Top 5 Control Engineering articles, Sept. 1-7: The first PLC, wireless propagation fundamentals, future of the PLC, more

Articles about the competition for the first PLC, wireless propagation fundamentals, the PLC’s future, automation in 2020, and the System Integrator Giants of 2014 were Control Engineering’s five most clicked articles from last week, Sept. 1-7. Were you out last week? Miss something? You can catch up here.
By Chris Vavra September 8, 2014

1. 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. 

2. Wireless propagation fundamentals

Industrial wireless tutorials: Understanding wireless propagation fundamentals will help you understand what can happen to a wireless signal and how that can influence wireless signal reliability. See 6 diagrams to illustrate wireless propagation. Learn the 4 results of multipath. 

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. 2020: Future automation

Engineering future: Ambition to change the world is essential as automation spreads into areas beyond industrial applications. See three key technology advances expected by 2020 and a sampling of those advancements today, including mobile robotics, as explained by Control Engineering China

5. System Integrator Giants of 2014

The 2014 System Integrator Giants boast a $396 million increase in system integration revenue, a greater concern for the economy’s impact on the automation integrator market, and a strong belief in educational and mentoring programs for employees. 

The list was developed using CFE Media’s web analytics for stories viewed on, September 1-7, for articles published within the last two months.

– Chris Vavra, content specialist, CFE Media,