Top Control Engineering Articles of 2011
Top 20 most-read articles of 2011 on the Control Engineering website, www.controleng.com, include Engineers’ Choice Awards highlighting best products, plant performance reporting, advanced motors, controllers, human-machine interfaces, control panel safety, loop drawing, a major motor acquisition, DCS screen design, and direct-drive wind turbines. Articles rounding out the top 20 include intellectual property, education, security, and recognition articles for young leaders and system integrators. Online bonus includes topics including the top 25.
In the 2011 Control Engineering purchasing study, top five business concerns of subscribers were replacement of skilled employees, budget restrictions, justifying new technology investments, keeping up with new technologies, and optimizing production. Based on those findings, it’s logical that articles highlighting best products, performance, and advanced technologies and optimization are among most-read Control Engineering articles in 2011. Read and share the following most-read articles to improve your 2012.
1. 2011 Engineers’ Choice Awards – Spotlight on Innovation – Best automation, control, and instrumentation products in 30 categories.
2. 2012 Engineers’ Choice finalists – Engineers’ Choice Award finalists for the 2012 awards follow by category. Subscribers voted on the best products in automation, control, and instrumentation, based on technological advancement, service to the industry, and market impact. Winners and honorable mentions will be featured in the February 2012 issue.
3. Video: Making your plant performance reporting more interactive – What will tomorrow’s “morning meeting” look like? ABB gives a preview of what’s going on in the lab and what your future HMI may look like.
4. Advanced motor design: New Motors Reach New Applications – Permanent magnets, axial, transverse, and radial flux designs optimize torque, power, efficiency, size, weight, and other motor performance parameters, as explained in this February Control Engineering feature article. Reader feedback added below on Feb. 16.
5. Cover Story: Balancing PLCs, PACs, IPCs – Do you need a PLC, PAC, or IPC for your next control application? Will programmable logic controllers (PLCs) evolve into programmable automation controllers (PACs) or industrial PCs (IPCs)? Whatever the name, get the best features and software for your control applications.
6. An iPhone as Your Next HMI? Consumer-grade smartphones and tablet computers are fast becoming commonplace extensions of industrial networks, permitting process monitoring and, even (gasp!) process control.
7. Codes and regulations: Electrical Controls’ Dirty Little Secret: We Don’t Follow NFPA – Of course safety is important, but most don’t follow NFPA 70e safety rules for working on an energized electrical panel. Risky? Yes. Unsafe? No, according to this system integrator. Perhaps industrial control panels need their own arc flash standard. (Do you follow the rules when working on control panels? See related articles.)
[A recently-posted article with results from a related survey has brisk traffic and is likely to be among top articles for January 2012.] http://www.controleng.com/single-article/how-safe-are-your-electrical-system-work-practices/9f8059ec79.html
8. Cataloging loop drawings, tags in a spreadsheet – How a refinery used Excel to document its automation infrastructure during a DCS upgrade. Some simple tools can keep it all in order.
9. Nidec continues integrating 5 major Emerson motor brands – Nidec Motor continues to integrate two Emerson motor businesses and five Emerson motor lines after the October 2010 purchase. Even as opportunities increase for motor sales related to energy efficiency requirements, motor manufacturers seek opportunities for broader market reach through acquisitions.
10. Gray Backgrounds for DCS Operating Displays? … shows that human factors do matter in HMI design. With all the sophisticated and cool graphic capabilities available today, why does the ASM Consortium recommend such muted and boring colors? The answer involves the human factors behind the selections.
11. Direct-drive Wind Turbines Flex Muscles – A different drive train design that eliminates the gearbox between a turbine’s rotor and generator is attracting wind turbine manufacturers in the quest for higher power output, increased offshore reliability, and potential cost savings over the system’s lifetime. See photos, diagram, links.
12. 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.
13. 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.
14. 2011 Manufacturing and Automation Summit – CFE Media’s 2nd Manufacturing and Automation Summit, from Plant Engineering and Control Engineering, focuses on maintenance, systems management and safety. (Available for archived viewing.)
15. Video: The lingering effects of Stuxnet – Two cyber security experts discuss what we should learn from the Stuxnet experience, and how companies may want to change their thinking going forward.
16. When should you bypass your safety system? How can it be considered "good engineering practice" to bypass your SIS during critical times with your process? See diagrams.
17. Leaders Under 40, Control Engineering class of 2011 – This generation of manufacturing automation and controls leaders includes 19 young professionals excelling in control system design and teaching others about the fun in engineering, while resolving local and global challenges through smarter applications of automation and control technologies.
18. Using 2-wire proximity sensors, an Ask Control Engineering blog post – Dear Control Engineering: Is it practical to replace a 3-wire proximity sensor with 2-wire type?
19. World’s fastest PLC based on CPU scanning speed? – Yokogawa FA-M3V is a high-performance PLC with the world’s fastest CPU scanning speed, capable of scanning a 100,000-step program in one millisecond, according to Yokogawa Electric Corp.
20. The best in automation system integration, 2011 – Control Engineering proudly presents its 2012 System Integrators of the Year.
ONLINE EXTRA (The following links provide extra information for this posting that didn’t appear in print.)
And the next five most-read articles were…
21. 9 tips for better industrial SCADA communications
22. How to choose wireless technology for industrial applications
23. PLCS, PACs, IPCs—Does it matter?
24. Understanding Derivative in PID Control
25. Managing alarms using rationalization
– Mark T. Hoske, content manager, Control Engineering, firstname.lastname@example.org.