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Control Systems March 21, 2024

See the future: Four benefits of software-defined industrial controls

Modern automation solutions are already untethering the control system from its hardware constraints, enabling operations teams to drive more flexible projects and operations. See four benefits of software-defined control systems.

By Sean Saul
Control Systems February 29, 2024

New PICMG InterEdge standard helps open, modular process control systems

A new process automation hardware standard, PICMG InterEdge, defines a vendor-neutral, open standard for edge computing and I/O module hardware. InterEdge began as part of the O-PAS (Open Process Automation) Standard from The Open Group’s Open Process Automation Forum (OPAF). See related 4-part open process automation series from Control Engineering.

By Mark T. Hoske
Control Systems February 12, 2024

New products for next-generation, open automation infrastructure controller

Schneider Electric delivers next-generation, open automation infrastructure, distributed control node (DCN) with independent software-defined controller, in collaboration with Intel and Red Hat, as announced at the 2024 ARC Industry Forum.

By Mark T. Hoske
Control Systems February 1, 2024

Think redundantly about automation controllers without high costs

Even for smaller automation systems, designers can take advantage of automation products to incorporate practical redundancy options.

By Rin Irvin
Control Systems January 15, 2024

Hot topics in Control Engineering for 2023

Think Again about the top industrial automation, controls and instrumentation article topics of 2023, the most-viewed industrial automation-related webcasts and videos and the top Control Engineering magazine covers of 2023, as the publication begins its 70th year in 2024.

By Mark T. Hoske
Control Systems December 13, 2023

Webcast examines how to revolutionize industrial automation software

How long have you wanted a vendor-agnostic automation platform to help with interoperability, compatibility and harmonization, so automation systems and devices can work together effortlessly? Learn about the power of Universal Automation in a Dec. 14 webcast, archived for a year.

By Mark T. Hoske
Control Systems December 12, 2023

Select, install new controllers in 3 steps

Few in process manufacturing are ready for digital transformation, while most say control system modernization would be useful for business. Updating control systems can boost digital transformation, operational efficiency, sustainability and other efforts.

By Mark T. Hoske
Control Systems November 16, 2023

SPS 2023 preview: Open automation platform opportunities, applications

Bosch Rexroth expanded its drive and servo motor lines, touted increase interest and offerings in the ctrlX Automation platform, and discussed a new the modular, distributed motion control platform is available in 2024 in the Bosch Rexroth ctrlX Automation line, among SPS 2023 announcements.

By Mark T. Hoske
Control Systems October 12, 2023

How to engineer a secure industrial control network

Presenters outline the current threat landscape, identify some of the most common vulnerabilities and outline some practical first steps to take to secure industrial control systems, as well as how to take a more holistic view of ICS security.

By Control Engineering
Control Systems September 11, 2023

2023 Engineering Leader Under 40: Ioannis Bonis, 39

Ioannis Bonis, 39, Senior Engineer in Industrial Control Systems Dept., Helleniq Energy, Aspropyrgos, Greece

By CFE Media
Control Systems September 10, 2023

Improving flexibility, performance for carbon fiber manufacturer with control system upgrade

A carbon fiber manufacturer needed a control system upgrade that fulfilled specific requirements and adhered to a tight completion timeline.

By Automation Group
Control Systems September 1, 2023

7 ways model predictive control benefits your food and beverage operation?

Model predictive control offers food and beverage operations a variety of gains in efficiency, safety and waste reduction.

By Dan Riley
Control Systems August 20, 2023

Industrial access control market expects major growth

The industrial access control market is expected to be valued at $10.3 billion by 2033, growing at a CAGR of 9.2%.

By Future Market Insights
Control Systems June 12, 2023

Justifying the changing landscape of control system modernization

While some justifications for control system modernization projects have remained virtually unchanged for decades, others such as workforce shortages, cybersecurity and sustainability are relatively new considerations. See 6 control system update justifications.

By Ian Burns
Control Systems May 11, 2023

ICS network integration benefits for a connected plant

Engineers looking to build a connected plant with an industrial control system (ICS) have many aspects to consider including network protocols and the facility’s basic structure.

By Alan Polk
Control Systems May 2, 2023

Control Engineering hot topics, April 2023

Control Engineering’s most clicked articles in April 2023 included stories on PID tuning, digital twin, Hannover Messe 2023 and more. Miss something? You can catch up here.

By David Miller
Control Systems April 5, 2023

5 fast facts on exclusive Control Engineering research: How to apply controllers

Five fast facts about Control Engineering research on how to apply controllers follow. See link for the report.

By Mark T. Hoske
Control Systems December 10, 2022

Five control system design challenges for developing wave energy converter

Wave energy has a lot of potential for renewable energy, but developing a sustainable and efficient project for a power company had several challenges that needed to be overcome.

By Chris Hudson
Control Systems December 6, 2022

New version control, backup strategies for industrial automation

Webcast on industrial automation and PLC programming tools demonstrates how efficiency and quality can increase. Includes software demo.

By Darren Henry and Vaughn Varma
Control Systems November 30, 2022

Achieving on-stream control room relocations

A natural gas processing and compression facility control rooms had to relocate, which caused many challenges in an application with many potential hazards during the process. Project included control panel upgrades, communication digitalization and moving process control and process safety systems.

By Ted Hoffman and Charles Mills
Control Systems November 29, 2022

Enhancing chemical company control system reliability, performance

A chemical manufacturing company needed an upgrade to its burner management system (BMS) and combustion control system, which were not automated and causing disruption to production targets.

By Brad Bonnette
Control Systems November 11, 2022

A new future for process control systems

Industrial control systems need to change and future process automation systems need to deliver on these new expectations.

By Johan Björklund
Control Systems September 11, 2022

Plant instrumentation and controls: Modernize or maintain?

Best project practices: How to achieve successful plant modernization and how to properly prepare for the project. See related article: Why modernize plant instrumentation, controls.

By Kevin Finnan
Control Systems July 5, 2022

Building interoperable control systems

Mixing control system components from different manufacturers often took more integration time than practical. Efforts from Open Process Automation Forum are leading to interoperability among controls manufacturers.

By Mark T. Hoske
Control Systems June 24, 2022

Modern machine control system design in 7 steps webcast preview

Seven steps can help with modern machine control system design: Get a preview below of a June 15 webcast providing more detail.

By Mark T. Hoske
Control Systems June 3, 2022

Modern machine control system design in 7 steps

Seven steps can help with modern machine control system design: Get a preview below of a June 15 webcast providing more detail.

By Mark T. Hoske
Control Systems April 1, 2022

The control system is key to optimal loop tuning

Leveraging the proportional-integral-derivative (PID) tuning tools embedded in automation software helps identify the ideal tuning values and maintain them, regardless of process changes. Example: Startup and product formula change time fell 40%; production rates of some products increased 35%.

By James Beall
Control Systems March 11, 2022

Introduction to ICS security fundamentals

It's important to define what industrial control systems (ICSs) are, why they are vital and the unique challenges of securing them.

By Stephen Mathezer
Control Systems March 4, 2022

Consequence-driven ICS risk management

Managing control system cyber risk and tactical industrial control system/operational technology (ICS/OT) defense is doable.

By Dean Parsons
Control Systems February 3, 2022

Getting actionable data from an ICS

While industrial control systems (ICSs) will always need to provide functionality, there is an increasing focus on obtaining actionable data from automation platforms.

By Damon Purvis
Control Systems January 18, 2022

Six critical components of integrated cybersecurity for industrial control systems (ICS)

Examining industrial control system cybersecurity requires looking at audits, access controls, threat detection, risk mitigation, process sensor security and authentication and vendor collaboration.

By Anil Gosine
Control Systems December 22, 2021

Securing the ICS: Measure solution effectiveness, maturity

ICS security programs need to be evaluated periodically; the evaluation process should be formalized and repeatable.

By Robert Henderson
Control Systems September 20, 2021

Securing the future of industrial controls against cyber threats

The Fortinet OT Symposium, Energy Day, on Aug. 31, provided expert advice and best practices on how to secure the future of industrial controls in the energy sector.

By Gary Cohen
Control Systems September 2, 2021

Control system improvements: Feed-forward, adaptive, fuzzy control

Control methods that can be more effective than proportional-integral-derivative (PID) controllers, include feed-forward control, disturbance compensation, adaptive control, optimal PID control and fuzzy control.

By Peter Galan
Control Systems August 21, 2021

An overlooked ICS cybersecurity gap for companies

A critical security gap that is widely ignored – the disparity between the attention applied between TCP/IP and serial network devices security.

By Cynalytica
Control Systems August 7, 2021

Making industrial control system solutions more adaptable

Industrial control system (ICS) solutions need a new architecture and philosophy is required to be more adaptable to changing environments. Six methods are highlighted.

By Bridget Fitzpatrick
Control Systems July 2, 2021

Improving operator performance from field to control room

Digitally transforming operations in the control room can provide new methods for solving problems and improving optimization with increased automation. A refinery projected almost $200,000 in energy savings for five heat-exchangers in 90 days.

By Meha Jha, Marcio Donnangelo and Tim Olsen
Control Systems June 30, 2021

From simulation to computer-aided design of control systems

Cover Story: While simulation systems can help for control system programming design, a general-purpose programming language like C# can be used: First, some basic control system theory.

By Peter Galan
Control Systems June 24, 2021

Why DDoS attacks are a major threat to industrial control systems

Distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks can cause severe damage to an industrial control system (ICS) in the short- and long-term and have lasting impacts on the company affected.

By Dr. James Stanger
Control Systems June 11, 2021

Control system cybersecurity tips and tactics released

NIST has developed an infographic with steps control system owners/operators can take now to get started or refreshed on their cybersecurity journey and to help manage their control system cybersecurity risks.

By Keith Stouffer and Victoria Yan Pillitteri
Control Systems May 28, 2021

The importance of ICS security

Industrial control system (ICS) cybersecurity is growing in importance as cyber attacks increase and there are some basic tenets companies can follow in their journey.

By John Livingston
Control Systems May 14, 2021

Choosing between TAP and SPAN ports for an ICS security solution

SPAN and TAP ports can help companies utilize industrial control system (ICS) security solutions for aging infrastructures and networks.

By Chris Bihary
Control Systems May 5, 2021

Control loops benefit more than control systems

The world is filled with missing feedback loops that could improve performance if those loops were closed. Learn how your automation knowledge can help others.

By Mark T. Hoske
Control Systems April 8, 2021

What the IEC 62443 standard does for industrial cybersecurity

IEC 62443 is the international standard for the security for industrial automation control systems (IACS) and its importance is growing as networks and controllers become intertwined.

By H-ON Consulting
Control Systems April 7, 2021

How open systems support end users

End users have been vocal about wanting open systems, and automation vendors are responding by delivering systems compliant with international standards.

By Masaru Yamazaki and Wataru Nakagawa
Control Systems March 19, 2021

ICS cybersecurity company appoints CEO

John Adams was appointed Chief Executive Officer (CEO) by Mission Secure, an industrial control system (ICS) cybersecurity company.

By Mission Secure
Control Systems March 11, 2021

Industrial control system cybersecurity breaches will happen

Industrial control system (ICS) security attacks are a given, but they are relatively rare and should be dealt with.

By Dale Peterson
Control Systems February 18, 2021

Evolving control systems are key to improved performance

Flexible computing, contextual data and modular architectures will change the face of control systems and improve overall plant performance, helping to lower risk from retirements.

By Sean Sims
Control Systems February 17, 2021

Evolution of control systems with artificial intelligence

Cover Story: Can artificial intelligence (AI) prove to be the next evolution of control systems? See three AI controller characteristics and three applications.

By Kence Anderson, Winston Jenks and Prabu Parthasarathy
Control Systems February 9, 2021

Changing winds of cybersecurity for ICSs

The SolarWinds attack is the latest reminder the cybersecurity landscape is changing, and manufacturers need to protect industrial control systems (ICSs). See three ways a software bill of materials can help cybersecurity.

By Chris Vavra
Control Systems February 2, 2021

Growing ICS vulnerabilities mandate prioritization

Use vulnerability management at the convergence of information and operational technologies to lower risk to industrial control systems. 

By Isaac Guevara and Chen Fradkin
Control Systems June 17, 2017

Industrial motor control system

Striatech's switched reluctance (SR) motor and dedicated control combination is designed for industrial applications such as large conveyors for steady operation.

By Striatech
Control Systems February 9, 2017

2017 Engineers’ Choice Awards: Spotlight on innovation

Best automation, control, and instrumentation products in 28 categories.

By Amanda Pelliccione, Control Engineering
Control Systems January 8, 2015

Top 5 Control Engineering articles, December 9 to January 8: PID loop tuning advice, control engineers and management, System Integrators of the Year, more

Articles about learning PID loop turning from an expert, 7 things control engineers should know about management, the 2015 System Integrators of the Year, support-focused enterprise controls, and PLC and DCS programming were Control Engineering’s five most clicked articles from December 9 to January 8.

By Chris Vavra
Control Systems October 23, 2014

Designing real-time process controllers

The most important constraint in a real-time system is that the time it takes to process an input and produce an output must be well known.

By Mario Torre, Halliburton
Control Systems December 25, 2013

Outdoor-ready connectors

Harting's Han-Eco Outdoor and Han-Yellock connectors are designed to resist harsh environmental conditions while the Han-M has UV resistant seals and the Han HPR is used for demanding environments and wet areas.

Control Systems July 8, 2013

Optical bypass relay

The OBR40 optical bypass relay by Belden is designed for harsh environments and both ring and bus topologies as well as an IP30 protection rating.

Control Systems April 9, 2013

The loop, the whole loop, and nothing but the loop

Sometimes we need to think about an individual control loop. Other times we need to consider the larger control system. You should be able to do either when appropriate.

By Bruce Brandt, PE
Control Systems March 13, 2013

Do-it-yourself model-based control

When regulatory control can’t do the job, and you can’t find an off-the-shelf APC package, your only option may be to build your own. It’s not easy, but it can be done and good ones can make a world of difference.

By Peter Welander
Control Systems February 26, 2013

Advancing control

Concepts of APC can be implemented a little bit at a time but still make big steps toward getting your process running better.

By Bruce Brandt, PE
Control Systems February 19, 2013

The benefits of reusing control logic

Don’t think it’s lazy—reusing effective control system strategy and programming can help you identify problems.

By Matt Dougherty
Control Systems February 4, 2013


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.

By Jeff Payne
Control Systems January 22, 2013

The importance of client reviews

A few simple discussions with and demonstrations for your client at strategic times can prevent a world of problems and keep your project on track.

By MAVERICK Technologies control system engineering team
Control Systems January 8, 2013

Encapsulated data in automation programming

Using an element of object oriented programming can keep data organized and simplify writing code.

By Jeff Monforton
Control Systems December 3, 2012

Software additions to simplify controller integration, energy management

The IntelliCenter Integration Assistant and IntelliCenter Energy by Rockwell Automation are designed to seamlessly integrate MCCs and improve productivity.

Control Systems November 27, 2012

BAS motor controls with auto run, predictive calibration

The BAS motor controls from Cerus Industrial accept dry voltage inputs and include other options like auto run and predictive calibration. One model accepts up to 600 V AC and motor loads up to 40 A.

Control Systems November 12, 2012

EC: EZ TouchPLC Jr.

Hardware - Integrated HMI controllers: The EZTouchPLC Jr. is the smallest TFT color touch panel HMI with a built-in programmable logic controller and I/O used for automation of electromechanical processes, such as control of machinery at a factory. This is a Control Engineering 2013 Engineers' Choice finalist.

By Control Engineering
Control Systems November 12, 2012

EC: Simatic S7-1215C

Machine and Embedded Control - PLCs: The Simatic S7-1215C has four times the capacity of existing modules while adding a second Profinet interface, two analog outputs and fast outputs for controlling up to four stepper motors. This is a Control Engineering 2013 Engineers' Choice Awards Honorable Mention.

By Control Engineering
Control Systems November 12, 2012

EC: Eurotherm Mini8 Multi-loop PID Controller with EtherNet/IP

Hardware - Integrated HMI controllers: The Eurotherm Mini8 Multi-loop PID Controller is a compact high-performance, panel mount, multi-function controller with EtherNet/IP communications for easy integration into plant control networks. This is a Control Engineering 2013 Engineers' Choice finalist.

By Control Engineering
Control Systems November 12, 2012

EC: PlantESP: Loop Performance Monitoring v2.0

Software - Diagnostics: PlantESP is a plant-wide monitoring and optimization solution that isolates underperforming PID controllers and provides recommendations for improving them. This is a Control Engineering 2013 Engineers' Choice Awards Honorable Mention.

By Control Engineering
Control Systems November 6, 2012

New 1/32 DIN programmable PID controllers

Omega introduces CNi32 and Dpi32 series programmable temperature/process PID controllers.

Control Systems October 16, 2012

Feedback controllers do their best

What is a feedback controller and how do they meet specific performance measures? Learn more about feedback control systems.

By Vance VanDoren, PhD, PE
Control Systems October 2, 2012

Safety interface controller

The PSSR-2 by Tapeswitch has integrity monitoring of any presence sensing safety switch along with a manual and auto reset.

Control Systems September 18, 2012

Are you solving the wrong problem?

How to ask the right questions to uncover the real issue at the core of a project.

By Bruce Brandt
Control Systems August 22, 2012

PLC Developments Increase Flexibility and Speed

New architectures are expanding capabilities, blurring the line between programmable automation controllers and PLCs.

By Sammy Natsui
Control Systems July 17, 2012

Tricks of the Trade: Level Control

Sometimes the most important control objective of a level controller is not to control the level.

By Jim Ford
Control Systems April 18, 2012

Moving up from hardwired relay logic

If you’re still trying to control machine functions with relays and discrete electromechanical devices, you should be looking at the small and inexpensive PLCs available these days. Their versatility and simplicity may surprise you.

By Rick Sykora
Control Systems April 13, 2012

Narrow timer relays have labeled thumb wheel to set time

The ETD-BL narrow timer relays by Phoenix Contact are 70% narrower than conventional timer relays and and feature a labeled thumb wheel for precise time settings.

Control Systems January 27, 2012

Single loop controller qualified for nuclear service

Yokogawa YS1700 Single Loop Controller is now qualified to be used in nuclear applications, non-safety seismic, and safety seismic applications, including nuclear safety. It is also used in industries such as power, petrochemical, water, pulp/paper, marine and municipal boilers.

Control Systems January 17, 2012

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.

By Jason Beyer and Sean Wilkinson, Watlow
Control Systems January 14, 2012

Manufacturers Reduce Design Time with Common Design Environment

Advanced programmable automation controllers (PACs) offer one common control platform, control engine, and development environment, designed to deliver control capabilities for all disciplines from process to safety to motion.

By Mike Burrows
Control Systems January 11, 2012

DIN temperature controller

Automated Control Engineering (A.C.E.) and West's DIN 6500 temperature controller is designed for basic electric heater applications.

Control Systems November 29, 2011

Water treatment plant upgrades automation

A user reflects on his utility’s decision to move to PLC control 17 years ago. Getting rid of the old SCADA system gave the utility flexibility that it still enjoys.

By Henry Palechek
Control Systems November 18, 2011

EC: Vision350 PLC and HMI

Hardware – Integrated HMI-controller: The Vision350 PLC with an integrated HMI from Unitronics is an all-in-one control solution for automated processes. This is a Control Engineering 2012 Engineers’ Choice honorable mention.

Control Systems November 18, 2011

EC: L Series Temperature Controller

Machine and embedded control – PLCs: The L Series Temperature Controller from Mitsubishi Electric is intended to reduce energy consumption and improve manufacturing sustainability. This is a Control Engineering 2012 Engineers’ Choice honorable mention.

