Dick Johnson


Mobility March 1, 2007


Throughout civilization, humanity has devised ways to record events for future generations: word-of-mouth, cave paintings, symbols on clay tablets, alphabets on scrolls. Not long after the industrial revolution, it became apparent to manufacturers that recording data was better accomplished through technology.

By Dick Johnson
Mobility February 1, 2007

Enclosures – 2007-02-01

To protect and serve” appears on countless police and public safety vehicles in the United States. Although taken for granted by many, it is a serious motto for those in law enforcement, fire protection, and security fields. This same motto could appear on industrial enclosures as well. Their function is also to protect and serve.

By Dick Johnson
Mechatronics and Motion Control April 1, 2006

Operator Interface Terminals

If "eyes are windows to the soul," as the French poet, Guillaume de Salluste Du Bartas rhapsodized back in 1578, then operator interface terminals (OITs) are surely windows to the process—continuous, batch, or discrete. And although it may seem a stretch to equate the soul with a manufacturing process, the fact that manufacturing is still the heart of the world economy it might as well in...

By Dick Johnson
Mechatronics and Motion Control December 1, 2005

PLCs Maximize Machine, Motion Control

Control engineers now have at their disposal a wide variety of logic devices to program processes and machines. Computers and computer technology provide almost unlimited control possibilities no matter what the application. PLCs remain a strong part of the mix—a recent survey finds more than half expect to increase PLC spending in the next 12 months.

By Dick Johnson
Workforce Development October 1, 2005

Vital Links to Process Control

The process variable transmitter (PVT) is a simple device with a big role. The link between process sensors and the control room in nearly every continuous process/batch operation worldwide, these devices must send accurate signals to the control network, ensuring that product quality and flow are not compromised.

By Dick Johnson
Robotics August 1, 2005

Presence Detection Crosses Industry Borders

Advances in sensor technology have been a driving force in factory automation, most would agree. Interfacing the real world and analog/digital input to control processes has never been more applicable to a wider range of automation functions than it is today. Automating discrete manufacturing applications has, arguably, lagged behind process industries.

By Dick Johnson
Wireless April 8, 2005

Pushbuttons, Switches Still Compete in Controls

To read the original print article click here. These days, the term “operator interface” conjures up thoughts of multiple touchscreens, color graphics, an air-conditioned control room, and a sprawling processing plant. Software-enabled control systems represent the latest in HMI technology, and, although they are becoming more common as new plants are built and older systems are updated, they are still far from dominant in factory automation and control. Conventional control panels—the simple original electrical operator interface design (pushbuttons, switches, and pilot lights)— still link the operator to the process in many, if not most, facilities.

By Dick Johnson
Energy, Power December 2, 2004

I/O modules on continuous improvement path

To read the original printed article click here. I/O modules on continuous improvement path Input and output (I/O) module manufacturers are not resting on their laurels. The unsung devices that are tucked away in enclosures and scattered about the plant floor are seeing steady improvement in communications, integration ease, and density, among other areas. Not only do I/O modules provide the necessary connections between sensors or actuation devices and the site of control logic, thereby closing the control loop, they also are adaptable to a wide variety of communication protocols, physical constraints, and physical-layer connections.

By Dick Johnson
Machine Safety November 1, 2004

Safety in the Automated World

The words industrial accident make everyone cringe. It is in the best interests of all workplaces to maintain safe working conditions. To further the cause of safety in the workplace, the U.S. Congress established the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in 1970. Its "prime directive" requires U.

By Dick Johnson
Data Acquisition, DAQ October 1, 2004

Weighing Technology

Weight is an often measured and controlled variable. Checkout stations at supermarkets weigh produce to determine price. Roads and bridges set vehicle weight limits. Industrial feedstock and most raw materials are sold by weight. So are precious metals and gemstones. Body weight has become a serious health issue, spawning many products and services to help control it.

By Dick Johnson
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