Top Control Engineering articles of 2015
Think Again: Salary survey and career advice, variable frequency drive help, process control tutorials, and help with programmable logic controllers (PLCs) and distributed control systems (DCSs) are among the top 20 Control Engineering articles of 2015. Also see the top 20 rankings for 2015 and prior.
Most-read 2015 articles from Control Engineering subscribers and other www.controleng.com visitors include the salary and career survey, variable frequency drive myths, process control tutorials, and what control engineers should know about management, among others. Articles reflect similar issues and topics as in 2014 although salary and career survey moved from eighth to first, from 2014 to 2015, perhaps reflecting greater concern about the lead issue in both surveys, shortages of skilled workers. Think again: this isn’t just another "best of" list; these stories matter most for those interested in advancing in professions using controls, automation, and instrumentation.
2015 top articles
Control Engineering research: While slightly less is expected for salary and significantly more for bonuses in 2015 compared to 2014, concerns about shortages of skilled workers remained highest on the list of challenges.
Knowing the truth about VFD operation can simplify the selection process for choosing a variable frequency drive.
Maintaining setpoint for two-mode or wide-range operations can be much easier when there are two control devices. Split-range control has been widely used in industrial processes for controlling pressure, temperature, and flow.
Feed forward augmentation is a prediction technique that estimates the output from a proportional-integral-derivative (PID) control algorithm without waiting for the PID algorithm to respond. Feed forward reduces the error faster or keeps the error smaller than relying on the PID algorithm alone.
Clear understanding of the application, noise sources, and configuration parameters ensures peak variable speed drive (VFD) performance, efficiency, and reliability.
How to communicate effectively with management and accelerate your career: Engineers should know these 7 things about management today. Don’t wait for others to delegate the needed resources or complain that they haven’t.
Learn how to choose between PLC and DCS. Though PLC and DCS technologies were invented to serve different industrial processes, the last 15 years have seen a massive merger of functionalities between both worlds.
Users and system designers consider how changing HMI strategy can help make operators better at their job and reduce those confused phone calls.
PLC programs do not behave like scripted language programs used by most computer applications. A basic understanding of control application fundamentals is crucial for designing an effective support-focused system.
A controller equipped with an accurate process model can ignore deadtime. Deadtime generally occurs when material is transported from the actuator site to the sensor measurement location. Until the material reaches the sensor, the sensor cannot measure any changes effected by the actuator. Online Extra below continues with additional findings.
Robotics, cars, and wheelchairs are among artificial intelligence beneficiaries, making control loops smarter, adaptive, and able to change behavior, hopefully for the better.
UL 508 is being phased out and replaced by UL 60947-4, which is designed to harmonize international standards by UL, the Canadian Standards Association, and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) in Europe.
Cyber attacks have been growing in number and intensity over the past decade. Companies in the oil and gas industry are high-profile targets and must take measures to protect themselves from hackers.
The price of oil may not have hit the nadir yet, supply is almost double that of demand, and the Iran deal may slash oil prices to new lows.
In an Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) demonstration using a mountain bike tricked out with sensors and instrumentation, ThingWorx, a PTC business, revealed how an operator might see an industrial machine’s metrics in real time by looking through a mobile human-machine interface (HMI) or a head-mounted display.
Determining what type of level instrumentation is required for a specific application can sometimes be perplexing. This is particularly true when we consider process tank level versus inventory tank gauging.
In the 1980s, the oil and gas industry was going through the same crew change as it is now. Highly educated workers were laid off, and the cycle is repeating itself. Will the industry learn its lesson this time?
Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) technologies, applied for monitoring valves in a refinery, used wireless acoustic transmitters to improve regulatory compliance and reduce hydrocarbon losses by $3 million annually due to timely detection and repair of faulty valves.
Know the features, limits, and compatibilities to select the right controller: programmable logic controller (PLC), programmable automation controller (PAC), or industrial PC (IPC). Choosing the correct control platform from the beginning will increase the odds that the project will be a success.
Human-machine interfaces (HMIs) and historians differ but need to be tightly integrated to provide company operations with optimal value. Big data has little value without analysis and access in real time.
Learn more about the top 20 articles in 2015 that were posted in 2014 and prior to that.
Top articles of 2015, posted in 2014 and prior
Sometimes two controllers can do a better job of keeping one process variable where you want it.
Automatic control operations can be described as either open-loop or closed-loop. The difference is feedback.
3. What is medium voltage? It depends on application, industry—July 26, 2010:
Medium voltage is far from uniformly defined, with specifications varying widely by industry, application, standards organizations, and other sources.
These guidelines dispel the confusion about matching variable frequency drives (VFD) and motors to fans and pumps that are typically encountered in commercial building applications.
These technologies continue to evolve, making differences harder to distinguish. Here are some thoughts on what does what, and how to choose between a programmable logic controller (PLC) and a programmable automation controller (PAC) for your next application.
Industrial wireless tutorials: What you need to know about industrial antennas, antenna functions, and antenna capabilities.
When dealing with critical temperature applications, proportional-integral-derivative (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.
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, which is particularly useful to capture experienced operator knowledge. Here’s what you need to know.
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.
10. Inside machines: PC vs. PLC: Comparing control options—May 11, 2011:
To choose between a programmable logic controller (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.
11. System Integrator Giants of 2014—Aug. 13, 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.
For many applications of TCP/IP networking, the 100-meter (328-foot) range limit of copper Ethernet cable becomes a problem. With conversion and extension, networks can cover distances that are measured in kilometers.
One-in-four control loops are regulating level, but techniques for tuning proportional-integral-derivative (PID) controllers in these integrating processes are not widely understood.
14. Using 2-wire proximity sensors—Jun. 22, 2010:
Is it practical to replace a 3-wire proximity sensor with 2-wire type?
Hands-on experience helps accelerate the proportional-integral-derivative (PID) learning curve.
Modern control panel wiring methods can reduce the costs of manufacturing and ownership.
Programmable logic controllers (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 PLC features.
Understanding a particularly conservative PID controller design technique.
The most important component of good chiller plant control is knowledge of the full- and part-load requirements and then matching those to system performance.
When choosing a tuning strategy for a specific control loop, it is important to match the technique to the needs of that loop and the larger process. It is also important to have more than one approach in your repertoire, and the Cohen-Coon method can be a handy addition in the right situation.
– Mark T. Hoske, content manager, Control Engineering, CFE Media, firstname.lastname@example.org.
In addition to the 11-20 and 1-20 rankings above, see also top stories of 2014, 2013, and 2012, below. Leading page-level coverage includes Engineers’ Choice Awards, System Integrator of the Year, Leaders Under 40, and System Integrator Giants.
Note: Chris Vavra, production editor, Control Engineering, CFE Media, helped with Web analytics and rankings.