Top Control Engineering articles, October 2013
Most-read Control Engineering online articles during October 2013 at www.controleng.com included Cyber security, Engineers’ Choice Award finalists (vote now), PID math, reasons high school students should choose engineering, energy efficiency, grounding safety, and robotics and other articles linked below.
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 (September and October 2013) and those posted prior to September 2013. More about each article and links follow, along with links to the most-frequented Control Engineering pages during September 2013. A link to each article or page is provided.
October 2013 most-read online articles, among those posted in September and October 2013
A recent report shows how “honey pots” designed to look like municipal water utility networks attract many hackers. Security experts offer their analysis of the findings and suggest how they could influence your defensive strategies.
2014 Engineers’ Choice Awards – Oct. 17
FINALISTS: 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. Vote now!
A flexible career path and positive job outlook are among the benefits of pursuing job in engineering.
Wonderware owner Invensys acquires InduSoft – Sept. 24
With the InduSoft acquisition, Invensys (currently with a recommended offer from Schneider Electric to be acquired) further expands human-machine interface (HMI) and supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) offerings for the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) sector. Invensys owns Wonderware HMI software, Foxboro, Triconex, SimSci-Esscor, and Avantis brands.
Consider how a PD controller would work, without an integral function. Would you ever want to use that approach?
Resolves problem for modular-robotics community: Small cubes with no exterior moving parts can propel themselves forward, jump on top of each other, and snap together to form arbitrary shapes. Link to video of the robots.
An HMI is more than just icing on a cake – Oct. 14
Since it’s the way that users interact with a control system, don’t underestimate the importance of an effective HMI. It makes a huge difference to users now and down the road.
Scotty’s “Captain, I’m giving you all she’s got,” tells Kirk that he’s reached maximum output. The same thing can happen in your production unit. What results depends on the nature of your process.
Systems integration may be considered as one of the last items in the project, treated as a commodity, like some equipment. True cost of systems integration can be more complicated. Understand and measure these costs to keep the budget balanced over time. See supporting Control Engineering system integration research.
Modern SCADA technologies offer choices that satisfy functionality and security requirements while improving performance for remote users.
Future of CNC – Oct. 17
Beyond next-generation computer numerical controls (CNC), there may be virtual reality for CNC programming, advanced CNC intelligence, and advanced automation and programming for additive manufacturing and robotic assembly of microstructures. Each article has more information and images online.
Most read online Control Engineering articles during October among those posted prior to September 2013
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.
Siemens suggests that efforts to improve efficiency need to examine complete drive systems from one end to the other. Improving just the motor may not yield the largest improvements. Video: Siemens’ Michael Young offers an overview of the systematic approach.
Understanding both grounded and ungrounded electrical systems enables engineers to apply the appropriate grounding topology for the electrical system requirements.
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.
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.
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.
You’ve seen the equations, but have you thought about how those elements work together? Part 1: The basic concepts and proportional control.
HMI/SCADA applications enable companies to benefit from commercial off-the-shelf technologies adapted for industrial automation to lower costs and improve operations.
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.
It stands between your process and the sensor element, so understanding thermowell characteristics is key to reliable measurements. Second in the temperature series.
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.
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.
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.
A brief history, starting with the earliest PID controllers to the most recent developments. There is more continuity than you might expect.
Pages: Most popular Control Engineering pages in October follow
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Also see …
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 2012 with the class of 2013.
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.
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– Compiled by Mark T. Hoske, CFE Media, Control Engineering, www.controleng.com.