk. What key advances this year are contributing to manufacturing productivity and how can you take advantage of these new robotic technologies?

Help with multiplatform system integration
Sure, it’s great when an automation vendor offers software that can be used for all of its products and devices. What happens when systems from multiple vendors must be integrated? Use these tips and tricks to help integrate multiplatform systems. Systems integration is among the enabling tools of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and the Industrie 4.0 platform.

Inside Machines and Discrete Sensors
Technologies used inside machines, including discrete sensors, will be highlighted in this special section of articles, applications, and tutorials. 

2017 Global System Integrator Report (NOTE: article deadline: Sept. 15)
Coverage in the 2017 “Global System Integrator Report” includes the System Integrator of the Year Awards for 2017, system integrator company profiles, System Integrator Giants for 2016, advice from system integrators, and system integrator strategies. System integration is among the enabling tools of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and the Industrie 4.0 platform. The report is a supplement mailed with Control Engineering and Plant Engineering issues in December 2016. 

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JANUARY article deadline: Nov. 15, 2015

Automation systems upgrades
Examples of automation systems upgrades provide insights into the process, the criteria, the types of systems appropriate for various applications and how much and what kind of help may be needed, from project inception through start-up. Don’t overlook maintenance, security, future upgrades, and information integration with other systems.

Big data and clouds for manufacturing
From cloud-based apps to offline storage and big data analysis, cloud-based software as a service (SaaS) is helping manufacturers gain efficiency for faster, better decisions. Systems that improve analysis, optimization, mobility, and efficiency are part of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and Industry 4.0 platform. 

Flow control
For flow control, new techniques and technologies can effectively address many traditional volumetric liquid flow measurement challenges. Volumetric liquid flow is one of the most important parameters for process monitoring and control. Leading industries where this measurement is used include chemical, refining, oil and gas, water and wastewater, power, pharmaceutical, food and beverage, and others. Flows must be kept within safe limits; three leading technologies used to measure liquid volumetric flow are differential pressure (dP), vortex meters, and mag meters.

Inside Process and Instrumentation
-Exploring heat-exchanger control strategies: Combining several schemes for heat-exchanger control, such as feedback, cascade, and feedforward, is a proven strategy for addressing control requirements of even highly challenging heat exchanger applications.

-When moisture matters: Moisture content can affect the quality and cost of a final product. Therefore, moisture consistency can reinforce a customer’s brand loyalty. A near infrared (NIR) moisture meter may be the solution.

FEBRUARY article deadline: Dec. 15, 2015

Designing controls: Mathematical models aid process control
Process control can work better when the controller uses mathematical models, compensating for situations traditional controls do not handle as well. Equation-based process models can improve controller performance. 

Serial network grounding tips
Grounding gremlins can interfere with accurate data transfer and sensor measurements in serial networks, disrupting decisions and preventing appropriate actuation to close the control loop. Learn grounding tips and tricks with serial networks to ensure accurate data transmission and increase reliability.

Servo motor integration advice
Choose a servo motor sized for the application, ensure it has appropriate drive technology, and integrate it as part of the overall motion system. Practical tips will provide advice about servo motor integration.

Inside Machines and Machine Vision
Technologies used inside machines, including machine vision, will be highlighted in this special section of articles, applications, and tutorials.

MARCH article deadline: Jan. 13

WEBCAST: Ethernet
Editorial webcast examines latest trends in industrial Ethernet today and looks at what’s coming tomorrow via application case studies. Ethernet is among the enabling tools of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and the Industrie 4.0 platform. An RCEP Professional Development Hour (PDH) is available. [Up to four sponsorships are available, with lead-generation opportunities.]

IIoT Series, Webcast One: Training and change management for IIoT, Thursday, March 31, 2016
Effective IIoT integration includes technology and changing the way plants operate. The convergence of operational and information technologies are crucial to successful IIoT deployment. This Webcast will look at how to manage these changes and bring about a company-wide commitment to an IIoT strategy. CFE Media research shows IIoT ranked the highest for the potential to increase productivity and software is a leading product area to receive IIoT spending. An RCEP Professional Development Hour (PDH) is available. [Up to four sponsorships are available, with lead-generation opportunities.]

