Control Engineering's Process Control Newsletter for February 2002


In this issue:


Electronic records and signatures awareness survey

Is your company covered by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) regulation on Electronic Records and Signatures, also known as 21 CFR Part 11?

To help prepare for an April article, we want to understand your awareness of this regulation. Complete AFAB Group's 25-question survey via

Those curious about preliminary survey results, a summary report is posted on AFAB Group's web site.

I will also be presenting the findings of this awareness survey at the World Batch Forum (WBF) meeting, April 7-10 in Woodcliff Lake, N.J. For more information, visit

Is the FDA serious about enforcement of 21 CFR Part 11? You bet they are! View a few of the recently issued FDA citations pertaining to 21 CFR Part 11 at via

Back to top


Do you know the answers?

I regularly receive email inquiries asking questions related to the application of instrumentation and controls, so I've decided to take a few lines of this newsletter each month to include a few basic instrumentation and control questions. If anyone has a particular question or topic they would like to have considered, send me an email at

Here are the answers to the questions asked in the e-mail version of this newsletter.

1. What would be the indication, in pounds per square inch (psi) of an absolute pressure gauge lying on a workbench in Houston, Texas, and connected to nothing? The answer is c .

  • a. 0

  • b. -14.7

  • c. 14.7

  • d. 29.4

2. What is the indication, in psi, of a pressure gauge connected to the base of a 100-foot standpipe of water? The answer is a .

  • a. 43.3

  • b. 4.33

  • c. 0.433

  • d. 28.6

3. Which elements are typically associated with a process control loop? The answer is e .

  • a. sensing element

  • b. transmitter

  • c. controller

  • d. final control device

  • e. all of the above

4. Which term best describes how media should flow through an orifice plate? The answer is c .

  • a. Turbulant

  • b. Two-phase

  • c. Laminar

  • d. Swirling

Back to top


How mistake-proof are your processes?

Poka Yoke, a Japanese term meaning mistake proofing, is a simple method people can use to help prevent defects from occurring. The beauty of the poka yoke method is anyone, executives, managers, supervisors, and line employees, can develop their own poka yoke. (I'm told poka yoke can even be used by sales managers and sales associates.) All it takes is a little instruction around what makes a good poka yoke and empowered employees.

To learn more about mistake proofing your processes, visit at

Back to top


Six Sigma Green Belt training via the Internet

If you have wanted to pursue your Six Sigma Green Belt Certification training but needed a convenient 'anytime, anyplace' learning environment, then the University of Michigan College of Engineering offers what you have been looking for.

The Six Sigma Green Belt Program is available online for convenient learning for professionals with demanding schedules. There is no formal start and end date, but participants are required to complete the 40-hour program within 60 days. Students pursuing the Green Belt Certification have an additional 30 days after their formal online training ends to submit a Six Sigma project report for approval. The Green Belt Certification Fee is $2,000 per student. If you want to complete the course and not receive the certification, the fee is $1,500 per student.

Learn more about the University of Michigan's online training at

Back to top


New instrument specification forms available

For years the defacto standard for specifying instruments has been the 'Specification Forms for Process Measurement and Control Instruments, Primary Elements, and Control Valves,' also known as ISA-S20 forms. These are the forms instrument engineers complete and give to purchasing to send out for bids and the same forms provided by most engineering contractors as part of the 'as built' plant documentation deliverable.

1981 was the last time these forms were updated. With the significant number of instrument changes in the past 20 years, existing forms have many changes and there are 51 new forms.

For more information on the ISA-S20 instrument specification forms visit the ISA web site page at

Back to top


Cool products: CSI, Invensys, Honeywell

Computational Systems Inc. (CSI, Knoxville, Tenn.), the Emerson Process mechanical equipment monitoring group, recently introduced the 4100R5 MicroAnalyzer, a self-contained wireless troubleshooting package. CSI claims the 4100R5 can be deployed in a matter of minutes to gather, analyze, and transmit vibration, stress wave, and temperature data.

Invensys Process Systems (Foxboro, Mass.) recently introduced remote Loop Analyst services for I/A Series systems. Using a non-invasive data collection, statistical, and analysis software tool set, Invensys regional technical support centers claim they are able to identify process, instrumentation, and control problems and predict equipment failures.

Honeywell Industry Solutions (Phoenix, Ariz.) recently introduced what they are calling a Testbed Edition of the dynamic simulation system known as Shadow Plant. According to company spokespersons, Shadow Plant Testbed Edition is designed to allow control engineers deploying Honeywell's High-performance Process Manager, PlantScape, or Fail Safe Controller systems to quickly validate controller and graphic configurations using a personal computer.

Back to top


Conferences, seminars, and exhibitions

Learn from experts in fieldbus technology in a Control Engineering Technology Webcast. Visit /webcast/archives/fieldbus.htm for this free, sponsored webcast: 'FOUNDATION Fieldbus: An Open, Integrated Architecture for Information Integration.'

