Control Engineering hot topics, February 2018

Control Engineering's most clicked articles in February 2018 included stories about the Engineers' Choice winners, creating a secure network, VFD trends, system integrator success, motor technology innovations, and internal automation standards. Miss something? You can catch up here.
By Chris Vavra March 1, 2018

Example of an industrial network that operators should secure and check for compliance. Courtesy: TripwireHot topics in Control Engineering, for February 2018, included the Engineers’ Choice winners, creating a secure network, VFD trends, system integrator success, motor technology innovations, and internal automation standards. These are based on the top 10 most read articles online in Control Engineering February. Links to each article below.

1. 2018 Engineers’ Choice Awards: Spotlight on innovation

The 31st annual Control Engineering Engineers’ Choice Awards shines a light on 26 categories of control, instrumentation, and automation products, revealing the best of those introduced in 2017 as chosen by the Control Engineering print and digital audience.

2. Create a secure network for shop floor devices 

Operations technology (OT) environments consist of many devices using different protocols and different languages. This can cause a security risk if plant operators don’t take steps to mitigate the risk and create awareness for everyone on the plant floor.

3. Three major VFD trends

Variable frequency drive (VFD) development is shifting focus away from general-purpose motor controls that are already meeting market demands toward reduced installation costs.

4. Four steps to system integrator success

A structured approach yields maximum value when engaging an integration partner.

5. Three ways the IoT has emerged as a powerful force in the manufacturing industry

The Internet of Things (IoT) has changed the manufacturing industry with increased connectivity, an improved supply chain, and has enhanced smart manufacturing.

Figure 2: The Productivity1000 is a new controller from AutomationDirect, designed and built using a team approach involving multiple companies across the globe. Courtesy: AutomationDirect6. Innovations in electric motor technology: the first 100 years

Variable frequency drive (VFD) and other motor advancements that help manufacturers originated from experiments and developments in the 19th century with electric coils and the three-phase induction motor.

7. Product design: Incorporating commercial technologies into industrial controllers

Industrial controllers are using commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) technologies such as Ethernet, field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs), USB, and MicroSD cards to improve price/performance ratios, shrink form factors, and add new features.

8. Setting internal automation standards

Industry regulations aren’t specific enough, so internal standards are required to ensure consistency among automation system hardware and software installed in your plant or facility.

9. Avoid alarm overload with consolidation and escalation

Take steps to improve supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) alarm management and avoid alarm overloading.

10. Understanding the value of best practices

The discipline required to follow standardized programming best practices can pay off in the long run.

The list was developed using CFE Media’s web analytics for stories viewed on controleng.com, February 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 prior year.

Chris Vavra, production editor, CFE Media, cvavra@cfemedia.com.