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PID, APC November 7, 2022

Top 5 Control Engineering content: October 31 to November 6, 2022

The most-viewed content from the past week covered advanced process control, PLC programming, device lifecycle management and more.

By Chris Vavra
PID, APC October 1, 2022

Control Engineering hot topics, September 2022

Control Engineering's most clicked articles in September 2022 included stories on Engineering Leaders Under 40, PID controller advice, plant instrumentation and controls, modern SCADA features and more. Miss something? You can catch up here.

By Chris Vavra
PID, APC September 9, 2022

Six questions that can help remove advanced process control roadblocks

Advanced process control (APC) helps process manufacturers unlock the full value of automation to reduce variability, improve throughput, and reach sustainability goals.

By Sean Sims
PID, APC September 8, 2022

Plant instrumentation and controls: Issues and drivers

Instrumentation and controls (I&C) operators are dealing with aging equipment that doesn’t allow them to take advantage of modern technology’s benefits, which can give them access to real-time information that allows them to make better decisions.

By Kevin Finnan
PID, APC September 6, 2022

Tutorial: How to find the best controller

Control system designers consistently seek the best control method for an application. See examples, equations and graphics.

By Peter Galan
PID, APC May 9, 2022

Top 5 Control Engineering content: May 2-8, 2022

The most-viewed content from the past week covered PID implementation, COVID-19 controls, future-proof manufacturing, creating connected industries and oil and gas. Miss something? You can catch up here.

By Chris Vavra
PID, APC May 2, 2022

Top 5 Control Engineering articles April 25 to May 1, 2022

Articles about PID implementation, oil and gas, information control, quality of service and remote intelligence were Control Engineering’s five most-viewed articles from April 25 to May 1, 2022. Miss something? You can catch up here.

By Chris Vavra
PID, APC May 1, 2022

Control Engineering hot topics, April 2022

Control Engineering's most clicked articles in April 2022 included stories on optimal loop tuning, Engineers' Choice winners, PID, easy Industrial IoT and expanding manufacturing capabilities. Miss something? You can catch up here.

By Chris Vavra
PID, APC April 12, 2022

PID-correction-based control system implementation

The analog PID controller, still considered as the most powerful, can be modified as a discrete-time control system. Equations and examples follow.

By Peter Galan
PID, APC April 11, 2022

PID loop control tuning advice

Brian Fenn from Avanceon offers advice on proportional-integral-derivative (PID) control loop tuning using examples from a recent project at a food and beverage facility, explaining how operations improved with machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI). See video.

By Brian Fenn
PID, APC April 11, 2022

Top 5 Control Engineering articles April 4-10, 2022

Articles about optimal loop tuning, IIoT implementation, Engineers' Choice winners, IIoT and manufacturing and information control were Control Engineering’s five most-viewed articles from April 4-10, 2022. Miss something? You can catch up here.

By Chris Vavra
PID, APC 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
PID, APC March 7, 2022

Top 5 Control Engineering articles February 28 to March 6, 2022

Articles about Engineers' Choice winners, advanced process controls, VFDs basics, HMIs and tuning a PM motor with a VFD were Control Engineering’s five most-viewed articles from February 28 to March 6, 2022. Miss something? You can catch up here.

By Chris Vavra
PID, APC March 1, 2022

Understanding the critical role of metrics for advanced process controls

Advanced process controls (APC) requires appropriate metrics, or key performance indicators (KPIs) to ensure safe, efficient operations. Alarms, relief valves, safety systems and APC need monitoring. Learn five good APC metrics, the missing metric and four recommended practices for APC metrics.

By Allan Kern
PID, APC January 31, 2022

Top 5 Control Engineering articles January 24-30, 2022

Articles about the Control Engineering table of contents, artificial neural networks, IT/OT convergence, industrial automation and integrated cybersecurity were Control Engineering’s five most clicked articles from January 24-30, 2022. Miss something? You can catch up here.

By Chris Vavra
PID, APC January 27, 2022

Introduction to artificial neural networks in control applications

Practical applications of artificial neural networks (ANNs) for control systems, especially for non-linear systems, include simulating time-optimal controllers and for ANN-based controlled system (plant) models. Such models, combined with classical proportional-integral-derivative (PID) controllers, can enable adaptive and other, more sophisticated, control systems.

By Peter Galan
PID, APC December 21, 2021

Evaluating different PID forms

A theoretical basis for effects of different proportional-integral-derivative (PID) forms on idealized line 1st & 2nd order systems.

By Brian Philbin
PID, APC December 6, 2021

Top 5 Control Engineering articles November 29 to December 5, 2021

Articles about Engineers' Choice finalists, finite-state machines, AI shortcuts, nanotube-based sensors and SCADA and automation were Control Engineering’s five most clicked articles from November 29 to December 5, 2021. Miss something? You can catch up here.

By Chris Vavra
PID, APC November 29, 2021

Understanding APC limits and targets

Process automation and optimization need to use automated multivariable control so it evolves into an industry core-competency, providing low cost, low maintenance and high agility with long life-cycle technology instead of manual multivariable control. Understand limits and targets of advanced process control.

By Allan Kern
PID, APC October 1, 2021

Control Engineering hot topics, September 2021

Control Engineering's most clicked articles in September 2021 included stories on the 2021 Engineering Leaders Under 40, APC and control system improvements, COVID-19 testing, digital transformation ROI and more. Miss something? You can catch up here.

By Chris Vavra
PID, APC September 7, 2021

Top 5 Control Engineering articles August 30 to September 5, 2021

Articles about APC improvements, industrial products, face mask prototypes, industrial products, control system improvements and jumpstarting a successful IIoT program were Control Engineering’s five most clicked articles from August 30 to September 5, 2021. Miss something? You can catch up here.

By Chris Vavra
PID, APC 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
PID, APC September 1, 2021

Understanding the matrix for APC improvements

More agile tools are helping multivariable control become more effective for advanced process control and other applications than traditional model-based control (MPC) and real-time optimization. Process engineers, operations personnel, DCS and APC engineers, and other process operation and optimization stakeholders benefit from understanding the matrix.

By Allan Kern
PID, APC August 9, 2021

Top 5 Control Engineering articles August 2-8, 2021

Articles about multivariable control, optimizing manufacturing processing, robotic 3D manufacturing, rotary knife applications and Control Engineering hot topics were Control Engineering’s five most clicked articles from August 2-8, 2021. Miss something? You can catch up here.

By Chris Vavra
PID, APC July 30, 2021

Multivariable control as a core competency

A healthy multivariable advanced process control (APC) layer should be a core-competency of the process industries.

By Allan Kern
PID, APC 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
PID, APC 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
PID, APC May 3, 2021

Control Engineering hot topics, April 2021

Control Engineering's most clicked articles in April 2021 included stories on control loop tuning, control system evolution, Engineers' Choice winners, COVID-19 refining tests and more. Miss something? You can catch up here.

By Chris Vavra
PID, APC April 23, 2021

How to tune servo systems: Force control, Part 4: Questions and answers

Inside Machines: More answers regarding servo system tuning follow the April 15 webcast on force control as it relates to tuning servo systems.

By Joseph Profeta
PID, APC April 12, 2021

Top 5 Control Engineering Articles April 5-11, 2021

Articles about control loop tuning, OT cybersecurity, Engineers' Choice winners, control system evolution and data visualization were Control Engineering’s five most clicked articles from April 5-11, 2021. Miss something? You can catch up here.

By Chris Vavra
PID, APC April 1, 2021

Know where to start with control loop tuning

Understanding proportional gain and integral time’s functions in control loop tuning values and how they work together is important.

By Rocky Chambers
PID, APC March 1, 2021

Theory accelerates push for spintronic devices

Rice University models help ID materials for advanced electronics, computer memories for spintronics.

By Mike Williams
PID, APC February 26, 2021

Understanding PID tuning

Proportional-integral-derivative (PID) tuning can be challenging to learn, but the experience gained can serve engineers well in other areas. See six things to do when a PID loop underperforms.

By Brian Fenn
PID, APC August 11, 2020

Model-less multivariable control technology acquired

Lin and Associates, Inc. has agreed to acquire APC Performance LLC's model-less multivariable control (XMC) technology, which provides back-end control to distributed control systems and programmable controllers.