IIoT, Industry 4.0: Global coverage
With six editions globally, Control Engineering will highlight latest developments and test cases on the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and Industrie 4.0 platform, the world over. 

High-performance HMI
Sharper graphics, bigger screens, more intuitive designs, tighter integration with other systems, and smarter software that aids decision making are among elements of high-performance, human-machine interface (HMI) systems. 

Collaborative robotics, safety
Robots generally have no idea humans are around, thus they can cause great harm if humans enter their path. Collaborative robots, depending on the application, may be used partially or fully in areas with human workers, because sensors alert the robot to humans and slow them to safe speed and torque. Learn about the latest standards and applications. 

Information integration tools: OPC and OMG
OPC Foundation and Object Management Group (OMG) offer tools to help information integration from automation and controls to other systems. These include OPC Unified Architecture (OPC UA from OPC Foundation) and Data Distribution Service (DDS from OMG). How are these helping integrate automation and controls with the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)?

Inside Process and Instrumentation
In addition to regular process control and instrumentation coverage, find additional articles on process control and instrumentation technology trends, applications, and system integration in this special section, every other month.

Global Manufacturing Industry Focus
Oil and gas and chemicals The in-depth series for Control Engineering and Plant Engineering (March, May, August, and October) looks at four U.S. manufacturing plants in four industries to understand what is driving U.S. manufacturing excellence and how plant managers are meeting today’s manufacturing challenges and preparing for tomorrow’s new technology in the midst of a globally competitive landscape. This month examines oil and gas and chemicals.


APRIL article deadline: Feb. 15

RESEARCH: System Integration
Control Engineering conducts its 2016 survey on “System Integration” in April. A report will be prepared in June. The August issue will include key findings. System integration is among the enabling tools of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and the Industrie 4.0 platform. [Sponsorship opportunities are available to this and other editorial research during the year.]

WEBCAST: HMI
Human-machine interface (HMI) software is gaining sophistication, often with ability to scale across hardware platforms, including in mobile devices. Information integration and mobility are among the enabling tools of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and the Industrie 4.0 platform. An RCEP Professional Development Hour (PDH) is available. [Up to four sponsorships are available, with lead-generation opportunities.]

Virtualization
Rather than have dedicated hardware for each controller, imagine putting multiple controllers in one piece of hardware, with ability to expand as needed. Hardware optimization is one benefit of virtualization, but not the only benefit. 

Cyber security for industrial control systems
Cyber security policies and technologies in place for other applications differ from what’s required for industrial control systems (ICS). What are the latest recommendations for improving technologies, people, and systems to recognize and minimize cyber security threats? Cyber security is among the enabling tools of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and the Industrie 4.0 platform. 

Motor-driven system efficiency regulations, developments, U.S. view
U.S. regulations for motor-driven systems are changing to improve efficiencies beyond individual motors. Increasingly, considering the motion control system has greater importance now after mandated improvements in motor efficiencies.

System integration technologies
What are the key technologies and tools helping with system integration projects? Ensure you’re using the right system integration technologies. (A hammer won’t work if you need a wrench.) System integration is among the enabling tools of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and the Industrie 4.0 platform. 

Global Manufacturing Industry Focus: Oil and gas and chemicals
The in-depth series for Control Engineering and Plant Engineering (March, May, August, and October) looks at four U.S. manufacturing plants in four industries to understand what is driving U.S. manufacturing excellence and how plant managers are meeting today’s manufacturing challenges and preparing for tomorrow’s new technology in the midst of a globally competitive landscape. This month examines oil and gas and chemicals.

Inside Machines and Embedded Systems
Technologies used inside machines, including embedded systems, will be highlighted in this special section of articles, applications, and tutorials.

