Control Engineering hot topics, February 2017

Control Engineering's most clicked articles in February 2017 included stories about the Engineers' Choice Award winners, safety instrumented systems, differences between PLCs and computers, matrix VFD technology, and multi-platform fluency. Miss something? You can catch up here.

By Chris Vavra March 1, 2017

Hot topics in Control Engineering, for February 2017, included stories about the Engineers’ Choice Award winners, safety instrumented systems, differences between PLCs and computers, matrix VFD technology, and multi-platform fluency. These are based on the top 10 most read articles online in Control Engineering 
during February. Links to each article below. 

1. 2017 Engineers’ Choice Awards: Spotlight on innovation

The 30th annual Control Engineering Engineers’ Choice Awards shines a light on 28 categories of control, instrumentation, and automation products, revealing the best of those introduced in 2016 as chosen by you, Control Engineering’s print and digital audience.

2. Safety instrumented systems: Applying measurement best practices

The measurement part of a safety system tends to be the most troublesome. However, new technologies offer ways to overcome many common-cause problems.

3. Exploring the basic concepts of multivariable control

Multivariable controllers can balance competing objectives. Process controllers that can juggle multiple process variables simultaneously are becoming more common and more powerful, but they can still be difficult to design and implement.

4. Ensuring SCADA/HMI cybersecurity

Critical industries, such as chemical, energy, transportation, and water/wastewater depend on supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems for daily operations. Strengthening weaknesses in these systems must be a priority and is a shared responsibility.

5. IIoT arrives; It’s time to get started

The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) has progressed from dream to hype to reality. Today, the basic deployment scenarios of the IIoT solutions we implement for our end user manufacturing customers.

6. Six key differences between PLCs and computers

On the surface, programmable logic controllers (PLCs) and computers are similar, but PLCs can perform discrete and continuous control functions that a computer can’t. 

7. What controller fits your application?

Controllers available for modern applications include programmable logic controllers (PLCs), programmable automation controllers (PACs), distributed control systems (DCS), industrial PCs (IPCs) or PC-based control, and embedded (board-level) controllers. What criteria should be used to choose among them and why?

8. The fundamentals of matrix variable frequency drive technology 

Providing cost, space, and energy efficiency for VFD applications.

9. Five questions to ask when selecting a VFD

Users looking to select a variable frequency drive (VFD) need to consider their application, power source characteristics, and other safety and maintenance aspects to ensure that a production plant’s operations remain smooth with minimal downtime.

10. Four reasons to be fluent in multiple platforms

Being fluent in multiple platforms can be a helpful tool in the automation field for engineers and integrators and can give the engineer the ability to solve more problems and be a better, more rounded engineer.

The list was developed using CFE Media’s web analytics for stories viewed on, Feb. 1-28, for articles published within the last two months.

On Mondays, see the top 5 articles of the prior week. In January, see the hot topics for the year.

Chris Vavra, production editor, CFE Media,

Author Bio: Chris Vavra is web content manager for CFE Media and Technology.