Top 20 Control Engineering articles of 2010 at www.controleng.com
The most-read Control Engineering articles of 2010 at www.controleng.com follow, based on the number of site visits per month. Energy-efficient motor technology topics, pushed by a Dec. 19 regulatory deadline and increased sustainable engineering efforts, ranked very high. Also very popular were industrial communications technologies, wireless and Ethernet, various Tips and Tricks tutorial-type advice, as well as awards recognition. Subscribers and other readers continue to seek best-practices help.
1. Cover story: Energy-Efficient Electric Motors – How to get the most out of energy-efficient motors: You have to do more than just look at the motor nameplate to get maximum energy savings. Are you ready for Dec. 19, 2010, the next major U.S. motor efficiency compliance deadline? Those truly interested in increasing efficiency will take a holistic view of overall machine design. Here’s how to get inside motor efficiency to maximize savings.
2. Brushless Permanent Magnet Ring Motor, 14-inch Diameter, 60 kW – The ThinGap 14050 Ring Motor was developed under DARPA contract using patented ThinGap technology. The 14-inch diameter dc motor produces up to 60 kW, with smooth torque and speed because the design produces no rotor-to-stator magnetic forces, no cogging, no eddy current losses, and no hysteresis, according to the company. It has a stainless steel rotor and up to 10,000 rpm.
3. A-B PowerFlex 755 AC Drive – Rockwell Automation’s A-B PowerFlex 755 AC Drive is designed for ease of use, integration, application flexibility, and performance. It represents the first drive from the new Allen-Bradley PowerFlex 750 series. Rockwell says the drive meets global user needs for versatile motor control, ease of integration, and high performance to help increase productivity. This drive was among the 2011 Engineers’ Choice nominees. http://www.controleng.com/events-and-awards/engineers-choice-awards.html
4. Temperature Control Software Package – The function block-based platform from B&R Automation can provide closed-loop control of multiple zones.
5. Murphy’s 7 Laws of Industrial Wireless Communications – Applying wireless technologies for industrial communications doesn’t have to be as tough as Murphy’s Law (if anything can go wrong, it will), if you remember these Murphy’s 7 laws of industrial wireless communications. Wireless troubleshooting tips follow, including the number-one cause of wireless woes.
6. Tips and Tricks – Patents: 10 Things Engineers Should Know – Basic patent knowledge can enrich engineers in many ways. Here are 10 tips every engineer should know about patent applications and patent law, including what not to do if you suspect infringement.
7. ABB to Acquire Baldor Electric Co. in a $4.2 Billion Transaction – ABB and Baldor announce a recommended offer for ABB to acquire Baldor for $63.50 per share, an overall transaction value of $4.2 billion, including net debt of $1.1 billion. (See photos and links to additional analysis at the bottom of the story.) The move, the companies said, is in line with ABB’s strategy to lead the multibillion-dollar North American industrial motors business and be a global leader for movement and control in industrial applications (industrial motion).
8. Advances in Flowmeter Technology – If you haven’t looked at flowmeters lately, you may be surprised at how far many sensor and signal processing technologies have evolved in recent years.
9. Leaders Under 40, Control Engineering Class of 2010 – Meet the next generation of manufacturing automation and controls leaders. Control Engineering highlights 19 young professionals from around the globe who are making their marks in everything from system design to academia. These leaders aim to inspire others to get involved in engineering and resolve local and global challenges through smarter applications of automation and control technologies.
10. Cover story: Troubleshooting Industrial Ethernet – It’s a problem when gremlins invade factory automation systems: Is the network at fault? As industrial automation systems gravitate more to industrial Ethernet, tools and techniques have improved to troubleshoot network problems. See the advice. Hear podcast network troubleshooting interviews.
11. IT and Engineering Insight: Seven Habits of Unsuccessful Projects – Understanding if you are in an out-of-control IT project is important. Here are some traits of failing or soon-to-fail projects. If your project has three or more of these attributes, you need a project "reboot."
12. The Best in Automation System Integration, 2011 – Control Engineering recognizes the best in automation, controls, and instrumentation system integration with our fifth annual System Integrator of the Year awards, the cover story in the 2011 Automation Integrator Guide, part of the December 2010 Control Engineering and Plant Engineering issues. The 2011 winners are …
13. Safe Acceleration: Automating the World’s Largest and Fastest Machine – Global Perspectives: The CERN accelerator and its safety are controlled and monitored by 130 control systems featuring “hardened” automation technology.
14. Back to Basics: Closed-Loop Stability – Tutorial: Stability is how a control loop reduces errors between the measured process variable and its desired value or setpoint.
15. 11 Ways Piezoelectric Motors Improve Equipment Performance – Piezoelectric Motors Help Equipment Performance: Ten reasons to consider piezoelectric motors for motion control applications follow, along with one more points that many motion system or product designers might not have considered. This is an August 2010 Control Engineering Inside Machines feature article.
16. The Role of Simulator Technology in Operator Training Programs – Can better training reduce the losses companies experience from human error as operators attempt to respond to abnormal situations?
17. Solving Process Instability – Some processes just seem hard to manage: Loops won’t tune, upsets are common, products are off spec. Nothing will run in automatic like it is supposed to, and you can’t figure out why. What are the main causes of unruly processes, and how do you fix those at the source? How do you hunt down the causes? This is the June/July 2010 Control Engineering cover story.
18. Tips and Tricks: Advantage Digital, Precise CNC Integration, Efficiency, Safety – Digital advantages; CNC precision, speed, integration; VSDs improve compressor efficiency; and safety automation are among key Control Engineering Tips and Tricks this month. Control Engineering seeks to encourage the long-standing spirit of sharing engineering information common to all manufacturers. No matter what you make or how you make it, let’s help each other raise the bar on automation and process control productivity, to survive and thrive. Have something to share? Please submit using the Tips and Tricks form.
19. Are Coriolis Flowmeters a Universal Technology? Just a flowmeter? The capabilities of current designs can put them among the most versatile devices in your plant. Coriolis meters can measure mass flow of liquid and gas, density, temperature, and viscosity. One instrument makes the measurements without additional devices or sampling lines, simplifying measurement systems and reducing life-cycle costs.
20. Virus Attacks Industrial Control Systems – Control systems are targeted by a Trojan; see remedial and defensive measures for users. So far, actual damage is minimal. Update: A virus detection/removal tool is now available.
Here’s the annual reminder about the tyranny of numbers: Ranking looks at article traffic within a calendar month. As we post articles all month, this may give articles posted mid-month a disadvantage, since peak traffic may be split across two months. And some were very close in ranking. Number 21 in the ranking, “How to Choose Wireless Technology for Industrial Applications,” was within a few views of number 20, for instance.
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Multiple Control Engineering videos and blogs also received brisk traffic, including the control panel design tutorial videos; see the growing video library at www.controleng.com/videos. Check out the blogs at www.controleng.com/blogs.
Tutorial articles are available at www.controleng.com/tutorials.