Control Engineering hot topics, January 2017

Control Engineering's most clicked articles in January 2017 included stories about control panel design, time-sensitive networking, the 2016 System Integrator Giants, choosing the best controller, and robotics software for the next generation. Miss something? You can catch up here.

By Chris Vavra February 1, 2017

Hot topics in Control Engineering, for January 2017, included stories about good design for control panels, time-sensitive networking, the 2016 System Integrator Giants, choosing the best controller, and robotics software for the next generation. These are based on the top 10 most read articles online in Control Engineering during January. Links to each article below. 

1. Four aspects of good control panel design

Good control panel design should feature strong layout and component placement, labeling, panel sizing and component spacing, and wireway design.

2. What does time-sensitive networking and real-time Ethernet data mean for the future of industrial systems? 

Avnu Alliance members explain how real-time communications enabled by Time Sensitive Networking (TSN) will strengthen the future of industrial systems.

3. 2016 System Integrator Giants  

The System Integrator Giants program (SI Giants) lists the top 100 system integrators among companies listed in the CFE Media Global System Integrator Database, ranked solely on total system integration revenue.  

4. Hot topics in Control Engineering for 2016, 2017 

Think Again: Control Engineering readers choose hot topics of 2016, and that online traffic points to key trends in Control Engineering in 2017. What can you learn from these top Control Engineering articles of 2016? New: See related articles of 2017 and top graphics of 2016.  

5. Considerations for choosing the right control system platform

Choosing between a programmable logic controller (PLC) or a distributed control system (DCS) depends on the type of project and plant. PLCs and a DCS provide different kinds of benefits, depending on the application.

6. How to choose the best controller for each application 

Consider the features and typical applications for industrial controllers to understand what type of controller fits each application. Do you need a programmable logic controller (PLC), programmable automation controller (PAC), or industrial PC (IPC)? See comparison tables for PLCs, PACs, and IPCs.

7. Advantages of reusable code for PLCs

Reusable code for programmable logic controllers (PLCs) provide users with flexibility and allow structures to be built that can be exported from one application to another.

8. Group launches universal language for the Internet of Things

The zigbee alliance’s dotdot is a universal language for the Internet of Things (IoT) and is designed to make smart objects work together on any network and improve connectivity on the supply chain.

9. Robotics software for the next generation

Educators, researchers, and robotics companies have collaborated to develop software that enables robots to work in new applications to help shrink the industrial manufacturing skills gap. As a result, more intelligent robotics software now is enabling greater robotics capabilities for the next generation of technology and manufacturing workers. See video.

10. 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.

The list was developed using CFE Media’s web analytics for stories viewed on, Jan. 1-31, 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 senior editor for WTWH Media LLC.