Of network redundancy and PID control

Ethernet, industrial networks, fieldbus, and PID control remain major topics for automation experts.

08/11/2016


During the past decade, many articles about industrial networks, Ethernet, and fieldbus have appeared in AppliedAutomation. This issue is no different. And as long as I am editor, that trend will not change. The cover story focuses on Ethernet network redundancy, which the author contends is among the most overlooked issues when planning an industrial network. He writes: "Consider that a communication failure in a production network can create costly downtime, cause the loss of important company data, or even initiate conditions for serious damages to production equipment-or worse: injury to personnel. A redundant physical layer network structure protects against production downtime by ensuring the availability of communication continues, even if errors occur."

The author provides advice on how to apply network best practices via Ethernet network redundancy and offers several protocol scenarios for consideration. "The decision whether to implement a redundancy mechanism in an industrial network and then choose the most appropriate method for the application will be of paramount importance to the ongoing reliability of the network and the overall success of the operation," he writes.

Proportional-integral-derivative (PID) loop tuning is another topic that has appeared frequently in AppliedAutomation, as well as nearly every automation and controls publication. The author writes: "Articles about PID loop tuning are published regularly, and they routinely reference studies touting performance improvements and financial gains. Whether based on empirical research or anecdotal stories, they've made it clear that tuning PIDs can improve a production facility's performance significantly. With such overwhelming evidence, why does the manufacturing community need regular reminders?"

Good question. Perhaps part of the answer is because process modeling and controller tuning technologies continue to advance.

This article appears in the Applied Automation supplement for Control Engineering 
and Plant Engineering

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