By Chris Vavra
PID, APC May 4, 2020

Advanced controls, linear programming, fuzzy logic

To obtain optimal disposition of water injection flow in oil production facilities, linear programming techniques and advanced control based on fuzzy logic were applied. Better control increased field production and allows more effective responses to deviations that can damage people, goods or reduce production.

By Juan David Medina Gonzalez, Silvia Marina Araujo Daza MSc, Hernan Ivan Cadena Celis
PID, APC February 10, 2020

Top 5 Control Engineering articles February 3-9

Articles about the Engineers' Choice winners, advanced process control, robotics and AI in agriculture, intelligent cloud use, and exoskeletons were Control Engineering’s five most clicked articles from February 3-9. Miss something? You can catch up here.

By Chris Vavra
PID, APC January 27, 2020

Top 5 Control Engineering articles January 20-26

Articles about the System Integrator Giants, advanced process control, robotics and AI in agriculture, improved process control engineering, and revamped HMIs were Control Engineering’s five most clicked articles from January 20-26. Miss something? You can catch up here.

By Chris Vavra
PID, APC January 15, 2020

Advanced process control: More answers

After a webcast on “Advanced process control: Past, present and future,” more answers to audience questions are provided by the webcast speaker covering advanced process control (APC) to help with process optimization.

By Allan Kern
PID, APC December 2, 2019

Operation-driven matrix design

A multivariable control matrix has manipulated variables (MVs) on one axis, controlled variables (CVs) on the other axis, and models in the matrix that indicate a relationship between that MV/CV pair. Effective multivariable controllers use the right models for various control and optimization needs.

By Allan Kern
PID, APC October 7, 2019

Top 5 Control Engineering articles September 30 to October 6

Articles about RPC and model-based control, water/wastewater applications, OOIP, advanced process control, and prolonging power plant life were Control Engineering’s five most clicked articles from September 30 to October 6. Miss something? You can catch up here.

By Chris Vavra
PID, APC September 18, 2019

Five advanced process control, data analytics connections

Are there connections between advanced process control (APC) and data analytics? Recent developments in the field of information technology (IT) and its use in the manufacturing world provide insights.

By Jim Ford, Ph.D.
PID, APC September 18, 2019

OOIP Part 3: interfaces and methods

Interfaces and methods used in object-oriented industrial programming (OOIP) help deliver productivity of object-oriented programming (OOP) without the complexity. Because plants and equipment are assembled from objects, it’s logical that their control programming should be, too.

By Gary L. Pratt, P.E.
PID, APC September 9, 2019

Advantages of RPC and limits of model-based control

Part 3: Rate-predictive control, an alternative algorithm to proportional-integral-derivative (PID) and model-based control, can provide single-loop control. See three RPC advantages and two model-based control limitations.

By Allan Kern
PID, APC September 9, 2019

Top 5 Control Engineering articles September 2-8

Articles about model-following control, industrial controller cybersecurity, machine learning, improving engineer retention, and IIoT platforms were Control Engineering’s five most clicked articles from September 2-8. Miss something? You can catch up here.

By Chris Vavra
PID, APC August 30, 2019

The basics of model-following control

Two proportional-integral-derivative (PID) controllers can be better than one. Model-following control may be the best choice if it's important to get the process variable to the setpoint without hunting or overshoot.

By Control Engineering
PID, APC August 7, 2019

Advanced process control improves refinery, chemical plant operations

Next-generation advanced process control (APC) shatters processing barriers for process facilities.

By Hiroshi Wakasugi and Sanjay Venugopal
PID, APC August 4, 2019

Leveraging OOIP, Part 2: Abstraction, nesting and interfaces

Part 2: Plants and equipment are assembled from objects, and controls architecture should be too. Industrial programmers can realize the productivity of object-oriented programming (OOP) without the complexity by using object-oriented industrial programming (OOIP). See nine ways to determine if a development system supports OOIP.

By Gary L. Pratt, P.E.
PID, APC May 13, 2019

Top 5 Control Engineering articles May 6-12

Articles about multivariable control benefits, control network standards, human-robot interaction, data historians, and IIoT benefits for manufacturers were Control Engineering’s five most clicked articles from May 6-12. Miss something? You can catch up here.

By Chris Vavra
PID, APC November 12, 2018

Top 5 Control Engineering articles November 5-11

Articles about tuning tips, Engineers' Choice finalists, pharmaceutical manufacturers, machine metrics, and functional safety were Control Engineering’s five most clicked articles from November 5-11, 2018. Miss something? You can catch up here.

By Chris Vavra
PID, APC November 2, 2018

Rockwell International adopts Rockwell Automation name

Milwaukee, Wis.— To better reflect its business focus, Rockwell International Corp. announced Feb. 19 that it will assume the name of its primary remaining subsidiary, Rockwell Automation, after it spins off its avionics business, Rockwell Collins (Cedar Rapids, Ia.), as a separate, publicly traded company in June 2001.

By Staff
PID, APC November 2, 2018

Merging Mom’s Perceptive Power with Technology Creates Startling Results

KEYWORDS Process and advanced control Neural networks Multivariable sensors Sensing/measurement Analyzers What do the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) and your mother have in common? Both use real measurements to reach an inferred outcome; are you telling the truth? Think about it, your mother would do a subtle interrogation all the while observing your body language—pupil dilation,...

By Dave Harrold, CONTROL ENGINEERING
PID, APC November 2, 2018

Lantronix’s DSTni chip allows Internet, network embedding

To help developers build devices with embedded networking and Internet connectivity, Lantronix Inc. (Irvine, Calif.) unveiled April 9 what it reports is the first fully integrated semiconductor with the hardware components needed to enable those capabilities. The Device Server Technology Network Interface (DSTni) chip is scheduled to be available in fall 2001.

By Jim Montague, news editor, jmontague@cahners.com
PID, APC August 30, 2018

Pros and cons of autotuning—the big story

The historic challenges of single-loop tuning, the limited success of autotuning, and the modern difficulties of model-based control share the same root cause.

By Allan Kern, APC Performance LLC
PID, APC August 2, 2018

Pros and cons of autotuning control: Part 2

Proportional-integral-derivative (PID) controllers that can automatically select their own tuning parameters sound good, but face challenges.

By Control Engineering
PID, APC July 3, 2018

Ladder logic’s future role in automation

Nine considerations when selecting a programming language. Ladder logic is favored by manufacturers in discrete industries, but as technology and automation evolve, its usefulness compared to other IEC 61131-3 programming languages and PC programming depends on application complexity and other factors.

By Jon Breen, Breen Machine Automation Services
PID, APC June 1, 2018

Pros and cons of autotuning control: Part 1

Proportional-integral-derivative (PID) controllers that can automatically select their own tuning parameters sound good but face challenges.

By Control Engineering
PID, APC January 9, 2018

Eight examples of a properly working closed-loop quality system

Closed-loop quality systems should provide production, quality, traceability, and transparency throughout the production process.

By Valérie Goulévitch
PID, APC November 28, 2017

Not all PID controllers are the same

Variations in the proportional, integral, derivative (PID) algorithm from one controller to the next can be confusing. Here are considerations when applying PID to your next implementation.

By Control Engineering
PID, APC September 1, 2017

To PID or not to PID

The venerable proportional-integral-derivative (PID) algorithm can solve a variety of feedback control problems, but not all.

By Vance VanDoren, PhD, PE
PID, APC August 17, 2017

Know when to use open- or closed-loop control

Open-loop controls and closed-loop controls each have unique situations where they are needed and the operator needs to know the setting and the situation before deciding on which one to use.

By Lee Payne
PID, APC March 6, 2017

The PID learning process

While there are many excellent loop tuning methods available, many practitioners prefer tweaking proportional-integral-derivative (PID) tuning constants or using rules-of-thumb rather than doing the required step test and data analysis. But having knowledge about how the individual PID components interact can go a long way to learning proper tuning theory and methods.

By Nic van der Mey, Gustaf Gous
PID, APC April 21, 2016

Temperature controller series with PID constants

Panasonic's KT.R series of temperature controllers—KT4R, KT8R, and KT9R—are available in three DIN formats and the PID control mode ensures an input span of ±0.2%.

By Panasonic
PID, APC November 25, 2015

Fixing PID, Part 3

PID: Proportional-integral-derivative controllers may be ubiquitous, but they’re not perfect. Consider how deadtime affects integral action.

