Top 20 Control Engineering articles of 2009 at

CNC technologies for aerospace, Engineers' Choice Award human-machine interface coverage, control panel design tutorial videos, and robotics used in the Terminator movie were among the most visited Control Engineering articles in 2009. Below are links to the top 20.


Grumman F35 fighter plane

Below are links to the top 20 articles posted during 2009 that received the most visits during the calendar year at the Control Engineering website, Although calendar-year ranking favors stories that went online earlier in the year, six of 20 appear in August or later. Among the most visited articles were computer numerical control (CNC) technologies used for aerospace, Control Engineeering Engineers' Choice Award human-machine interface coverage, control panel design tutorial videos, and robotics used in the Terminator movie.

1 . Northrop Grumman recommends Siemens CNC technologies for use by F-35 supply chain , 8/11/2009 - To achieve high-tolerance machined parts for the fighter plane, the company is strongly encouraging its supply chain to explore the use of Siemens Sinumerik 840D solution line CNC and Sinumerik Volumetric Compensation System (VCS) to achieve high-tolerance machined parts for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program. See photos.

2. Engineers' Choice Awards coverage , 2/1/2009 - HMIs and Industrial PCs Award Winners and Honorable mentions. Many wanted to see who won in multiple subcatories and why.

3 . Tutorial videos on control panel designs , 3/19/2009 - This explanatory article invited readers to post comments and add advice as they learn tips and tricks of control panel design with six, brief tutorial videos. A link to a ballot invited readers to vote for the most useful. (Watch for the 2010 tutorial video contest starting soon.) Control panel design is among favorite topics for control engineers, panel builders, and system integrators.

4. Robotics: ABB Robots featured in upcoming Terminator movie , 5/14/2009-
Visibility of industrial robotics reached a new level on May 21, 2009, when Warner Brothers Studios released "Terminator Salvation." ABB robots are very visible in the movie and instrumental in the final, climactic scene. The file was updated July 1 with information about how the Terminator robots see the world and process information. In this fourth Terminator movie, 18 ABB robots shared starring roles. (See photos.)

5. Guest commentary: Seven habits of highly successful control engineers , part 1, 2/4/2009 - This three-part examination by George Buckbee shows how control engineers can become more effective. Specific habits can be developed or enhanced to increase success. (Part 1 links to parts 2 and 3.)

Orange County Choppers


6 . Schneider Electric and Orange County Choppers to build hybrid motorcycle , 9/24/2009 - Schneider Electric partnered with custom motorcycle manufacturer Orange County Choppers (OCC) to design and build the first hybrid motorcycle in OCC history. Designed through a collaboration of Schneider Electric employees and the OCC design team, Schneider Electric says the custom chopper is planned to help exemplify the company's efforts to make energy solutions safe, reliable, efficient, productive and green. (See photo.)

7. Largest gas turbine has 2,838 sensors, 90 GB data per hour of testing , 2/13/2009 - At the time of this story, the largest gas turbine, from Siemens, was expected to deliver 530 MW at more than 60% thermal efficiency; 597 sensors turn with the rotor.

8. Speaking in Tongues: Understanding the IEC 61131-3 Programming Languages , 1/1/2009 - The IEC standard provides five controller-programming languages, each with advantages and disadvantages. More details and diagrams are linked to the Control Engineering tutorial article from Bosch Rexroth Electric Drives and Controls.


9. Green energy: Wind power rooftop unit generates electricity in moderate wind , 5/8/2009 - Green Energy Technologies' WindCube, said to be the first rooftop commercial-scale urban wind power system, can generate short payback with moderate wind. A photo gallery is included, along with diagram explaining how this turbine design captures and amplifies the wind, and information about related U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) funding.

10 . Winds of Change for Power and Control , 8/1/2009 - Drives and controls used in wind power technology provide new engineering challenges and lessons as more multi-megawatt, utility-scale wind turbines come online, producing clean electric power. Wind turbine size is rising to take advantage of proportionately higher power generation-to-cost ratios obtainable. Larger wind turbines are in planning. (See photos.)

Scroll down to see the 11-20 article ranking , including engineering-related economic advice, PID controller differences, how to choose a controller, the winning control panel design, 3D CAD help, industrial Ethernet, and more.

- Compiled by Mark T. Hoske, editor in chief, Control Engineering ,

11. Engineering company executives provide U.S. economic advice , 8/5/2009 - Three National Instruments leaders offered U.S. business leaders advice about how to thrive as the country moves out of recession. The engineering-minded executives also suggested ways U.S. policymakers, economists, and financial wizards might avoid future economic disasters, in an Aug. 4 discussion.

12. Sorting out PID Controller Differences , 2/1/2009 - Variations in what controller designers consider the "standard" PID algorithm can be confusing and confound tuning efforts. Link to Control Engineering "Reference Guide to PID Tuning," Parts 1-3.

13. How to Choose a Controller , 9/1/2009 - A dozen application-specific lists and related information help readers sort through controller choices no matter what type of system is being built or upgraded.

14. Machine builder wins control panel design contest , 4/14/2009 - 60% less space, 30% less wiring are metrics that helped CP Packaging win the 2009 Control Engineering panel design award, based on a poll at during March. This and five other panel design tutorial videos remain available for viewing and comment. (See photos.)

15. Free SolidWorks 3D CAD software and training are part of an 'Engineering Stimulus Package ,' 4/7/2009 - All U.S., Canadian engineers were eligible for skills upgrade training and certification testing, in programs from Fisher/Unitech and Dassault Systemes SolidWorks Corp.


Plug into Industrial Ethernet Protocols , 2/1/2009 - Industrial Ethernet protocols can be standard and unmodified, or they can be modified to be industrially hardened. Perspectives from some protocol proponents clarified needs for various implementations.17. Tutorial: Understanding the tricky thermocouple , 1/22/2009 - Fixating on the junction may overlook potential problem areas. See diagrams.

18 . AC permanent magnet motors , 9/1/2009 - Control strategies without speed encoders make ac permanent magnet motors more attractive for high-efficiency and specialized applications.

19. Successful load testing of 36.5 MW superconductor ship propulsion motor , 1/23/2009 - American Superconductor Corporation and Northrop Grumman completed successful full-power testing of the first 36.5 MW (49,000 hp) high-temperature superconductor (HTS) ship propulsion motor. See videos, history.

20. Controller reduces motor electricity costs , 5/19/2009 - Three-phase and single-phase Motor Efficiency Controllers for industrial and home appliance use reduce electricity costs for motors that run at a constant speed. The company estimates E-Save Technology has the potential to save $1.7 billion in electricity a year in industrial applications in the U.S. alone.

What's most-read today? See the "Most popular articles" box at

- Compiled by Mark T. Hoske, editor in chief, Control Engineering ,

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