Top 10 Control Engineering articles November 12 to December 12: Engineers’ Choice finalists, PID velocity, PLC programming benefits, more

Articles about the Engineers' Choice finalists, six action items for aging DCS/PLCs, process automation system understanding, easier and safer robotic programming, and PID and digital control efficiencies were Control Engineering’s five most clicked articles from November 12 to December 12. Miss something? You can catch up here. Also see what ranked 6-10.

By Chris Vavra December 13, 2016

The top 5 most read articles online, from Nov. 12 to Dec. 12 for Control Engineering, covered the Engineers’ Choice finalists, six action items for aging DCS/PLCs, process automation system understanding, easier and safer robotic programming, and PID and digital control efficiencies. Also see what ranked 6-10 over the last month. 

1. 2017 Engineers’ Choice Finalists 

For a limited time, the official Engineers’ Choice ballot is open for voting for Control Engineering North American print and digital edition subscribers. Vote for the best Engineers’ Choice finalists of 116 entries across 28 categories. 

2. Six action items for an aging DCS/PLC

Plant and operations managers need to be aware that their distributed control systems (DCSs) and programmable logic controllers (PLCs) could be obsolete and they should take appropriate steps to deal with the problem. Six immediate action items for an aging system are highlighted.

3. Intelligent automation series part 6: Understanding the process of automation systems

Automation pyramid part 6: The easiest way to understand the pyramid as a whole is to see how information moves from Level 1 to Level 5 and how to get value out of data analysis.

4. Easier, safer robotic programming is among results from an expanding open-source robotics software group 

Cover Story: ROS-Industrial, an open-source factory automation software project, will celebrate its fifth anniversary in January 2017 by expanding into Asia, increasing visibility in a major robotic competition, and is looking to improve workplace efficiency and safety with its programming.

5. PID and digital control efficiencies

Most proportional-integral-derivative (PID) applications use digital controllers, though some still use analog. Digital control can offer additional process control system efficiencies.

More popular stories on Control Engineering

As an online-only feature, we’re featuring the stories that finished 6-10 over the past month.

6. Robots advance with connectivity, collaboration, easier programming

Cover Story: Advanced robotic developments include improved designs for safety and specialized environments, collaborative applications, better integration with other systems, and augmented monitoring to reduce risk of downtime and lower maintenance costs. See photo gallery, links to five videos of robots.

7. The velocity of PID 

Inside Process: Proportional-integral-derivative (PID) theory is best introduced as the familiar second order differential equation via the velocity form instead of the more traditional positional form. 

8. Five automotive industry advances, lessons for other industries

The automotive industry has made many technological and safety enhancements, which can be applied to other industries. See five advances and advice on traceability and data collection, upgrades, machine vision, robotics, and safety systems.

9. Butterfly valve basics

Inside Process: Like other types of valves butterfly valves interrupt product flow within processes. Typically used in pharmaceutical, chemical, and food industries, they have generally replaced ball valves due to lower cost and ease of installation.

10. PLC object-oriented programming benefits

Object-oriented programming (OOP) is about organizing and simplifying program elements in an optimal way by using objects, methods, and properties. 

The list was developed using CFE Media’s web analytics for stories viewed on, November 12 to December 12, for articles published within the last two months.  

Chris Vavra, production editor, CFE Media,

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