Control Engineering's website includes registration for eight topical e-mailed newsletters, access to exclusive coverage from Control Engineering Europe, site search, Online Control Engineering Buyer's Guide , and Automation Integrator Guide Online , with advanced search functions. Go to /

Control Engineering's website also includes links to upcoming conferences, trade shows, and exhibitions:

  • Mar 4-7, Comdex 2002, Chicago, Ill.

  • Mar 13-15, Embedded Systems, San Francisco, Calif.

  • Mar 18-21, National Industrial Automation, Chicago, Ill.

  • Apr 7-10, World Batch Forum Conference, Woodcliff Lakes, N.J.

  • Apr 8-11, Material Handling Show and Conference, Detroit, Mich.

  • Apr 15-20, Hannover Fair, Hannover Germany

  • Apr 15-17, Interphex, New York, N.Y.

  • May 21-23, Sensors Spring Expo, San Jose, Calif.

  • Jun 3-6, Embedded Systems, Rosemount, Ill.

  • Jun 4-5, ISPE Washington Conference, Arlington, Virg.

  • Jun 25-27, Integrated Manufacturing Solutions Conference, Cleveland, O.

  • Sep 8-12, Wonderware Showcase, Orlando, Fla.

  • Sep 24-26, Sensors Fall Expo, Boston, Mass.

  • Oct 8-11, Center for Chemical Process Safety Conference, Jacksonville, Fla.

  • Oct 21-24, ISA Expo, Chicago, Ill.

  • Nov 3-8, AIChE Annual Meeting, Indianapolis, Ind.

  • Nov 4-5, ISPE Annual Meeting, Orlando, Fla.

  • Nov 18-24, Embedded Systems, Boston, Mass.

  • Nov 19-23, BIAS, Milan, Italy

  • Nov 20-21, AB Automation Fair, Anaheim, Calif.

Back to top


February in Control Engineering

Cover: Internet in manufacturing
Internet technologies are becoming the key platform for industrial software. These bring benefits of interoperability among applications, scaled down client devices, and 'information everywhere.' Such technologies as http, html, xml, .NET, snmp, smtp, ftp, Ethernet TCP/IP will be discussed with emphasis on how they are used in today's industrial software and the benefits to users.

Contact temperature sensing
Temperature is the most commonly measured process variable in the process industries. Almost taken for granted by many control engineers, contact temperature sensing continues to evolve technically. Here's a look at advances in the technology and a spotlight on process-industry applications that prove that this 'old dog' has learned some 'new tricks.'

Special report controllers: application guidelines
Special Report: Controllers, Part 2, Applications. Building on information from Control Engineering's comprehensive survey, this article will explore evolving applications for various types of controller platforms (PLC, DCS, PC, and embedded) and how technology is enabling their convergence.

Industrial Automation Show at National Manufacturing Week
Industrial Automation Show at National Manufacturing Week in Chicago introduces a wide array of technologies to users, integrators, and other suppliers, at the March 18-21 events.

Embedded Systems Conference
Embedded Systems Conference, March 11-14, in San Francisco, brings new technologies for use in embedded control and other areas of industrial automation.

Product Focus: Data acquisition
Original research from Control Engineering/Cahners Research examines trends and user issues with data acquisition hardware and software. Recent product descriptions from leading suppliers will be included, along with research survey results.

Integrator Update
This piece examines challenges and solutions in an application requiring system integration.

Back to Basics: Wiring/insulation displacement
Insulation displacement connection technology has been speeding wiring terminations for some time. Here's a look at basic points to know on the topic.

Back to top

No comments
The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by...
The System Integrator Giants program lists the top 100 system integrators among companies listed in CFE Media's Global System Integrator Database.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
This eGuide illustrates solutions, applications and benefits of machine vision systems.
Learn how to increase device reliability in harsh environments and decrease unplanned system downtime.
This eGuide contains a series of articles and videos that considers theoretical and practical; immediate needs and a look into the future.
Choosing controllers: PLCs, PACs, IPCs, DCS? What's best for your application?; Wireless trends; Design, integration; Manufacturing Day; Product Exclusive
Variable speed drives: Smooth, efficient, electrically quite motion control; Process control upgrades; Mobile intelligence; Product finalists: Vote now; Product Exclusives
Machine design tips: Pneumatic or electric; Software upgrades; Ethernet advantages; Additive manufacturing; Engineering Leaders; Product exclusives: PLC, HMI, IO
This article collection contains the 5 most referenced articles on improving the use of PID.
Learn how Industry 4.0 adds supply chain efficiency, optimizes pricing, improves quality, and more.

Find and connect with the most suitable service provider for your unique application. Start searching the Global System Integrator Database Now!

Cyber security cost-efficient for industrial control systems; Extracting full value from operational data; Managing cyber security risks
Drilling for Big Data: Managing the flow of information; Big data drilldown series: Challenge and opportunity; OT to IT: Creating a circle of improvement; Industry loses best workers, again
Pipeline vulnerabilities? Securing hydrocarbon transit; Predictive analytics hit the mainstream; Dirty pipelines decrease flow, production—pig your line; Ensuring pipeline physical and cyber security