Top 5 Control Engineering articles, October 13-19: Automating automation, the first PLC, the PLC’s future, more

Articles about automating automation, the first PLC, the PLC’s future, vision systems at an automotive plant, and analog instrumentation’s benefits were Control Engineering’s five most clicked articles from last week, October 13-19. Were you out last week? Miss something? You can catch up here.
By Chris Vavra October 20, 2014

Control Engineering Top 5 most read articles online, for Oct. 13-19, automating automation, the first PLC, the PLC’s future, vision systems at an automotive plant, and analog instrumentation’s benefits. Link to each article below.

1. Automating automation: Why do smart devices have to be configured manually?

While smart instrumentation and field devices have highly sophisticated capabilities, configuration is still a mostly manual process. Users want to know why they still have to perform this action (and many others) the hard way. 

2. Inside the competition for the first PLC

The race to develop the first programmable logic controllers was underway inside General Motors’ Hydra-Matic Transmission Division in Ypsilanti, Michigan, in 1970. Three finalists had very different architectures.

3. Future of the PLC

PLCs are evolving and continue to be the best option for a variety of industrial automation applications. Greater programming flexibility and ease, scalability, more memory, smaller sizes, very high-speed (Gigabit) Ethernet, and built-in wireless are among evolving programmable logic controller features. 

4. Vision system boosts productivity, reduces costs at automobile assembly plant

Automotive vision: On a Chinese automobile assembly line, two machine vision cameras take images at 15 frames per second, to identify the type of vehicle part being moved, ensure that four robotic arms will grab the part in the correct locations, and increase productivity by six times. 

5. Analog to digital; now, digital back to analog

Technology Update: Returning to analog instrumentation and controls might offer more than nostalgic benefits. Higher reliability and fewer cyber security risks could result. Should some things that are new be old again? Look at the potential savings. 

The list was developed using CFE Media’s web analytics for stories viewed on controleng.com, October 13-19, for articles published within the last two months.

– Chris Vavra, production editor, CFE Media, cvavra@cfemedia.com.