Internet resources for the control engineer

It is the best of resources; it is the worst of resources. The World Wide Web brings an abundance of information to the desktops of millions almost instantly. But just how valuable is the voluminous data that resides on this global network that has revolutionized the way the world communicates? We have all experienced opening our email boxes to the tune of: you have 126 unread messages — ...

06/01/2003


It is the best of resources; it is the worst of resources.

The World Wide Web brings an abundance of information to the desktops of millions almost instantly. But just how valuable is the voluminous data that resides on this global network that has revolutionized the way the world communicates? We have all experienced opening our email boxes to the tune of: you have 126 unread messages — 122 of which are unwanted SPAM. Or searching through the 1,862 query returns to find a tidbit of data.

Sifting and winnowing through Internet resources requires patience, persistence, and a bit of knowledge of where to go and what to look for. To help in those efforts, we've listed some websites beyond www.controleng.com that you might find helpful in your search for control and automation information. Sites are grouped into major control and automation areas, although many sites may apply to several groups. Visit the sites for a more in-depth look.

General

Best Manufacturing Practices validates best practices, documents them, and encourages industry, government, and academia to share them. Best practice surveys, program overview, software tools, FAQs, electronic library. www.bmpcoe.org

International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) prepares and publishes international standards for all electrical, electronic and related technologies. Standards, conformance assessments, trading practices, related acronyms. www.iec.ch

IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc.) is a global non-profit, technical professional association. www.ieee.org . A subset, IEEE Control Systems Society, focuses on theory and practice of systems and control in engineering. Conferences, technical activities, publications. www.ieeecss.org

MCAA (Measurement, Control & Automation Association) promotes the progress of the measurement, control, automation industry. Market studies, programs, special projects. www.measure.org

Motors; drives; machine, motion control

National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) provides a forum for standardizing electrical equipment. Products, news, standards, government affairs. www.nema.org

OMAC Users Group companies work together to establish a repository of open architecture control requirements and operating experiences. Working groups, membership information, technical documents, meetings. www.omac.org

PLCopen is a vendor- and product-independent worldwide association supporting IEC 61131-3 for standardization in industrial control programming. Introduction to IEC 61131; training and education; certification. www.plcopen.org

Machine Vision Online is part of the Automated Imaging Association (AIA) and provides information and education. Technical issues, opinion pieces, bookstore, chat room, Buyer's Guide. www.machinevisiononline.com

PLCS.net provides tutorials on working with programmable logic controllers. Education, live Q&A, email updates . www.plcs.net

System integration, networks, communication

Control and Information System Integrators Association (CSIA) promotes good business practices and provides integrated control and information systems to clients. CSIA information, best practices. www.controlsys.org

Fieldbus Foundation is dedicated to a single international, interoperable fieldbus standard. Products, services, news, end-user support, international information. www.fieldbus.org

OPC Foundation ensures interoperability by creating and maintaining open specifications that standardize communications. Technical information, useful links. www.opcfoundation.org

Open DeviceNet Vendor Association (ODVA) supports network technologies built on the Common Industrial Protocol (CIP). DeviceNet, Ethernet/IP products; technical information; training/support; Dr. DeviceNet. www.ODVA.org

Profibus International supports a vendor-independent, open fieldbus standard that allows communication between devices of different manufacturers. Online product guide; case studies; system descriptions. www.profibus.com

Instrumentation, sensors, process control

Instrumentation, Systems, and Automation Society (ISA) fosters advancement in the theory, design, manufacture, and use of sensors, instruments, computers, and systems for measurement and control. Technical information, training programs, publications, certification, licensing. www.isa.org

World Batch Forum supports process automation and operations needs in batch and related process manufacturing. Conferences, webcasts, working groups, batch markup language. www.wbf.org

Intelligent Manufacturing Systems aims to develop next-generation manufacturing and processing technologies. Conferences, forums, FAQs, manufacturing glossary, newsletters. www.ims.org

Software, human-machine interface, embedded control

Software & Information Industry Association strives to expand market opportunities and forge a stronger digital industry. Government affairs, anti-piracy information. www.siia.net

Business Software Alliance (BSA) promotes a safe and legal digital world and educates consumers on software management and copyright protection. Anti-piracy information, research, public policy information. www.bsa.org/usa

International Engineering Consortium catalyzes technology and business progress in high-technology industries and universities. Online tutorial includes extensive material on HMIs. Publications, online education, conferences. www.iec.org/online/tutorials/hmi

Comments: email: jkatzel@reedbusiness.com





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