60th Anniversary: CE History from 60, 30 and 15 years ago on info storage, sensors, project implementation

Happy 60th, Control Engineering! Help us celebrate by looking at issues from 60, 30, and 15 years ago. Control Engineering magazine first published in September 1954. This monthly column in 2014 will review coverage in issues 60 (or 59), 30, and 15 years ago. While technologies have progressed since then, topics below (information storage, control sensors, project implementation) remain relevant today.

By Chris Vavra August 7, 2014

August 1955: A new approach to information storage

The control of many contemporary operations in computing, logistics, libraries, and commerce involves storing large quantities of information. These can be held on punched cards or on rolls of punched-paper or magnetic storage. But, paralleling the demand for stores is one for access time of less than a second. Mechanical form of punched cards required rolling and unrolling of tape limit capacity and accessibility. In contrast, photographic techniques offer interesting possibilities because of the storage density capabilities of the new high-resolution silver-handle emulsions and the fast access to the reduced physical storage area.

Photographic recordings are hard to erase. But the information in the storage problems considered is relatively permanent because of its large volume. However, even in the largest stores, changes do occur. These can usually be handled by a combination of photoscopic units, or by adding small, temporary, erasable storage devices of conventional design.

August 1984: Adaptive control sensors for manufacturing systems: An overview

The same three elements are required for an adaptive control scheme as for most other strategic plans. First, a need or desire to achieve a definable result is required. Next, a mechanism that will enable the present condition to be transported into the desired condition, subject to the appropriate constraints (time, capital, overall environment, etc.) must exist. Finally, the implementation of the plan and its associated mechanism must be initiated, supported, and controlled, and its results evaluated. In keeping with the three elements, adaptive control schemes have long been desired and needed. However, the implementation phase has been limited by an effective mechanism.

Fortunately, technological gains have been such that many more mechanisms now exist. The twin keys to these technologies are the availability of low cost, real-time computing capabilities and new process sensors.

August 1999: Choosing the right project implementation strategy

As outsourcing increases in popularity, end -users have more choices than ever when implementing a project strategy. Do they use in-house staff, the professional consulting services of the vendor whose products they are using, or a local system integrator to complete the job? Deciding which strategy to implement requires careful analysis of the best scenarios for each. Implementation engineering represents a significant investment-as much as two-thirds of the overall project cost-so it is critical that end users make the proper choice.

Although the actual workflow of a typical project appears simple, getting to the result successfully is anything but easy. Each of the workflow activities is vital to the overall success of the project, and selecting the right resources for the job is essential. With the options of using in-house engineering, consulting services of the vendor, or a system integrator, a project manager should evaluate each of these options for their ability to meet the project’s specific needs.

– 2014 edits, to fit this page, by Chris Vavra, content specialist, CFE Media.


www.controleng.com/history links to this article, other monthly summaries, and additional features from the first year of publication, including one from August 1955 on the process control market for the then-emerging nuclear power industry.

Author Bio: Chris Vavra is senior editor for WTWH Media LLC.