Control Engineering's Process Control Newsletter for June 2000


In this issue:

Batch Control for Dummies

The official title is 'Applying S88 - Batch Control from a User's Perspective' but the bottom line is, this book is a pretty good read for anyone with process control responsibilities. Don't let 'batch' in the title turn you off. The techniques described by authors Jim Parshall and Larry Lamb are as relevant to continuous processes as they are to batch. For information on how to obtain a copy of 'Applying S88' (ISBN 1-55617-703-8), contact ISA at (919) 549-8411 or visit .

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Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP) conference

Being compliant with cGMPs means more than meeting the stated requirements of U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations. It means understanding your manufacturing process well enough to recognize its strengths and weaknesses. It means being aware of what should be done on an ongoing basis to maintain compliance status. It means understanding that the 'c' in 'cGMP' means 'current.' Attending 'GMP by the Sea' in Newport, R.I., August 28-30, 2000 will allow you to interact with FDA officials and pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical industry experts. For more information, contact Pharma Conference Arrangements (210) 341-5300 or visit .

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Critical Control Solution Flexibility

Not every user has the same requirements for high availability and safety protection systems, and apparently the folks at GE Fanuc (Charlottesville, Va.) understand that because they recently expanded a pretty broad offering that included dual and triple CPU even further. Their latest addition, Max-ON, addresses that segment of the market satisfied by a hot standby CPU. For more information, visit , call GE Fanuc at (804) 978-5000, or wait and visit their booth (#3627) at ISA EXPO/2000 , Aug. 21-24 in New Orleans.

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Intellution's Advanced Historian & Microsoft Excel meet

When deploying a solution to take advantage of Intellution's Advanced Historian (AH), customers needed alternatives for reporting in a simple, fast, and familiar way. As is often the case, where there's a need someone's usually willing to fill that need. Case-in-point, Mountain System's (Green Bay, Wis.) Proficy Excel Add-In is a data extraction tool that works with Intellution's AH product to report process history data, such as product, downtime, batch, etc., in context with 'time' and 'tag.' For more information about Mountain Systems Proficy, call (920) 465-4300 or visit . Visit to learn more about Intellution's Advanced Historian.

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Free OPC testing tool

Looking for a free software tool to verify your OPC (OLE for Process Control) Client and Server are working correctly? Well, look no further. ExperTune-yep the folks that help you analyze and tune control loops-have developed OPC connection testing software tool and you can download it free from their web site at . ExperTune's software acts as an OPC client on your desktop PC to validate that both local and remote OPC servers are working, but also provides valuable real-time critical process information at the same time.

While we're talking about ExperTune, they also just introduced Relative Response Time (RRT) software that tunes interacting (cascade) loops so the fast (inner) loop can respond as fast as the process allows, thus eliminating loop cycling. Visit for more information about RRT software.

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Free Honeywell IAC PlantScape CD

PlantScape is what Honeywell IAC (Phoenix, Ariz.) terms a hybrid control system that combines DCS and PLC into one system. If you've wanted to learn more about PlantScape it can't get much easier than this-just visit to order your free copy.

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June's Control Engineering

Cover: Step Motors and Controls Update
Stepper technology is one of the simplest and most cost-effective methods of motor and motion control. It competes with servo controls at the lower power ranges. This article will look at what's really new-in both stepper motors and controls-in a technology that continues to surprise with evolutionary developments. Application briefs and representative products also will be covered.

PID Tutorial
A feedback controller is designed to generate an output that causes some corrective effort to be applied to a process. A proportional-integral-derivative or 'PID' controller looks at the current value of the error; the integral of the error over a recent time interval; and the current derivative of the error signal to determine how much correction to apply, and for how long. Here's help understanding how it works.

Field Control Application
Read Hayward of DST Controls highlights challenges of another unique field control application. Mr. Hayward examines the quality control system of a major pharmaceutical technology company that extracts collagen from animal skins (a nasty job), refines, and packages it. This article provides an insightful look into the control solution that keeps this otherwise disgusting operation pure enough for pharmaceutical/USDA standards.

Power Supplies
Power supplies are required everywhere in a control system. This article will look at what's new and valuable in this fundamental component.

Product Focus: DAC Hardware
Original Control Engineering research examines trends and user issues in data acquisition hardware. Recent product descriptions from leading suppliers will be included, along with research results.

Back to Basics: Wire & Cable Types
Here's a noncommercial primer on wire and cable types used for automation and control.

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Dave's Public Service Announcement

It seems going to New Orleans, Louisiana in August to attend ISA EXPO/2000 has become a 'hot and sticky topic' for some manufacturers. I verified Fisher-Rosemount and ABB have elected to skip EXPO/2000 in New Orleans, and I've heard there are several others electing to not attend. Before you attend, I suggest you check to ensure the folks you want/need to see are making the trip. I'll be there. Look for the old guy in the floppies, shorts, and tank top.

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