Control Engineering System Integration eNewsletter for August 2002

By Jim Montague August 26, 2002

In this issue:

  • CSIA’s white paper defines system integrator market
  • CSIA adds membership category for start-up integrators
  • Vintage paper machine gets fresh start with new PC-based controls
  • Profibus seminars for integrators offered free-of-charge
  • Lockwood Green presents advice on working with integrators
  • ABB, software and integrator partners combine robotics and AGVs
  • Reference design speeds development of CAN and Ethernet-based embedded systems
  • Control Engineering plans October webcasts on manufacturing productivity
  • Search database of more than 1,000 system integrators, eight ways

CSIA’s white paper defines system integrator market

A recent white paper published by the Control System Integrators Association (CSIA, Exton, PA) traces the history and helps define the system integration field and its participants. The 26-page report, ‘CSIA White Paper: The Market for Control System Integrators,’ was prepared for CSIA by Walt Boyes, of Spitzer and Boyes LLC.

The document reports that data collected by CSIA indicates that the market for control system integration considerably larger than previously believed. CSIA estimates that the worldwide gross revenues for professional control system integrator companies is $12 billion per year, based on the 2,200 companies that meet CSIA’s definitions and qualifications as control system integrators. However, the actual number of companies doing at least some system integration is far larger, almost certainly exceeding 4,000 firms.

CSIA adds that the average member company was earning approximately $5.5 million by 2000, and that its revenue had grown to about $6.5 million by 2001.

In addition, the market for control system integration is increasing at 9-10% per year. System integrators are growing especially quickly in Asia and Latin American, as well as in North America. This makes control system integration one of the largest growth segments in the overall instrumentation, systems, and automation market.

Meanwhile, control system integrators are increasingly shifting from machine control and plant-floor process control to becoming true ‘enterprise integrators’ as it becomes increasingly important to tie plant-floor systems to enterprise business systems.

For more information or to download a free copy of this white paper, visit CSIA at

Back to top

CSIA adds membership category for start-up integrators

Following a membership increase in 2001 that brought it to an all-time high, CSIA recently announced a program to attract small and new control system integrator firms to CSIA. Under the new program, a new membership category, Participant Member, will join the current three other categories of Regular Member, Registered Member, and Associate Member.

‘While all members of CSIA must be in the control system integration business, either as an integrator or supplier of industrial automation products to integrators,’ explained Steve Goldberg, CSIA’s membership chairman and marketing vp at Matrix Technologies (Maumee, OH), ‘there are significant sustained revenue and company history levels that have to be met.

‘The new Participant Member category is designed to enable young or even start-up CSI companies to join CSIA, and gain access to the business and marketing training and experience provided by the association that are so necessary for their long-term operational success. One company, PlantData Technologies Inc. (Houston, TX), has already joined under this new program.’

Participant Members must meet the following membership requirements:

  • $250,000 in engineering and integration services (E&IS) revenue in the year prior to application for membership in CSIA

  • Attendance at one CSIA Executive Conference during the firm’s first three years as a member

  • Increase to $600,000 E&IS revenue during its first three years in CSIA

Companies interested in joining CSIA should contact Norm O’Leary, CSIA executive director, at 800/661-4914. They can also complete an application on line at

Back to top

Vintage paper machine gets fresh start with new PC-based controls

PaperPak’s (LaVerne, CA) mill in Washington, Georgia, has been supplying absorbent paper products to the health care and food packaging market for nearly 40 years. While a machine or two located there may be as old as the company, PaperPak is employing new technologies to help maintain its industry leadership position.

PaperPak supplies absorbent paper products to customers around the world. These products include hygienic pads for hospital beds and surgical trays, adult incontinence products, and tissue pads used in meat packaging.

Not long after PaperPak began as a company, it purchased a 1957 model Beloit tissue machine. At the time, it was powered by a steam turbine via a line shaft. Today, Joe Machetta, PaperPak’s technical manager, traces the journey of Beloit tissue machine, ‘When we built the plant here in Washington about 10 years ago,’ he says, ‘we installed a brand new, distributed control system on the machine. At the time, it was state-of-the-art. And, of course, the machine’s steam turbine was already long gone; so it was powered by the large, dc drives it has today.’

The Beloit tissue machine produced material primarily for absorbent meat pads through most of the 90’s, but then things began to change. According to Mr. Machetta, ‘It became increasingly difficult to get parts for the control system. The manufacturer had basically discontinued their proprietary controls’ product line. We had to install a new control system.’

When PaperPak requested bids for a new, turnkey system, one of the bids came from Hegwood Electric, an Atlanta-based system integrator. Mr. Machetta recalls, ‘Hegwood’s bid recommended that we use PC-based control using Think & Do software from Entivity Inc. (Ann Arbor, MI; ). The I/O selected was a distributed Ethernet system from (Cumming, GA). Existing I/O had over 400 points in more than a dozen control panels. Engineering wasn’t sure a PC solution could handle a job this big, but the low pricetag, simple architecture PC solution came highly recommended. ‘The pricetag and simple architecture of the turnkey system was a nice surprise,’ Mr. Machetta explained. ‘And by going with the proposal with PC-based control, we got to use one language and the same set of tagnames for the whole system.’

