Independent thinking

Independent thinking, bravery, and hope for the future enabled certain citizens throughout U.S. history to risk their lives and livelihoods to move toward freedom and greater opportunities. On Fourth of July we remember U.S. patriots. Brave people who have implemented cutting-edge automation systems also fit that description; at the extreme, incorrect use of controls can cost lives, or at...

07/01/2000


Independent thinking, bravery, and hope for the future enabled certain citizens throughout U.S. history to risk their lives and livelihoods to move toward freedom and greater opportunities. On Fourth of July we remember U.S. patriots. Brave people who have implemented cutting-edge automation systems also fit that description; at the extreme, incorrect use of controls can cost lives, or at the very least, endanger a control engineer's pursuit of happiness.

Avoid unwanted fireworks; in this issue, "Keep the Explosion Genie in the Bottle" demonstrates ways to enhance safety in hazardous-area installations. In the online version, at www.controleng.com, take a 10-second survey about hazardous-area applications. In other coverage, control-valves maximize performance; signature waveforms help diagnose problems; web browsers serve up next-generation human-machine interfaces; and ISA shows unveil new technologies.

To help you be a hero with your next cutting-edge implementation or upgrade, Control Engineering Buyer's Guide has gone live, with year-round updates at www.controleng.com/buyersguide . The printed version mails later this month.

Two more free e-newsletters —on Instrumentation and Motors, drives, and motion control—began in June. Take liberty to contact Control Engineering editors Dick Johnson, djohnson@cahners.com , and Frank Bartos, fbartos@cahners.com , respectively, on these topics. Consider our e-mail newsletters the valued electronic equivalent of a Control Engineering print edition. (One if by land; two if by "e"?) "Cyberpage" in this issue explains more.

Jane Stoffel Gerold launched a small revolution by contributing to innovations in Control Engineering over the past 13 years, in multiple roles. Effective June 1, she resigned to spend more time with family. Thanks Jane, for your efforts. (See more in a June 1, "Daily News" item.)

Readily available information can foster independent thinking. Since September 1999, Control Engineering editors have offered "Daily News" and products online; between deadlines for the July and August print editions, major developments include:

  • Microsoft releases Windows CE 3.0, associated tools; June 16; more details June 19;

  • Siemens plans modular MES framework, June 15;

  • Microsoft fights breakup order, June 8;

  • GE Cisco Industrial Networks to provide factory-to-office communications; June 7;

  • eMation acquires Intuitive Technology, June 2; and

  • Invensys [Foxboro and Wonderware's parent] moves to acquire Baan; May 31.

A recent online interview with Foxboro president, William J. Ketelhut, emphasizes performance more than products. "We're highly differentiated in our desire to build shareholder value. Customers tell us their manufacturing processes have to change to add economic value, reduce costs, and add flexibility."

Doing so requires a change in thinking from manufacturing "push" to a supply chain that "pulls" products through. "Automation must contribute to building shareholder value," Mr. Ketelhut says, "and tie seamlessly into strategic plans. These have big impacts through and on automation systems."

If you're up in arms over what that means, it's time for a revolution of your own. Have a great July.


Author Information

Mark T. Hoske, Editor-in-Chief mhoske@cahners.com




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