Vance VanDoren


Mechatronics and Motion Control January 1, 2006

System Integrator Demographics

The automation system integration business accounts for nearly $20 billion worldwide in engineering services and related product revenues, according to the Control System Integrators Association (CSIA). Exactly what that figure represents depends in large part on the definition of "system integrator.

By Vance VanDoren
Info Management November 1, 2005

Bucking Manufacturing Employment Trends

Over the past two decades, job insecurity has become the norm in the manufacturing industry worldwide. Data from the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate that U.S. manufacturing employment dropped, on average, by 1.08% annually between 1986 and 2003. And though the U.S. job market posted a 2,000-person net gain in six major engineering-and-computer job classifications ...

By Vance VanDoren
PID, APC October 1, 2005

Frequency Domain Analysis Explained

Predicting the future behavior of a process is key to the analysis of feedback control systems. Knowing how the controlled process will react to the controller's efforts allows the controller to choose the course of action required to drive the process variable towards the setpoint. Linear processes are particularly predictable since a combination of two control efforts applied simultaneousl...

By Vance VanDoren
Workforce Development June 1, 2005

System integrator alternatives

A system integrator can specify, procure, and install the components of an automation system and make them work together with a client's production equipment. But independent integrators aren't the only available source of system integration services. Automation vendors have traditionally offered the engineering services required to integrate their own products into a client's plant.

By Vance VanDoren
Mechatronics and Motion Control May 1, 2005

Automation Stars in a Supporting Role

Working against a looming deadline, the production company for the movie "Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World" was informed that the special-effects coordinator needed a new control solution—fast. Commander Productions' Dan Sudick wanted to make sure that the hydraulic motion controllers that powered the positioning gimbal underneath his main prop—a replica of the H.

By Vance VanDoren
Diagnostics, Asset Management December 1, 2004

Understanding Process Order

Mathematically speaking, the order of a continuous process equals the number of differentiation operators required to construct its governing equation. In layman's terms, that describes how dramatically the process variable can change when a control effort is applied to the process. Higher order processes demonstrate more complicated behavior and are commensurately harder to control.

By Vance VanDoren
Manufacturing IT, MES November 1, 2004

Analog, discrete, digital: deciphered

Unlike the virtual world within a computer, the real world is "analog." Real-world variables can change at any time, not just at the end of a scan cycle or sampling interval. Variables measured by a computer are "discrete." They remain constant until the next sampling interval, even if real-world values change.

By Vance VanDoren
Project Management September 1, 2004

Good Integrator Help Isn’t Hard to Find

Hiring the right system integrator for an automation project can greatly improve the chances of completing the job on time and under budget. And once that first project has been successfully concluded, re-hiring the same integrator for the next job is an easy decision. Unfortunately, selecting an integrator is not so simple the first time out.

By Vance VanDoren
PLM, Control Design July 1, 2004


Although system integrators are the experts when it comes to designing and implementing factory automation systems, not all automation projects require outside assistance. Some projects can be executed just as well or better by the plant's in-house engineers. On the other hand, a plant manager with no in-house engineering staff to draw upon is pretty much obliged to outsource the automation work.

By Vance VanDoren
PID, APC April 1, 2004

Why System Integrators Consolidate

Merger mania that swept the industrial automation industry in the 1980s and 1990s made some of the largest product suppliers even larger—and eliminated others. A similar trend has begun among suppliers of contract engineering services. More integrators are departing from the tradition of being relatively small, independent companies, offering specialized services to a few targeted industr...

By Vance VanDoren
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