The machine and process made the retrofit challenging. The two-story Beloit tissue machine starts with paper pulp for raw material. The pulp’s content is a mix of virgin fiber and recycled (non-post-consumer) fiber. The pulp is re-fiberized through the pulpers, and blended into a 4% solution mixture. The 4% pulp solution is passed through a disk refiner where the fibers are developed into a more consistent size. From here, the pulp solution is diluted and screened.

After passing through a screen filter, the slurry enters the headbox. The headbox maintains a constant flow by using pressurized air above the water level, depositing a layer of slurry onto a screen-like conveyor. While on the screen conveyor, much of the water is squeezed out of the slurry. The remaining layer of paper fiber is strong enough to travel through the machine’s rollers as a continuous sheet. Near the end of the machine, a Yankee dryer (a large drum filled with steam) completes the drying process. The final steps include a crepe texturiing station and a water-jet cutter that divides the sheet into sections the width of the final absorbent product.

During the first few weeks of the project, Hegwood Electric translated the existing programs into flowcharts. These were entered directly into FlowView, the Think & Do software’s flowchart editor. Operator screens were created with ScreenView. Then the process loops were configured with the software’s PID flowchart block.

For the hardware, Hegwood chose a Hewlett-Packard PC for the main controller that resides in the control room. The remote operator station out on the factory floor is about 450 ft away from the control room. So, a touch-panel PC from Ann Arbor Technologies (Ann Arbor, MI.) was selected to run Think & Do’s software at that location. The two PCs communicate using the software’s taglink driver, a way to seamlessly share I/O and internal data.

‘Hegwood had completed the program conversion and had the new hardware ready in just 45 days. We then began the installation during a scheduled week-long, plant-wide maintenance shutdown.’ Mr. Machetta continues. ‘We had to replace only a very few sensors, and we were able to reuse virtually all the existing I/O wiring. Even with all the work that was done in the changeover, when the debugging was completed, the tissue machine was running again in just four days from start to finish.’

As the Beloit machine began churning out new sheets of tissue, the improvement in quality was immediate. According to Mr. Machetta, ‘The people maintaining the pulp stock don’t have the legwork they did before. We see more consistency with fewer operator adjustments. The paper stock is applied more consistently at the head box. We used to see a lot of wet spots and lumpy texture. Now the lumpiness is virtually gone, both in the cross and machine direction.’

Tommy Roberson, PaperPak’s mill maintenance supervisor, now has hands-on experience with the new PC-based controls and I/O subsystem. The new system with I/O using Ethernet gave its own performance boost to the machine. Mr. Roberson explains, ‘The previous scan time was about two seconds for 400 I/O. Scan time is now down to about 6 msec. And with Ethernet, you can go up to 300 ft on each run. We do use two hubs, but some of the runs are right up to the edge (at 300 ft) with no problems.’

Mr. Roberson adds that, ‘PaperPak’s electrical maintenance staff warmed up quickly to the new control system. The new software is easy to use and the staff has been able to do the their own programming. You do not have to create a lot of new things. For instance, all the HMI symbols needed were already there. To use the software, just follow the Microsoft Windows concept. Flowcharts are so much easier to use than PLCs and ladder programs. When you use coils and contacts, you have to know where they occur elsewhere in the ladder. But with flowcharts, each block leads right to the next thing that happens. It is much easier to read.’

Overall, the PaperPak team has found that PC-based control gives them something they may not have missed before: accessibility. With the previous system, making improvements or additions was risky and costly. It was hard to see what the process was doing. Mr. Machetta adds, ‘Before, operators had a lot of `how does it feel’ methods, which meant actually feeling the paper’s texture and making a best guess as to which process step needed adjustment.’ We use a process trending package that works with the software to provide a look at the individual parameters in the process. When we have a variation in consistency from 4%, we will know what tolerance to apply. So, percent consistency will have its own PID loop, and then it won’t affect the refining loop. Program edits are possible without halting and restarting the machine.’

Back to top

Profibus seminars for integrators offered free-of-charge

The Profibus Trade Organization (PTO, Scottsdale, AZ) and the Profibus Interface Center (PIC, Johnson City, TN) are offering free technical seminars on Profibus for system integrators during 2002. PTO reports that the three seminars held this past summer attracted 221 attendees from 75 firms, mostly system integrators.

These six-hour seminars, accompanied by a one-hour provided lunch, will be presented from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on:

  • Sept. 17 in Seattle, WA

  • Oct. 8 in Philadelphia, PA

  • Nov. 17 in Austin, TX

  • Dec. 10 in Los Angeles, CA

Curriculum of the Profibus seminars will include bus physics and wiring; basics of Profibus operation; new profiles, such as ProfiSafe, ProfiDrive, and ProfiNet; physical layer and system troubleshooting; and Profibus PA (process automation).