Control Systems November 18, 2011

EC: Loop-Pro Tuner (Allen-Bradley Edition)

Software – Diagnostics: Loop-Pro Tuner from Control Station is PID tuning software that accurately models oscillatory and noisy process data, and supports Logix-based programmable automation controllers (PAC) and MicroLogix controller algorithms from Rockwell Automation. This is a Control Engineering 2012 Engineers’ Choice finalist.

Control Systems August 28, 2011

Process temperature controllers

AutomationDirect's 24 V DC powered controllers are designed with flexibility and simplicity in mind.

Control Systems August 25, 2011

AC, DC output pluggable solid state relays

Crydom's LifePlus ED series is designed for electromechanical relay (EMR) users looking to replace traditional 12 mm x 29 mm EMRs.

Control Systems August 19, 2011

Frequency output current transducers released

NK Technologies' current transducers are designed as an input to high-speed counter and intended for use when analog inputs aren't available, the company said.

Control Systems June 15, 2011

New multi-board terminal-block plastic boxes

Bud Industries Inc. introduces economical plastic boxes with space for three circuit boards.

Control Systems May 31, 2011

Push-in coupling relays reduce installation time

Phoenix Contact has developed a new coupling designed to improve connection using push-in technology (PIT) and works with currently existing PLC relays

Control Systems May 11, 2011

Adapter creates tool-free interface to IO modules

Wago Corporation's Interface Adapter provides a tool-free interface and captures analog/digital signals for eight combined modules - ideal for machines requiring large amounts of input/output signals.

Control Systems May 2, 2011

Gas flowmeter modularizes transmitter functions

ST100 mass flowmeter from FCI creates upgradeable transmitter, future-proofs functionality.

Control Systems April 12, 2011

Safety relay monitors safety of circuits, helps OEMs

Eaton's ESR5 safety relay expands the diversified industrial manufacturer's safety solutions for North American customers. The relay is engineered for OEMs to monitor safety circuits and enhance equipment safety by monitoring the signals from safety devices and switching off quickly in an emergency.

Control Systems April 8, 2011

Using smart instrumentation

All you need to know to deploy smart instruments throughout your processes, and get the highest performance available. The capabilities are there if you put them to work.

By Craig McIntyre, Endress+Hauser
Control Systems March 31, 2011

Machine safeguarding solutions: ARC ranks top vendor

ARC Advisory Group’s recent publishing of ‘Machine Safeguarding Solutions Worldwide Outlook…’ names the leading vendor for machine safeguarding solutions.

By SOURCE: Siemens Industry
Control Systems March 30, 2011

Pluggable relays for industrial, commercial applications

Weidmuller’s generation of pluggable relays meet a wide range of industrial switching requirements.

Control Systems March 25, 2011

Gaging system alternative, inspection of high-volume manufactured parts

Renishaw’s Equator gaging system cuts purchase, maintenance, fixture costs; can be programmed for multiple parts, re-programmed in minutes for design changes.

By SOURCE: Renishaw
Control Systems March 23, 2011

Back to Basics: Simplify device-level wiring

Faster connectivity, data monitoring, and circuit protection are among advantages of device-level wiring solutions.

By Richard Chung, product manager, Eaton
Control Systems March 10, 2011

GEM Consortium adds to list of employer members

GEM Consortium and Cisco to provide funding opportunities for post-graduate under-represented students in STEM fields

By SOURCE: National GEM Consortium
Control Systems March 7, 2011

Digital temperature controller offers broad working range

New controller from Selco Products handles over 2,000 °F with easy configuration and installation.

Control Systems January 28, 2011

Single phase motor starter thermally protects motors up to 1 HP

Flexible, easy-to-use single-phase motor starter is building automation ready, features overload protection.

Control Systems January 3, 2011

Technology Update: Automation appliances create interoperability

Machine to machine (M2M) and machine to enterprise (M2E) communications are required for most automated applications, as the Internet of Things and need for interoperability advance. Interoperability is often difficult to achieve and many solutions are crafted by manufacturing engineers and system integrators on a custom, instance-by-instance basis. Automation appliances can help by...

By Roy Kok, AutomationSMX
Control Systems December 29, 2010

Networked safety in three steps

Networked safety is increasing, where programmable controllers replace relays, doing for functional safety what the PLC did for machine control. Most machine owners no longer view safety as a burden but as an opportunity to enhance machine uptime and increase profitability. Here’s an example of how networked safety might work for you. (See four diagrams and three steps explaining how to network machine safety.)

By Helge Hornis
Control Systems December 14, 2010

Non-contact infrared temperature sensor, transmitter

OS137 Series from Omega offers three measuring ranges, many features in a small package.

Control Systems November 16, 2010

Control loop monitoring solution helps isolate underperforming regulation

PlantESP from Control Station simplifies isolation and optimization of regulatory controllers in process units.

Control Systems November 15, 2010

Robert Rice, among Control Engineering Leaders Under 40 for 2010

Want to meet the next generation of manufacturing automation and controls leaders? In November 2010, Control Engineering highlights 19 young professionals from around the globe who are making their marks in everything from system design to academia. These leaders aim to inspire others to get involved in engineering and resolve local and global challenges through smarter applications of automation and control technologies. Meet Robert Rice ...

Control Systems November 1, 2010

EC: PlantESP

Process Control - analysis, optimization, tuning: Control Station Inc., PlantESP actively monitors the performance of a production facility's PID controllers, facilitating the isolation and correction of underperforming regulatory control systems by providing essential loop diagnostics and recommendations for corrective action. This is a Control Engineering 2011 Engineers' Choice (EC) nominee.

Control Systems November 1, 2010

EC:D/3 Loop Optimizer Powered by Control Station

Process Control - analysis, optimization, tuning: Control Station, Inc. D/3 Loop Optimizer Powered by Control Station. Highly intuitive PID controller tuning software that integrates seamlessly with the D/3 DCS from NovaTech Process Solutions, providing effective and efficient modeling of even oscillatory and transitional process data as well as improving process control and plant profitability. This is a Control Engineering 2011 Engineers' Choice (EC) nominee.

Control Systems November 1, 2010

EC: C440 Electronic Overload Relay

Power - monitoring, protection - Eaton Corporation - C440 Electronic Overload Relay. The C440 provides customers with advanced, reliable and accurate motor protection featuring both integral ground fault protection and communications capabilities, in a single, compact device engineered for machinery original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), project construction and industrial end-user markets. This is a Control Engineering 2011 Engineers' Choice (EC) Honorable Mention.

Control Systems November 1, 2010

EC: IndraMotion MTX Micro CNC

Machine and Embedded Control - PACs - motion: Bosch Rexroth Corporation, IndraMotion MTX Micro CNC. The IndraMotion MTX Micro incorporates a PLC (IEC 61131-3) and all CNC controller and multi-drive (3 or 4 axes) hardware with a wide range of software functions for turning and milling machines in a very compact unit. This is a Control Engineering 2011 Engineers' Choice (EC) Honorable Mention.

Control Systems October 6, 2010

Feedback: Balkanization of instrumentation and control profession

Stephen Curyk provides further insight on specialists, engineers, and experts, as they relate to control architecture.

Control Systems September 17, 2010

Pneumatic air supply pressure regulation and filtration products

Pneumatic products are designed to work in stand-alone applications, but modular design enables field assembly for combining additional components.

Control Systems September 13, 2010

Air conditioners for enclosure cooling

Closed-loop cooling systems are recommended for harsh environments, or when there are washdown requirements, heavy dust and debris, or airborne chemicals present.

Control Systems August 13, 2010

Using a common wire: Safety PLCs with safety Ethernet

Specifying a safety PLC upfront in planning makes it possible to save significant time and money when designing the wiring and planning functionality of a project. Using Ethernet allows projects to do start/stop, speed references, and safety all over the same wire. One design used safety PLCs and safe I/O to include the guarding zones between presses.

By Jim Neufeldt, Advanced Engineering
Control Systems July 9, 2010

Simplify the terminal rail assembly: Weidmuller’s RailDesigner 5.0

Weidmuller RailDesigner 5.0 software is used for selecting, planning and ordering custom designed DIN-rail assemblies. The existing features of RailDesigner, combined with the new improvements in version 5.0, provide users the most comprehensive environment to design a custom rail, Weidmuller says.

Control Systems April 1, 2010

PLC programming: Link AS-I safety to ControlLogix for free

Free instructions link AS-Interface safety monitors to Rockwell CompactLogix, ControlLogix controllers

By Renee Robbins
Control Systems April 1, 2010

Slim interface relays

Schneider Electric Relay Competency Center (SE Relays LLC) announced compact Zelio RSL slim interface relays. At only 6 mm wide, the Zelio RSL frees valuable panel space for OEM panel builders and is suited for densely populated automation control panels, assembly machines, packaging equipment, conveyors and food and beverage equipment, the company says.

Control Systems April 1, 2010

Motor monitoring relays with user-adjustable settings

AutomationDirect proSense PMRU phase monitoring relays have microprocessor-based design to protect against phase loss, reversal, unbalance, undervoltage and overvoltage conditions. With a variety of user-adjustable settings, PMRU relays also feature a multi-color LED to indicate normal and fault conditions.

Control Systems March 29, 2010

Power protection: Up-Link fuseholder from Littelfuse

Littelfuse touts its Up-Link fuseholder as the next generation of plant maintenance technology.

By Mark T Hoske
Control Systems March 12, 2010

Schneider Electric Zelio RSL slim interface relays

Schneider Electric Relay Competency Center (SE Relays LLC)'s Zelio RSL slim interface relay saves space in automation control panels, machines and equipment.

Control Systems March 1, 2010

Making Analog Data Digital

Understand how to create digital representations of analog systems for control system applications.

By Peter Way, VentiMar
Control Systems March 1, 2010

When is PID Not the Answer?

Social media group member posits the question: How come PID is the answer to so many applications? Is it because advanced control is rarely needed or that control engineers are not pushing the envelope?

By David Greenfield, Control Engineering
Control Systems February 22, 2010

Omron upgrades its smallest temperature controllers, 1/32 DIN

Omron Electrics increased indication accuracy and sampling rate in its latest version of its compact E5GN temperature controller.

Control Systems February 7, 2010

Wieland UL Listed and CSA Certified (cULus) switching power supplies

With control voltage of 24 V dc and output current from 1.25 A to 40 A, Wieland offers nine models, single and three phase, temperature range from -25 °C to +71 °C.

Control Systems February 4, 2010

Single-wavelength infrared temperature sensors

Williamson Gold Series offers high temperature accuracy, wide sensing range, and very fast response times.

By Peter Welander
Control Systems February 1, 2010

Fuji Monitouch V815iXD

Fuji Electric Corp. of America Fuji Electric Corp. of America calls its Monitouch V815iXD a dedicated human-machine interface (HMI) that incorporates the best features of a high end HMI with a protocol converter. It can communicate with eight separate protocols simultaneously and pass data between them easily.

Control Systems February 1, 2010

Guardmaster Minotaur MSR57P safe-speed monitoring relay

Rockwell Automation Rockwell Automation says the Allen-Bradley Guardmaster Minotaur MSR57P marks a major advancement in safety relays—a device that allows personnel to enter hazardous areas while machines are in motion. The device supports numerous input devices—such as E-stops, light curtains, enabling switches and interlock switches—that detect demands on the safety system a...

Control Systems February 1, 2010

csTuner powered by Control Station

Yokogawa Corporation of America The csTuner powered by Control Station is an innovation introduced by Yokogawa Corporation of America to further simplify PID control and optimize plant performance. Product is based on award-winning PID tuning technology from Control Station. It integrates seamlessly with Yokogawa’s enterprise DCS solutions.

Control Systems February 1, 2010

Understanding Derivative in PID Control

The third factor in PID is the least understood. Derivative action can do good things, but when used improperly, it causes headaches.

By Peter Welander, Control Engineering
Control Systems January 7, 2010

Siemens Energy and Materials Processing Corp. form recycling partnership

Agreement revolves around service designed to help utilities dispose of end-of-life electronic components in a safe and environmentally responsible manner.

By David Greenfield
Control Systems December 30, 2009

Universal signal conditioners from AutomationDirect

AutomationDirect offers universal signal conditioners, in plastic slim-line housings, to convert, isolate and transmit scale signals from a wide variety of process sensor and controller I/O.

Control Systems December 23, 2009

Wago 858 Series 4-pole, double-throw relay modules

Wago Corp. has a new line of compact DIN-rail mount 858 Series four-pole, double-throw industrial relays, for power and control signal switching.

Control Systems November 21, 2009

Ethernet vibration instrument module can sample four accelerometer channels

Data acquisition instrument from Data Translation simplifies sound and vibration applications in remote or difficult applications.

By Peter Welander
Control Systems November 11, 2009

Temperature controllers function at multiple points during the manufacturing process

Schneider Electric Zelio REG Series controllers provide temperature regulation in process industry heating and refrigeration applications.

By Renee Robbins
Control Systems October 2, 2009

Guest commentary: Low-cost, high-return process control improvements, part 2

In the second of a three-part essay, George Buckbee, P.E., vice president of marketing and product development for ExperTune, considers a number of very practical ways you optimize your plant control systems and improve profitability.

Control Systems October 1, 2009

Integrated Safety: Has its Time Arrived?

Engineers, integrators, and industry representatives offer a variety of viewpoints on this hot button topic. Through all the discussion, one thing is clear: Consensus has yet to be reached. Where do you stand on this issue?

By David Greenfield, Control Engineering
Control Systems September 1, 2009

Relay Method Automates PID Loop Tuning

A traditional loop tuning technique has been modified to simplify its implementation.

By Vance VanDoren, Ph.D., P.E., Control Engineering
Control Systems August 1, 2009

Electronic pressure switch includes LED display

Omega Engineering PSW2000 high accuracy electronic pressure switch has a digital display. The switch is available with two solid state relays or one solid state relay plus an analog output. SS wetted parts with a FKM (fluorelastomer) seal plus an IP65 enclosure and UL approved rating allow this rugged switch to be used in most industrial environments.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems July 14, 2009

Siemens safety tour integrates safety, automation

Siemens Energy & Automation Safety Innovation Tour is bringing U.S. cities live demonstrations and seminars on how to seamlessly integrate certified safety protection into a company's automation architecture. Wireless technology can help.

Control Systems July 7, 2009

Siemens safety tour aims to lower manufacturing risk

Siemens Energy & Automation Safety Innovation Tour is bringing U.S. cities live demonstrations and seminars on how to seamlessly integrate certified safety protection into a company's automation architecture. New wireless safety products also are shown.

Control Systems June 18, 2009

Converter creates time proportional output from 4-20 mA signal

Device from Athena Controls can drive temperature or process directly from sensor.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems June 1, 2009

View real-time electrical system data via Web browser

Schneider Electric's Square D PowerLogic EGX300 integrated gateway-server combines Ethernet gateway functionality with an embedded Web page creation function and extensive on-board memory to allow users to view critical real-time electrical system data and historical use patterns. The unit, which requires only a Web browser and Ethernet network, logs and displays real-time data and trend plots ...

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems May 1, 2009

Panel mount PID controller features simple interface

The new EZ-Zone PM Express panel mount controller from Watlow reportedly fills the need for a PID controller delivering advanced control functionality while having a basic user interface. The interface is supported by two menus and a streamlined list of parameters making the product suited for basic applications and user levels.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems April 2, 2009

Improved process control solves PID tuning issue for food processor

Continuous cooking stations stabilize temperature to improve throughput and reduce cleaning. PID temperature regulators were not adequately tuned. The new control strategy reduced temperature variations 60% to 80%.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems April 1, 2009

When Considering Controllers… Do Operating Systems Matter?

Traditionally, a programmable logic controller (PLC) was simply a black box that sported a proprietary operating system. The PLCs of 25 years ago were basically in the background, and most had to be programmed either on an attached keypad or with a hand-held unit that plugged into the system with proprietary programming methods.

By Renee Robbins and Barb Axelson, Control Engineering
Control Systems January 7, 2009

Budget-friendly temperature control unit

Low-Cost PLC/HMI with direct inputs for temperature sensors.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems January 2, 2009

Relays: Slim industrial relays have push-in terminal sockets

Omron Electronic Components G2RV-SL500 Series of SPDT super-slim (6 mm wide) industrial relays have new push-in terminal socket options, which can be wired and disconnected with a flat-blade screwdriver.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems January 1, 2009

Relays: Industrial relays for OEMs, process industries available in kits

Weidmuller expanded and improved its line of industrial relays for the OEM and process control industries with the Riderseries family. Relay modules and bases can be specified and ordered separately, or as one part number kit with relay, base, LED indicator, retaining clip, and markers.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems December 31, 2008

Relay: Differential current relay improves worker safety

Littelfuse RCD300M2 differential current relay improves worker safety and protects equipment from electrical ground faults. If fault current exceeds the relay trip setting, it activates and sends a signal to disconnect high potential from the equipment. Here's how it avoids an arc flash. Links are provided to other power protection products.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems December 31, 2008

Print tags, markers for direct mounting onto devices, cables, terminal blocks

Weidmuller announces a new tag and marker printer for industrial use. The third-generation of the PrintJet Pro ink-jet printer prints clear and durable plastic markers designed for direct mounting onto devices, cables, relays, and terminal blocks. The system prints on blank plastic MultiCard-format markers and comes with an integrated MultiCard print loader. Software is included; software and printer can link to CAE/CAD systems to simplify processes and reduce costs.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems December 30, 2008

Low-cost PLC/HMI with direct temperature inputs

If your system or process requires temperature measurement, you are familiar with the dilemma—should you use a PID controller, or a high-level PLC that includes PID functionality? The PID controller is cheaper, but you must set it up as an extra unit, program it, and establish communication with other parts of the system.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems December 23, 2008

Signal conditioners support universal input, feature detachable display

Red Lion Controls has introduced the IAMS Series of universal signal conditioners, which are DIN-rail mounted with complete isolation and conversion capability. The universal input can accept RTD, TC, Ohm, potentiometer, mA, V dc, and process input signals.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems December 11, 2008

HMIs: How Web access technologies affect visualization efforts

Inadequate software performance slows data sharing and remote HMI use on the factory floor, but it doesn't have to be that way.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems November 22, 2008

Prosoft introduces wireless 802.11g point I/O adapter and appliance transaction manager

ProSoft Technology has introduced its Wireless Point I/O Adapter (ILX34-AENWG), a high speed, standards-based 802.11g wireless I/O as well as a new Appliance Transaction Manager (ILX56-M2M).

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems November 13, 2008

Control system and instrumentation design software

IDO Suite 5.0 creates and manages instrument datasheets, loop diagrams, I/O lists and more.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems November 1, 2008

Power Protection Devices

Both excessive current and excessive voltage can damage electrical and electronic equipment, and in so doing can cause serious harm—not only to the equipment but also to whatever depends on that equipment. The result can be lost production, damage to other equipment, loss of communications, or even danger to people or the environment.

By Peter Cleaveland for Control Engineering
Control Systems November 1, 2008

By the Numbers – 2008-11-01

$1,738 billion is U.S. manufacturing output, followed, in billions, by Japan at $952, China at $760, Germany at $643, and United Kingdom at $330, rounding out the top five in the “Pocket World in Figures 2008 Edition” from The Economist. 15 November is the deadline to nominate an automation product newly available in North America between January and November 2008.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems October 9, 2008

Display panel has built in functions, diagnostics

A 24-character text messaging feature is built in to the new Logo! TD text display panel from Siemens, a unit designed for migrating from hardwired to programmable control.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems September 24, 2008

How large is this robot? World’s largest, Fanuc says. It is holding…?