By Control Engineering
PID, APC October 30, 2014

Tuning PID loops for level control

One-in-four control loops are regulating level, but techniques for tuning PID controllers in these integrating processes are not widely understood.

By Lee Payne
PID, APC August 17, 2014

Fundamentals of cascade control

Sometimes two controllers can do a better job of keeping one process variable where you want it.

By Vance VanDoren, PhD, PE
PID, APC July 1, 2014

Tuning PID control loops for fast response

When choosing a PID tuning strategy for a specific control loop, it's important to match the technique to the needs of that loop & the larger process.

By Lee Payne
PID, APC June 10, 2014

PID math demystified, part 4

You’ve seen the equations, but have you thought about how those elements work together? Part 4: Feed forward

By Scott Hayes
PID, APC June 3, 2014

Growing recent graduates into controls engineers

Too many recent engineering graduates have never set foot inside a process plant before, or they have very little experience with process control systems.

By Bruce Brandt
PID, APC May 6, 2014

Digital, analog meter series

The NTM series of digital and analog meters by Otek are designed to withstand harsh conditions and have a user-friendly digital display and an automatic tricolor bargraph.

PID, APC April 28, 2014

Fixing PID, Part 2

Proportional-integral-derivative controllers may be ubiquitous, but they’re not perfect.

By Control Engineering
PID, APC February 18, 2014

New ideas for quality management: Part 1

Manufacturing quality tests in the lab can take time, causing a delay in production. Consider rapid testing with operators to deliver prompt feedback and make necessary adjustments sooner.

By John Clemons
PID, APC January 7, 2014

Radar measurement solution

Invensys' Foxboro Eckardt LevelWave Radar Series is a liquid measurement solution with a 360-degree rotation for applications including distillation, process tanks, and corrosive media.

PID, APC November 30, 2012

Fixing PID, Part 1

Proportional-integral-derivative controllers may be ubiquitous, but they’re not perfect.

By Control Engineering
PID, APC February 13, 2012

Chinese paper: Real-time cost control

Control Engineering International: Chinese paper enterprises are among the world's best real-time cost-control applications, according to a Control Engineering China (CEC) interview with Honeywell’s pulp, paper, and CWS unit.

PID, APC February 25, 2011

Applying gain scheduling

Exploring a process scenario that may be a good place to apply a gain scheduling strategy.

PID, APC January 20, 2011

Signal analyzer doubles acquisition bandwidth, ideal for operations applications

The new RSA5000 Series Signal Analyzer from Tektronix Inc. features advanced time, amplitude, and DPX trigger functions combined with swept DPX to discover and capture intermittent and rapidly changing signals.

PID, APC January 3, 2011

Hybrid surge protective device has multi-stage system of suppression

The Liebert SH Hybrid Series Surge Protective Device offers a coordinated multi-stage system of supporession and integrates the fast response time of the Silicone Avalanche Diode with the high-energy capability of the standard Liebert SI Series Metal Oxide Varistor.

PID, APC November 1, 2010

EC: Fluke 381 Remote Display True-rms Clamp Meter with iFlex

Power - monitoring, protection - Fluke Corporation. Fluke 381 Remote Display True-rms Clamp Meter with iFlex -Clamp meter's detachable display increases convenience and safety; iFlex current probe circles large, tightly-spaced conductors. This is a Control Engineering 2011 Engineers' Choice (EC) Award winner.

PID, APC April 12, 2010

Wonderware System Platform 4.0, Invensys Operations Management, augments real-time manufacturing integration

Invensys Operations Management announces availability of its Wonderware System Platform 4.0, enabling plant operators to more effectively manage and control equipment and processes, and information systems personnel to more easily integrate and make use of real-time manufacturing information.

PID, APC April 1, 2010

Advanced PACs with PID auto-tune functions

Ascon has introduced two new programmable automation controllers that provide precision control and analog and digital control in a fully distributable hardware platform. SigmaPAC and Sigma microPAC include advanced PID with auto-tune functions and can handle virtually any number of logic and sequence routines.

PID, APC April 1, 2010

Small-size, low budget controller

GE Intelligent Platforms announces Durus Plus, a low-end controller with built-in I/O, control and operator interfaces, RTD, analog out, four-function math, PID and Modbus master/slave communications. Typical applications include lighting control, conveyor control, and water level control or motor monitoring, where the unit can replace timers and counters for increased reliability.

PID, APC March 25, 2010

Opto 22 adds new RTD temperature sensing I/O module

Opto 22 Snap-AIRTD-10 is a two-channel analog input module used to monitor temperature with RTDs.

By Mark T Hoske
PID, APC March 12, 2010

Instrument transmitter simplifies plant maintenance and asset management

Honeywell's ST 3000 includes on-board diagnostics that require no configuration for Foundation Fieldbus and HART users.

By Peter Welander
PID, APC March 4, 2010

SmartStart for Proficy Change Management solution announced

GE Intelligent Platform solution helps manufacturing IT organizations manage changes in the mission-critical software that controls their processes.

By Renee Robbins
PID, APC March 3, 2010

Remote data manager integrates Web access, alarm handling, data capture: Siemens Industry

Siemens device manages remote installed process instruments, including those for flow, level, pressure, temperature, and weighing.

By Renee Robbins
PID, APC February 27, 2010

Cement process optimizer supports alternative fuel use

ABB control platform helps maintain kiln temperature stability while burning tires and other difficult fuels.

By Peter Welander
PID, APC February 24, 2010

Vendors collaborate for improved pulp mill control

Honeywell and BTG Instruments combine specialized sensors and APC functions to improve fiberline control.

By Peter Welander
PID, APC February 23, 2010

Engineering in Balance – 2010-02-23

Cartoon by Control Engineering asks, "What comes after closing closed-loop control?"

By Mark T. Hoske
PID, APC February 17, 2010

Shell signs Yokogawa in global deal

Shell has signed a "long term, competitive, collaborative, and performance based relationship" with Yokogawa to become a main automation contractor (MAC) for integrated production control and safety instrumented systems.

By Renee Robbins
PID, APC February 15, 2010

Ethanol facility faces environmental penalty

Corn Plus to pay $891,000 in penalties and install equipment to control resource use and reduce facility discharges.

By David Greenfield
PID, APC February 1, 2010

Wago 750-644 Bluetooth RF-Transceiver Module

Wago Corporation Wago’s 750-644 Bluetooth RF-Transceiver Module provides rapid, bidirectional, wireless controller-to-controller communication between I/O nodes. It advances controller-to-controller communication by eliminating wires—I/O status and variables within the controller’s process image are wirelessly transmitted.

PID, APC February 1, 2010

Looking Beyond STEM

Engineers must lead in innovation, but STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) is only part of the solution. Desirable, useful & sustainable inventions occur where technology, business, human factors & complexity intersect.

By Kevin Craig
PID, APC January 29, 2010

Understanding PID loop dynamics

When you watch your PID controller trying to move a process variable, do you understand the interaction of the three factors at each point on the curve?

By Peter Welander
PID, APC January 5, 2010

News and comment: EDDL team reorganizes for FDI

EDDL Cooperation Team reorganizes itself to become FDI. New unified technical and functional specs scheduled for 2010.

By Peter Welander
PID, APC December 23, 2009

Lattice Technology releases XVL Studio Version 9.0

Updated simulation and technical authoring application software delivers advanced digital mock up (DMU), technical documentation tools and improved GUI to manufacturers.

PID, APC December 20, 2009

Infor Drives Customized Manufacturing Operations at Kiva Systems

Infor ERP SyteLine Enables Automated Inventory and Production Control Processes

By Company Supplied
PID, APC December 18, 2009

Advanced remote monitoring suppliers collaborate to enhance capabilities

Yokogawa Corporation of America will provide value added services with NextNine Software Platform.

By Peter Welander
PID, APC December 9, 2009

Konica Minolta Sensing Americas Announces New 3D Scanning and Engineering Services Division

Konica Minolta announces the addition of its new 3D scanning and engineering services division to its existing 3D non-contact scanner business unit.

By Company Supplied
PID, APC December 3, 2009

Oracle bundles Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12 on HP infrastructure hardware

Hardware, software, and services bundle from Oracle and HP targets midsize industrial manufacturers, to help manage and grow business.

PID, APC November 20, 2009

Updated PID loop tuning guide now available

Fourth edition of ControlSoft's PID Loop Tuning Pocket Guide adds new features and is free for the asking.

