Hot topics in Control Engineering for 2022

Think Again: Automation product awards, motors and drives, automation salary and career information, Engineering Leaders Under 40, IIoT implementation help, tutorials on HMIs, SCADA and PLC programming help were among the hot topics of 2022. See top 3 covers and top 10 articles posted prior to 2022.

By Mark T. Hoske January 13, 2023
Courtesy: Control Engineering, CFE Media and Technology


Learning Objectives

  • Understand how Control Engineering hot topics for 2022 were selected.
  • Review top 10 articles posted during and before 2022 at
  • See top 3 covers as selected by the Control Engineering creative director.

Hot topics during 2022 in Control Engineering include award-winning automation, control and instrumentation products; a variable frequency drive (VFD) tutorial; advanced motor control tutorial; information about engineering salaries and career advice; and “Engineering Leaders Under 40,” based on Google Analytics for Other topics, rounding out the top 10 cover use of VFDs with permanent magnet motors; Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) implementation help; tutorials on human-machine interfaces (HMIs) and supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA); and programming help for programmable logic controllers (PLCs). Also see top 3 covers below with and top 10 Control Engineering articles posted prior to 2022.

These automation and control topics help Control Engineering subscribers do their jobs better. For future areas of automation coverage based on subscriber research and to contribute articles, see

Top 10 articles posted in Control Engineering during 2022

Analytics count the number of visits to articles posting during 2022; of course, articles posted earlier in the year have an advantage; just four articles of the 10 were posted after mid-year. Links below the top 10 give a better sense of articles popular in the second half, including digital transformation using the cloud, IIoT for optimization, controller selection advice, alarm management, 5G wireless and MQTT.

  1. Spotlight on Innovation: 2022 Engineers’ Choice Awards, February 7: Control Engineering announces the best automation, control and instrumentation products in the 19 categories of the annual Engineers’ Choice Awards program.
  2. VFDs from the inside out, February 1: Variable frequency drive (VFD) vocabulary words: These 50 terms can help properly apply VFDs.
  3. Understanding the effect of PWM when controlling a brushless dc motor, January 26: Motion system designers can be challenged when selecting or developing electronics using pulse-width modulation (PWM) to drive brushless dc motors. Heed some basic physical phenomena to avoid unexpected performance issues, along with general guidelines for using a PWM driver with a brushless DC motor. See diagrams, equations.
  4. Control Engineering Career and Salary Survey, 2022, May 17: Solve the workforce challenge: Automate, innovate, hire and retain great workers. Lack of skilled workers, materials and the economy are biggest threats to manufacturing. Lack of available skilled workers jumped from 37% in 2021 to 57% in 2022.
  5. Engineering Leaders Under 40, Class of 2022, September 6: The future of automation, engineering and manufacturing relies on the younger workforce, and these 36 individuals are here to advance their industries now and for years to come.
  6. Intro to setting up, tuning a PM motor with a VFD, March 2: A permanent magnet (PM) motor requires a variable frequency drive (VFD) to operate effectively. See motor comparison table, induction motor vs. PM torque curve, and VFD programming and tuning advice.
  7. Industrial IoT made fast and easy, April 7: With the tools available today, implementing the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is not as hard as people think.
  8. When designing HMI/SCADA, consider many factors, June 7: User abilities, skill levels, future plans, needs of stakeholders, and other items should be explored. See a system integrator’s advice and seven SCADA system integration/design questions to ask.
  9. HMI/SCADA systems: Upgrade your migration, November 24: When upgrading human-machine interface (HMI) and supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) software, don’t just create a new version of the old. Enable workers with advanced HMI/SCADA capabilities after migration. See five tips for optimizing HMI/SCADA screens.
  10. PLC programming: What you need to know, July 7: While the programmable logic controller (PLC) is very important, the programming inside the controller is just as critical and can be overlooked.

Hot topics in Control Engineering July through December

Hot topics in the second half of 2022, under-represented in the tally above, include digital transformation using the cloud in July, leveraging IIoT for process optimization, modernization in August, how to find the best controller in September, control system alarm management in October, how AI and machine learning can drive sustainable 5G in November and leveraging MQTT industrial edge devices in automation projects in December.