Click into this story to see the full height and capabilities of what Fanuc Robotics calls the world's largest and strongest robot. Introductions at IMTS extend the envelope for motion control in terms of size, difficult environments, and plain old processor grunt. Also learn about advances in robotics, controllers, and I/O modules.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems September 16, 2008

Wireless 802.11g I/O adapter

ProSoft Technology will introduce its ILX34-AENWG wireless Point I/O adapter this November at Rockwell Automation's annual Automation Fair. ProSoft says the adapter is a high-speed, standards-based 802.11g wireless I/O, which fully supports its Integrated Wireless Architecture and the EtherNet/IP Ethernet protocol. This was a September 2008 Control Engineering print edition product exclusive. In addition....

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems September 4, 2008

Industrial Ethernet: High density I/O, no-tool RJ45 Ethernet connector, extenders

Acromag introduces a rugged, high-density Ethernet I/O system, Weidmuller offers fast-connect RJ45 Ethernet connectors, and Westermo Wolverine Ethernet extenders support redundancy. See photos.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems September 2, 2008

Loop tuning: Utility software adds sophisticated modeling capability

New modeling capability means tuning process can begin before reaching steady state condition.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems September 1, 2008

PID controller supports ramp/soak control

Red Lion Controls, Inc. has announced Modular Controller Series PID modules that support ramp/soak control and provide multizone PID control, data acquisition, and I/O for PC, DCS, or PLC control systems, while integrating data logging and advanced alarm management. With the latest update to Crimson 2.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems September 1, 2008

How Programmable Logic Controllers Emerged from Industry Needs

Programmable logic controllers (PLCs) were more of a technology evolution than a startling discovery. The earliest robust, easily re-programmed industrial controller—which we know as the PLC—evolved nearly concurrently along three independent paths and involved five companies: Bedford Associates; General Motors Hydra-matic Division, Ypsilanti, MI plant; International Instruments Inc.

By Ken Ball for Control Engineering
Control Systems August 22, 2008

Hammond Control Power Transformers, more industrial options

AutomationDirect presents the PG Series of 120 x 240/12 x 24 V ac HPS Imperator control power transformers as an addition to its 240 x 480 / 120 x 240 V ac MQMJ Series. The transformers meet industrial applications where electromagnetic devices, such as relays and solenoids, are used.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems July 2, 2008

I/O systems: Terminal extender cables, breakout boards

Mounting and wiring accessories include terminal extender cables, breakout boards, wiring harnesses, DIN-rail kits, jumper straps, rack adapters, and other components for Opto 22 automation, control, and I/O systems.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems July 1, 2008

Which safety technologies protect the most machines?

If you are on the fence about particular safety technologies, knowing which ones are currently safeguarding the most machines could help you make a decision about what specific technologies you might want to consider installing on and around machinery. Findings in “Global Markets for Machine Automatic Safeguarding Components and Equipment,” a new white paper from Venture Development...

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems June 4, 2008

Case study: Control system maintains temperature in industrial ovens

Controlling 32 independent heating zones from one PLC and HMI has its challenges.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems June 1, 2008

On/off limit controllers

Athena Controls Inc. is now offering Series 86 and 88 Limit Controllers as an economical solution for on/off limit applications. Designed for quick, easy installation via fast-on lugs or terminal strips, Series 86 Non-Indicating Temperature Controllers and Series 88 Electronic Temperature Controllers are available with remote, local, or fixed setpoints, and case, DIN-rail, or Snap-trak mounting...

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems June 1, 2008

Soft starter designs, functions

High inrush currents and mechanical wear and tear are two principal causes of motor damage. Drives can protect attached mechanical components from wear and tear by slowly starting and stopping the drive train. When a variable speed drive isn’t an option, a soft starter can ease the initial impact of the motor starting and soften the blow when it shuts off. Back to Basics, June 2008

By Mark T. Hoske, Control Engineering
Control Systems May 29, 2008

DIN-rail mount: Analog controlled solid-state relay

One-package microprocessor-controlled solid-state relays have analog input and proportional output capabilities. Units have an integrated heat sink and ....

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems May 8, 2008

Remote control: Get behind firewalls—securely 

Virtual IP infrastructure technology provides OEM access.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems May 1, 2008

Adaptive control surpassing PID

The advent of microprocessors and advanced computing platforms has catalyzed the shift to adaptive controllers from proportional-integral-derivative (PID) controllers in process industries, claims Frost & Sullivan. In its “Continuous Adaptive Control – Technology Developments” report, the research firm notes that adaptive control is increasingly used for its ability to imp...

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems May 1, 2008

Zelio relay products enhanced

Schneider Electric Relay Competency Center (SE Relays LLC) has enhanced its Telemecanique brand Zelio line of plug-in relays with a UL-listed approval status when used with Zelio sockets. The line features increased motor ratings at 120 V ac and 240 V ac and expanded resistive ratings. The company has added a plain-cover version of the relays to prevent inadvertent actuation of the relays’...

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems May 1, 2008

Plugging into Network Certification

No man is an island, but then neither is control equipment in today’s world. Devices that at one time might have operated on their own are now networked together, a change that’s enabled more nimble control and increased the flow of information in both directions. Those are the benefits, but gaining them does require the network to work.

By Hank Hogan for Control Engineering
Control Systems April 8, 2008

Past PID: Adaptive control is versatile, fast, accurate, report says

Microprocessors and advanced computing platforms have catalyzed the shift to adaptive controllers from proportional-integral-derivative (PID) controllers in process industries. Frost & Sullivan says adaptive control is gaining ground with improved performance in mechanical and nonmechanical systems. Links include....

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems April 1, 2008

Safety relay contact expansion modules

Pilz Automation Safety LP has introduced two new modules in the PNOZsigma range of slim line safety relays to enable the number of contacts to be expanded, offering the potential for savings in cost and space compared with traditional relays. The PNOZ s7.1 features three normally open safety contacts.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems April 1, 2008

C series multi-loop controller

Athena Controls, Inc. has launched the C Series Multi-Loop Controller, which features four loops of PID control with cascade and feed-forward capabilities for less cost that four separate loop controllers with similar capabilities. It is user-configurable and provides universal RTD, T/C, and linear inputs with each PID loop that can be independently auto-tuned.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems April 1, 2008

Wago expands North American headquarters

Wago Corp. expanded its North American headquarters. The expansion, which began August 2007, increased the company's product manufacturing and storage capacity from 60,000 sq. ft. to 75,000 sq. ft., including 36,000 product locations. Products include DIN-rail mount terminal blocks, chassis-mount terminal blocks, PCB-mount terminal blocks, relays, signal conditioners, power supplies, surge sup...

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems April 1, 2008

Ethernet Connectivity For Pipe Organs

While pipe organs may date back well over 2,000 years, they now use the latest networking technologies, including 802.11 wireless, to connect their complex mechanisms. A pipe organ in this discussion does not mean one that uses digital or other electronic technologies to create its sound, but instruments that use real pipes blown by compressed air.

By Peter Welander, Control Engineering
Control Systems March 1, 2008

Building block diagrams

Back to Basics: The term “block diagram” refers to a type of diagram used by engineers to visualize system interactions at a high level. Block-diagram visualization allows system engineers to separate needs analysis from system design, and start system-level design before finishing component-level designs.

By C.G. Masi, Control Engineering
Control Systems February 29, 2008

15,000 sq ft more: Wago expands headquarters

Wago Corp. expands in Wisconsin, for I/O modules, terminal block, power supplies, and more.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems February 25, 2008

Better integrated remote connectivity to machines

Provide secure, remote Internet access to most networked equipment behind firewalls, from a central location with this new product.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems February 1, 2008

Relays: Far from Dead

Given the long life of solid state relays and the low cost and wide range of ratings offered by printed circuit (PC) board mount electromechanical relays (EMRs), why would anyone specify a plug-in EMR for a new design? Well, there are still many situations when the plug-in relay represents an excellent solution.

By David C. Thomas, Tyco Electronics
Control Systems February 1, 2008

Mechanical relay with arc suppression

A new technology developed by Watlow engineers extends the life of relays within the company’s temperature and power switching controllers in heating applications that require a high volume of cycles. No-ARC relay is a mechanical relay with arc suppression provided through smart electronics. The technology reduces arcing across relay contacts and extends the life of the relay.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems January 24, 2008

FM approvals: Intelligent remote I/O system gets safety certifications

North Hills, CA — Moore Industries says its NCS (NET Concentrator System) industrial I/O system has received Factory Mutual (FM) approval as a Non-Incendive Apparatus (multiple device system), for use of the I/O system in Class I, Division 2, Groups A, B, C & D Hazardous Classified Areas in the U.S. and Canada. NCS is used for data acquisition, process control, machine control, and as a communications concentrator. A Control Engineering article, I/O Implementations, offers more information.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems January 2, 2008

Industrial Ethernet: First safety I/O node with EtherNet/IP capability

Milwaukee, WI — Rockwell Automation offers the Allen­Bradley CompactBlock Guard I/O on EtherNet/IP, said to be the industry’s first safety I/O module with EtherNet/IP industrial Ethernet protocol connectivity. The move expands safety offerings and supports open networks to protect personnel and machinery, the company suggested.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems January 2, 2008

Help for relay selection, application: New Schneider Electric competency center

Palatine, IL – Schneider Electric Relays (SE Relays LLC) has launched the Relay Competency Center (RCC), a centralized, coordinated team of experts to offer customer assistance, application development, and relay design innovation for Square D and Telemecanique plug-in relays. Designed to help customers choose and manage relay requirements, RCC coordinates efforts with Schneider Electric sales representatives to address requests quickly.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems January 1, 2008

Dual-line 6-digit process meter

Precision Digital Corp. introduces a 1/8 DIN panel meter with 6-digit dual-line LED display. The ProVu process meter provides the operator with a more precise and informative view of their process for better overall control, according to the company. The large main display is complemented by a second line of display which can be configured to read user-defined engineering units, custom legends,...

By Staff
Control Systems December 18, 2007

Update: Job-hunting, automated home decorations, robotic fulfillment

Oak Brook, IL—Global resources of Control Engineering include other technology publications within Reed Business Information. Recent items of interest follow about job-hunting experiences in high-tech industries, automated home decoration directions, and the first office supply store robotic fulfillment system.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems December 15, 2007

‘Radical Solutions’ Deliver Rewards

For the past 13 years, TEC Engineering of Wichita, KS has been working with a major salt producer to completely overhaul its networking, controls and software technologies. Replacing a disparate collection of relays and single-loop controllers with a fully integrated PLC-based control system, TEC is helping the company improve the efficiency and operation of its evaporation, dry salt, and packa...

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems December 1, 2007

Integrated PLC/HMI with color screen

Color displays enable machine builders to reveal greater details, display vivid, attention-grabbing alarms, and in general brighten up their systems. Unitronics’ new Vision350 incorporates all these color advantages into a compact all-in-one PLC/interface device. This PLC and enhanced HMI is equipped with a color touchscreen, an improved processor, and diverse I/O options.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems December 1, 2007

4- and 8-point annunciators

Precision Digital Corp. has announced Vigilantes, a line of compact 4- and 8-point alarm annunciators that provide features previously found in annunciators three or four times their size. Housed in shallow-depth, 1/8 DIN enclosures for easy mounting, the annunciators can be programmed for common ISA alarm sequences, accept switch, transistor and logic level inputs, and can be supplied with fre...

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems November 15, 2007

Testing: Test PLCs, protection relays, meters before commissioning

RTT Desktop Test Set, a compact, portable tool

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems October 11, 2007

Pre-commissioning control system test set runs on the desktop

 GE Multilin has announced the RTT Desktop Test Set,

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems October 3, 2007

Reviewed resource: Understanding and implementing fuzzy logic control strategies

Fuzzy logic, loosely defined as trying to make a machine reason and make decisions like a human, has been used as a control strategy for process manufacturers when more traditional loop controls don’t work. In a new whitepaper from Rockwell Automation, available from the Control Engineering Resource Center , you can learn the basics of this approach and how it can be applied with Rockwell’s Logix equipment and software. This is a heavy-duty work of 45 pages, and it goes into extensive detail on how the process works with five real-world examples. Rockwell Automation program manager Dave Carr and software project manager Jeff Shearer take the discussion very deep very quickly, and once you’re past page 3, you will be fully immersed.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems September 26, 2007

Well connected controller

Watlow (booth # 2505) will be showing its EZ-Zone PM panel mount controller, which supports network connectivity to a PC or PLC using serial communications options including Ethernet/IP. This product works well where space is limited and a DIN rail panel mount is needed, according to the company. It can be ordered as a PID controller or an over/under limit controller.The company also will be discussing its Ethernet/IP products at the show.For more information, visit .

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems September 25, 2007

Connectivity: Wonderware’s DA servers communicate with Omron PLCs

Wonderware has announced the release of four DA (data administrator) servers for connectivity to Omron Electronics programmable logic controllers (PLCs).

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems September 20, 2007

Pressure Sensor: Low-cost differential gages

There are applications for differential pressure gages that don’t require high precision instrumentation, such as checking pressure drop across a filter or strainer. In those situations less expensive devices are an appropriate option. Orange Research has expanded its line of differential pressure gages with a new line that the company says is half the cost of competitive products and available with very short lead times. The family has a very wide range available, beginning as 0-5 in.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems September 6, 2007

Transformers: Dependable control starts at $31

AutomationDirect introduced a new line of Hammond control transformers. Superior quality and design of the HPS Imperator series transformers are said make them ideal for high inrush applications requiring reliable output voltage stability.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems September 4, 2007

Semiconductor manufacturer makes RFID look easy

Workers at Freescale Semiconductor rely on active RFID tags (inset) to locate components during the production process. The tags are part of a network that matches RFID with standard wireless networking technology.

By Sidney Hill, Jr., executive editor
Control Systems September 1, 2007

Applications of Self-tuning Control

Loop tuning is as much an art as it is a science. A well tuned feedback control loop can quickly and safely eliminate errors between the process variable and the setpoint, but endowing the controller with the necessary balance of aggression and patience requires a certain degree of skill and experience.

By Vance VanDoren, Ph.D., P.E. Control Engineering
Control Systems August 30, 2007

Loop Controller Product Research August 2007

Research was undertaken to gain a better understanding of Control Engineering subscribers’ applications and needs regarding stand-alone loop controllers.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems August 22, 2007

Six Steps to Meet New Safety Standards

The advent of new standards isn’t often a cause for celebration, but what is typically seen as a negative can be changed into something positive by following the right approach. Careful implementation of new standards can be good for the bottom line, to the tune of millions of dollars. An example of this can be seen in two machine and system safety standards, EN 62061:2005 and EN ISO 13849-1:20061. The latter is almost halfway through a two-year phase-in in Europe.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems August 1, 2007

Controller line for process, temperatures

The new SOLO process/temperature controller line is available in four standard DIN sizes: 1/4; 1/8; 1/16; and 1/32. Each unit is equipped with a dual, four-digit, seven-segment display, useful for process variable and setpoint display. Each model also offers dual output control, making it suitable for heating and cooling processes.

By Staff
Control Systems August 1, 2007

Rockwell safety products receive certification from China

The China Compulsory Certification (CCC) mark was given to Rockwell Automation for a majority of its safety product lines. The CCC, which is assigned to the product and to the factory that produces it, helps OEMs who are building machines and systems for the Chinese market to incorporate safety control systems that meet local product licensing requirements.

By Staff
Control Systems July 10, 2007

New Product Temperature controller: Supports 13 types of inputs

Cumming, GA—AutomationDirect announces the addition of 22 models of its new Solo process/temperature controller line to its list of products, 11 of which are priced under $100.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems July 5, 2007

Signal conditioning: Relay modules

Germantown, WI —Factory automation and process control applications require conversion, isolation, and transmission of many different signal types. These requirements include challenges such as managing signal types, maximizing panel space, reducing signal wiring and downtime, while controlling overall system costs. The new Wago 857 Series signal conditioners and relays meet these and other requirements. Features of the Wago 857 Series include:• Smallest pitch at just 6 mm wide, reduces panel space;• Pluggable relays for easy placement;• Flexible jumpering system eliminates redundant wiring;• Configurable modules increase flexibility and reduce inventory and part number requirements;• Safe operation with three-way isolation (2.5 kV);• Maintenance-free wiring with Cage Clamp S termination technology; and• Support for all signal types: Isolating amplifier and configurable up to 36 signal combinations. Configuration is via dip switch or software. —Edited by Mark T.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems July 1, 2007

Fundamentals of Self-Tuning Control

Although proportional-integral-derivative controllers or “PID loops” have been the de facto standard of industrial feedback control for more than 65 years, they’re not always easy to use. For PID loops to perform up to their potential, they must first be tuned to fit each application, then periodically re-tuned to maintain the desired closed-loop behavior.

By Vance VanDoren, Ph.D., P.E. Control Engineering
Control Systems July 1, 2007

Sensors, robotics, vision: 1st 3D safe camera replaces light curtains, guarding

Pilz Automation Safety LP introduced what it says it the world’s first 3D safe camera system for control and monitoring, called SafetyEye, at the International Robots & Vision Show, at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, IL, June 12-14. Also at the Stephens Convention Center was Sensors Expo 2007, June 11-13.

By Staff
Control Systems July 1, 2007

Systems cabling’ saves time, money

In today's controls marketplace, customers are demanding better products, faster system implementation and lower costs. Even as customers are asking for these, control systems are becoming more complex and project timelines are shrinking. Controls suppliers and system integrators, meanwhile, must maintain profitability.

By Ken Allwine, Phoenix Contact
Control Systems June 11, 2007

Programmable Automation Controllers Find Their Niche…Everywhere! by Advantech

In the beginning there was the relay and the timer. And in the process industries, there was the hardwired controller. A generation ago, digital electronics made the hardwired relay and controller obsolete in favor of the PLC, the programmable logic controller. Made to be fully deterministic and have limited control functions,

By White Papers
Control Systems June 5, 2007

Sealevel I/O boards: For multiple embedded platforms, networks, Ethernet, wireless

SeaI/O-OEM family of bus-independent I/O boards from Sealevel Systems Inc. offers a choice of host connectivity and a wide range of digital, analog, and serial control capabilities.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems June 4, 2007

Switch connects 1 RJ45 device with 6 others

Model 4426 RJ45 6-1 Switch System from Electro Standards Laboratories allows the user to share one common port RJ45 interface device among six other devices connected to A, B, C, D, E and F ports.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems June 1, 2007

Safety networks achieve better machine-control performance

Designing and implementing traditional hardwired safety solutions is complex, time consuming, and allows many errors. Once a system has been wired up, limited diagnostics add significant burden as well. Today, users have several choices of products and safety networks for industrial communications to address different needs.

By Helge Hornis, Ph.D., Pepperl+Fuchs
Control Systems June 1, 2007

Stop the scrap, track the problems

When Greg Richards joined the Quadrant Engineering Plastics Products (EPP) Reading, PA, plant in 1999, he was a man on a mission. The controls engineer and maintenance manager found losses from operator error and equipment failures added up to thousands of dollars every month and accounted for 5% unplanned annual downtime.