By Peter Welander
PID, APC November 17, 2009

EMI: Invensys Operations Management Wonderware Intelligence Software business dashboard

Invensys Operations Management's new Wonderware Intelligence Software 1.0 is a source-agnostic, enterprise manufacturing intelligence (EMI) software designed to transform historian and operations data from multiple sources (Invensys or any other brand) into business intelligence dashboards.

PID, APC November 16, 2009

Cypress Envirosystems and Invensys form alliance to deliver energy-efficient automated control

Cypress Envirosystems' wireless control and monitoring solutions are compatible with Wonderware applications.

By David Greenfield
PID, APC November 7, 2009

Frito-Lay bakes environmental awareness into production processes

Green manufacturing proponents often argue that operating in a way that is friendly to the environment is also good for the corporate bottom line. Frito-Lay, the well known snack food maker, has found that adage to be true-sometimes in surprising ways.

By David Greenfield
PID, APC November 1, 2009

Driving Plant Optimization with Advanced Process Control

Once largely limited to petro and chemical plants, APC use has grown. Economic more than technical issues are key motives.

By Peter Welander, Control Engineering
PID, APC November 1, 2009

Updated control system rethinks field device connectivity and human interface

At its Global Users Exchange in Orlando, FL, Emerson Process Management announced the new DeltaV S-series platform with two major advances: a new concept of I/O on demand through a device communication approach dubbed electronic marshalling, and changes to its interfaces and work practices based on human-centered design.

PID, APC October 29, 2009

Grupo Hemas Taps Savi Networks to Monitor the Security and Status of Cargo Shipments in Real Time

Leading Mexican Logistics Firm Utilizes SaviTrak Intelligence Service and GPS To Improve Tracking and Security of Customer Shipments

By Company Supplied
PID, APC October 29, 2009

VAI Provides Syntec Industries with Shipshape ERP Software

S2K 5.0 delivers a robust enterprise management solution for marine textile manufacturer

By Company Supplied
PID, APC October 27, 2009

i2 Factory Planner improves user experience, increases planner productivity

i2 Factory Planner version 6.3.4 maximizes schedule adherence, reduces lead times, lowers inventory, and reduces overtime and premium shipments.

PID, APC October 1, 2009

New control system platform version rethinks field device connectivity, human interface

At its Global Users Exchange in Orlando, FL, Emerson Process Management announced the new DeltaV S-series platform with two major advances: a new concept of I/O on demand through a device communication approach dubbed electronic marshalling, and changes to its interfaces and work practices based on human-centered design.

PID, APC September 25, 2009

Power plant control system platform designed for the very long term

Siemens says that building in migration strategies from the start will allow the system to run for the life of the plant with provision to be kept current.

By Peter Welander
PID, APC September 24, 2009

HMIs: Updated FactoryTalk View Software from Rockwell

Helps engineers reduce HMI implementation time, view processes via the Internet

By Renee Robbins
PID, APC September 18, 2009

Opto 22 releases PAC Project 8.5 automation software

Opto 22 Automation Software Suite supports the company's new wired and wireless controllers and I/O system. The suite that includes control programming, HMI development, OPC connectivity, and database integration components. Control system designers can also use the new Wired+Wireless hardware to design and build systems with traditional Ethernet wiring, Wi-Fi, or any combination.

PID, APC September 3, 2009

Process intelligence: GE Fanuc Intelligent Platforms Launches Advanced Analytics Software

Proficy Troubleshooter, Proficy Cause+ and an updated Proficy Historian combine to provide manufacturing intelligence that can enhance process performance.

By Renee Robbins
PID, APC September 1, 2009

Improving return on industrial assets

If managers cannot measure performance, they cannot effectively diagnose and resolve problems. Overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) has become a critical key performance indicator (KPI) for companies seeking to measure asset performance and improve operational decision making. In essence, OEE is a compound KPI derived from three to four factors that measure the equipment's operational performa...

By Carlos A. Laurentys, Accenture
PID, APC September 1, 2009

Energy Audits: Starting Point for Sustainable Production

Energy audits permit tracking all water, air, gas, electric, and steam usage in a plant to help companies reduce consumption and improve the bottom line.

By Doug Burns and Marcia Walker, Rockwell Automation
PID, APC August 27, 2009

Controllers: DAQstation anniversary charts evolution of chart recorders

Yokogawa milestone notes power generation control room history - September 2009 marks the 10 year anniversary of the Yokogawa DAQstation data acquisition and display station, a revolutionary replacement for paper chart recorders when it was introduced in 1999.

PID, APC August 24, 2009

Innovation Insight 2009: Award winners tackle key industry problems

Many of the 11 winners of MBT's annual Innovation Insight awards competition tackle the problem of getting more innovative products to market faster.See what some of the best and brightest are doing.

By Sidney Hill, Jr., Executive Editor
PID, APC August 21, 2009

Interface: Dynamic simulation for subsea oil & gas applications

Invensys agreement delivers new interface that improves multi-phase flow simulation, enhancing design, control system checkout, and operator training.

By Renee Robbins
PID, APC August 20, 2009

MBT unveils its 2009 Innovation Insight Award winners

Manufacturing Business Technology, the leading source of information for manufacturing executives seeking to use information technology for a competitive advantage, has announced the winners of its 2009 Innovation Insight Awards competition.

PID, APC August 18, 2009

Device correlates broad range of temperature and voltage measurements

MeasurPoint from Data Translation provides high-accuracy data from thermocouples, RTDs, and other voltage-base devices.

By Peter Welander
PID, APC August 1, 2009

Leadville Cleans Up Watershed

Situated at the uppermost origins of the Arkansas River in the heart of the Rocky Mountains west of Denver, the city of Leadville, CO, carries the scars of decades of mining for gold, silver, copper, and other valuable metals. Starting out as a prospectors’ mining camp in the 1860s, Leadville has the highest elevation of any incorporated city in the U.

By David Crump, Opto 22
PID, APC July 29, 2009

SOA: Building an industrial operating system – IT benefits

Service-oriented architectures impact how engineers build workflows and make PLC, DCS, and HMI connections.

By Frank O Smith
PID, APC July 7, 2009

New automation strategies can transform how-and where-products are made

Companies have made great strides in improving how they design, build, and manage their product supply networks, but there have been no transformational changes to physically manufacturing products. It's time to think radically about how to manufacture in a "dark" site, where you have little to no labor.

By Bill Polk
PID, APC July 7, 2009

Pharmaceutical manufacturing: Consolidation, standardization drive automation decisions

Pharmaceutical companies are placing new emphasis on manufacturing to drive margin and growth; proper use of automation technology is vital, says a report from ARC.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC July 6, 2009

Sensors for better cow milking: LMI Technologies secures patent

LMI TechnologiesTime of Flight sensors, used in livestock management, improve yield performance and farm productivity, livestock well-being, profits, and product quality in the milking process.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC July 1, 2009

GE Fanuc adds new controller to its Proficy family

PAC8000 controllers provide DCS functionality, add flexibility to larger Proficy Process Systems control software family.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC July 1, 2009

Agile software development

Scrum and agile software development methodologies can reduce time & augment quality of projects significantly over traditional methods. Here's how.

By Dennis Brandl
PID, APC July 1, 2009

2009 Innovation Insight Awards: A revolution in product testing

MOST INNOVATIVE PRODUCT BY A MANUFACTURER ¦ FIRST PLACE Manufacturers of pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, and home care products have made great strides with methods of testing their products for contamination in recent years. With new rapid microbial methods, processes that used to consume 3 to 7 days—waiting to see if there is growth in a Petri dish—can now be completed in 18 hours.

