Top 5 Control Engineering articles, June 2-8

Articles about programming PLCs, smart I/O systems vs. fieldbus networks, programming in motion, things noncontrol people should know about control engineers, and centralized controls were Control Engineering’s five most clicked articles from last week, June 2-8. Were you out last week? Miss something? You can catch up here.


1. Programming PLCs: Keep the documentation clear and simple

Poor programmable logic controller documentation and housekeeping can lead to unnecessary troubleshooting and downtime. Keep it simple in order to avoid the possible risks and confusion. 

2. Smart I/O systems vs. fieldbus networks

New configurable I/O systems bring greater flexibility to conventional instrumentation. How do they stand up to fieldbus networking for capabilities and convenience? 

3. Programming in motion

Case study: Automated Industrial Machinery (AIM Inc.) moved from an analog interface to servo amplifiers to a digital motion control network to reduce wiring and simplify programming. It used IEC 61131-3 compliant software and industry-standard PLCOpen function blocks. See examples. 

4. 7 things noncontrol people should know about control engineers

A few basic differences between control engineers and others in the plant can hinder progress toward optimization. Start a conversation to improve communications and controls. See examples and career advice. Send a link to these seven things other people should know about control engineers, so they understand.

5. Centralized controls: Smart software, networks trump smart hardware

Machine architectures require many field devices. For easier system design, engineers should select a core control platform that minimizes complexity, with a unified software platform and network. More streamlined hardware and networking architectures are easier to implement, support, and maintain. 

The list was developed using CFE Media's web analytics for stories viewed on, June 2-8, for articles published within the last two months.

- Chris Vavra, content specialist, CFE Media,

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