By Phil Aponte, Siemens Energy & Automation
Control Systems May 10, 2007

PACs: Relay output module controls output loads

A new isolated relay output module is now available for GE Fanuc Automation ’s PACSystems RX3i and Series 90-30 controllers. The 4-A 16-point relay output module provides 16 Form A relays for controlling output loads; maximum output switching capacity of each circuit is 4 A. Each output point is isolated from the other points, and each point has a separate common power output terminal.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems May 1, 2007

Performance monitoring and tuning controllers

Tuning controllers by the step response method (CE, February 2007 “Academic Viewpoint”) is a tried-and-true method, but not all take the trouble to do it. In 2000, Honeywell engineers surveyed various industries and found the following performance assessment numbers for installed controllers: 16% excellent, 16% acceptable, 22% fair, 10% poor, and 36% open loop.

By Thomas F. Edgar, University of Texas at Austin
Control Systems April 25, 2007

Fan coil unit controllers: Relays, power supplies are integrated, on-board

Configurable ECC-PFCU series of fan coil unit controllers from Distech Controls control the space temperature for equipment with up to 4 stages of cooling or heating, 2 floating valves, and up to 3 fan speeds.

By Jeanine Katzel
Control Systems April 1, 2007

Loop-Pro product suite provides tuning options

Control Station Inc. Among the newest features incorporated into the Loop-Pro product suite, the Visual Performance Designer provides tuning options from an array of configurations, including P-Only, PI, PID, and PID with filter. Based on industry-proven methods, all tuning configurations can be quickly and easily customized to achieve the user’s specific control objective.

By Staff
Control Systems April 1, 2007

Pittcon 2007: Conference targets process sensors, analyzers

More than 1,100 exhibitors and 21,000 attendees participated in the 58th Pittsburgh Conference on Analytical Chemistry and Applied Spectroscopy held at Chicago's McCormick Place, Feb. 25-March 2, 2007. Products and developments ranging from ready-to-use solvent blends and smart sensors for measuring and monitoring water quality to integrated control loops and mass spectrometers took center stag...

By Staff
Control Systems March 1, 2007

The Three Faces of PID

Although proportional-integral-derivative (PID) controllers dominate the process control landscape, they do have their limitations. PID loops can be difficult to configure properly, their behavior is not easily understood, and when they fail to produce the desired closed-loop performance, they can be difficult to troubleshoot.

By Vance VanDoren, Ph.D., P.E.
Control Systems March 1, 2007

Southeast Asia: Snapshots Reveal New Asia Rising

The place: Singapore. The time: October 2006. Ear-splitting drums and energetic lion dancers welcome dignitaries onto the stage for the official launch of Rockwell Automation's Asia Pacific Business Center. “The Center will be the world headquarters for several of our product lines and undertake the entire value chain: from R&D to engineering and from manufacturing to marketing,̶...

By Bob Gill, editor, Control Engineering Asia
Control Systems February 1, 2007

Getting in tune with Ziegler-Nichols

I recently visited a production facility of one of my former students and heard he was doing a fair amount of controls work. The professor in me was proud that some of what I taught in the classroom was being implemented. I asked the engineer to show me some of the applications. He took me over to an extruder that had a proportional (P) controller closing the loop.

By Thomas R. Kurfess
Control Systems February 1, 2007

New Ways to Power Instrumentation

In the hard-wired world of traditional instrumentation, getting power to individual devices wasn’t an issue. Either mains supply could be brought to a transmitter, or a fieldbus connection carried needed current. The only people who worried about remote instrumentation were involved with isolated installations such as oil wellheads or the like.

By Peter Welander
Control Systems January 8, 2007

Electromechanical relays for 10, 16 amp switching

RPY industrial electromechanical relays from Carlo Gavazzi are intended for industrial applications.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems January 8, 2007

Communication gateway for online monitoring

ICM8 communication gateway module from Red Lion Controls Inc. implements online data monitoring of the company’s temperature controllers and PAX Series panel meters.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems January 3, 2007

New application: Australian Paper upgrades Maryvale control systems

Australian Paper, the country's only paper manufacturer, is upgrading the pulping facilities at its Maryvale mill. As part of the more than $200 million overall project, Australian Paper will install an ABB 800xA Extended Automation system to integrate all pulp mill operations. It will connect a new central control room to servers driving individual applications, including the continuous digester, bleach plant, woodyard, wetlap machine, pump store, batch digester, and chemical recovery area.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems January 1, 2007

Electromechanical relays for 10-, 16-amp switching

RPY industrial electromechanical relays from Carlo Gavazzi are intended for industrial applications. They offer 16- and 10-A switching in 1- through 4-pole changeover configurations, and come with a test button, indicating LED. A free wheeling diode is optional for dc coil versions. Relays can be mounted to a printed circuit board, to a panel with optional top and side flange mounts, or with an...

By Staff
Control Systems January 1, 2007

Select the Best Process Control

When designing a new process, it is important to exercise some decision-making restraint. One critical area to hold back is selecting an advanced process control technology. The choice of PID, model predictive control, or something else should not be decided until the project has been qualified and reasonable objectives have been established.

By Lew Gordon
Control Systems December 15, 2006

Vintage Boilers Get Upgrade

Oklahoma State University had five 1949-vintage, multi-burner boilers using old Bailey pneumatic controls. The long-obsolete Bailey large-case pneumatics were difficult and expensive to maintain, inaccurate and not repeatable, but very easy to operate, and very, very reliable. MicroMod Automation Inc.

By Staff
Control Systems December 7, 2006

Standard translator: OPC, PNO, FF, HART continue EDDL work

ISA SP104 Committee released Electronic Device Description Language (EDDL) "draft for ballot" this fall, part of an effort to adopt generic device description language specified by IEC 61804 for device integration. "The committee wants to work toward the adoption of the IEC 61804 standard as an ANSI/ISA standard," said committee chair Terry Blevins. "We're also committed to provide information that will help users and integrators fully utilize the EDDL interface to support a wide gamut of intelligent devices." The draft ANSI (ISA) 61804 standard covers an operating system independent language for declaring device parameters and their dependencies, device functions, graphical representations, and interactions with control devices.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems December 7, 2006

Relay: Optically isolated input module

Sealevel Systems Inc . expanded the SeaI/O family of data acquisition devices with the SeaI/O-520 digital I/O module. It has high-current Form C outputs and optically isolated inputs, said to be perfect for process control, facility management, security, broadcast automation, and other applications. SeaI/O-520 provides eight SPDT high-current Form C relays that can switch up to 6-A loads at 250-V ac and 100-V dc.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems October 23, 2006

Automation products add flexibility

Telemecanique brand Zelio plug-in relays from Schneider Electric now includes Zelio Logic 2 programmable smart relays, Zelio count counters, and Zelio analog interface modules.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems October 19, 2006

ISA Show: New ultrasonic level measurement system

Solid Applied Technologies (Solid AT) has expanded its family of non-contact ultrasonic level measurement products with the addition of its new SmartScan Multi-Sensor. This system uses an extensive software package to calculate multiple measurement readings for various types of tanks and open channels to provide continuous level measurements over a range up to 12 m (39 ft). The Multi-Sensor is a 4-wire, high-voltage device incorporating a customized LCD and six SPDT relays that can each be assigned to different outputs. The unit supports three 4-20 mA outputs, RS-232/485, and HART protocol.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems October 16, 2006

Programmable logic relays

Teco SG2 Series programmable logic relay for machine and process control applications from FactoryMation LLC is available in 10, 12, and 20 I/O configurations from $59.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems October 11, 2006

ISA Expo 2006: Combustible, toxic monitors in IR, catalytic bead versions

Model 5100-02-IT combustible gas sensor module from Sierra Monitor features catalytic bead technology and provides interface via 4-20 ma, Modbus RS-485, or proprietary Sentry bus. Houston, TX and Milpitas, CA —Sierra Monitor will show new IT Series combustible gas sensor modules and two-wire 4501 Series toxic gas sensor modules at ISA Expo 2006. IT Series combustible gas sensor modules are available using either infrared (5100-28-IT) or catalytic bead (5100-02-IT) technology and provide interface via 4-20 mA, Modbus RS-485, or the company's proprietary Sentry bus.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems October 5, 2006

CAN in Automation: profiles, expansion, seminar, guide

Use of CAN (control area network) in automation increased recently with announcements from CiA GmbH, the non-profit CiA e.V., and Varan bus user organization. The news covers CANopen device profiles for Varan; CAN in Automation (CiA) headquarters Asia expansion; free seminar on safety-relevant communications with the CANopen Safety Chip, and a CAN product guide for devices, software, literature and services. Varan-bus User Organization and the CAN in Automation non-profit group have agreed to use CANopen device profiles on the Varan-Bus, enabling device manufacturers to connect already existing CANopen sub-systems in a simple way to a Varan-Bus system by converting existing CANopen device profiles to Varan device descriptions. "The CANopen profile family includes generic device profiles for I/O modules, electric and hydraulic drives, as well as encoders.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems October 5, 2006

Power protection: IEC overload relays provide flexible protection for motors

Get overload protection for single and three phase motors, and phase loss protection for all three phase motors with c3controls Series 320 Bimetallic Overload Relays. c3controls Series 320 Bimetallic Overload Relays provide overload protection for single and three phase motors, and phase loss protection for all three phase motors. Other features, such as IP20 guarded terminals with dual terminal markings, integral stop button, and direct mounting, help reduce installation costs and enhance equipment features and performance. The overload relays can be mounted to all contactors (9-105A).

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems October 4, 2006

Networking technology: Safety moves to Ethernet

Pilz Automation Safety's PNOZ safety relay incorporates functions such as emergency stops, safety gates, and two-hand start devices. Like many industrial networking technologies, safety is making the leap to Ethernet. As part of its exhibit at IMTS in Chicago last month, Pilz Automation Safety announced that its SafetyBus p system is now SafetyNet p, a combined Ethernet-based system for safety-related control applications.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems October 1, 2006

Auto-Tuning Control Using Ziegler-Nichols

John “Zeke” Ziegler and Nathaniel Nichols may not have invented the proportional-integral-derivative (PID) controller, but their famous loop tuning techniques helped make the PID algorithm the most popular of all feedback control strategies used in industrial applications. The Ziegler-Nichols tuning techniques, first published in 1942, are still widely used today.

By Vance VanDoren, Ph.D., P.E., Control Engineering
Control Systems October 1, 2006

Power Monitoring

Powerful reasons for improving electrical services—improvements in quality, reliability, and diagnostics among them—led Merck & Co. Inc. to invest in a power management system at the company’s research and manufacturing facility in Rahway, NJ. Merck, which was named an Energy Partner of the Year by the U.

By Mark T. Hoske, Control Engineering
Control Systems September 7, 2006


The information in this manual has been checked carefully and is believed to be accurate; however, Opto 22 assumes noresponsibility for possible inaccuracies or omissions. Specifications are subject to change without notice.Opto 22 warrants all of its products to be free from defects in material or workmanship for 30 months from themanufacturing date code.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems August 22, 2006

Junction box permits dc sensors in ac applications

M12 eurofast ac/dc junction box from Turck features an integrated dc supply that allows the use of dc sensors in ac applications. Minnetonka , MN —M12 eurofast ac/dc junction box from Turck contains an integrated dc power supply that lets dc sensors be used in ac applications. The 4-port junction box simulates a 2-wire ac sensor said to achieve a cost-effective method that is easier than installing a separate power supply and relays. DC sensors reportedly cost less than ac sensors.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems August 14, 2006

Dual-channel temperature controllers

Model 325 dual-channel temperature controller from Lake Shore Cryotronics supports nearly any diode, RTD, or thermocouple temperature sensor to measure and control tem-peratures from 1.4 to more than 1,500 K. Sensor inputs are factory configured with two di-ode/RTD inputs; up to two thermocouple inputs can be requested at the time of order.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems July 1, 2006

Better Heat for Oil Sands Extraction

Petroleum and petrochemical processes are inherently complex, particularly if you're in northern Canada and dealing with extreme temperatures—36 to -50 °C—that can freeze product in its tracks. Oil sands companies in northern Canada—with eyes on 300 billion bbl of potentially recoverable crude—rely on firms like Bantrel Co.

By Staff
Control Systems June 22, 2006

Asia-Pacific largest, fastest-growing temperature controller market

Asia-Pacific is tops among major regions of the industrial electronic temperature controller market in terms of size and growth rate, a recent study by Venture Development Corp. finds. The region is expected to grow 3.3% (CAGR) between 2005 and 2010 from $3.69 billion to $4.35 billion. Growth in the worldwide market has been slowing recently as temperature control loops are incorporated into distributed control systems (DCSs), personal computers (PCs), and programmable logic controllers (PLCs), the study reports.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems June 15, 2006

Ultra low end 8-bit microcontrollers

The MC9RS08KA family of ultra low-end 8-bit microcontrollers from Freescale Semiconductor is the first to use the company's RS08 core, a reduced version of its S08 CPU specifically crafted to be more efficient and cost-effective for small-memory-size applications, the company says.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems June 13, 2006

China growth: NEMA in standards, Omron in design, manufacturing

Beijing and Shanghai, China—In separate news, the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) and Omron recently announced growth in China. NEMA plans a series training and cooperation seminars for government officials, while Omron started operations at its global design/production center for control devices with mixed model assembly lines.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems June 1, 2006

Device description language to be a U.S. standard

ISA created a committee to work on making the IEC 61804-3 international standard on electronic device description language (EDDL) into a U.S. national standard. Standards committees often turn a national standard into an international one.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems May 29, 2006

Solid-state relay I/O module

Smart I/O module 2652 is the newest addition to the 2600 Series.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems May 1, 2006

Integrated control loop

Ez-Zone ST integrated control loop unifies temperature control, power control, safety shut-down, and power disconnect in one package.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems April 25, 2006

Communication, networking needs of temperature controllers rise

Natick, MA—Users of microprocessor-based single-loop industrial temperature controllers expect to need more communication bus and network capabilities in these products, a recent Venture Development Corp. study shows.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems April 24, 2006

I/O unit, wireless serial modem

Model WM-IIRO-8 wireless data acquisition device features 8 Form C (SPDT) electromechanical relays and 8 optically isolated digital inputs with change-of-state interrupt generation.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems April 20, 2006

Programmable DIN rail universal transmitter

Model 682A06 DIN rail-mountable universal transmitter from the IMI Sensors Div. of PCB Piezotronics Inc. provides loop power for the company's 4-20 mA vibration sensors.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems April 11, 2006

Rockwell Automation 2006 Extreme Machines Award Winner

View a pdf of the printed piece in the April issue of Control Engineering Remember the schoolyard teeter-totter? You’d sit on one end of the wooden plank with the central pivot, your friend would sit on the other end, and you’d take turns pushing each other skyward. Now take that teeter-totter, scale it up to Paul Bunyan proportions, and install a metal track and an open car that seats eight passengers. Then, airlift the thing to the top of the tallest building in Las Vegas and position it so that, when one end of the 80-foot teeter-totter dips, the car races down the track and 30 feet beyond the edge of the building. The result: screaming occupants who feel like they’re about to plunge 900 feet to the Las Vegas Strip below.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems March 23, 2006

Safety: controller uses Ethernet; inductive sensor positions robots

Sick IN4000 Inductive Safety Sensor is rated Category 4, in accordance with EN 954-1 (a European standard), and has an IP67 enclosure rating. Input and output signals on the sensor correspond to EN 61 131-2 and are compatible with the I/O signals on a safe PLC. Rockwell Automation added EtherNet/IP networking connectivity to its Allen-Bradley GuardPLC line of safety controllers, helping OEMs and end-users cost-effectively share critical safety-related information between safety and standard control systems.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems March 20, 2006

Exclusive: Power supply for harsh environments

Sola/Hevi-Duty’s new SCP-X extreme environment power supply delivers 24 V dc power from a machine-mounted IP67-compliant package that is resistant to dust, water, and other contaminants.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems March 1, 2006

Power supply for harsh environments

Sola/Hevi-Duty's new SCP-X extreme environment power supply delivers 24 V dc power from a machine-mounted IP67-compliant package that is resistant to dust, water, and other contaminants. Stand-alone unit can be mounted on a machine, reducing end-user costs by eliminating the need for a separate cabinet and simplifying I/O device cabling.

By Staff
Control Systems March 1, 2006

Fundamentals of Optimization

Optimization is the art of getting the greatest value, whether it's finding the best deal on a new pair of shoes or operating a catalytic cracker at its point of maximum efficiency. It can be a relatively simple exercise when the choices are limited and the cost of each is clear, but some optimization problems can involve thousands of variables requiring sophisticated mathematical analysis.

By Vance J. VanDoren, Ph.D., P.E.
Control Systems February 22, 2006

2008 Automation Integrator Guide – Table of contents

Table of contents for the 2008 Automation Integrator Guide, published in December 2007, includes links to related articles about automation system integration and the System Integrator of the Year Award winners.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems February 20, 2006

Exclusive: I/O system for cold environments

750 Series Wago-I/O-System from Wago Corp. now has an extended temperature range of –20 to 60 °C (-4 to 140 °F).

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems February 14, 2006

Solid-state temperature controllers for many uses

Series 120 solid-state temperature controllers from Zytron Control offer a variety of configurations, mounting options, and sensor types for use in a variety of industrial applications. Trenton, NJ —Series 120 solid-state temperature controllers from Zytron Control Products Inc . provide reliable, affordable electronic control for industrial applications, such as cooking appliances, hot melt dispensers, and packaging and food processing equipment.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems February 7, 2006

FM-approved gas sensor module for multiple industries

Model 5100-02-IT catalytic bead combustible gas sensor module from Sierra Monitor Corp. monitors methane and other gases and features 180-day calibration level to minimize maintenance. Milpitas, CA —Model 5100-02-IT combustible gas sensor module from Sierra Monitor Corp .

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems February 1, 2006

I/O system for cold environments

750 Series Wago-I/O-System from Wago Corp. now has an extended temperature range of -20 to 60 8C (-4 to 140 8F). Line is designed to support an expanded array of applications, including those that typically reside outdoors, such as pump stations, electrical substations, and temperature-controlled containers.

By Staff
Control Systems February 1, 2006

By the Numbers – 2006-02-01

304 was the net gain in jobs, July 2004-June 2005, in the digital and robotics sectors for members of the Technology Collaborative (TTC), a Pennsylvania economic development organization that supports the state's growth of robotics, cyber-security, and digital technologies industries. The December announcement also pegged total member jobs created since 2000 at 1,324.

By Staff
Control Systems February 1, 2006

Neural-net IR flame detector

FL4000 intelligent multi-spectral IR (MSIR) flame-detection system is designed to protect people, equipment, and facilities from dangerous hydrocarbon flame sources. Next-generation device combines neural network technology (NNT) with an advanced optical MSIR to create an adaptive, intuitive decision-making mechanism that can reliably discriminate between flames and nuisance false alarm sources.

By Staff
Control Systems February 1, 2006

New robot ‘market incubator’ program

Robotic Industries Association (RIA), billed as North America's only trade association dedicated solely to industrial robotics, just announced its "Robot Market Incubator Program." RIA refers to this program as a comprehensive effort to develop new markets for robotic technology and continue the industry's unprecedented growth.