By Sidney Hill, Executive Editor
PID, APC July 1, 2009

Temperature/process controller with 60 ms sampling

Omron Electronics LLC has extended its E5CN series 1/16 DIN size temperature and process controllers with advanced E5CN-H models that provide high-speed response with higher resolution and accuracy than standard models. The E5CN-H models offer a 60 ms sampling period for precise heater control. With accuracy of 0.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC June 25, 2009

Energy management: Honeywell improves energy efficiency at process plants

Honeywell Energy Management Solutions Portfolio tracks and evaluates energy consumption in process industry plants. Honeywell hardware, software, and services will improve energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

PID, APC June 17, 2009

Optical dissolved oxygen sensor for breweries

Mettler Toledo InPro 6970i dissolved oxygen sensor helps brewing applications to improve beer taste: Careful control of oxygen content keeps beer flavor consistent and improves shelf life.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC June 10, 2009

Flowmeter for diesel fuel consumption

Devices must be able to withstand extreme temperature swings in the installation environment, as end users employ them in automotive, marine, aerospace, and power generation applications.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC May 28, 2009

Simulation software: Maple and MapleSim new releases announced

Maplesoft announced new releases of its core products: MapleSim 2 introduces 3D visualization and animation tools, while Maple 13 provides both enhanced tools and new 3D plotting facilities.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC May 21, 2009

Bio-manufacturing researchers produce eco-friendly plastics

New zero-petroleum plastics manufacturing ideas include using bacteria to ferment organic and non-organic waste into bioplastics, and using vegetable oils to create a polyethylene-like bioplastic.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC May 12, 2009

Same 50 faults, just never in the same order? Try CIP Sync

The ODVA's time synchronization extension to Common Industrial Protocol (CIP) accurately traces a sequence of failures to determine a root cause across Ethernet networks.  

By Dave Rapini, Rockwell Automation
PID, APC May 12, 2009

PC in a drive: ultra-compact, integrated

Plastics, packaging, print, and textile industries can benefit from the B&R Industrial Automation Acoposmulti solution.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC May 7, 2009

Rapid value: Oracle E-Business Suite 12.1 promises easy-to-install, industry specific solutions

Latest release of the Oracle E-Business Suite is said to provide rapid value solutions, global enterprise platform, and industry-specific capabilities.

By Manufacturing Business Technology Staff
PID, APC May 1, 2009

Pharmaceutical industry update

Peter Welander talks to David Hankins and Glenn Restivo from Siemens’ pharmaceutical industry center about manufacturing challenges in a heavily regulated and rapidly consolidating industry. To listen to this podcast, visit www.controleng.com, click on the “Podcasts” tab in the multimedia box at the right side of the page, and then select “View All Podcasts” at the...

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC May 1, 2009

The Power of Real Time Intelligence

Real time control is not just for the factory floor. It has begun to appeal to enterprise management wanting to gain competitive advantage. While very few organizations are there yet, the ones who are have the capacity to do things that have never been done before.

By Frank O Smith for Control Engineering
PID, APC May 1, 2009

Model-based advanced process control helps create energy efficient plants

If cost weren't a factor, numerous technologies could be tapped to create the most energy-efficient plant. The latest furnaces, boilers, or co-generation equipment could be installed. The facility could have solar panels or geo-thermal heating. A new distributed process control system (DCS) could be deployed.

By Roberto Michel, Senior Contributing Editor
PID, APC April 23, 2009

Compact integrated controller, HMI, programming software

Siemens Simatic S7-1200 controller and HMI Basic panels both use new Simatic Step 7 Basic software.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC April 20, 2009

China coal gasification plant adds new automation for expansion

Shanghai Coking & Chemical's new capacity doubles methanol output and operates using fieldbus architecture. The plant (see larger image) converts coal to synthesized gas, methanol, and carbon monoxide in huge amounts. Each hour, the expanded plant produces...

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC April 1, 2009

Data Collection Leads to Reduced Scrap, Increased Quality

Having been in business for more than 150 years, Intermet is considered an expert in designing, engineering, and manufacturing castings from ductile iron, aluminum, magnesium, and zinc. The operation has a capacity of more than 700,000 tons annually. With headquarters in Ft. Worth, TX, the corporation consists of three multi-plant manufacturing divisions: ferrous, die cast, and PCPC (pressure-c...

By Jeanine Katzel for Control Engineering
PID, APC March 31, 2009

Open enrollment: New Lean, Six Sigma, Project Management, Kaizen training offered online

With its new online training service, Gemba Academy effectively removes the three most common barriers to rapidly educating people and applying business excellence practices: the cost of professional training, lack of in-house expertise, and difficulty scheduling training time.The academy offers on-demand, low cost online training in the fields of lean manufacturing, Six Sigma, value stream mapping, 5S, and project management by merging leading-edge technology and deep expertise in the application of business excellence practices.Online training courses are available as six-month subscriptions for $495. These courses enable companies to deliver professional training to an unlimited number of people at a fraction of the traditional cost. In addition, new content will be added every month to these courses based on member feedback."Lean manufacturing has always been a key to success for ventures I have led,” says Kevin Meyer, Gemba Academy partner and founder of Factory Strategies Group .

By Manufacturing Business Technology Staff
PID, APC March 26, 2009

Pre-engineered faceplates, HMI symbols added to Simatic PCS 7

Users gain advanced process library, ability to handle online recipe changes, better trending and reporting for the Siemens Energy & Automation Simatic PCS 7 process automation system. See photo.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC March 24, 2009

Eco-friendly design: Software ensures all materials meet environmental standards

Doing business in other countries means understanding everything there is to know about environmental regulations. Product development specialist PTC helped the APC division of Schneider Electric do just that by leveraging InSight, a solution that supports product compliance tracking at the substance, material, part, and product levels.

By Jim Fulcher, contributing editor (jimfulcher@comcast.net)
PID, APC March 18, 2009

Smart grid project underway in Germany

ABB and a consortium of partners in southern Germany are trying to create a sustainable power network, integrating clean energy generated by solar panels, wind turbines, fuel cells and other sources of distributed generation, and giving grid operators real-time information about supply and demand throughout the entire power network.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC March 18, 2009

New book explores energy conservation and creation ideas

Mission critical facilities expert examines current power network and provides solutions for industry and consumer consideration.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC March 18, 2009

Brewery succeeds with sustainable approach

From wind power and green transportation to methane gas co-generation and fully automated brewing operations, New Belgium Brewery continues to set a high standard for reaping the benefits of sustainable engineering. See photos. Link to video.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC March 17, 2009

NERC security officer explains concerns about critical infrastructure protection

Michael Assante, chief security officer for NERC discusses cyber security issues in video interview. View video to learn how to lower cyber security risk. Link to other resources.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC March 1, 2009

Double shot and score: Link your advanced control systems to predictive models to improve plant yield, profitability

Built in 2005, East Kansas Agri Energy's ethanol plant in Garnett, Kan., was designed to produce ethanol from locally grown corn. But soon after the plant was first commissioned—with demand for fuel ethanol soaring—management started looking for ways to increase production capacity and reduce energy costs.

By Malcolm Wheatley, Senior Contributing Editor
PID, APC March 1, 2009

Corporations, environmental groups agree on major climate initiatives

The U.S. Climate Action Partnership (USCAP) has unveiled a comprehensive and detailed set of integrated policy recommendations for developing legislation that would create an environmentally effective and economically sustainable national climate protection program. The landmark document – “A Blueprint for Legislative Action” – was developed through two years of intensiv...

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC February 18, 2009

Siemens PLM partners with Capgemini for integrated supplier relationship management

Siemens PLM Software will work with Capgemini Group , a foremost provider of consulting, technology and outsourcing services, to develop and deliver an integrated supplier relationship management (SRM) solution. Based on Siemens PLM Software’s Teamcenter software for SRM and Capgemini’s knowledge of process synchronization, systems integration and rapid implementation methodologies, the solution will help customers identify and optimize their supply sources, exchange data with suppliers, negotiate agreements using best-in-class sourcing technology, and monitor ongoing supplier performance. Teamcenter for SRM is the set of processes that empower purchasing to work with suppliers to minimize costs while maintaining and improving quality, service and innovation. The joint solution, which brings together PLM and direct material sourcing, delivers services that include solution configuration and installation, content creation and on-going application support. The Siemens-Capgemini integrated solution will focus on the automotive, aerospace, consumer products, machinery, and high-tech industries, supporting the optimal level of supplier collaboration that is required to unlock value creation and deliver sustainable savings. According to Dick Slansky, senior analyst and PLM research director for Dedham, Mass.-based ARC Advisory Group , “The partnership highlights the expanded domains of the product life cycle and how [product life-cycle management vendors] like Siemens PLM Software are now providing solutions well beyond the traditional engineering design/build domains.” Capgemini will establish implementation services for the Teamcenter for SRM suite of applications, as well as integration services between the modules and other third-party PLM and ERP systems. The offering will be rounded out with position testing, data conversion, and change management. “Siemens PLM Software has the tools necessary to make supplier relationship management an embedded skill across multiple functions,” says Ed Stark, global supply chain leader for Capgemini.

