Accessible, organized, secure

Controls, automation, and instrumentation software can collect, analyze, and store vast quantities of myriad data types. Making data into information and presenting data securely for real-time decision-making will help make you a hero within your organization. Advice follows. Organize data and related processes.


Controls, automation, and instrumentation software can collect, analyze, and store vast quantities of myriad data types. Making data into information and presenting data securely for real-time decision-making will help make you a hero within your organization. Advice follows.

Organize data and related processes. Among data-organization tools, Anderson, Chavet & Anderson (ACA), says a successful Equipment Reliability Improvement Program should stop low-value activities to make room for those of higher value, make data gathering and trending tools electronic, and realize that such an effort is 20% process, procedure, tools, and data—and 80% people.

Consider direct data access and input. A relatively new platform for this is the Tablet PC. For instance, Compaq TC1000 weighs less than three pounds, has a detachable keyboard and a 10.4-in. screen and can recognize handwriting, even my chicken scratch. With available software from other vendors, you can visualize a plant and drill down into information about assets shown, or wirelessly upload updates on those assets. Think you'd save time and data exchange errors by eliminating clipboards?

Put key information in front of the right people at the right time. What's the sense in gathering terabytes of data if the right information isn't available for decisions? Among available historians, InStep Software eDNA acquires plant and process data from existing control and monitoring systems, analyzes data real-time, and then provides a database archive, online, with the original time-stamped resolution. Matrikon ProcessNet software makes eDNA available and secure via a browser. SmartSignal offers advance warning of equipment failure from analysis of an array of sensor outputs with its Equipment Condition Monitoring software.

Secure your more readily available intelligence. As process information becomes accessible to people inside and outside your organization, ensure it's secure. A recent look at enterprise vulnerability found that when there's a breach, 90% of the time experts also could take control of the process control system. That information comes from Verano, which, in June, introduced what it calls the first industrial operations cyber-security software.

Set aside time for continued learning... which you've already done, since you've read this!

These were among recommendations from the two-day September InStep User Group Conference, of about 100 eDNA software historian users, in Chicago. For related links, read this column online, October 2003, at .

Online extra for‘Think again: Accessible, organized, secure’

More information, links

Links follow, for the vendors’ products mentioned above.

Compaq Tablet PC TC1000

InStep Software
-- eDNA , an historian priced to include an unlimited number of users.

-- Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) compiler to help make a database from visual information, such as CAD files.


Learning resources include…
-- Control Engineering archives
-- Control Engineering Buyer’s Guide (registration re-quired)
-- Control Engineering Automation Integrator Guide (reg-istration required)
-- Control Engineering Bookstore
-- Control Engineering e-mailed newsletters (registration required)

Matrikon ProcessNet software

SmartSignal Equipment Condition Monitoring software (eCM)
Control Engineering Daily News “ SmartSignal is detecting in wider applications

Verano Industrial Defender Solution Suite of software

Control Engineering Software eNewsletter for June 2003: “ Industrial Operations Security

Control Engineering participated in the mentioned InStep meeting with a keynote presentation, “How control engineering helps manufacturing.” The talk, by Mark T. Hoske, covered control system trends, product research, career advice and related resources.

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