By Staff
Control Systems January 26, 2006

‘Relay’ detailed information on relays

“Electrical Relays: Principles and Applications” claims to be the first illustrated encyclopedia of relays. Types of relays include ordinary electromagnetic, reed switch, solid-state, thermal and high-voltage devices as well as current, frequency, differential, distance and microprocessor-based relays. If you need descriptions of each, principles of operation, and applications for all basic types, consider the “the first illustrated encyclopedia of electrical relays,” according to the publisher, “ Electrical Relays: Principles and Applications ,” by V.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems January 16, 2006

Intelligent motor control- center

Square D Model 6 intelligent motor control center (iMCC) provides real-time monitoring and remote control of motor functions.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems January 12, 2006

In, out, and about HMI: Design services, SID 2006, workshops, enhanced software

A variety of HMI and HMI-related products, services, and information are available at the click of a mouse. Among the latest offerings are an electronic design service from Global Display Solutions , information on the upcoming Society for Information Display conference and exhibition , a series of best practices workshops from Control Station , and an enhanced software application from Wonderware . Background about each and links to more details follow. Global Display Solutions Ltd.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems January 11, 2006

Overall vibration modules reduce unplanned downtime

Milwaukee, WI — Rockwell Automation has expanded its predictive maintenance tools with the Allen-Bradley XM-series of intelligent, distributed I/O modules, the XM-160 series (XM) of overall machinery protection modules. XM can be employed as either stand-alone monitors or as part of a broader networked solution for detecting system deterioration, providing maintenance departments with the intelligence necessary to correct issues before productivity is impacted. Rockwell claims it is industry’s first machine monitoring-and-protection system successfully linking maintenance tools into control architecture. XM can be deployed on an open standard industrial bus, allowing plant engineering and maintenance personnel to continuously and cost-effectively monitor and protect critical plant floor assets.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems January 1, 2006

Convert PID tuning from one controller to another

The PID (proportional, integral, derivative) Tuning Translator from ExperTune converts PID tuning from one industrial PID controller to another. It can convert values from over 450 industrial PID controllers to the new system. It also helps eliminate errors in commissioning the new controllers. When migration is made from a PLC to a DCS, PID tuning parameters are converted directly to the prop...

By Staff
Control Systems January 1, 2006

Model Predictive Controller

Despite many challenges in applying model predictive control (MPC) to a process control problem, it is worth the effort. Performance of this technology can be significantly better than more familiar control methods. Consequently, its use is becoming more important in achieving plants' production-and-efficiency goals—driven by today's environment of intense economic competition.

By Lew Gordon
Control Systems December 13, 2005

Multi-loop controller with adaptive control option

PPC-2000 multi-loop controller from Watlow now includes an adaptive control option for optimal system tuning. St. Louis, MO —Tru-Tune adaptive control option is now part of Watlow ’s PPC-2000 multi-loop controller.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems December 1, 2005

Machine safeguarding solutions grow at 8.4% rate

Machine safeguarding solutions is one of the highest growth segments in the industrial automation sector, according to ARC Advisory Group Safety. Human, machine, and environment has moved to the forefront in manufacturing. The worldwide market for this sector is expected to grow at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.

By Staff
Control Systems December 1, 2005

Lab courses go virtual

A number of universities have maintained a dedicated laboratory course as part of the process control sequence, but those numbers have been shrinking due to the high resource requirements of lab courses and the pressure to reduce the number of hours in the engineering curriculum. While some chemical engineering departments run a junior measurement lab and a senior unit-operations lab, many now ...

By Thomas F. Edgar, University of Texas
Control Systems November 3, 2005

Machine safeguarding solutions growing at 8.4% rate

Machine safeguarding solutions is one of the highest growth segments in the industrial automation sector. Safety—human, machine, and environment—has moved to the forefront in manufacturing. The worldwide market for this sector is expected to grow at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.4% over the next five years.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems November 1, 2005

Model-based Reactor Control

Future trajectory of a controlled variable is the consequence of the recent and current values of the variables that affect it. The concepts of feed-forward and decoupling control, presented earlier in this series, are steps toward using this idea, but they are limited to steady-state relationships. The dynamic histories of the variables are not included in the design of feed-forward systems.

By Lew Gordon
Control Systems October 21, 2005

AVG buys distributor, expands product lines

AVG acquired a distributor/system integrator, opened five new EZAutomation franchises outside the U.S., plans to launch 10 new product lines in first-quarter 2006, and is offering a free software upgrade to EZTouch users, according to recent company announcements. AVG says that news follows an average 20% monthly growth in EZAutomation sales this year, according to Shalli Kumar, AVG’s president and CEO. Products leading that growth are EZTouchPLC and EZMarquee, Kumar says. AVG acquired Genius Automation (a 100-person Bangalore, India, distributor/system integrator).

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems October 17, 2005

H2S gas detector

TS Series hydrogen sulfide gas detector offers advanced protection against hydrogen sulfide gas for a wide range of applications.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems October 10, 2005

Machinery vibration monitoring

XM-720 machine vibration monitor reportedly delivers cost-effective monitoring and protection of critical plant-floor assets in a scalable, packaged solution that can be easily

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems October 6, 2005

Tips for operational efficiency

I gave tips for improving operational efficiency, based on Control Engineering coverage and my observations, in a presentation at a local users’ conference recently. Lively discussion ensued, including suggestion that I include a summary of the advice in print. My October 2005 “Think Again” column will appear at /archive , and here are more tips on improving operational efficiency that wouldn’t fit in the print space. 1.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems October 5, 2005

Project: Baton Rouge Wastewater Pump Station SCADA System – October 4th

October 4, 2005 Some of the items on last week’s meeting agenda with the city of Baton Rouge indicated they did not believe the plans and specifications adequately addressed their maintenance personnel's needs at the individual pump stations. Thisissue centered on wiring documentation for the complete pump station and elimination of excess relays from earlier installations. There was disagreement between our and the primary consultant’s interpretation of the specifications regarding the obligation of the contractor to document the complete station's connections, including new and existing wiring. It was the city's belief that the plan documents did not adequately describe what currently existed at most stations.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems October 1, 2005

Legacy Moves to Ethernet

Ethernet has become the de facto standard for business and industrial communication for several reasons: ubiquity, low cost, the ability to carry multiple protocols, and access to the Internet. According to the study "Industrial Ethernet Market Outlook Study" from ARC Advisory Group, worldwide sales of industrial Ethernet is expected to grow from 840 thousand units in 2004 to just over 6.

By Peter Cleaveland
Control Systems September 1, 2005

Same-day delivery offered on configured NEMA products

System integrators, electrical contractors, end-users, and industrial maintenance professionals can have quick access to build-to-order NEMA products through Rockwell Automation’s Allen-Bradley ModCenter Plus Distributor Program, which provides Internet configuration software to assist distributors. The program speeds product delivery to customers by certifying authorized Allen-Bradley distributors to modify basic industrial components, such as relays, motor starters, and pushbuttons to meet customers’ requirements. Availability varies by individual distributor locations, but products include combination starters, open type and non-combination starters, pump control panels, pushbuttons, industrial relays, and assembled pushbutton stations. Distributors also can configure standard components locally to create unique catalog numbers and products. —Mark T.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems August 23, 2005

PID tuning translator

Hartland, WI—PID (proportional, integral, derivative) tuning translator from ExperTune converts PID tuning from one industrial PID controller to another. It can convert values from any of more than 490 industrial PID controllers to the new system.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems August 18, 2005

Instrumental to the workplace: Control, measurement resources, events

Recently released resources in the instrumentation and control field include a variety of publications and training courses and seminars.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems July 25, 2005

Monitor, control solid-state relays

USB-SSR24 USB-based device for monitoring and controlling solid-state relays offers 24 channels of isolated I/O connections through standard-size OAC5/ODC5/IAC5/IDC5 SSR modules (sold separately).

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems July 18, 2005

Exclusive: Global industrial power controls

XT line of IEC Power Control solutions for motor protection and control encompasses a variety of industrial control products for panel builders and OEMs, including contactors, starters, overload relays, manual motor protectors, and combination motor controls.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems July 13, 2005

Control Engineering & Eaton custom e-newsletter – Global Power Control

Global Power Control In an increasingly global marketplace, it's no longer enough for OEMs to design electrical products and systems with only domestic consumption in mind. To be accepted by users around the world, OEM electrical products must be compliant with a wide variety of international standards and diverse operating conditions. And, to succeed against growing competition both here and abroad, they must strive to deliver solutions that offer superior value through ease of implementation and use, reliability, efficiency, and safety.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems July 12, 2005

Stand-Alone Loop Controllers Product Research (July 2005)

Research was undertaken to gain a better understanding of Control Engineering subscribers’applications and needs regarding stand-alone loop controllers.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems July 11, 2005

Microelectronic relays

PVG612A Series of microelectronic relays (MER) is said to have as much as 40% more current handling capability and up to 50% better on-resistance than similar devices.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems July 5, 2005

I/O system adds pluggable connectors

Germantown, WI—Wago Corp. reports that its Wago-I/O-System has been expanded to offer pluggable connectors for I/O module wiring.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems June 20, 2005

Panel mount, multi-loop controllers

Range of industrial controls includes GammaDue Series panel-mount controllers in 1/32 DIN to ¼ DIN size and DeltaDue Series full-function of multi-loop process controllers.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems June 7, 2005

Exclusive: Solid-state relay saves 35% cabinet space

Buffalo Grove, IL—Carlo Gavazzi has just released its RX Series ThyRex for solid-state switching of ac loads up to 32 A at voltages up to 480 V ac, when controlled by 4-32 V dc or 24-275 V ac. ThyRex is a compact solid-state relay (SSR) that reportedly enables space savings up to 35% in the control cabinet.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems June 1, 2005

Process control software suite adds analysis, reporting capabilities

Latest release of Control Station’s Loop-Pro product suite includes enhanced process control monitoring, analysis, and reporting capabilities that reportedly improve bottom-line plant profitability.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems May 19, 2005

RF level switches from ASI Instruments immune to build-up

ShieldPoint Series RF (radio frequency) capacitance switches from ASI Instruments are built for point level detection in a variety of applications, from sticky slurries to low dielectric bulk solids.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems May 2, 2005

Relay, analog/digital wireless modems

HopNet wireless I/O modems feature bi-directional transmission and use the company’s patented frequency hopping spread spectrum (FHSS) technology.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems April 8, 2005

Control Engineering Online Update for April 8, 2005

April 8, 2005 Highlights Security Webcast Many industrial manufacturing facilities are presently reviewing programmable safety systems (PSS) to meet single fault tolerant or fail-safe under single fault condition requirements or Category 4 (CAT 4 per EN 954-1) safety levels. This article considers some of the relevant considerations potential users should evaluate prior to proceeding with a PSS solution. This Webcast will focus on issues that are driving interest in industrial cyber and physical security solutions. We’ll provide an overview of security gaps at industrial sites and how they can be mitigated.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems April 4, 2005

Power solid-state relays

HIPpak power solid-state relays come in four models with a variety of easy and quick connections and are said to be smaller and lighter than similar standard relays.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems April 1, 2005

Danaher buys PMA to bring European controllers to North America

Danaher Industrial Controls Group (DICG) reports it recently acquired Prozess und Maschinen Automation (PMA) GmbH from Netherlands-based Geveke Industrial Group. For more than 75 years, PMA has manufactured controllers, sensors, transmitters and software for chemical and pharmaceutical processing, plastics molding, automotive manufacturing, metals production...

By Staff
Control Systems March 21, 2005

Telemetry transport system

COE-8 (contacts over Ethernet) switch system provides a link between older systems that commonly use relay alarms, converts signals into IP messages, and re-converts them to relay closures at the other end.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems March 17, 2005

Chromalox survey, products, point to bright future for temperature controls, systems

Users of temperature and power control systems increasingly plan to add built-in diagnostic and predictive maintenance functions and remote PC access to their systems, according to a recent market trend study by Chromalox, manufacturer of industrial heat and control systems.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems March 7, 2005

High-density, half-rack switching system

Model 7002-HD high-density, two-slot switching mainframe and cards offer instrument-grade switching at a price said to be 40% less than comparable platforms.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems March 3, 2005

Talk to suppliers about RoHS compliance

End-users and system integrators should talk to their suppliers about compliance with the European Union's Restriction of Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment (RoHS).

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems March 1, 2005

Advanced Regulatory Control: Adaption and Feedforward

Encompassing a number of techniques that address specific loop problems and fundamental design techniques, advanced regulatory control can be applied to deal with variable gains, variable operating conditions, external disturbances, and control loop interaction. Many factors can degrade the performance of single-loop controls.

By Lew Gordon
Control Systems February 24, 2005

Products: Tactile reference, light curtains, torque sensor, vision system

Recent products introduced include a reference scale for how things feel, a torque sensor that can double as a predictive maintenance tool, and a safety light curtain with a 14-mm finger to 50-mm arm detection range.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems February 1, 2005

Asia fueling growth in electromechanical, solid-state relays

Natick, MA—The worldwide market for electromechanical and solid-state relays is expected to reach $4.2 billion by 2007, according to a recent study by Venture Development Corp. (VDC).

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems January 1, 2005

Basic Regulatory Control

A generic flow-through reactor, common to most industries, can serve as a performance reference for advanced control technologies. Looking at how the reactor operates can illustrate which control methods are best. Figure 1 is a diagram of a reactor and its nominal operating conditions. The product from this reactor is a heated mixture of two ingredients, A and B.

By Lew Gordon
Control Systems December 1, 2004

Terminal safety relays

SR Series includes 28 new fixed and removable relays for safety monitoring applications. SR 1000 Series (fixed) and SR 2000 Series (removable) models provide control reliability and configuration flexibility for nearly every safety-monitoring requirement. All carry the CE mark and are UL and C-UL listed.

By Staff
Control Systems December 1, 2004

Safety Networks Up and Running

If you can't actually see your safety network, then you'd better be absolutely sure you have some way of making certain it exists and is operating properly. Luckily, regulatory changes in the past couple of years are making it possible for developers to provide safety fieldbuses and related solutions, and give end-users the material, labor, and efficiency savings they need.

By Jim Montague
Control Systems November 17, 2004

MV drive update: ‘No transformer’ option offered by Rockwell Automation

Efficiency and ability to operate at lower current for a given power output are among the benefits propelling the growth of medium-voltage (MV) ac drives.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems November 1, 2004

Controllability and profitability

There seems to be general agreement in the process industries and in academia that the method of choice today for multivariable control is model predictive control (MPC). The MPC framework successfully handles processes with multiple inputs and outputs where single loop controllers can be ineffective; it also directly deals with constraints (such as saturation) that are problematic with PID con...

By Thomas F. Edgar, University of Texas
Control Systems October 26, 2004

Wago starts system integrator program

Germantown, WI—Wago Corp. reports that it recently launched its Solution Provider program to meet the needs of system integrators, end-users, and OEMs.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems October 1, 2004

Small-size ac drives

Commander SK ac drives feature compact size per kW, small footprint, easy set-up, and application versatility. First phase of the launch covers sizes up to 4 kW, with sizes of up to 110 kW to follow. Devices can be programmed for most tasks in minutes with the input of 10 basic parameters on a front-mounted keypad.

By Staff
Control Systems September 8, 2004

Online extra Inside Process Products

Laser diode temperature controller 300B Series laser diode temperature controllers use the company’s PID (proportional, integral, derivative) control loop to provide tight control (m status to be read remotely. Two models are available: 325B delivers a maximum current of 2.5 A (17.5 W), while 350B provides up to 5.0 A (55 W). Newport Corp.

By Staff
Control Systems September 6, 2004

DAQ for test, control applications

DT9842 high-speed data acquisition board transforms a PC into a closed-loop platform for test and control applications.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems August 3, 2004

Omron establishing sensing, control facility in China

Kyoto, Japan—Omron Corp. reports that it will establish, through its Industrial Automation Business (IAB) company, a new facility in Shanghai to strengthen and integrate Chinese design, development and manufacturing functions, and to offer a customer support center.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems August 1, 2004

Fail-safe PLC secures rail, barge traffic

Rails over a drawbridge are a critical control point for: freight trains that can take more than a mile to stop, barges partial to having enough bridge clearance for passage, and engineers that like to ensure all bridge interlocks are in place before a train rolls through. The most recent safety initiative at Paducah & Louisville (P&L) Railway involved auditing and improving the technol...

By Staff
Control Systems June 15, 2004

Bud introduces plastic DIN rail-mountable enclosures

Cleveland, OH—Bud Industries Inc. recently launched its DB Series of DIN rail-mountable boxes, which includes eight sizes, 10 to 30 contacts, and widths from 0.87 in (22 mm) to 5.91 in (150 mm).

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems June 14, 2004

Oxygen sensor with solid-state sensor

DF-330 oxygen analyzer includes a solid-state coulometric sensor for measurement ranges from ppm levels to 100%.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems June 14, 2004

Temperature controller for Modbus, BACnet

Adam-4022T temperature PID controller supports both BACnet and Modbus protocols and features built-in 10K thermistor input.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems June 3, 2004

New components: switches, timers and power supplies

Recent product introductions include Artisan Controls Model PS-25 Ampere Power Switch; Crouzet's new TMR 48 range of panel-mounted timers; two new planar transformer series from Pulse aimed at eliminating the need for custom transformers for dc/dc power supplies; and UltraVolt’s extension of the High Power "C" Series up to 25 kV from the previous maximum of 15 kV.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems May 4, 2004

Schneider introduces logic relay for simple automation systems

Palatine, IL—Schneider Electric recently released its Telemecanique Zelio logic relay, which it reports is an innovative, cost-effective, smart relay with advanced programmable relay functionality for small control system applications.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems May 3, 2004

Low-cost SCR power controllers

RVM Series of SCR power controllers comes in three-phase and single-phase versions rated for 40 A at 660 V ac.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems May 1, 2004

Valve testing without shut down

Stroke-Test device allows testing of critical valves without shutting down the process flow. It does not interrupt the revenue stream and ensures plant operators comply with industry safety standards. System operates on the "valve partial stroke testing" principle, which allows a safety system to close a valve only partially.

By Staff
Control Systems May 1, 2004

Engineer-Centered Supply Chain

Wait a minute. Wasn't all this shop-floor-to-top-floor talk put to rest in the late 1990s when many manufacturers, large and small, could not find a way to make this work without spending millions of dollars and enduring years of integration work? And isn't it true that most companies never got the return they expected from their enterprise systems, with many not even turning on most modules in...

By David Greenfield
Control Systems April 22, 2004

Worth reading: AC motor protection

A new, concise handbook, "AC Motor Protection," by Stanley Zocholl, a masters-degree engineer with Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories (SEL), intends to reverse the observation that "too often, little attention is paid to critical ac motor protection factors.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems April 15, 2004

Instrumental to the workplace: Devices sense what’s going on

A variety of sensing devices suited for a range of applications are among the new products introduced to the marketplace this month. Included in our review are a line of liquid-level sensors, a series of hydrogen fluoride sensors, an ultrasonic level sensor, and a series of pressure switches.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems April 1, 2004

High-performance solid-state relays

Series LDP70 solid-state relay is designed for the demanding performance and quality requirements of military and aviation applications. LPD70 is a dual-output, 250 mA, 28 V dc plastic relay with internal thermal protection. It uses optical isolation to provide input-to-output isolation. Device offers a current-limiting output to protect itself and associated load circuits from transient curren...