By Manufacturing Business Technology Staff
PID, APC February 12, 2009

Beyond the tactical: Five strategies for using S&OP to drive maximum benefit

Everyone’s talking about next-generation-S&OP solutions and the value they can bring to an organization. But how do companies actually drive the maximum value out of these solutions and turn S&OP implementation into tangible ROI? Here are five strategies for maximizing the benefits of next-gen S&OP.

By David Johnston, senior VP, JDA Software Group
PID, APC February 10, 2009

Airflow sensor for embedded applications

Degree Controls F600 pulse airflow sensor provides rapid response to fan failure or airflow blockage prior to component temperature rise.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC February 4, 2009

Because process matters: Metastorm launches BPM awareness blog

Business process management (BPM) solutions specialist Metastorm has unveiled a new blog site, called Because Process Matters , to provide viewpoints on industry trends, and host multimedia content highlighting customer successes, partner solutions, events, and product releases.The new Metastorm blog provides another channel for Metastorm to communicate with a rapidly growing online community of IT constituents interested in following Metastorm and related BPM and enterprise application integration (EAI) trends on a global basis. The blog adds to Metastorm’s existing social media and Web communications channels.Metastorm hopes the new blog will foster productive community discussion and increase awareness of the effectiveness of BPM and EAI solutions in helping organizations see the business more clearly, think about how to better leverage existing assets, and do things that ultimately lower costs, reduce risk, and enhance agility.

By Manufacturing Business Technology Staff
PID, APC February 1, 2009

Application development: Give it a REST

In the era of “doing more with less,” you may need to implement manufacturing applications that consist of a database and a set of user interface screens and reports. A software architecture style for these environments is highly recommended and widely used. It is called REST, short for Representational State Transfer, and describes a collection of network architecture principles for building scaleable and robust distributed applications.

By Dennis Brandl
PID, APC February 1, 2009

Energy Management: First Steps Toward Greater Efficiency, Part Two

A primary source of power for many manufacturing operations, particularly in the process industries, is the boiler. Therefore, it is important to optimize the boiler combustion process to provide maximum efficiency while respecting equipment and environmental constraints. Improved combustion control is one of the simplest ways to decrease plant operational costs and improve safety.

By David Greenfield, Control Engineering
PID, APC February 1, 2009

Are you being social?

For someone who has spent a great deal of time working with the Internet (I was setting up Web directories and posting articles on Websites as early as 1995), I feel like I have come incredibly late to the whole “social media” thing. Sure, I’ve visited YouTube and have LinkedIn and Classmates.

By David Greenfield, editorial director
PID, APC February 1, 2009

Staying the course: Tech-savvy companies maintain ERP investments during economic downturn

While the global economic downturn that began in late 2008 is slowing the overall ERP software market, there are some bright spots for ERP vendors. There is anecdotal evidence that small and midsize businesses (SMB) are more likely than large enterprises to be moving forward with ERP projects, even as one analyst firm says the ERP market has slipped to near-zero growth.

By Roberto Michel, senior contributing editor (robertomichel@new.rr.com)
PID, APC January 30, 2009

Speaking in Tongues: Understanding the IEC 61131-3 Programming Languages

Long dismissed as just a European phenomenon, the IEC 61131-3 programmable-controller-language standard is gaining traction in the United States. Many controls engineers are familiar with one or a few of these languages, but not all. That makes it difficult for them to make the best choice for a given application based on programming-language characteristics. See diagrams.

By Ted Thayer, Bosch Rexroth Electric Drives and Controls
PID, APC January 29, 2009

Free tech seminar explores Logix systems options

Opto 22 has extended its series of free technical seminars on options for maintaining or expanding Allen-Bradley Logix systems.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC January 29, 2009

Free seminar explores options to expand Logix systems

Opto 22 has extended its series of free technical seminars that explain the options they have for maintaining or expanding Rockwell Automation Allen-Bradley Logix systems.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC January 26, 2009

Recipe for success: Presidio tells of business-enablement success stories for Johnsonville Sausages, Reddy Ice

The food & beverage manufacturing sector faces a unique challenge in how retool and upgrade aging infrastructure while still remaining profitable. Business IT specialist Presidio points to two customers who successfully upgraded business applications using flexible technology leasing solutions.

By Manufacturing Business Technology Staff
PID, APC January 26, 2009

Freescale eases embedded development with 32-bit industrial connectivity solution

Freescale Semiconductor introduced what it characterizes as a one-stop-shop industrial connectivity solution that combines its most highly integrated 32-bit ColdFire microcontroller (MCU) family with a complimentary offering of the Freescale MQX RTOS.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC January 21, 2009

Master of disaster: Basic primer offers step-by-step recovery planning for the SMB

Disaster Recovery Planning may seem an abstract concept, but the need for it is critical to ensure business continuity during an interruption. An unexpected event like a flood or fire will activate an emergency plan. We present here a practical guide to disaster recovery, from planning through implementation.

By Mark Shurr, VP, Ada Business Technology
PID, APC January 7, 2009

Upgrading control for better polymer performance

Polymer producer to add APC to polyethylene lines to drive process output and quality.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC January 1, 2009

Engineers can’t light a light bulb?

In one of Peter Welander’s recent “Pillar to Post” blogs, he mentions a video showing a group of MIT engineering graduates unable to figure out how to solve a basic electrical challenge: Given a D-cell battery, a flashlight bulb, and a piece of wire, some could not figure out how to use these together to make the bulb light.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC January 1, 2009

Doing more with open-source and recycled systems

In times of economic stress, all companies and departments are challenged to do more with less, and this includes manufacturing IT departments. On a regular basis, manufacturing IT has to address new user requirements, continual product upgrades, hardware that rapidly becomes obsolete, and new security threats.

By Dennis Brandl
PID, APC December 29, 2008

Supervise industrial Ethernet networks via Web browser

Moxa introduces a Web browser based network management system called MXview, which is intended for industrial automation and control applications. MXview provides network management tools for monitoring and diagnosing industrial Ethernet networks. The new system boosts operational stability and efficiency, and lets administrators easily maintain and upgrade an arsenal of Ethernet switches at ...

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC December 17, 2008

The mobile enterprise: BizTalk Server now speaks to handheld RFID devices

BizTalk RFID Mobile extends the power of BizTalk Server RFID to mobile devices running Windows Mobile and Windows CE. The result:  simpler device management and offline processing capabilities that reduce total cost of ownership.

By Manufacturing Business Technology Staff
PID, APC December 16, 2008

GE’s 2008 ecomagination revenues rise dramatically

GE announced that revenues from its range of energy efficient and environmentally advantageous products and services will surge 21% to $17 billion in 2008, while GE’s annual investment in cleaner research and development will pass $1.4 billion.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC December 15, 2008

Hatching distributed automation architectures

Automation keeps fish hatcheries healthy by providing a consistent environment for fish eggs to be cultivated under artificial conditions for breeding, repopulation, and other purposes. Typically, hatchery workers release the female fish's eggs (a process known as “stripping”) and then add the male fish's sperm (milting.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC December 10, 2008

Optical character verifier boosts vision packaging line quality

Next-generation Optical Character Verifier 2 (OCV2) from Systech International improves the inspection accuracy and reliability of character inspection by incorporating machine vision expertise into the product’s functionality.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC December 9, 2008

There by Christmas: Robust VPN keeps apparel maker ahead of the fashion curve

The apparel industry, perhaps more than any other, feels the need for speed when it comes to getting new products to market. “Speed is a core competency in the fashion business,” says Fernando Gonzalez, CIO of Byer California, a San Francisco-based manufacturer of clothing that appeals primarily to teenage girls. “In just weeks a new design can go from ‘hot’ to ‘not’, and slip from the full-price rack to the closeout discounter.”

By Malcolm Wheatley, senior contributing editor (malcolm_wheatley@compuserve.com)
PID, APC December 3, 2008

Emerson introduces new software platform for its flow computer family

New FloBoss 107 flow manager, first with the new platform, offers application flexibility with new configuration and HMI features, including dynamic configuration software and an LCD touchpad to simplify operation, Emerson says.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC December 3, 2008

Multivariate analysis engine for embedding, integration

Real-time software platform can drive continuous and batch processes.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC November 26, 2008

Tight as a drum: RFID-enabled e-pedigree simplifies product tracking, traceability

There are plenty of valid applications for RFID, but sometimes the technology just doesn’t seem practical. Now that doesn’t have to be the case. Case-in-point involves Dow Corning, a global supplier of silicon-based technology, which recently implemented an RFID application to tag and track 55-gallon metal drums filled with liquids—materials that usually prevent reliable reads.