Top 3 covers of 2022: Edge and AI-enabled IIoT, resolve workforce challenges, industrial wireless

Michael Smith, Control Engineering creative director, explained why January/February edge and AI-enabled IIoT, May resolving workforce challenges and August industrial wireless were his three favorite covers in 2022. Review these and other print/digital editions here:

Michael Smith, Control Engineering creative director, chose January/February Edge and AI-enabled IIoT , May Resolving workforce challenges and August industrial wireless as his three favorite covers in 2022. Courtesy: Control Engineering, CFE Media and Technology

Michael Smith, Control Engineering creative director, chose January/February Edge and AI-enabled IIoT , May Resolving workforce challenges and August industrial wireless as his three favorite covers in 2022. Courtesy: Control Engineering, CFE Media and Technology

January/February print/digital edition of Control Engineering, North American edition

This month’s issue does a splendid job of communicating automation controls with all the various tools and equipment today’s modern engineers have at their fingertips. The artwork displayed shows off some of the technology used for automation in a well-orchestrated cover design. Showing real people in engineering is always the best approach providing a tangible entry point for the reader.

May print/digital edition of Control Engineering, North American edition

The May issue is a perfect snapshot of young engineers from a diverse cultural makeup. The color design works to control the readability, while integrating into the format. Young engineers are in high demand due to a lack of skilled workers entering into the job market today. The well captured photo serves as a visual hook, and is an excellent example of education in the field.

August print/digital edition of Control Engineering, North American edition

The August issue is another great example of people and engineering. The primary subject, followed by cascading coworkers in the background all work together to create a pleasing and engaging format. Colorized type, size, and design are all used to help communicate an integrated wireless message.

Top 10 articles posted in Control Engineering posted prior to 2022

Many articles with the most traffic during 2022 posted in prior years cover tutorial topics including cloud computing, VFDs, permanent magnet motors, PID tuning, PLC programming, virtualized machine advantages, cascade control, and an antenna tutorial.

  1. Five characteristics of cloud computing2017: Cloud computing’s characteristics and benefits include on-demand self-service, broad network access, and being very elastic and scalable.
  2. Top 5 VFD parameter changes explained, 2020: Programming variable frequency drives (VFDs) to fit most industrial applications require only the most basic settings to operate the motor. Understand these 5 VFD parameter changes to optimize VFD programming to fit most motor-drive applications.
  3. Understanding permanent magnet motors2017: A permanent magnet (PM) motor is an ac motor that uses magnets imbedded into or attached to the surface of the motor’s rotor. This article provides an elementary understanding behind the terminology, concepts, theory, and physics behind PM motors.
  4. Understanding PID control and loop tuning fundamentals2016: PID loop tuning may not be a hard science, but it’s not magic either. Here are some tuning tips that work.
  5. Free PLC programming software for education, 2021: Available programmable logic controller (PLC) software that is free for users is crucial for users and students who can’t currently access a lab. See table with a breakdown.
  6. Learning PID loop tuning from an expert, 2014: Hands-on experience helps accelerate the PID learning curve.
  7. The pros and cons of using a virtualized machine, 2015: A virtualized machine can be a great help in maintaining a system, but the pros and cons of using one should always be taken into consideration.
  8. Fundamentals of cascade control, 2014: Sometimes two controllers can do a better job of keeping one process variable where you want it.
  9. Stepper motor torque basics2018: Stepper motors remain popular because they are low-cost, rugged, simple, have high torque at startup and low speeds, require little maintenance, and they can operate in an open loop control system.
  10. Antenna basics, antenna types, antenna functions2014: Industrial wireless tutorials: What you need to know about industrial antennas, antenna functions, and antenna capabilities.

Mark T. Hoske is content manager, Control Engineering, CFE Media and Technology at Traffic ranking and compliation based on Google Analytics were performed by Chris Vavra, web content manager, Control Engineering, Cover analysis was by Michael Smith, creative director, Control Engineering.

KEYWORDS: Control Engineering, hot topics in 2022


What did your Control Engineering peers read that also could benefit what you’re doing?

Author Bio: Mark Hoske has been Control Engineering editor/content manager since 1994 and in a leadership role since 1999, covering all major areas: control systems, networking and information systems, control equipment and energy, and system integration, everything that comprises or facilitates the control loop. He has been writing about technology since 1987, writing professionally since 1982, and has a Bachelor of Science in Journalism degree from UW-Madison.