Top Control Engineering articles, January 2014

The most-visited articles at during January 2013 included: understanding pressure instrumentation, Schneider Electric’s acquisition of Invensys, Control Engineering predictions for 2014, using PID tuning to improve process efficiency, avoiding the worst control system ever, HMI display guidelines, 13 machine safety terms to know for functional safety compliance, and System Integrator of the Year, among other articles.
By Mark T. Hoske February 7, 2014

Most-read Control Engineering online articles during January 2014 included: understanding pressure instrumentation, Schneider Electric’s acquisition of Invensys, Control Engineering predictions for 2014, using PID tuning to improve process efficiency, avoiding the worst control system ever, HMI display guidelines, 13 machine safety terms to know for functional safety compliance, System Integrator of the Year, and hiring and retaining engineers, among other articles.

Because Control Engineering posts fresh content each business day, some articles posted later in the month don’t get as much time for exposure as those posted earlier. Therefore, articles are divided into two sections: Those posted during the past two months (in this case, December 2013 and January 2014) and those posted before December 2013. More about each article and links follow, along with links to the most-frequented Control Engineering pages during January 2014. A link to each article or page is provided.

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January 2014 most-read online articles, among those posted in December 2013 and January 2014 

Understanding pressure instrumentation – Jan. 9

Measuring pressure is one of the most basic instrumentation functions in any industry. Pressure measurement devices are everywhere, and there are countless varieties of options.

Schneider Electric completes acquisition of Invensys – Jan. 17

Schneider Electric announced today that it completed its acquisition of Invensys PLC, a global automation player with a large installed base and a strong software presence. The deal previously was reported to be a $5 billion transaction.

Control Engineering predictions for 2014 – Jan. 13

Think Again: 10 predictions follow for Control Engineering subscribers in 2014.

PID tuning improves process efficiency – Dec. 11

Tuning a PID controller correctly can bring the setpoint closer to the constraint with reduced variability.

Avoid the worst control system ever – Jan. 20

Automation System Integration Blog: Nobody wants to get a screaming phone call about “the worst control system ever.” Improve your control system in three easy steps.

HMI display design guideline book released – Jan. 9

The ASM Consortium has released a second edition of HMI display design guidelines with a number of changes, including consolidating the number of guidelines down to 64 and revising 50% of the guidelines overall.

Machine Safety: 13 terms to know for compliance with functional safety, ISO 138491 – Jan. 1

Knowing these 13 machine safety terms will help in efforts to comply with the international standard, ISO 13849-1: 2006, Safety of machinery, Safety-related parts of the control system. Many large companies have become early adopters of the new quantitative approach for designing machine control systems.

Machine Safety: Safe enough versus compliance, 8 compliance best practices – Dec. 12

How does “safe enough” compare to “compliance”? It doesn’t. Not having accidents for a period of time doesn’t mean there isn’t risk. See these eight machine safety compliance best practices.

Representing the 2014 System Integrators of the Year are (from left) Dr. Vladimir Morenko, Director General of Insist Avtomatika; Richard Seale, President of the Automation Business Unit at Wood Group Mustang; and Bijan Shams, President of Cogent IndustriExcellence in Automation: System Integrator of the Year Awards – Dec. 16

For 2014, Control Engineering recognizes the best automation system integrators in the business.

6 tips to hire, retain top engineering talent – Jan. 8

According to the 2013 Manpower Talent Shortage Survey (by the Manpower Group), engineering is the second most difficult profile to fill, after skilled trades. Six tips provide help.

Top Control Engineering articles for 2013 – Jan. 13

Award winning Control Engineering products, system integration, salary and career survey, PID and advanced control, cyber security, human machine interface of the future, optimization, sensing, motor sizing and efficiency, PLC programming, and motion control were among top 25 Control Engineering stories for 2013, based on online traffic. See the titles and description of each article below. Link online to each article, including 20 more most-read articles in 2013 that were posted prior to 2013.

Knowing your industrial control systems (ICSs) is vital to securing your system against potential cyber security threats.Making digital forensics a critical part of your cyber security defenses – Jan. 15

Do you know your ICSs well enough to recognize when something is happening that shouldn’t be? That knowledge is critical to your defensive strategy, and represents the biggest advantage you have over attackers. See step-by-step cyber security table with tools, tactics, and tips.

Apps for Engineers: Parts and pricing, voltage measurements, mechanical formulas – Jan. 21

CFE Media’s Apps for Engineers is an interactive directory of more than 170 engineering-related applications for Android and iOS operation systems, created by various companies. This month, gain access to a CTC controller, a parts and pricing app, wireless voltage measurements, and mechanical formulas.