By Jim Fulcher, contributing editor (jimfulcher@comcast.net)
PID, APC November 25, 2008

Open-standard nanoETXexpress Computer-on-Modules form factor gets more support

Developed by Kontron, a credit card-sized open-standard nanoETXexpress Computer-on-Module form factor (84 mm x 55 mm) for developing ultra-mobile mini-computer devices based on x86 processors with 45nm technology has its first second-source partner in Aaeon.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC November 1, 2008

A strategic platform: Chemical maker finds ERP fully supports its growth-through-acquisition strategy

Vertellus Specialties, a $450-million-a-year manufacturer of chemicals, could be the subject of two business-school case studies. One would explore the reasons behind the company's history of mergers & acquisitions. The other would document why the company settled on a single ERP system to support the business through those transitions.

By Malcolm Wheatley, senior contributing editor
PID, APC November 1, 2008

Engineering-driven Ethernet

From its industrial introduction as an IT-driven project to connect plant-floor and front-office systems on a common corporate network, Ethernet has since evolved for engineering-specific applications. This transformation is leading Ethernet to become a preferred industrial network platform widely used in mission-critical discrete and process manufacturing applications.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC November 1, 2008

Proficy Process Systems for smaller applications, OEMS

GE Fanuc Intelligent Platforms has released Proficy Process Systems in a new 250 I/O size, single-computer offering targeted at smaller applications and OEMs. Proficy Process Systems. a fully-integrated process control system, provides improved quality, increased throughput, and efficiency. Multi-disciplined PACSystems controllers can handle process, discrete, and motion control applications fo...

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC November 1, 2008

Materials Use Reduction via Advanced Process Control

Based in India, Nirma manufactures detergents, bath soaps, salt, industrial products, and fertilizer. Its products have a retail reach of more than two million retail outlets and more than 300 million loyal consumers throughout India. The company started as a one-man operation in 1969, and today employs about 15,000 people.

By Dilip Kannan, Honeywell Automation India Ltd.
PID, APC November 1, 2008

Packaging solutions specialist supports end-user versatility with an ETO/CTO business model

Small companies like De Pere, Wis.-based Campbell Wrapper routinely rely on key people who are well versed in a number of functional areas. “I wear multiple hats here,” says Todd Goodwin, VP of finance and administration for the privately held manufacturer of horizontal flow wrappers and feeding equipment.

By Staff
PID, APC November 1, 2008

A Step Ahead of Regulations

Manufacturing facilities, like most other large enterprises, require large amounts of power to maintain operations. These types of facilities are among the heaviest energy consumers and are now increasingly finding themselves needing to respond to the complex issues brought about by rapidly rising fuel costs.

By Arun Sinha, Opto 22
PID, APC October 21, 2008

Training: Company announces mobile application development classes

Syware offers classes in using Visual CE and associated programming tools to rapidly develop mobile embedded-control applications.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC October 17, 2008

Under pressure: Gas, liquid, hydraulic pressure switches

Honeywell released an aerospace-rated switch with rapid customization options and a broad pressure range, as well as a small, tough switch for hydraulic brake systems in harsh environments with IP65 sealing,high burst rating,and high resistance to shock and vibration for use with critical systems. See photos.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC October 16, 2008

Food safety: Analyzer detects melamine contamination in protein-based products

Sensor technology exists to prevent serious food contamination events.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC September 29, 2008

ERP integration: BreconRidge uses response management to meet customer demand

Using Kinaxis RapidResponse integrated with SAP ERP, design and manufacturing services supplier BreconRidge now offers its customers more accurate original-commitment information and supporting details for constraints or problem materials through improved “capable-to-promise” analysis.

By Manufacturing Business Technology Staff
PID, APC September 25, 2008

Cross-industry cause: October is National Quality Month

Twenty-four years may have passed since National Quality Month was first proclaimed by President Ronald Reagan in 1984, yet there are still many quality-related issues manufacturers face on a daily basis—food safety, toy recalls, the mortgage industry crisis, and the subsequent current financial turmoil, to name a few.As a reminder of the critical role that quality can play in solving many cross-industry problems, The American Society for Quality (ASQ) reminds us that October is National Quality Month.National Quality Month focuses on the strategic importance of quality and continuous improvement. It also strengthens the commitment to quality and performance excellence by organizations across the country. Many organizations have created their own special events, and recognition programs, in an effort to convey the strategic impact of quality on every industry for National Quality Month."One only needs to read the headlines we've seen over the past year to understand and acknowledge the critical importance that quality concepts and processes can play in today's business landscape," says Roberto Saco, president of ASQ.The American Society for Quality is a leading authority on quality and a resource provider for more than 60 years.

By Manufacturing Business Technology Staff
PID, APC September 22, 2008

Enterprise PLM: ERP vendors offering more support for product development

The recognition of product life-cycle management (PLM) as a strategic business process is becoming more evident as even midmarket ERP vendors are adding more PLM functionality to their product portfolios. Take a look now at what QAD, Infor, and Oracle are doing to expand the Enterprise PLM arena.

By Manufacturing Business Technology Staff
PID, APC September 19, 2008

VersaMax Micro module controls temperature, weighs

VersaMax Micro module has capabilities for temperature control, weighing applications.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC September 11, 2008

Contract manufacturer unifies enterprise view with operations software

Catalyst has standardized on the entire Aegis software suite. “Catalyst is aggressively expanding and believes [it] depends strongly on maintaining control and uniformity across our operations,” said CEO Jim Matthews.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC September 11, 2008

Middleware: Lockheed Martin, RTI team up to provide LabVIEW messaging software

Promising to extend LabVIEW users' ability to distribute data in real time over heterogeneous networks, Lockheed Martin's Maritime Security; Ship Systems business and Real-Time Innovations (RTI), maker of real-time-enabling middleware software, announced a joint effort to deliver messaging middleware for National Instruments LabVIEW applications. The users who will most benefit include...

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC September 4, 2008

RFID: Tag for boxes or polymeric containers, future trends, training

Radio frequency identification tags advance in sophistication, and RFID learning opportunities at two upcoming conferences are available. Details, including identification of next-generation RFID trends, follow.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC September 3, 2008

Harnessing the Power of Smart Cameras for Machine Vision Applications

Making the incidental check to determine accuracy of a part or product flow on a production line might be a simple task, but when those inspections and measurements need to be made at rapid-fire speed with unwavering precision, it’s time to consider harnessing the capabilities of a smart camera.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC September 1, 2008

Multivariable controllers balance competing objectives

Multivariable controllers differ from traditional single-variable controllers in that they can regulate more than one process variable by using more than one actuator at once. Doing so can be difficult if each actuator effects more than one process variable, but if those interactions can be quantified, the controller can determine the control efforts required to drive all of the process variab...

By Vance VanDoren, Ph.D., P.E., Control Engineering
PID, APC August 28, 2008

Multi-zone: PID, data acquisition supports ramp/soak control

Modular controller provides multi-zone PID control, data acquisition and I/O modules for PC, DCS or PLC control systems, and integrates data logging and advanced alarm management.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC August 19, 2008

The ABC’s of SBE: RuleStream platform extends AutoCAD integration

Standards-based engineering (SBE) solutions specialist RuleStream says a new extension to augument AutoCAD software integration stands to benefit users spanning sales, engineering, and manufacturing operations by capturing engineering knowledge and using it to automate key business processes across the enterprise.

By Manufacturing Business Technology Staff
PID, APC August 6, 2008

Listen in: Ethanol producer adopts model predictive control to boost production

Optimizing platform offers process specific capabilities not available from conventional regulatory control.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC August 5, 2008

HMI/SCADA: Microsoft Fluent technology helps enhance Proficy iFIX 5.0

Ribbon tool bars (see photo) and nine other classes of upgrades improve functionality of the latest version of GE Fanuc's Proficy HMI/SCADA iFIX 5.0 software without requiring an operating system change.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC August 1, 2008

By the Numbers – 2008-08-01

>30 tips for hypermiling (exceeding the EPA mpg ratings for a vehicle) are available in the article “Beating the EPA—the Whys and How to Hypermile.” Mileage logs often show 20% gains in mpg, even for vehicles that are not hybrids. www.cleanmpg.com 1,000s of postings mentioning “wireless” are available online; joining those will be 4 new articles on wireless tren...

