Control Engineering hot topics, July 2018

Control Engineering's most clicked articles in July 2018 included stories about ladder logic, sensor selection, safety instrumented systems, and smarter energy monitoring. Miss something? You can catch up here.

By Chris Vavra August 2, 2018

Hot topics in Control Engineering, for July 2018, included ladder logic, sensor selection, safety instrumented systems, and smarter energy monitoring. These are based on the top 10 most read articles online in Control Engineering July. Links to each article below.

1. Ladder logic’s future role in automation

Cover story: Nine considerations when selecting a programming language. Ladder logic is favored by manufacturers in discrete industries, but as technology and automation evolve, its usefulness compared to other IEC 61131-3 programming languages and PC programming depends on application complexity and other factors. 

2. Comparing ladder logic and object-oriented programming

Cover story: Many young automation professionals are comfortable with object-oriented programming (OOP), but ladder logic remains the standard for industrial automation applications. See advantages and disadvantages of OOP and ladder logic. 

3. Tips on sensor selection

Many different sensors are available to manufacturers and knowledge about the application type and basic operation conditioning requirements can create a more informed and accurate choice.

4. Comparing conventional and sustainable safety instrumented systems

A sustainable safety instrumented system (SIS) is more open than a conventional SIS and are more accessible to process plant personnel while providing opportunities for continuous feedback and improvement. 

5. Smarter energy monitoring with predictive maintenance, IoT solutions

Advanced power measurement is in widespread use in controls engineering to save energy and classify machine behaviors by using predictive maintenance and Internet of Things (IoT) tools to reduce costs and boost operating efficiency of equipment.

6. Five reasons to use modular design enclosures

Modular design enclosures provide more flexibility and a reduced footprint for users versus unibody enclosures, and their design and construction provide additional advantages for users. 

7. MES: Eating the elephant

Corporate manufacturing leaders know they have some amount of error, waste, and inefficiency in their operations. Manufacturing execution systems (MES) can eradicate these productivity barriers.

8. Case study: IIoT effectiveness on the plant floor

Create and collect machine and sensor data to augment overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) and determine machine efficiency.

9. Six future trends in robotic automation

Robotic automation trends for the future include further IIoT adoption, increased cybersecurity measures, and increased use of collaborative robots on the plant floor.

10. Process controls: More with less

Process controls and instrumentation need to be more intuitive with more integrated intelligence, and they are, out of necessity, because of retiring talent with too few replacements. Three improvements and 10 benefits of next-generation technology are highlighted.

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,