MAY article deadline: March 15

Designing controls: User feedback during design = better products
Integrating feedback during the control-design process results in more effective products. Rather than giving users what you think they need, be sure to incorporate input without bogging down the process. Use this advice on your next project to deliver better results.

Remote data collection and monitoring, historians
Reliable data collection from remote devices and systems is the first step to storage and analysis, so smarter decisions can be made as data is turned into information, intelligence, and wisdom. What decisions should be made on the “edge,” at the point of collection? Once in a historian, what should be analyzed for immediate consideration and what should be stored for later? Big data analysis is among the enabling tools of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and the Industrie 4.0 platform.

Control valve advances
Advances in design, materials, on-board intelligence, and communications make working on today’s control valve specifications more challenging than matching flow rate and pipe size.

Career and salary survey results: Control engineer succession planning
As those with control engineering expertise continue to age, career and salary surveys go beyond benchmarking toward attracting youth and engineers from related fields. As many control engineers retire, final projects will be system simplification and documentation so those who are left, often with less experience, can still make it work. Guidance for young and advancing engineers will be offered.

Inside Process and Instrumentation
In addition to regular process control and instrumentation coverage, find additional articles on process control and instrumentation technology trends, applications, and system integration in this special section, every other month.


JUNE article deadline: April 15 

WEBCAST: Cyber security for industrial automation
Cyber security for industrial control systems (ICS) differs in several important ways from cyber security for other systems. Even so, many best practices in other areas can help ICS. Experts provide advice. Cyber security is among the enabling tools of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and the Industrie 4.0 platform. An RCEP Professional Development Hour (PDH) is available. [Up to four sponsorships are available, with lead-generation opportunities.]

IIoT Series, Webcast Two: Information management for IIoT, Thursday, June 2, 2016
CFE Media research shows that customized software, browser-based software, dashboards and off-the-shelf software (including that for maintenance and change management) all are helping manufacturers better understand and use data. This Webcast will discuss how data management, including mobile devices, can lead to better and faster decision-making and better asset management. Respondents to CFE Media research expect to spend 30% more in 2016 than in 2015 on IIoT technologies. An RCEP Professional Development Hour (PDH) is available. [Up to four sponsorships are available, with lead-generation opportunities.] 

Machine vision technologies and applications (2-D, 3-D)
Two-dimensional (2-D) machine vision can leave some complex vision applications flat, in need of more details. When should three-dimensional (3-D) machine vision be considered? What are key differences and benefits?

Fieldbus options
Which fieldbus should be used for what industrial communications? What criteria should be used to decide? When is a traditional fieldbus the best choice? When should an industrial Ethernet protocol be used? Why?

Process safety
Nothing is ever completely safe, but what mix of standards, best practices, and technologies should be used to lower risk to an acceptable level? And what is an acceptable level of risk? For whom?

3-D additive manufacturing advancements
Small and large, affordable and astronomical, steel and titanium, standard and hybrid machines are all among advancements in 3-D additive manufacturing.

Roundtable, Part 2: 2016 System Integrator of the Year
Three System Integrators of the Year were named in the “Global System Integrator Report,” with the December 2015 issue; representatives offer practical advice to help you do your job better. System integration is among the enabling tools of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and the Industrie 4.0 platform.

Inside Machines and Discrete Sensors
Technologies used inside machines, including discrete sensors, will be highlighted in this special section of articles, applications, and tutorials. 


JULY article deadline: May 15

RESEARCH: IIoT, Industry 4.0
Control Engineering conducts its 2016 survey on “IIoT and Industry 4.0” in July. A report will be prepared in September. The November issue will include key findings. Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and the Industrie 4.0 platforms are helping manufacturing become more productive. [Sponsorship opportunities are available to this and other editorial research.]

PC-based control
Certain applications highlight the capabilities of PC-based control. How and why? Match a checklist of advantages and benefits to another possible application to compare.

Process control system updates
Expiration dates have passed on many distributed control systems (DCSs). Doing a one-for-one replacement by matching the old DCS and duplicating screens in the new process control system is akin to telling a racecar driver not to exceed 20 mph. You may enjoy the view, but others will pass you by.

