Engineering revisited

Not long after I came onboard as editorial director of Control Engineering, I wrote a column titled "Change engineers," which dealt with the increasing influence of corporate directives and information technologies on the engineering profession in the manufacturing industries. This has been a theme I've revisited several times since as more evidence to support the shift taking place in enginee...

02/01/2006


Not long after I came onboard as editorial director of Control Engineering , I wrote a column titled "Change engineers," which dealt with the increasing influence of corporate directives and information technologies on the engineering profession in the manufacturing industries. This has been a theme I've revisited several times since as more evidence to support the shift taking place in engineering came to my attention through third party research and interviews I've conducted with engineers, analysts, and industry thought leaders.

The resurgence of the manufacturing execution system (MES) sector in the past year, along with the high profile market positioning by automation vendors to demonstrate their ability to link their automation products with enterprise business systems, all served to support my belief that a dramatic change in engineering is taking place. Some higher profile positioning that took place in the past year includes: ABB's continued development of its IndustrialITautomation and control system that provides MES capabilities and enterprise system linkage; Honeywell's expansion of its Experion offering, which coordinates automation and engineering knowledge management with MES capabilities and linkage to the enterprise; Rockwell's renewed emphasis around its FactoryTalk MES offering and its purchase of Camstar for additional MES capabilities; Schneider's purchase of Citect to bring MES functionality to its product line-up; and Siemens joining its process automation and MES businesses, not to mention its partnership with SAP. Even the mid-size and smaller component-level vendors, such as Acromag, Wago, and Opto22, are positioning for enterprise connectivity through widespread incorporation of Ethernet into their product lines.

All of this activity led to the launch of a series of articles in 2006—Enterprise Integration and the Engineer—that begin with this month's cover story. The launching pad for this series was a significant Control Engineering subscriber survey conducted in the fall. Through this survey we wanted to find out about: integration of automation and enterprise systems in manufacturing, what factors are driving this integration, and how subscribers feel this activity is altering their jobs.

The next three articles in the series will cover: plant floor devices and applications most used in enterprise integrations; how decisions are made about automation-to-enterprise integration and who is making those decisions; and career advice from engineers who have been involved in these high-level integration projects.

We hope these articles will help you better understand how the future of engineering is being affected by technology deployments today.





No comments
The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by...
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners.
Control Engineering Leaders Under 40 identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
Learn more about methods used to ensure that the integration between the safety system and the process control...
Adding industrial toughness and reliability to Ethernet eGuide
Technological advances like multiple-in-multiple-out (MIMO) transmitting and receiving
Virtualization advice: 4 ways splitting servers can help manufacturing; Efficient motion controls; Fill the brain drain; Learn from the HART Plant of the Year
Two sides to process safety: Combining human and technical factors in your program; Preparing HMI graphics for migrations; Mechatronics and safety; Engineers' Choice Awards
Detecting security breaches: Forensic invenstigations depend on knowing your networks inside and out; Wireless workers; Opening robotic control; Product exclusive: Robust encoders
The Ask Control Engineering blog covers all aspects of automation, including motors, drives, sensors, motion control, machine control, and embedded systems.
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
News and comments from Control Engineering process industries editor, Peter Welander.
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
This is a blog from the trenches – written by engineers who are implementing and upgrading control systems every day across every industry.
Anthony Baker is a fictitious aggregation of experts from Callisto Integration, providing manufacturing consulting and systems integration.
Integrator Guide

Integrator Guide

Search the online Automation Integrator Guide
 

Create New Listing

Visit the System Integrators page to view past winners of Control Engineering's System Integrator of the Year Award and learn how to enter the competition. You will also find more information on system integrators and Control System Integrators Association.

Case Study Database

Case Study Database

Get more exposure for your case study by uploading it to the Control Engineering case study database, where end-users can identify relevant solutions and explore what the experts are doing to effectively implement a variety of technology and productivity related projects.

These case studies provide examples of how knowledgeable solution providers have used technology, processes and people to create effective and successful implementations in real-world situations. Case studies can be completed by filling out a simple online form where you can outline the project title, abstract, and full story in 1500 words or less; upload photos, videos and a logo.

Click here to visit the Case Study Database and upload your case study.