By Staff
Control Systems March 30, 2004

New Control Systems Delivers Clean Water to Growing Idaho Community, by AutomationDirect

Working together with Empire Control and Automation, Ross Point Water put together a control system that is both reliable and practical, using the latest technology. They decided to implement PLC/radio communication system that makes the district less dependant on the phone company for its daily operation.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems March 30, 2004

Semi F47 Drives and other Components Offer Low-cost, Reliable Solutions to Voltage Disturbances

The sensitivity of manufacturing equipment and controls to voltage fluctuations in electrical systems has made power quality a major issue for semiconductor makers. Voltage interruptions cost the industry an estimated million dollars in revenue every day.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems March 29, 2004

Contactors, starters, overloads

Family of rugged contactors and overloads for switching currents up to 900 A (600 hp @ 480 V ac) is available with a wide selection of coil voltages. Units come standard with a 2-yr warranty and built-in auxiliary outputs.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems March 29, 2004

Loop Controllers Product Focus Study October 2003

Among those specifying, recommending, and/or buying stand-alone loop controllers, 75% do so for in-plant requirements and 35% do so for OEM requirements.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems March 8, 2004

Digital thermometers

MDSi8 iSeries bench-top meters are prewired ready-to-go units that feature a portable, rugged, metal case with tilting handle.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems March 1, 2004

DIN-rail-mounted relays

788 Series pluggable, DIN-rail-mounted relays uses Cage Clamp ''S'' spring pressure connection technology for push-in connection of solid wire or ferruled stranded wire and screwdriver actuated connection of all wire types.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems February 19, 2004

On the certification front: Enhanced DDL; flow monitoring, sensing

Efforts to expand the international standard on Device Description Language (IEC 61804-2) are being promoted by Emerson Process Management.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems February 9, 2004

Digital dc speed control

Digital dc speed control now accepts proximity sensor inputs. Feature is available as a field-installable option board capable of accepting sine-wave signal inputs from magnetic style pick-ups.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems February 3, 2004

ABB selling panelboard multi-loop controller division to MicroMod

Warminster, PA—To focus more attention and resources on other instrumentation products that support its global strategy, ABB instrumentation reports that it’s selling its panelboard multi-loop controller business to MicroMod Automation Inc.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems February 1, 2004

Self-tuning controllers adapt

Adaptive control technology encompasses a wide range of mathematical and empirical techniques that allow a feedback controller to automatically update not only its next output, but its entire control strategy to accommodate changes in the behavior of the controlled process. Self-tuning controllers capable of adjusting their own proportional (P), integral (I), and derivative (D) parameters wer...

By Vance VanDoren, consulting editor
Control Systems January 22, 2004

Many users unfamiliar with smart sensor standard

A large majority of industrial electronic temperature controller users are unfamiliar with the IEEE 1451 smart sensor standard, a recent study found. According to "The Global Market for Industrial Electronic Temperature Controllers, Eighth Edition" from Venture Development Corp. (VDC), of the users who were familiar with the standard, only 11% are using smart sensors with TEDS (transducer electronic data sheets).

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems January 12, 2004

Single-loop controllers

Bulletin 900-TC temperature controllers feature flexible, multi-function control, easy-to-use LED displays, and auto-tuning and self-tuning capabilities for improved control efficiency and fast startups.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems January 5, 2004

Pump/process control

ViBox pump control management system rotates pumps on and off in a variety of applications, including tank level profiling and flow measurement.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems January 1, 2004


Temperature/process controllers E5AR 1/4-DIN and E5ER 1/8-DIN temperature/process controllers allow for integrated control of multiple zones or environmental factors such as temperature, pressure, and humidity. Multi-loop models provide a fast sampling response time of 50 ms, giving precise control for quick-changing temperatures in critical applications. Selectable inputs on all models include: thermocouples, Pt100 RTDs, analog current or analog voltage.

By Staff
Control Systems January 1, 2004

Temperature control: PID vs. Fuzzy Logic

The common perception is that temperature control is a mature and largely unchanging area of technology. There are still industrial applications (for example, injection molding processes), which desire not only precise temperature control, but also a faster warm-up phase and quicker response to disturbances with minimal overshoot and undershoot when the setpoint changes.

By Peter Galan
Control Systems January 1, 2004

Data Acquisition Systems Fit Wide-Ranging Applications

Quality data acquisition provides industrial users with the ability to optimize processes, maintain and/or improve product quality, ensure operational safety and environmental compliance, minimize downtime, and improve overall productivity. Control engineers have long depended on accurate data to provide their window into the manufacturing or testing process.

Control Systems December 16, 2003

NI debuts five low-cost digital, analog data acquisition devices

Austin, TX—National Instruments has introduced five low-cost digital input/output (DI/O) and analog output (AO) boards that offer an affordable and reliable I/O solution, and reportedly set a new price/performance standard for data acquisition and control.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems November 10, 2003

General-purpose relays

Expanded line of GP relays includes a wide selection of ''plug-in'' units in octal base, square base, flange mounted, and miniature square base.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems October 14, 2003

Wieland expands its pluggable relay system

Burgaw, N.C.—After introducing a pluggable terminal block relay to the industrial and automation controls market several months ago, Wieland Electric Inc. is expanding this series to include its new flareMove series, which offers higher contact current ratings of 16 A, compared to traditional 6 A.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems October 6, 2003

Thin-footprint relays

OEG PCN Series relays have a slim, 5-mm width that permits high-density spacing on printed circuit boards.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems October 6, 2003

Control Engineering Machine Control, Process Control custom newsletter for October 2003

A custom advertising newsletter from Control Engineering & Contec Microelectronics| October 6, 2003 Japan's Largest DAQ ManufacturerCONTEC's comprehensive lineup of PCI and ISA, Digital and Analog I/O Boards coupled with LABVIEW Drivers, API Tools and Active X Software and Industrial Touch-Screen PCs make meeting project deadlines a piece of cake for engineers. Check out our latest additions to the PCI Boards family at: Click Here Board Level Data Acquisition What It Is, How It’s Used, and How to Buy It Everyone is after information these days. Management requires it from engineers to substantiate decision-making and future investment; engineers require it to ensure processes are operating as designed.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems October 2, 2003

Feedback: Four and 90 more relay suppliers…

While I can’t always respond to all correspondence, I do appreciate feedback. The ''Relay roundup: small, dedicated, and economical'' item in the Control Engineering System Integrator Monthly e-newsletter, Sept. 4, 2003, left out some major players, a reader says. As I mentioned in an e-mail reply, the write-up offered a sampling from 10 manufacturers, based on a diverse pile of recent relay-related press releases companies had sent.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems October 1, 2003

Stand-alone Loop Controllers Make Connections

It's tough to stand alone—we all need to feel some connectedness. Increasingly, users say that's also the case with stand-alone loop controllers, as more use network protocols to connect elsewhere. Such findings are the result of a recent Control Engineering and Reed Research Group (both part of Reed Business Information) e-mail/Web-based survey asking subscribers about their views and ...

By Mark T. Hoske, Control Engineering
Control Systems September 25, 2003

Logical evolution in machine control and control systems

The logic portion of the control loop (sense, decide, actuate) is the core of any control system. How that logic has evolved ranges widely from silicon to systems. Hardware has evolved from relays to programmable logic controllers and distributed control systems, personal computers, process automation systems, and software architectures.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems September 15, 2003

Multi-parameter controller

+GF+ Signet 8900 multi-parameter controller features up to four channels in a compact, cost-effective 1/4 DIN package.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems September 4, 2003

Relay roundup: small, dedicated, and economical

Just like television was supposed to end radio, and radio was supposed to finish off newspapers... PCs were supposed to end programmable logic controllers, and PLCs were supposed to finish off relays. I’m pleased to observe that newspapers and relays have adapted and are still thriving in a vast number of marketplaces.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems August 4, 2003

ARC study shows FOUNDATION fieldbus likely to overtake Profibus

Dedham, MA—The process fieldbus market is not only narrowing to two main choices—FOUNDATION fieldbus H1/HSE or Profibus PA/DP—but FOUNDATION fieldbus is expected to overtake Profibus during the next three years, according to a new survey of 60 end-users, system integrators and OEMs by ARC Advisory Group.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems July 1, 2003

PID loop tuning fundamentals

A control loop is a feedback mechanism that attempts to correct discrepancies between a measured process variable and the desired setpoint. The controller applies the necessary corrective actions via an actuator that can drive the process variable up or down. A proportional-integral-derivative (PID) controller tracks the error between the process variable and the setpoint, the integral of ...

By Vance J. VanDoren, Control Engineering
Control Systems July 1, 2003

Text/graphical panel

G303 text/graphical panel uses the company's new G3 hardware platform. Teamed with Crimson configuration software, the platform features ease of use as well as communication and computational capabilities. Device features up to five serial ports that can be configured to communicate with many devices, including most PLCs, motion controllers, and PID controllers.

By Staff
Control Systems July 1, 2003

Keeping safe; tech transfer

Your job requirements likely include keeping present processes safe from electronic intrusion, and considering every advantage that could help speed time to market—such as technology transfer agreements. "During my first 28 years in the industry, I tried to make systems more open, productive, and easy to use.

By Mark T. Hoske, editor-in-chief
Control Systems June 2, 2003

Temperature controllers losing ground to DCSs, PCs and PLCs

Natick, MA—New implementations of industrial temperature control loops by electronic temperature controllers are expected to decline through 2005, even though some growth opportunities remain, according to a new study,'The Global Market For Industrial Electronic Temperature Controllers, 8th Edition,' by Venture Development Corp. (VDC).

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems June 1, 2003

Relays with bifurcated contacts

Line of industrial relays includes devices with 24 V dc, 120 V ac, and 240 V ac coil voltages. Relays feature bifurcated contacts for improved contact reliability and low current switching capability. Sockets are DIN-rail mountable and include holding clips to secure relays and protect against accidental relay disengagement.

By Staff
Control Systems May 29, 2003

Keithley introduces flexible, configurable laser-diode test systems

Cleveland, OH—Keithley Instruments Inc. recently introduced its fully customizable System 25 test kits for light-current-voltage (LIV) characterization of laser diodes and assembled laser diode modules (LDMs).

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems May 1, 2003

Ultra-compact process instruments, meters

Omega iSeries has added an UltraCompact Version requiring only a 2-in. space behind the front panel.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems May 1, 2003

Industrial controller uses Web to access system parameters

Using Walchem's patent-pending ShoulderTap Server-On-Demand technology, WebMaster GI combines Walchem's industrial pH/ORP and conductivity product lines with the WebMaster communications platform to provide real-time access to key system parameters, without the need to be permanently connected to the Internet.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems April 1, 2003

8 Ways to Improve Control System Projects

Process control systems are growing more powerful and more complex. And in the future they are expected to integrate into plant- and enterprise-wide systems to an ever-greater degree. The repercussions of these developments are significant: the net benefits a well-engineered process control system can deliver are large.

By Robert A. Dunlap, University of Texas
Control Systems April 1, 2003

Device server in RJ-45 package helps network I/O device

As a developer of networked, application-specific peripherals, Barix AG (Zurich, Switzerland) recently faced the problem of finding a way to network enable its universal, intelligent I/O device, Barionet, which is used for distributed data collection and control. The company wanted Barionet to have: multipurpose digital and analog I/O capability; serial connectivity; full TCP/IP stack implement...

By Jim Montague
Control Systems February 10, 2003

Digital panel meter offers higher accuracy, more readings per second

Stamford, CT - The new Omega DP41-B digital panel meter exceeds the Infinity product in accuracy, performance and quality. The DP41-B has accuracy of up to ±0.005% of reading, and offers up to 166 readings per second.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems February 1, 2003

Schematic software enables productive designs

This additional exclusive online material is a companion to the cover article in the February 2003 Control Engineering.Click here to return to the main article

By Mark T. Hoske, Editor in Chief
Control Systems February 1, 2003

Digital panel meter adds accuracy, readings per time

Stamford, CT—New DP41-B digital panel meter exceeds the Infinity product in accuracy, performance, and quality. DP41-B has accuracy of up to ±0.005% of reading, and offers up to 166 readings/second. It handles a broad spectrum of dc voltage and current ranges, nine thermocouple types, multiple RTDs, strain-gauge signals (e.

By Staff
Control Systems January 1, 2003

Advanced Control Saves Energy

Advanced control techniques can be used to extract additional energy from the by-products of chemical reactions known as "off-gases." Off-gases produced by chemical, petrochemical, and metallurgical plants can be reused or sold, depending on the season. Optimizing off-gas usage has become one way to remain competitive, as energy costs have risen over the last five years.

By Bernard Pelletier and Vance VanDoren
Control Systems December 31, 2002

The Control Engineer

Who is the Control Engineer? Highly educated Experienced engineers Supervise buying teams Decision makers Subscriber titles Located through industry Large companies Need information Highly educated** Degrees in: Electrical Engineering 46% Mechanical Engineering 22% Chemical Engineering 7% Other 11% 76% of our readers are college graduates 28% have advanced degrees or attended grad school **Reader Data, Control Engineering North American Reader Profile Study. June 2000 85% are experienced engineers Circulation Engineers 74,908 Managers 7,311 Operations/Maintenance 5,303 Source: June 2001 BPA Statement Typical readers have 21 years work experience, 12 years with their present employers, and 9 people reporting to them. Supervise buying teams** The typical Control Engineering reader supervises 9 people. Department spending averages $1.4 million per year for instrumentation, controls, and automation products and services. On average 24% of the department expenditures go to services 60% of readers work with systems integrators In the next two years, 74% of our readers will spend the same or increase department spending.

By Staff
Control Systems December 9, 2002

24-channel scanner

The SC-2124 Universal Scanner is a low-cost 24-channel unit that is said to handle a mix of analog inputs such as thermocouples, pressures, voltages, and RTDs.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems November 20, 2002

Lighted nameplates

''Smart'' Nameplates makes it easy for operators to monitor the status of switches and relays in low light conditions.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems November 20, 2002

UL launches ”fast-track” programs for U.S. and Canadian product certification

Northbrook, IL - Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (UL) announced, on October 24, 2002, the launch of ''fast-track'' programs that promise manufacturers UL certification for both the U.S. and Canada in half the usual turnaround time-and at half the usual price-for most items. Effective Nov. 1, 2002 and lasting till the end of 2003, the new program applies to three key industry segments, namely:

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems November 8, 2002

Connected Energy, Turbec AB form partnership

Rochester, NY—Connected Energy Corp. and Turbec AB (Malmo, Sweden) announced Oct. 29 an agreement to provide customers with a web-based system for managing operations of Turbec's T100 microturbines across North America.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems October 1, 2002

Adaptive Controllers Work Smarter, not Harder

Every process controller is "adaptive" in the sense that it changes its output in response to a change in the error between the setpoint and the process variable. However, an "adaptive controller" can adapt not only its output, but its underlying control strategy as well. It can tune its own parameters or otherwise modify its own control law so as to accommodate fundamental changes in the beh...

By Vance J. VanDoren
Control Systems September 9, 2002

Carlo Gavazzi: `Strategic focus successfully achieved’

Steinhausen, Switzerland - Enzo Urbani, chairman and ceo of the Carlo Gavazzi Group announced his company had reached the goal of its four year program to become a ''pure electronics group'' with an active concentration in two sectors, Automation Components and Electronic Packaging. But, in order to do this, it had to ''pay a high price'' to achieve the change.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems August 27, 2002

Electromechanical Relay Consumption

Consumption of printed-circuit-board, electromechanical relays of all ratings classes is projected to increase at an above-average 2.8% compound annual growth rate from more than $4.7 billion in 2000 to close to $5.7 billion in 2005, according to '2001 Global Relay Market Intelligence Service' by Venture Development Corp. (Natick, Mass.). This growth is attributed to increased use of relays in high-growth applications, such as automotive and appliances.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems August 6, 2002

Flexible temperature controller

Milwaukee, Wis. - The Allen-Bradley Bulletin 900-TC temperature/heater con-troller features flexible, multi-function con-trol, and easy-to-view LED displays, plus auto-tuning and self-tuning capability for improved control and fast startups.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems July 25, 2002

Schneider Electric launches Semi F47 initiative

Palatine, IL - Introducing a portfolio of electrical and industrial control products that resist voltage sags, Square D/Schneider Electric announced July 19 a global initiative to provide semiconductor manufacturers and equipment makers with products that comply with SEMI F47, the industry standard designed to reduce the impact of voltage sags on process equipment. EPRI, the Electric Power Research Institute , has certified dozens of the company's products as SEMI F47-compliant, including contactors, relays, drives and DC power supplies. Schneider Electric has also introduced a number of new products to help equipment overcome voltage sags, including a new low voltage ride through module for contactors and relays and an electronic sag protector aimed at mitigating sags for complete equipment protection of critical subsystems. "Given the cost associated with downtime and damaged product, finding ways to overcome poor power quality is one of the most important issues facing the semiconductor industry today," said Matthew Douglas, Microelectronics marketing manager for Schneider Electric in North America. "It can take several hours to days to re-calibrate and re-qualify a fabrication line affected by even minor voltage sags and surges." "With our recent acquisition of Accusine for harmonics and EFI Corp.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems July 1, 2002

Remote I/O expands Pepsi bottling operation

The Pepsi/Lipton bottling plant (Ayer, Mass.) recently decided to aim for a 100% increase in throughput. That goal was contingent on how well the control network of its newly installed conveyor system could be integrated with Pepsi/Lipton's existing systems. The plant needed a cost-effective method for interfacing a high-speed palletizer with Pepsi's existing case packing operation.

By Gary A. Mintchell
Control Systems June 4, 2002

Control Engineering’s E-News Letter for Embedded Control – February 2000

In this issue: What is PC-based control? The future of PC hardware for industry Control for e-manufacturing Disruptive change Ethernet for control How to succeed with open control National Manufacturing Week 2000 Small panel mount computer High storage without moving parts Screamin' machines Buyer's Guide and Integrator Guide About the editor, Gary Mintchell What is PC-based control? Does PC-based control encompass hardware or software? Actually, I'll pass along information about the entire system. Look for discussion of many types of hardware from desktop PCs to embedded computers. On the software side, proponents of flow chart programming battle with traditional IEC programming editors with both now driving PC-based control.

By Gary Mintchell
Control Systems June 4, 2002

Control Engineering’s E-News Letter for Embedded Control – February 2002

In this issue: Control in February Control Engineering Programming feedback from readers New semiconductor companies Programming tools Cool products in brief Control in February Control Engineering If you don't receive the print version of Control Engineering, the February issue should be posted online within a week of this newsletter. Check out the article on controllers. Dave Harrold and I have been discussing controller hardware in a pair of articles.

By Gary Mintchell
Control Systems April 3, 2002

Honeywell adds relays to electromechanical portfolio

Freeport, Ill. - The Control Products Business of Honeywell has introduced the SZR Series general-purpose power relays. The SZR-LY and SZR-MY relays are designed for a wide range of applications that require stability and reliability, including power and logic control for factory machines and control panels.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems April 1, 2002

Users seek reliability, accuracy, and ruggedness

Even in the ever-evolving world of process control, things occasionally find equilibrium. At least, for the short term. Usage trends for process variable transmitters (PVTs) have done that since Control Engineering and Cahners Research surveyed readers a year ago. Key selection criteria were reliability, accuracy, environmental ruggedness, ease of calibration, and ease of maintenance, i...

By Staff
Control Systems April 1, 2002

Latching relays

Northfield, Ill.— The 385 Series latching relay is a mechanically latched, electrically reset relay used in applications where the relay contacts need to remain in the last set position with the power off. The device's one-piece terminals are standard 0.187-in. quick-disconnect and also pierced for solder termination.

By Staff
Control Systems March 1, 2002

Six-loop controller

Stamford, Conn.— CN616 Series, six-loop microprocessor-based controller is designed for easy front-panel or remote setup and operation. Each device can be programmed to meet the need for thermocouple type; temperature units; high, low, or high/low alarm configured as latching or nonlatching; autotune with manual trim, or manual PID setting.

By Staff
Control Systems February 1, 2002

Use Derivative Action Responsibly

Derivative action can give you the fastest response in loop tuning, but only if you use it responsibly. Too much derivative will make the loop unstable. Too little deviative will not benefit response, and could result in, for instance, a jittery control valve, creating greater wear and shortening time to replacement.

