Control Engineering hot topics, July 2017

Control Engineering's most clicked articles in July 2017 included stories about control system automation projects, PLC programming, safety and industrial networks, the 2017 Control Engineering Salary Survey, safe node-to-node communication, and PC-based controls. Miss something? You can catch up here.

By Chris Vavra August 1, 2017

Hot topics in Control Engineering, for July 2017, included stories about control system automation projects, PLC programming, safety and industrial networks, the 2017 Control Engineering Salary Survey, safe node-to-node communication, and PC-based controls. These are based on the top 10 most read articles online in Control Engineering June. Links to each article below.

1. Eight things to avoid in control system automation projects

Identifying missteps such as not building a cross-functional team and not defining responsibilities early in a project can help ensure that a control system automation project is successful.

2. PLC programming tips, benefits for engineers

Cover Story: Get help for programmable logic controller (PLC) programming from Control Engineering editorial advisory board member Frank Lamb, covering ladder logic and scanning, binary-coded decimals, and reusable codes.

3. Safety over industrial communication networks

Industrial Ethernet is becoming easier to use for industrial safety applications. Standards, trends, and technologies are helping with industrial Ethernet-based safety systems. 

4. Controller embeds programming efficiency

Cover Story: PLC programming: Selecting the right controller and accompanying programming software adds efficiency to the controller programming process. 

5. Advice from integrators on HMIs, wireless, cloud use, thin clients

System Integrator of the Year roundtable: Tips follow on human-machine interface screen design, wireless and cloud technologies for Industrial Internet of Things, and thin-client use from representatives from two 2017 System Integrator of the Year companies.

6. Control Engineering Salary and Career Survey, 2017

Control Engineering salary and career survey research shows an average salary of $96,045 in 2017, up slightly from the 2016 results; job satisfaction continues among respondents. Life-long learning remains critically important. To get youth interested in engineering, more investments in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education and high-profile projects need to be made, respondents said.

7. Ease of use: Programmable controllers

With “ease of use” blowing like wind through the branches of automation and control, standard programming has abstracted into configuration, as wizards become more intelligent, and libraries of code are embedded into intuitive objects. Controller hardware touts modularity, flexibility, and connectivity. 

8. Industrial fail-safe, node-to-node communication

CIP Safety, for functional safety applications on EtherNet/IP and DeviceNet networks, provides fail-safe communication between nodes, such as safety I/O blocks, safety interlock switches, safety light curtains, and safety PLCs in safety applications up to Safety Integrity Level (SIL) 3.

9. PC-based controls: Expanding plant-floor architectures from the edge to IIoT 

Edge devices facilitate data processing at the plant level, increasing security and using Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) standards.

10. 3-D chip developed for combined computing and data storage

Researchers at MIT and Stanford have developed a 3-D chip that uses carbon nanotubes and resistive random-access memory (RRAM) cells to address communication bottlenecks as technology becomes more sophisticated.

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

Chris Vavra, production editor, CFE Media,

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