Industrial communication: Ethernet
Industrial Ethernet is available in many protocols. Is it just a matter of choosing the protocol that works with the most devices and systems? What role will the new Ethernet, Time Sensitive Protocol (TSN), play and when? Ethernet is among the enabling tools of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and the Industrie 4.0 platform.

Energy-saving control projects
Automation can save energy in many ways, including by making baseline measurements and improving upon those; monitoring energy use, improving processes, and upgrading equipment, and by controlled power down and power up of equipment when it’s unused. A few minutes here and there can save millions of dollars a year.

Integrating automation systems: Controls and automation systems for facilities
In smaller facilities, one or a few persons might be in charge of controls for the process and for the facility. With larger sites, these are likely to be different cost centers, yet some level of integration may have specific benefits. Systems integration is among the enabling tools of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and the Industrie 4.0 platform.

Inside Process and Instrumentation
In addition to regular process control and instrumentation coverage, find additional articles on process control and instrumentation technology trends, applications, and system integration in this special section, every other month.


AUGUST article deadline: June 15

Designing controls: Fundamentals of loop tuning
Tuning tips: It’s useful to understand how to tune a control loop. Knowing how to get the right balance of proportional-integral-derivative (PID) response is useful even when a PID (or other algorithm) adequately compensates for most variances on its own. Fix those open control loops!

Mobile HMI
Putting information into the hands of decision makers, where and when needed, doesn’t guarantee smarter decisions, but it sure helps. Mobile human-machine interface (HMI) hardware and software enable a smarter workforce and smoother processes. Mobile HMI is among the enabling tools of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and the Industrie 4.0 platform.

Efficiency: Mechatronics
Mechatronics, the blend of mechanical and electrical engineering, has potential to improve the overall product or process design more quickly at less cost. The added benefit is that integrated system design from the beginning is more likely to create energy efficiencies sooner.

Project management templates, advice
As applied to projects for controls, automation, and instrumentation system integration, project management advice differs from other disciplines. Templates and best practices can allow those involved to focus more on the challenges at hand, rather than managing the challenges at hand.

Global Manufacturing Industry Focus: Pharmaceuticals
The in-depth series for Control Engineering and Plant Engineering (March, May, August, and October) looks at four U.S. manufacturing plants in four industries to understand what is driving U.S. manufacturing excellence and how plant managers are meeting today’s manufacturing challenges and preparing for tomorrow’s new technology in the midst of a globally competitive landscape. This month examines pharmaceuticals.

Inside Machines and Embedded Systems
Technologies used inside machines, including embedded systems, will be highlighted in this special section of articles, applications, and tutorials.

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SEPTEMBER article deadline: July 15

WEBCAST: System integration case studies
System integrators, when most wisely applied to automation and controls projects, are involved from project inception. Learn from these experts to maximize benefits on future system integration projects and minimize the pain. An RCEP Professional Development Hour (PDH) is available. [Up to four sponsorships are available, with lead-generation opportunities.]

Process sensing: temperature, pressure, level
Controlling and improving any process requires accurate measurements. Look at how sensing technologies and best practices improve measurement of temperature, pressure, and level.

Cyber security and process functional safety
How does cyber security relate to process functional safety? How can the tenets of one help the other? When can integrating efforts or sharing processes help each other?

Advanced motor developments
Materials, designs, and integration are helping with advance motor development. Learn how engineers are making the next generation of motor innovation.

Engineering Leaders Under 40
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program recognizes manufacturing professionals under the age of 40 who are making a significant contribution to their organization’s success and to the control engineering and/or plant engineering professions. Our research shows that finding, training, and retaining workers are the biggest issues facing manufacturing today. The program calls attention to these successful young engineers in manufacturing and shows how manufacturers are recruiting and developing the next generation of manufacturing professionals.

Inside Process and Instrumentation
In addition to regular process control and instrumentation coverage, find additional articles on process control and instrumentation technology trends, applications, and system integration in this special section, every other month.

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