By John Gerry, P.E., ExperTune
Control Systems February 1, 2002

New contactors, overload relays developed by Siemens

Siemens Energy & Automation Inc. introduced on Jan. 4 three sizes of large-frame contactors and overload relays with ratings in the 115-500 A range for both ac or dc motor control. These new contactors feature "Universal Current" coils that allow complete coverage of control voltages of 24-600 V ac and dc with just 13 coil ranges.

By Staff
Control Systems January 1, 2002

Environmental monitoring controllers

The new microprocessor-based family of pH/ORP 1/16 DIN panel-mounted controllers is designed for environmental monitoring applications.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems December 31, 2001

New loop-powered controllers have isolated dual limits

Tucson, Ariz.-Otek Corp. reports that its recently introduced IS900 current loop controllers require no external power to operate.

By Jim Montague, news editor
Control Systems December 15, 2001

Control System Integrators Expand Their Horizons

Back before "control engineer" was ever used as a job title, process controls were the purview of mechanical engineers, who installed pneumatic feedback devices to regulate continuous variables such as temperatures, pressures, and flow rates. There were often hundreds, if not thousands, of such "loops" in a large processing facility, but each operated independently of the others and gener...

By Vance VanDoren, Control Engineering
Control Systems December 1, 2001

New In Control

Centum gets new I/O system, 5-year warranty Newnan, Ga.— Yokogawa recently extended the warranty to five years on its Centum CS3000/1000 R3 hardware. An earlier announcement described CS3000 R3's enhancements, which include a new I/O system suitable for use in classified and harsh environments. Yokogawa Corp.

By Staff
Control Systems December 1, 2001

DeviceNet Input/Output Module

Ann Arbor, Mich. - DN-400 Embedded I/O module with DeviceNet connects up to four sen-sors, limit switches, or other discrete input devices and up to four outputs for relays, solenoids, lamps or other discrete output devices. Originally developed for robotic tool changers, other ap-plications include torque monitors or controllers, hand held pendants, and valve control.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems November 29, 2001 opens for business

Charlotte, recently announced thart its e-commerce store is officially open for business.

By Gary Mintchell, Senior Editor
Control Systems November 1, 2001

Electronic safety relay

Farmington Hills, Mich.—PNOZelog electronic safety relays eliminate the need for mechanical switches within safety relays increasing life span and reducing maintenance. The product line can be used for many safety applications from emergency stopping to light curtain monitoring. PNOZelog meets European safety applications from category 2 through category 4, in accordance with EN 954-1.

By Staff
Control Systems November 1, 2001

1/4-DIN controllers

Stamford, Ct.— CN8100 Series general purpose temperature and limit controllers feature large, easy-to-read liquid crystal displays and are selectable for either setpoint or process temperature. It can handle both types J or K thermocouple input for PID controllers. The CN8100 also features adjustable output hysteresis to prevent rapid cycling around a setpoint temperature.

By Staff
Control Systems November 1, 2001

Fast, precise electromechanical thermostats

Ashland, Mass.— Thermoswitch temperature controllers (referred to as "electromechanical thermostats") are said to be economical, robust alternatives to electronic temperature controllers in many applications. These tubular devices feature a high-expanding metal outer shell and internal struts of low-expanding metal with a pair of electrical contacts between them.

By Staff
Control Systems October 1, 2001

ABB enhances Micro-DCI process control station

Warminster, Pa. - Version 'B' of 53MC5000 Series controller is the core of recently released Micro-DCI Series process control station products. The networkable controller, incorporates a hot-swappable operator interface display, ABB's Easy-Tune self-tuning algorithm, and up to four loops of control.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems October 1, 2001

Fast, precise, electromechanical thermostats

Ashland, Mass. - Thermoswitch temperature controllers are available in a full line of electro-mechanical thermostats that require no external power and are said to be economical, robust alternatives to electronic temperature controllers in many applications. The temperature controllers are tubular devices featuring an outer shell made of a high-expanding metal and internal struts made of low expanding metal with a pair of electrical contacts between them.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems September 7, 2001

Exclusive: ABB enhances Micro-DCI process control station

Warminster, Pa . - ABB recently introduced a triad of related Micro-DCI process control station products. The principal product in this release is the 'B' version of the 53MC5000 controller, and the latest in a long-line of microprocessor based controllers from ABB that began in 1979 with the introduction of Chameleon.

By Dave Harrold, Senior Editor
Control Systems September 1, 2001

Automate set-up for temperature controllers, intelligent signal processors

Schaumburg, Ill. -Sys-Config version 2.0 software provides advanced support for Omron temperature controllers, process controllers, and intelligent signal processors. It automates set-up, and allows monitoring, datalogging, configuring, and tuning.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems September 1, 2001

Open-frame relays

Northfield, Ill.— Magnecraft & Struthers-Dunn 199 Series open-frame relays offer 50 A switching power and choices of 24, 120, 220, and 240 V ac and 6, 12, 24 and 110 V dc input. It has UL approval and CSA listing and is CE compliant. Mounting variations include screw terminals, box terminals and a DIN-rail adapter.

By Staff
Control Systems September 1, 2001

Single-phase solid-state relays

Stamford, Conn. - Omega's SSRDIN Series integrated solid state relays include heat sink and a DIN-rail mounting plate in a space-saving design. These touch-safe relays have LED-input indication, and are single-pole, normally open, zero-crossing devices, capable of millions of cycles of operation, Omega says.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems September 1, 2001

Single-phase, solid-state relays

Stamford, Conn.— Omega's SSRDIN Series integrated solid-state relays include heat sink and a DIN-rail mounting plate in a space-saving design. These touch-safe relays have LED-input indication, and are single-pole, normally open, zero-crossing devices, capable of millions of cycles of operation, Omega says.

By Staff
Control Systems September 1, 2001

Electromechanical timer replacement

Lancaster, Pa. -Model 655 timer is an electronic control that will retrofit most round case electromechanical timers. The control performs the same timing modes (ON Delay or Reverse Start Delay) as electromechanical units and is capable of timing ranges from 1 msec to 199 hr, 59 min.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems September 1, 2001

Real-World Applications of Advanced Process Controls

As a rule, engineers live by the KISS rule—Keep It Simple, Stupid. Sometimes, though, a simple solution isn't good enough.In many process industries such as petrochemicals and food processing, advanced techniques are required to solve feedback control problems that are too tough for simple PID loops.

By Vance VanDoren, Control Engineering
Control Systems July 1, 2001

Enterprises and exchanges

Planning processes are the heartbeat of manufacturing. The enterprise suite familiar to business users today was built up around a core of material requirements planning and master scheduling. Advanced planning, which speeds and optimizes resource management, is a significant addition to enterprise suites.

By Staff
Control Systems May 1, 2001

Fisher-Rosemount renamed Emerson Process Management

Austin, Tex.—To meld technology and industry expertise for delivering tailored process management solutions to its customers, Fisher-Rosemount announced April 23 that it's changing its name to Emerson Process Management. The company states the renaming also reflects its expansion into industry-specific engineering, consulting, and project management services.

By Staff
Control Systems May 1, 2001

Control System Voltage Choices

Control engineers should take a closer look at '120 V ac vs. 24 V ac/dc' question.

By John F. Heneage, Dufresne-Henry Inc.
Control Systems April 1, 2001

Upgraded system shines light on nation’s ‘first’ airport

Boston's Logan International Airport has always been an airport of "firsts." In 1987, the airfield at Logan became the first to computerize airfield lighting. A recent upgrade to the lighting system again makes use of the latest computer technology, innovative software solutions, improved Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs) and better communication bus systems.

By Edwards and Kelcey Inc, Leesburg, Va.; Keith Lambert, vice president
Control Systems April 1, 2001

PRODUCT & LITERATURE SHOWCASE – 2001-04-01 – 2001-04-01

Bumpless/auto setpoint change control Newnan, Ga.- Green Series temperature controllers now include not only precise control function with no process overshoot but also, with the addition of Super2 and Super3 tuning technology, bumpless and auto setpoint change control. With Super2, an operator can tune appropriate PID functions on an empty furnace and expect fully tuned, precise control when the furnace is loaded. With Super3, the controller automatically accommodates setpoint changes and delivers accurate control with no need to retune or setup PID zones.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems March 15, 2001

Noise and disturbances in process control

Were it not for noise and disturbances, a feedback controller could fairly easily maintain output of the controlled process (process variable) close to its desired value (setpoint). However, forces other than the controller's efforts can often change the process variable. What is disturbance in process control? An example is sun shining in on a room cooled by an automatic air conditioner. In spite of the thermostat's efforts to lower the room temperature to a 72°F setpoint, the room may actually get hotter.

By Vance J. VanDoren, Ph.D., P.E., consulting editor
Control Systems March 7, 2001

Compact safety relays

Phoenix Contact Inc.

By Antonia E. McBride, assistant editor
Control Systems March 7, 2001

Device-serial ports use high-speed networking

Irvine, Calif. -Lantronix's Device Server Technology enables nearly any device with a serial port to connect to the Internet and shared networks quickly and cost effectively, eliminating the need for dedicated PCs and local control panels, allowing new networked applications. Device servers replace dedicated PCs or lengthy serial cables with networking technology.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems March 7, 2001

Bus-based controller works with PLCs, HMIs; eliminates PID blocks

Gurnee, Ill. -MLC9000 bus-based temperature controller integrates temperature and machine control with PLCs or human-machine interfaces (HMI). Modular, DIN- rail-mounted innovation eliminates the need for integrated PID blocks, and multiple, single-loop, panel-mount controllers and communicates directly to the PLC via buses or serial port.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems March 1, 2001

Compact, expandable embedded control

Davis, Calif. -Smart Star Series modular, expandable control system delivers low-cost embedded control and I/O card options. Available I/O cards include digital, A/D, D/A, and relays.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems February 1, 2001

Enhanced interface relays

Minneapolis, Minn. —Releco Interfacer features heavy-duty, plug-in industrial-grade relays for rugged use. A single, universal-polarity relay socket satisfies every voltage requirement from 12 V dc to 230 V ac, eliminating rewiring if voltage or relay features change. The relays have built-in surge suppressor and are ac and dc in the same unit.

By Staff
Control Systems February 1, 2001

Modular system for DAC applications

Davis, Calif. -Smart Star Series, a modular, expandable embedded control system, is designed for demanding, real-time control and data acquisition applications. By delivering several low-cost I/O card options in a customizable design, Smart Star is a fit for a range of development requirements and budgets.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems February 1, 2001

Regulatory Control is the Foundationfor Advanced Process Control

Everyone knows you can't build anything lasting on a poor foundation; that's especially true when adding advanced process control over basic regulatory control.

By David B. Ender, Techmation
Control Systems January 1, 2001

Rockwell’s A-B Fair rocks Philadelphia

More than 10,000 users, developers, partners, and other technical professionals attended Rockwell Automation's Allen-Bradley Automation Fair 2000 at the convention center here on Dec. 6-7. The event featured 115 hardware, software, and systems integration exhibitors, 48 technical sessions, 20 hand-on training labs, and one-on-one, information management consultin...

By Staff
Control Systems January 1, 2001

Modbus modules still connect

Every day, nearly 750,000 barrels of crude oil and refined products flow through 16 U.S. pipelines owned by Conoco Oil (Houston, Tex.). In 1994 Conoco Oil evaluated its legacy system and didn't like what was there. The circa-1978 centralized control system used multidrop, leased telephone lines.

By Danetta York, marketing specialist, ProSoft Technology Inc. (Bakersfield, Calif.) and Gary A. Mintchell, senior editor
Control Systems January 1, 2001

Automated set-up temperature controllers

Schaumburg, Ill.— Sys-Config version 2.0 software provides advanced support for Omron temperature controllers, process controllers, and intelligent signal processors. It automates set-up and allows configuration and tuning. It also supports logging and trending. Omron Circle 430

By Staff
Control Systems December 1, 2000

Custom CNC control engraves control panels to order

A custom computer numerical control (CNC) is the key to a unique router that helps Glastonbury Engraving (Glastonbury, Conn.) efficiently produce custom-engraved laminated control panels in very small quantities to meet customer requirements.The new machine has significantly reduced the cost of producing control panels, while remaining relatively inexpensive, because it was built complete...

By Jerry Fireman, Gary A. Mintchell
Control Systems October 1, 2000

Simulation software removes bugs, provides training

Armstrong World Industries, with 86 plants and 20,000 employees in 14 countries, is a leader in floor coverings. At its South Gate, Calif., plant, the company makes commercial and residential floor tile using various batching techniques.While recently replacing relays with Allen-Bradley PLCs and Wonderware human-machine interface software, plant personnel needed to debug PLC code and trai...

By Staff
Control Systems September 1, 2000

Overload relay offers motor diagnostics

Palatine, Ill.—A new solid-state overload relay offers remote programming with device parameters for "complete mid-range" motor protection and diagnostics to prevent downtime due to motor failures. Called Motor Logic Plus, the overload relay works as a stand-alone device or over an RS-485 or Modbus network.

By Staff
Control Systems September 1, 2000

Fine tuning a PID tutorial

On the last page of the article ["Understanding PID Control," CE, June '00, pp. 53-58], the author stated that proportional-only control systems are incapable of hunting. This is only true if the process is a first-order time constant. (A single R-C time constant is a first-order delay.) If the process being controlled is second-order or greater, proportional-only control can result in ...

By Dudley Nye, Nye Engineering Inc.
Control Systems August 1, 2000

Forty-amp electromechanical relays

East Greenwich, R.I. -Forty-amp relays are designed for heavy-duty industrial controls and power switching applications. The relays are available with a 1-FORM-A, 1-FORM-B, and 1-FORM-C contact arrangement to replace 30 amp relays.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems August 1, 2000

Big Easy, Big Expos

More than three times as many engineers and technical professionals were signed up eight weeks before ISA Expo/2000 and IMS Expo 2000 than were registered two months before 1998's show. ISA, the international society for measurement and control (Research Triangle Park, N.C.), speculates this year's 500 early registrants may indicate increased attendance beyond the 25,000-28,000 expected a...

Control Systems August 1, 2000

Software Enables Information Network

Information sharing and integration from the plant floor, among manufacturing sites, upward in the organization and through the supply chain has created real-time, virtual information networks. While that may sound like George Orwell's "Big Brother" is watching us, such monitoring enables smarter decisions, enterprise-wide.

By Mark T. Hoske, Control Engineering
Control Systems July 1, 2000

PLCs, SCADA, NT enhance packing foam process

If you've received a fragile shipment encased in or braced by light, rugged foam packing, you may have Sealed Air Corp. to thank for it arriving undamaged. Sealed Air's protective and specialty products include Instapak polyurethane foam packaging made by its Engineered Products Division (Danbury, Conn.

By Gary Mintchell
Control Systems June 1, 2000

Understanding PID Control

Familiar examples show how and why proportional-integral-derivative controllers behave the way they do.

By Vance J. VanDoren, Ph.D., P.E., Control Engineering
Control Systems May 1, 2000

Controllers balance performance with closed-loop stability

If high-speed response is not required, any continuous process can be controlled easily enough. A feedback controller need only measure the process variable, determine if it has deviated too far from the setpoint, apply the necessary corrective effort, wait to see if the error goes away, and repeat as necessary.

By Vance J. VanDoren
Control Systems May 1, 2000

Dual vs. Triple

If one's good, is two better, and three the best?

By Paul Gruhn, Siemens Moore Process Solutions
Control Systems April 1, 2000

Bus-based temperature controller

Gurnee, Ill. —The MLC9000 bus-based temperature controller uses DeviceNet, Profibus, Modbus, or serial communications to interface directly to PLC or HMI. Features include RaPID fuzzy logic, EasyTune, deterministic 100-msec sample time, built-in heater break alarms, single loop hot-swap, and building block approach to adding additional loops.

By Staff
Control Systems March 1, 2000

No-tune analog PID controller

Plymouth Meeting, Pa.— Series 1810 is a 1/8-DIN size analog setpoint temperature controller that offers PID control accuracy without the need for complicated tuning or menu configuration. It features a front-panel, linearized analog setpoint dial, and a deviation bargraph display consisting of 10 LEDs.

By Staff
Control Systems March 1, 2000

What Regulations and Standards Apply to Safety Instrumented Systems?

User companies are responsible to define a framework that facilitates compliance with applicable safety standards.

By Paris Stavrianidis, Factory Mutual Research
Control Systems February 1, 2000

Suspended solids meter

Rexdale, Ontario, Canada —Series 502 suspended solids meters use ultrasonic attenuation to measure the concentration of sludges and slurries that are too thick for optical methods. According to Markland, the new higher power microprocessor-based instrument features automatic pushbutton calibration, automatic dynamic damping, and self diagnosis, and is insensitive to color.

By Staff
Control Systems February 1, 2000

Detects valve wear

Massena, N.Y. -Model OCF-IV is an open channel flow monitor that uses a noncontacting ultrasonic sensor to measure wastewater flow through flumes and weirs. It features built-in datalogger plus Microsoft Windows software to retrieve, display, and graph flow reports in fully customizable formats.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems February 1, 2000

DIN rail-mount PID controller

Plymouth Meeting, Pa.— Series 1ZC controls a single PID loop with two independent outputs configurable as direct-acting, reverse-acting, or alarm. The product communicates to control computer or PLC via RS-485. It supports thermocouple, linear, or 2- or 3-wire RTDs. Outputs available include electromechanical or solid-state relay, 4-20 mA, and pulsed 20 V dc.

By Staff
Control Systems February 1, 2000

Staying in the Loop

End-users increasingly are looking for 4-20 mA communications, PID capabilities, and external communication in their loop controller technologies, according to recent Control Engineering research results.Control Engineering polled 1,500 readers to gain more insight to the status of the loop controller market.

By Staff
Control Systems January 1, 2000

Selection Criteria for Digital Pressure Indicators

Making a choice is a relatively easy task when the application is understood.

By Bruce Tibbitts, Dresser Industries Inc.
Control Systems January 1, 2000

Object-oriented HMI system

One of the most common classes of software packages used in automation projects is the human-machine interface or HMI. These packages provide users with the ability to monitor and supervise a control system through a configurable platform. This avoids the need for fixed control panels with dedicated control function interface devices, which present a significant expense in initial device ...

By Tracy J. Coates, Contributing Editor
Control Systems December 1, 1999

I/O Strategies Live Distributed or Die

Adapting New Hampshire's motto, "Live Free or Die," controls designers must change to a distributed architecture to reduce cost and increase future flexibility or see their company lose its competitive advantage—"Live Distributed or Die." Distributing I/O modules closer to the action connected to the controller with one network quick-connect cable reduces total wiring costs, increas...

Control Systems December 1, 1999

Reaching Up and Out: Interface Standards Smarten Up Sensors, Transducers

Can you hear it? It's the sound of several thousand fed up sensor and transducer manufacturers doing an end-run around the endless fieldbus squabbles. Many are beginning to use increasingly intelligent devices and common communications, which can access networks and function on the Internet to get jobs done.

Control Systems December 1, 1999

PLC safety relay

North Andover, Mass. -Schneider Electric has introduced two new safety relay modules for the mid-range Premium PLC platform. The safety modules are used to interrupt one or more emergency stops, safety stop control circuits, or provide electrical monitoring of limit switches activated by protection devices.

