Control Engineering hot topics, March 2017

Control Engineering's most clicked articles in March 2017 included stories about PID learning, control system programming standards, Big Data and IIoT value, human-robot capital, and industrial cybersecurity issues. Miss something? You can catch up here.

By Chris Vavra April 1, 2017

Hot topics in Control Engineering, for March 2017, included stories about PID learning, control system programming standards, Big Data and IIoT value, human-robot capital, and industrial cybersecurity issues. These are based on the top 10 most read articles online in Control Engineering 
during February. Links to each article below. 

1. The PID learning process

While there are many excellent loop tuning methods available, many practitioners prefer tweaking proportional-integral-derivative (PID) tuning constants or using rules-of-thumb rather than doing the required step test and data analysis. 

2. Standardizing control system programming with IEC 61131-3

For the first time in the history of industrial controls, industrial control system (ICS) programming—regardless of the controller type—can be implemented with the same standard, and the programs created with that standard easily can be transported from one compliant control system to another. 

3. 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.

4. Ladder logic 305: ASCII and strings

American Standard Code for Information Interchange (ASCII) and strings are designed to turn printable characters into numbers that programmable logic controller (PLCs) can deal with and are commonly used in the U.S.

5. Strategy and standards help determine Big Data, IIoT value

Cover Story: There are many tools for capturing the potential value Big Data and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) provide, but companies need to know what kind of information they want and how to gather it securely.

6. Robots, humans collaborate on safety

A new age of collaborative robots put people closer to technology than ever before.

7. Safety requires cybersecurity

Technology Update: If it isn’t secure, it isn’t safe. Cybersecurity vulnerabilities represent additional failure modes and safety incidents not factored into traditional safety assessments. Consider safety when creating a business justification for cybersecurity risk assessments.

8. Artificial intelligence and its impact on machine vision

Several companies are working on artificial intelligence (AI) solutions for the machine vision industry that will allow AI to think more like humans by employing deep learning techniques and other functions that humans use to develop their brains.

9. Current issues in industrial cybersecurity

Ransomware is as loathsome as it sounds; programmable logic controllers (PLCs) seen as likely targets.

10. Four IIoT connectivity challenges for businesses 

Companies looking to implement an Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) strategy need to address several potential issues as they seek to bridge the gap between operations technology (OT) and information technology (IT).

The list was developed using CFE Media’s web analytics for stories viewed on, Mar. 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 web content manager for CFE Media and Technology.