For more information or to register, call PTO at 480/483-2456; fax 480/483-7202; or visit or

Back to top

Lockwood Green presents advice on working with integrators

A coordinated master plan is the first and most important step in a system integration project, and can help prevent many potential pitfalls and future problems, according to William Schriver, control systems and instrumentation manager for Lockwood Greene (Spartanburg, NC). Mr. Schriver authored ‘Advice from SI Experts: Pitfalls to Avoid on Your Next Project’ in the company’s July 2002 edition of its Inside Outcomes newsletter.

Mr. Schriver generally first tells project managers not to limit their planning to simply getting a system running or just producing a product. He says managers must know where their projects are going from a system integration (SI) perspective; consider SI as part of a project’s engineering and construction from the beginning; plan to a higher level than initially desired; as well as design from the top down and implement from the bottom up.

To select the right type of system integrator for a project, Mr. Schriver advises examining the abilities and pros and cons of each. Integrators include engineering and construction firms, hardware manufacturers, independent consultants, and major accounting and consulting firms involved in ERP system installation. ‘Consider the complexity of the total system, the level of connectivity, the hardware/software brand bias, the linkage to the plant floor, and compatibility of multiple hardware devices and their costs,’ he says.

In addition, Mr. Schriver recommends getting a system integrator involved early, preferably while a project is still in development and its conceptual engineering phase. This allow sufficient planning for the integration of multiple control systems and platforms into a manageable integration project.

Finally, Mr. Schriver offers eight questions that project managers can ask when interviewing potential system integrators:

1) Will you be here from concept to production/start-up to assist and troubleshoot along the way?

2) Do you have the resources to assist in the complete development cycle?

3) Do you have a single point of responsibility that can manage my project, as well as the ability to call upon multiple additional resources?

4) Will you be biased toward a particular set of hardware or software? Will you objectively integrate the right blend of off-the-shelf with the customized software appropriate to my business needs?

5) Will you be around to can call on again for consulting advice when the need arises in the future?

6) Do you understand the needs of the plant floor as well as the overall business?

7) Have you partnered with other teams to provide the best outcomes?

8) Do you have experience in my industry?

For more information on Lockwood Greene, visit

Back to top

ABB, software and integrator partners combine robotics and AGVs

Couple a nimble industrial robot with an automated guided vehicle (AGV), add convenient enabling software, and you have the makings of an efficient, seamless materials handling system for many applications. The possibilities of this approach were demonstrated at ABB Inc.’s robot assembly plant (New Berlin, WI) during a July 24, 2002, presentation that also explored the potential for increased AGV system applications in North America. In fact, the AGV used in the demo was actually a standard electric forklift truck converted to a higher-level role through appropriate controls and software.

To read about these technologies and integration challenges, see the story by Frank J. Bartos, executive editor, on Control Engineering Online at

Back to top

Reference design speeds development of CAN and Ethernet-based embedded systems

Developers of industrial and automotive systems using the controller area network (CAN) communication protocol can now reduce development times and overall system costs by using the new CAN/Ethernet reference design from Motorola Inc. (Schaumburg, IL).

For more information and a link to a free download, read the Aug. 12 Daily News item on Control Engineering Online at

Back to top

Control Engineering plans October webcasts on manufacturing productivity

Control Engineering will conduct two October webcasts, moderated by Mark T. Hoske, editor in chief, on how automation tools boost productivity.

‘Standard roadmap to manufacturing productivity’ will show how OPC Foundation improves manufacturing by delivering non-proprietary technical specifications-a common roadmap to productivity. Getting participants to agree on the best course hasn’t always been easy, but results benefit end-users. Efforts now extend into Ethernet to ensure interoperability advantages continue among automation/control applications, field systems/devices, and business/office applications. Speaker: Tom Burke, OPC Foundation president and advisory software developer at Rockwell Automation.

‘Everything you need to know on one screen’ asks if the ultimate productivity tool has arrived. A broad class of software shows key performance indicators for manufacturing, design, sales, logistics, or whatever needs monitoring. This ‘digital dashboard,’ a human-machine interface on steroids, can be rapidly customized to fit users needs and changing business goals. Panelists advise on how to get the most from this software. Panelists: Jamie Bohan, Business Manager for the Honeywell Industry Solutions Uniformance product line; Kevin Roach, Vice President, Global Solutions Business, GE Fanuc, part of GE Industrial Systems; and Chris Colyer from Manufacturing Industry, Industry Solutions Group (ISG), Microsoft Corp.

Other presentations will include speakers from IBM, Segway, Unilever, Microsoft, 3M, JC Penney, and Amana. The webcasts are part of SupplyChainLinkExpo, a FREE online conference and tradeshow, October 16-17. Learn more:

Back to top

Search database of more than 1,000 system integrators, eight ways

Search the Control Engineering Automation Integrator Guide Online -more than 1,000 system integrators, eight different ways, sorting by multiple parameters-to gain the needed expertise for your next project. The guide is available at /integrators

Registration is required to use this and other advanced functions of Control Engineering Online.

Back to top