By Control Engineering Staff
Control Systems September 1, 1999

Electrical schematic software

Toolbox/WD software creates and documents ladder wiring diagrams, most often for machinery wiring diagrams, but other applications include food processing and consumer products. Toolbox/WD version 15 is currently shipping. It requires Autodesk AutoCAD 2000 or AutoCAD R14. Price is $2,495. Intelligent tools allow the engineer to automatically tag (label) components (devices such as relays, termi...

By Staff
Control Systems September 1, 1999

Smaller SCADA Dial-up Environmental Protection

Keeping pollution within U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) guidelines remains of great concern, and the engineering team often takes lead responsibilities for preventing environment-fouling releases. Although it may be scrubbers or physical containment that are needed for meeting actual requirements, the systems' monitoring and documentation system usually holds the most interes...

Control Systems September 1, 1999

Hybrid temperature controller

St. Louis, Mo.— Need some programmable controller functions with multiloop temperature controllers? PPC-2000 is a multiloop PID controller with built-in programmable logic functions for applications that don't require intensive PLC functions. The controller handles up to 48 control loops and 48 digital I/O points.

By Staff
Control Systems September 1, 1999

Gain access to DeviceNet

Milwaukee, Wis.— Allen-Bradley's Device-Net System Accessory (DSA) enables users to cost-effectively integrate decentralized installations, providing low-cost network access for motor starters, disconnect switches, overload relays, selector switches, and other industrial control devices used in an enclosed starter.

By Staff
Control Systems August 1, 1999

Electrical Schematic Software Automates Wiring, Panel Design

Electrical schematic software—as an add-on to Autodesk AutoCAD, or as a stand-alone—saves time in creating and modifying schematics for controls by avoiding repetitive data entry and redrawing. This class of software and related packages, whether full-featured or "light," employs extensive libraries of symbols and products from scores of manufacturers that carry related attrib...

By Mark T. Hoske, Control Engineering
Control Systems August 1, 1999

Coal mine cuts downtime with bit-level network control

An army travels on its stomach and a coal mine travels on its conveyor belts. Two 500-ft belts, for example, carry high-quality bituminous coal from Jim Walters Resources' (Adger, Ala.) mine No. 3 to a 10-story washer and back to a stacker for shipping. The mine's old, manual pull-rope system alerted operators to conveyor problems, but couldn't identify exact locations or describe the nat...

By Staff
Control Systems August 1, 1999

Process Controller Tuning Guidelines

This material addresses numerous reader inquiries asking how to calculate tuning parameters. Users should understand this material is not a substitute for formal training on process control loop analysis and tuning, but rather as an introduction or refresher. Control Engineering provides this information as a service and makes no guarantees of its usefulness for a particular application (See also, summary, in August 'News.' ). R ecent articles in Control Engineering have addressed methods to improve control loop performance (see Feb.

Control Systems July 1, 1999

Software controls pH

Rancho Cordova, Calif.— CyboCon uses a patent-pending Model-Free Adaptive control technology specifically to control pH value loops. It controls the full pH range with precision enabling automatic control of acid or alkaline concentration. Its adaptive capability allows it to compensate for nonlinear gain changes.

By Staff
Control Systems July 1, 1999

Non-intrusive sensor

Arlington, Tex.— The Senaco AS100 from Milltronics is a non-intrusive acoustic sensor that detects changes in flow rates and warns of impending problems. The unit has no moving parts, requires little to no maintenance, and is sealed against dust and moisture. The device measures high frequency sound waves created by bulk solids flowing through enclosures and converts this energy into an ...

By Staff
Control Systems June 1, 1999

Easy controller setup

St. Louis, Mo.—Watview software provides setup and monitoring of up to 32 Watlow temperature and process controllers. The software supports Watlow's Series 96 and Microdin temperature controllers as well as Series 97 limit controllers. The software communicates with Modbus RRU protocol. Features include continuous data logging of chosen parameters, data export to Microsoft Excel spreadshe...

By Staff
Control Systems May 1, 1999

Open-Loop Response Testing Improves Process

Three-quarters of all process control loops are operating below peak efficiency, according to one industry survey. Among conditions that can reduce process efficiency are improper control valve selection, sizing, or calibration; instability or oscillation above and below a setpoint; slow response to changing conditions; or a combination of these factors.

By John Egnew, Fisher-Rosemount Educational Services
Control Systems May 1, 1999

Enhanced multiloop controller

Phoenix, Ariz.— Several new features have enhanced UMC 800 Universal Multiloop Controller. Foremost, is a serial communications option allowing UMC 800 to integrate with PC-based human-machine interface software. The controller can now archive process data on a 3.5-in. floppy disk drive located in the operator interface.

By Staff
Control Systems April 1, 1999

Recorders Make Strides in Versatility

High tech paradigms in the automation control industry today usually center around software, PC-based control, and fieldbus technology. Yet to underappreciate how important to the industry a recorder is would be a costly mistake. These instruments are documentary proof of regulatory compliance for such agencies as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Environmental Protection Agency (EP...

By Staff
Control Systems February 1, 1999

Micro-relay offers high performance

Research Triangle Park, N.C.— Measuring just 600 microns high these 1.5 x 1 mm space saving relays are suitable for telecommunication, automated test equipment, automotive, and other applications where smaller is better. Performance testing of these 300 milliamp current capacity micro-relays showed no mechanical failures after more than 10 million cycles.

By Staff
Control Systems February 1, 1999

Gas flow computer

Kanata, Ontario, Canada— The RealFlo gas flow computer from Control Microsystems integrates gas flow measurement, PLC control capability, and RTU communications in a compact, cost-effective package. The RealFlo is a "C" software module which complements the PLC's relay ladder logic and PID controller capability.

By Staff
Control Systems January 1, 1999

Process simulator aids testing and training

Legend has it that certain divinely inspired engineers in the automation industry are capable of producing bug-free control code on the first pass. Their programs always work as intended the first time the control system is powered up. I am certainly not one of them.My programs inevitably fail to account for some unforeseen sequence of events or some combination of inputs that only happen...

By Vance J. VanDoren, Ph.D., P.E.
Control Systems January 1, 1999

Optimization Means Higher Profits

One way or another, every manufacturer must solve a basic optimization problem—how to produce the most valuable product at the least possible cost. Particularly in high volume, low margin industries like petrochemicals and consumer products, profits depend on squeezing every bit of finished product out of the available raw materials and saving every dime on labor and material costs.

By Vance J. VanDoren, Control Engineering
Control Systems December 1, 1998

Economical toxic pressure monitoring

Feasterville, Pa.— IPS-200 pressure switch from Ametek U.S. Gauge/PMT products provides economical pressure monitoring with setpoint indication in high purity, toxic, and corrosive gas environments found in the semiconductor manufacturing industry. The 2-in. diameter IPS-200 pressure switch provides accurate indication of gas pressure.

By Staff
Control Systems November 1, 1998

Flexible Batch Proven in First Week

Mead Johnson Nutritionals (Evansville, Ind.), a world leader in adult and infant nutritional products, sought to become flexible and quick in adapting new products at its 32 oz. processing center. Engineers there needed to replace an obsolete control system with technology capable of supporting global enterprise integration and reduce process variability caused by manual interventions.

Control Systems October 1, 1998

Open-loop control offers some advantages

A feedback controller can keep an oven's temperature within acceptable ranges, sustain the pressure in a steam supply line as demand fluctuates, and maintain a car's speed through an uphill climb. Every feedback controller has a different strategy for accomplishing its particular mission, but all use some variation on the closed-loop control algorithm—measure a process variable, dec...

By Vance J. VanDoren, Ph.D., P.E.
Control Systems October 1, 1998

Control device is easy

Franklin, Mass. —"Easy" is a multicontrol, multifunction device that replaces multiple relays, timers, counters, and associated wiring in one package. Draw the control circuit ladder diagram on the LCD display with the integral cursor and function keys to program. "Easy" is available in 24 V dc and 120-240 V ac models with an optional real-time clock.

By Staff
Control Systems October 1, 1998

Digital indicator

Willistgon, Vt. —TRM-006 1/8 DIN digital indicator has Peak Hold/Bottom Hold functions and a digital PV filter to reduce electrical noise. It accepts eight types of thermocouple inputs, two types of RTD, and dc current/voltage. The four-digit, 15 mm high LED display unit includes RS-485 communications, two alarm relays, buzzer, transfer outputs, 24 V ac/dc power supply, and a 5 or 20 V d...

By Staff
Control Systems September 1, 1998

DeviceNet electrical monitoring, control

Columbus, O. —DeviceNet Gateway-Incom Master (DGATE-IM) helps convert existing electrical switchboard data into manufacturing energy information to assist in determining energy cost required to manufacture individual parts. Digitrip OPTIMs, energy sentinels, power sentinels, and addressable relays can connect to the DGATE-IM communicating on DeviceNet at 125, 250, or 500 kbit/sec.

By Staff
Control Systems August 1, 1998

Measurement for liquids and solids

Arlington, Tex.-- MiniRanger Plus is an ultrasonic level measurement device for liquids up to 33 ft, and for solids up to 16 ft. It is available in rack and panel mount models which have an easy access jack on the face plate. It makes connection to a PC or laptop computer simple. The jack is protected by a splash proof flap.

By Staff
Control Systems August 1, 1998

Ziegler-Nichols tuning methods

Tuning a proportional-integral-derivative (PID) controller is a matter of selecting the right mix of P, I, and D action to achieve a desired closed performance (see ' Basics of Proportional-Integral-Derivative Control ,' Control Engineering, March 1998). The ISA standard form of the PID algorithm is: The variable CO(t) represents the controller output applied to the process at time t, PV(t) is the process variable coming from the process, and e(t) is the error between the setpoint and the process variable. Proportional action is weighted by a factor of P, the integral action is weighted by P/T I , and the derivative action is weighted by PT D where P is the controller gain, T I is the integral time, and T D is the derivative time. In 1942, John G. Ziegler and Nathaniel B.

By Vance J. VanDoren, consulting editor
Control Systems July 1, 1998

Remote control for industrial applications

Bradford, Pa.— Tele Chief Series is a remote control intended for industrial applications. This series of remote controls has been developed to offer a simple, yet rugged solution to wireless control. The industrial-rated FM system features two transmitters, the TeleMini with 1-4 functions and TeleMax with 2-8 functions.

By Staff
Control Systems July 1, 1998

Multiloop functions at low cost

Rochester, N.Y. —Commander 501 process controller provides functions of multiloop controllers at a low cost. It has standard math and logic functions and is programmed by front panel keys or Microsoft Windows-based configuration software. Commander 501 offers eight preconfigured templates including single-loop control, single-loop control with remote setpoint, auto/manual station with lo...

By Staff
Control Systems July 1, 1998

Radisys launches real-time, OPC for Windows NT

Embedded computer manufacturer RadiSys Corp. recently introduced RT-OPC, a new Microsoft Windows NT-based software that extends OLE for Process Control (OPC) to support hard real-time manufacturing data and process control applications. The OPC Foundation's specification—a standard set of COM/OLE interface protocols to promote interoperability—is being adop...

By Staff
Control Systems June 1, 1998

Control loop is automation essence

The control loop is the essence of automation. By measuring some activity in an automated process, a controller decides what needs to be done next and executes the required operations through a set of actuators. The controller then remeasures the process to determine if the actuators' actions had the desired effect.

By Vance J. VanDoren, Ph.D., P.E.
Control Systems June 1, 1998

Gas risk system with multiple protocol

Milpitas, Calif.—Ssentry is a gas risk management system with user interface capabilities including RS-232 communication, analog output, Modbus communications, and more. Users can bring together not only gas sensor input, but also input from other devices important to the situation, such as flame detectors and flow alarms.

By Staff
Control Systems June 1, 1998

UL approved E-stop

Minneapolis, Minn.—E-Stop Safety Relay is the first U.S.-built emergency stop relay and the industry's first to be approved by Underwriters Laboratories as a category NISD emergency stop device. This relay monitors for contact failures and wiring faults in emergency stop circuits. Output consists of two redundant switching channels.

By Staff
Control Systems June 1, 1998

Split architecture multiloop controller

Phoenix, Ariz. —UMC 800 Controller is a universal multiloop controller designed to cost-effectively address the analog and digital control requirements of small- to medium-size unit processes. It's a modular control system which uses a split architecture that separates control functions from the operator panel functions to provide greater installation flexibility.

By Staff
Control Systems June 1, 1998

Opto 22 ‘SNAPs to it’ with new controllers, I/O devices

To help users implement cost-effective, PC-driven controls, Opto 22 recently launched its new family of Snap controllers. The Snap-LCSX and Snap-LCSX-Plus controller can reduce the entry barrier to flowchart-based, fully integrated hardware and software control solutions, according to Opto 22's developers.

By Staff
Control Systems June 1, 1998

Ease of use, support, and communications top wish list

With headlines dominated by controllers and software, interface hardware often is overlooked. Users and manufacturers, however, know the importance of these devices.To discover what users think about Input/Output devices and terminal blocks, Control Engineering surveyed 1,500 readers. Of the 330 responses, 66% work in process industries while 24% identified their application as discrete...

By Staff
Control Systems May 1, 1998

Single-Loop Controllers Dominate Marketplace

In 1942, John G. Ziegler and Nathaniel B. Nichols devised the Ziegler-Nichols Closed-Loop Method and Equation (aka PID). At that time, loop control was, at best, "cut-and-try." The hardware that Mr. Ziegler developed to make the Z-N method successful included the first pneumatic controller with reset (integral) added to the gain (proportional) control, as well as the first controller with...

By Staff
Control Systems April 1, 1998

Manage the Whole Process with Multivariable Control

Single-variable controllers such as PID loops are by far the most popular controllers for industrial applications. A single-variable controller measures the one and only variable of interest, decides if its value is acceptable, applies a corrective effort if necessary, then repeats. This routine works very well for process control problems with just one variable or with multiple variables...

By Vance J. VanDoren, Control Engineering
Control Systems March 1, 1998

The British Invasion

One if by land; two if by sea! It may not have been what our forefathers had in mind, but U.S. control companies should take note. The British are coming.In February, two independent automation suppliers, both located in California, were acquired by companies in the U.K.On February 6, Action Instruments, a $20 million supplier of signal conditioners, announced its acquisition by Eurotherm...

By Jane S. Gerold
Control Systems March 1, 1998

Basics of Proportional-Integral-Derivative Control

A feedback controller is designed to generate an output that causes some corrective effort to be applied to a process so as to drive a measurable process variable towards a desired value known as the setpoint. The controller uses an actuator to affect the process and a sensor to measure the results.

By Vance J. VanDoren
Control Systems March 1, 1998

Prewired PLC Cables

Irving, Tex.— The new Interfast product line from Entrelec is a family of prewired cables and connectors that simplfies interconnecting field wiring to PLCs. Individual wires are traditionally hand-connected, point by point from the PLC to the field terminal block or interface board. Using standard prewired and pretested cables and connectors, Interfast can increase wiring speed up to 20...

By Staff
Control Systems March 1, 1998

Tuning Fundamentals: Basics of Proportional-Integral-Derivative Control

PID controllers are by far the most popular feedback controllers for continuous processes. Here's a look at how they work.

By Vance J. VanDoren
Control Systems March 1, 1998

U.K.-based Eurotherm plc Acquiring Action Instruments

Action Instruments Inc. announced Feb. 6 that it is being acquired by U.K.-based Eurotherm plc, the world's largest manufacturer of industrial temperature controllers. Subject to FTC and shareholder approval, the purchase was expected to be completed by the first week of March 1998.

By Staff
Control Systems March 1, 1998

How to Control Processes with Large Deadtimes

Processes with large deadtimes present a special challenge for a controller—any controller. The controller must wait until the deadtime has passed before it gets any feedback from the process.The best thing to do for controlling this type of process is to try to reduce the dead time. Simply moving a probe closer to the valve may do it.

By John Gerry, ExperTune
Control Systems March 1, 1998

DCS/PLC System Simultaneously Upgrades Plant, Cuts Costs

To do more with less is not an easy challenge. Luckily, some timely assistance is exactly what engineers at Engelhard Corp. (Attapulgus, Ga.) received recently when they sought to replace outdated control systems and reduce overall costs at their petroleum catalysts production plant.Engelhard's staff was working to cut costs by $7 million per year, but also knew they had to replace the pl...

By Staff
Control Systems February 1, 1998

PID Loop Tuning

In your recent "How Software Tools Simplify Loop Tuning" article [Control Engineering, Nov. 1997, p. 89] you imply that ExperTune connects only to PLCs. ExperTune has a DDE connection that connects directly to Fisher/Provox (via SIU, HDL), Honeywell TDC systems (using GUS workstations), and Bailey DCS (via SIU).

By John Gerry
Control Systems February 1, 1998

Controller Adapts without a Process Model

Theoretically, all information that a feedback controller requires to regulate a continuous process is contained in the process input and output (I/O) data. A PID controller can be manually tuned by analyzing the I/O data from a series of step tests. A self-tuning controller can automatically select its own tuning parameters by analyzing a process model derived from the step test data.

By Vance J. VanDoren
Control Systems January 1, 1998

Single-Loop PID Controller

Marlborough, Mass.— Dataflo-C is a digital proportional, integral, derivative single-loop controller. The device, which is aimed at industrial processes, features a rugged valve and actuator package, on-board diagnostics, autotuning capability, and remote or local setpoint control. It accepts a variety of process inputs and can take total control of process parameters either locally or v...

By Staff
Control Systems January 1, 1998

PC-Based Control Software Runs on Schedule

One of the advantages that programmable logic controllers (PLCs) have traditionally offered for the purposes of real-time control has been deterministic operations. That is, they have the ability to apply their control efforts at precisely timed intervals. This feature allows a PLC to work with sampled data, knowing that each sample represents a uniform period of process activity.

By Vance J. VanDoren, Ph.D., P.E.
Control Systems September 1, 1997

Self-Tuning Controllers Auto-Select P, I, D Values

Tuning a PID controller is conceptually simple--observe the behavior of the controlled process and fine tune the controller's proportional (P), integral (I), and derivative (D) parameters until the closed-loop system performs as desired. However, PID tuning is often more of an art than a science. The best choice of tuning parameters depends upon a variety of factors including the dynamic behavior of the controlled process, the controller's objectives, and the operator's understanding of the tuning procedures. Self-tuning PID controllers simplify matters by executing the necessary tuning procedures automatically.

By Vance J. VanDoren, consulting editor
Control Systems January 1, 1997

PID–The Basic Technique for Feedback Control

A feedback controller is designed to generate an output that causes some corrective effort to be applied to a process so as to drive a measurable process variable towards a desired value known as the setpoint. Shown is a typical feedback control loop with blocks representing the dynamic elements of the system and arrows representing the flow of information, generally in the form of electrical signals. Virtually all feedback controllers determine their output by observing the error between the setpoint and the actual process variable measurement. PID control A proportional-integral-derivative or 'PID' controller looks at the current value of the error, the integral of the error over a recent time interval, and the current derivative of the error signal to determine not only how much of a correction to apply, but for how long.

By Vance VanDoren, consulting editor
Control Systems December 1, 1996

Multivariable Controllers Balance Performance with Cost

Controllers that juggle multiple process variables are neither simple nor common, but they can handle some of the most complex control problems.

By Vance J. VanDoren, Control Engineering
Control Systems May 1, 1996

The Smith Predictor: A Process Engineer’s Crystal Ball

Arguably the trickiest problem to overcome with a feedback controller is process deadtime -- the delay between the application of a control effort and its first effect on the process variable. During that interval, the process does not respond to the controller's activity at all, and any attempt to manipulate the process variable before the deadtime has elapsed inevitably fails. This classic article is among the most-read on the Control Engineering site. (See diagrams.)


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Mark Hoske - Control Engineering