Most read online Control Engineering articles during January among those posted prior to December 2013 

2014 Engineers’ Choice Awards – Oct. 17 (Winners and honorable mentions are announced in February 2014)

Control Engineering Engineers’ Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation, and automation products as chosen by Control Engineering‘s print and online subscribers. Subscribers to the North American print and digital editions are asked to select the best products based on technological advancement, service to the industry, and market impact. 

How to select a VFD 

These guidelines dispel the confusion about matching variable frequency drives (VFDs) and motors to fans and pumps that are typically encountered in commercial building applications. While the motivation to increase energy efficiency could be financial (reduced energy costs) or ethical (reduced greenhouse gas emissions associated with power production), it is taken for granted that VFDs are an easy way to improve energy efficiency in a motor application. And with these noble intentions in mind, the engineer will specify a VFD for his client. Often, that isn’t the end of the story for the engineer.

Control Engineering salary and career survey, 2013

Average annual base salary was $92,918 among respondents to the 2013 Control Engineering salary and career survey, with 70% expecting an increase and average bonus of $10,486. Best skills to get ahead are engineering skills, project management skills, communication and presentation skills, and computer skills. Other career advice follows. 


These technologies continue to evolve, making differences harder to distinguish. Here are some thoughts on what does what, and how to choose between a PLC and a PAC for your next application.

Tuning thermal PID loops 

When dealing with critical temperature applications, PID controllers are a common regulatory approach, but tuning these often requires a different strategy than other types of loops. Auto-tuning features can help if you understand them.

Inside Machines: PC versus PLC: Comparing control options

To choose between a PLC or PC, analyze and compare characteristics that could differentiate the two technologies, such as operation, robustness, serviceability, hardware integration, security, safety, programming, and cost. Graphics illustrate some key considerations.

Control Engineering Salary and Survey, Advice

Career Update: The 2012 Control Engineering salary and career survey showed enthusiasm for automation, controls, and instrumentation professions. Pay is up, and survey respondents encouraged those interested in engineering to continue learning. Strategies for workplace success follow.

Transformer efficiency: Minimizing transformer losses 

Matching a transformer to its anticipated load is a critical aspect of reducing energy consumption.

System Integrator Giants of 2013 

The 100 firms on the System Integrator Giants list represent the largest system integrators of 2013, among the companies listed in the Control Engineering Automation Integrator Guide. In the survey, system integrator revenue is defined as automation integration services minus the cost of all off-the-shelf products: hardware, software, and equipment. The system integrators who responded to this survey provided information about engineering specialties, industries served, products integrated, associations/affiliations, and challenges from their industry.

How to size servo motors: Advanced inertia calculations

Inside Machines: To properly select the appropriate servo motor for a motion control application, find the inertia of the load being rotated. Applications where the center of rotation is on a different axis than the center of mass can lead to some challenging inertial calculations.

Artificial Intelligence: Fuzzy Logic Explained

Fuzzy logic for most of us: It’s not as fuzzy as you might think and has been working quietly behind the scenes for years. Fuzzy logic is a rule-based system that can rely on the practical experience of an operator, particularly useful to capture experienced operator knowledge. Here’s what you need to know.

Panel building: Optimizing control panel design, construction

Modern control panel wiring methods can reduce the costs of manufacturing and ownership.

How to make a health, safety, and environmental plan

Making an HSE plan is more than a creating set of rules for manufacturing health, safety, and environmental activities. Here’s what you need to know about HSE. See table: Effects of current on the body.

Pages: Most popular Control Engineering pages in December follow 

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Control Engineering home page 

Search Control Engineering

Control Engineering Digital Edition 

System Integration News 

New Products 

Apps for Engineers – Apps for Engineers is an “app of apps” that is available on both the App Store and the Android Marketplace. It contains links to mobile applications that engineers in the Control Engineering, Plant Engineering, and Consulting-Specifying Engineer markets will find useful.

Industry News 

Control Engineering Channels 

Events and Awards 

Education and Training 

Subscribe to Control Engineering newsletters 

eGuides – Topical collections of Control Engineering articles, with an additional content from a sponsor.



Online Training Center 

Control Engineering System Integrator Hall of Fame – Each year, a panel of Control Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners in three categories (based on the size of the organization). Three general criteria are considered for the selection of winners: business skills, technical competence, and customer satisfaction. Winners are then inducted into our System Integrator Hall of Fame. This page was updated in December 2013 with the class of 2014.

Integrator Guide – Search the online Automation Integrator Guide. Selecting multiple criteria will narrow your search results. Integrators wishing to apply for their own listing can do so.  

Also see …

Cyber Security Training Series

Case Study Database ListingControl Engineering’s case study database will allow end users to identify relevant solutions and explore what the experts are doing to effectively implement a variety of technology and productivity related projects. Users will be able to search the case study database based on industry, engineering specialties, and systems.

– Compiled by Mark T. Hoske, CFE Media, Control Engineering,