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC August 1, 2008

Exact Software: Business analytics solution soothes international growing pains for Alltech Biotechnology

The good news for Alltech Biotechnology, a leader in the animal feed industry, was rapid international growth. The bad news was that in the meantime, the Lexington, Ken.-based company's number of major databases had grown to 60. Alltech uses perishable products, so it's essential for managers to track supply numbers and inventory expiration dates to avoid wasting labor and resources.

By Jim Fulcher
PID, APC July 14, 2008

Video: Real-time temperature monitoring helps glass making

Newly posted video shows how real-time temperature monitoring helps glass making.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC July 10, 2008

Help for the Harried Manager

For engineers who must learn project management skills on the fly, easy-to-use tools are the name of the game.

By Larry Maloney, Contributing Editor
PID, APC July 3, 2008

New product: Power over Ethernet (PoE) industrial Ethernet switches

Aaxeon Lanolinx industrial Ethernet switches have redundant an injector function, 12 V dc to 48 V dc input, and more.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC July 1, 2008

Get lean, get automation, get help

Get educated, get help, get lean, and apply automation where it makes sense to do so. These were among recommendations shared with attendees to a June 1, 2008, best practices and ideas session at “A Passion for Manufacturing, 2008 SME Annual Meeting & Interactive Unconference,” in Detroit.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC June 24, 2008

Fuel for change: ILOG solution seeks to solve higher transportation and inventory costs

The costs associated with storing and managing inventory are rising rapidly. According to the 18th Annual State of Logistics Report , published by the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals , inventory carrying costs rose 49 percent between 2002 and 2006. Globalization and increased complexity in supply chain management make it difficult to identify the true drivers of inventory costs.Tools like ILOG Inventory Analyst allow developing global inventory optimization strategies to improve inventory turns and free up working capital.

By Manufacturing Business Technology Staff
PID, APC June 23, 2008

Relevant ranking: CAM software market leaders named by CIMdata

Version 17 of the NC Software and Related Services Market Assessment report offered by Ann Arbor, Mich.-based CIMdata names the worldwide computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) software market leaders for 2007, and projected those expected to be market leaders in 2008.For 2007, Dassault Systemes was the market leader on the basis of both vendor revenues received and end-user payments for CAM software and services. CNC Software was the leader on the basis of industrial seats shipped, and Planit Holdings was the leader on the basis of industrial seats installed. SolidCAM was named as the most rapidly growing vendor.Notes Alan Christman, CIMdata chairman and primary author of the report, “Even though there have been recent mergers and acquisitions, the CAM software market continues to be highly fragmented and competitive," adding that there is no single vendor or small group of vendors that dominate the worldwide market.CIMdata tracks approximately 50 CAM software vendors, and the rankings in the report each list 20 to 30 vendors, depending upon the category.

By Manufacturing Business Technology Staff
PID, APC June 23, 2008

Feeling the Pressure

DN's 2008 Salary Survey reveals today's engineers are stressed out when it comes to demanding workloads and company politics.

By Elizabeth M. Taurasi, Executive Editor
PID, APC June 5, 2008

Acquisition analysis: 4 system integrators merge

Glenmount Global Solutions (GGS), since January has acquired three automation system integrators: Crown ESA, Tegron, and FluidIQs. Together they expect to….

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC June 5, 2008

RSTechED: Manufacturing future, software integration

Sessions and discussions at the 2008 RSTechED hosted by Rockwell Automation helped attendees see a brighter manufacturing future.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC June 3, 2008

Merger payoff: Enhanced, unified MES software

Wonderware released new software to address critical issues in manufacturing operations, evolving and integrating offerings from the 2007 acquisition of MES software company Cimnet. Manufacturing execution systems (MES) continues to integrate automation and enterprise.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC June 1, 2008

Feel IT: Microsoft wants to earn your love for Dynamics

Can users really love a business application? Jakob Nielsen, principal user experience manager, Microsoft Dynamics, asserts unequivocally you can. “There's usability, and then there's desirability,” Nielsen explains. “Designing the user experience isn't just about making business applications usable, but making people love them.

By Frank O Smith (fosmith@thewritinggroup.com)
PID, APC June 1, 2008

JavaBot: Automating Coffee?

The next time you’re on the lower east side of Manhattan, you might want to check out the Roasting Plant Coffee shop at 81 Orchard Street. There you can get a steaming cup of your favorite variety made from freshly ground beans — by a robot. Sort of a robot, anyway. You’ll still see the familiar baristas working with customers, but a machine, known as the JavaBot, will make yo...

By Paul Garcia, Wago Corporation
PID, APC June 1, 2008

Open and secure SCADA with DNP3

The DNP3 protocol has become widely accepted within water and electrical utilities worldwide for SCADA communications with field equipment. One of the reasons for its acceptance is because it is an open protocol. This allows manufacturers to supply equipment to utilities which can be easily integrated into their SCADA systems.

By Paul Gibson, MultiTrode
PID, APC June 1, 2008

Why are PID loops so difficult to master?

Getting PID loops to operate well is a major concern in most process industries. Loop tuning related topics are the most heavily researched subject on the Control Engineering Website, year after year. Tuning articles are always heavily read. One would think that by now, loop tuning techniques would be mastered by middle school, but such is not the case.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC May 16, 2008

Automatica: Assembly, robots, vision trade fair

Automatica International Trade Fair for Automation: Assembly, Robotics, Vision will take place June 10-13, 2008, at the New Munich Trade Fair Centre, to bring together robotics and automation; some application notes follow.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC May 7, 2008

Control practice: Why are PID loops so difficult to master?

Reader activity and field research suggest frustration with loop tuning is widespread in process plants.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC May 1, 2008

Vision Sensors Error-Proof Oil Cap Assembly

Supplying parts to the world’s leading automotive companies leaves no room for error. That’s why Miniature Precision Components (MPC) uses three vision sensors to error-proof the automated assembly of oil-caps at its Prairie du Chien, WI, facility. With 41 molding machines ranging in size from 25 to 550 tons, this 100,000 sq.

By John Lewis, Cognex Corp.
PID, APC May 1, 2008

Data risk for RS-485 users?

“Many RS-485 users are completely unaware that they are taking unnecessary risk with their data because of the method they use for driver control,” said Jeff Hunter, design engineer at Sealevel Systems. New driver control methods can help RS-485 eliminate the risks of data contention and corruption, Hunter says.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC April 8, 2008

White paper warns: Data risk for RS-485 users

Many RS-485 users are unaware that they are taking unnecessary data risks because of the method they use for driver control, says a design engineer at Sealevel Systems. Common driver control methods are....

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC April 2, 2008

Loop tuning software: Self-adjusting platform follows process changes

Software allows loops to re-tune themselves when process conditions fluctuate.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC April 1, 2008

Exploring new frontiers for 3D models

The online product configurator found on Newark, Ohio-based Holophane's Web site—www.holophane.com—could turn you into a lighting-fixtures junkie. From a series of drop-down menus, you pick the desired design, post height, and finish type. Based on those choices, the site generates a 3D view of the assembly.

By Kenneth Wong, contributing editor
PID, APC April 1, 2008

Use technology to cultivate a skilled workforce

We've all read articles on the growing workforce epidemic spreading across the global marketplace. As the Baby Boomer generation—more than 78 million strong in the U.S. alone—begins to trade in its work boots for beach sandals, this historic workforce shift will simultaneously plague existing organizations that are not prepared for its arrival.

By David P. Spencer, VP, discrete manufacturing, Infosys Technologies
PID, APC March 31, 2008

The Culinary Art of Mechatronics

Tutorial: If you’re a Food Channel fan, as I am, you probably have heard Alton Brown talking about hardware and software as ingredients in culinary projects. Today, we’re going to talk about some of the hardware and software ingredients that go into mechatronic projects. For Alton Brown, software includes eggs, milk, water—all the “wet” stuff that goes into food.

By C.G. Masi, Control Engineering
PID, APC March 28, 2008

Classification by numbers: Dutch chemicals manufacturer adopts e Cl@ss-based spend analysis

Colin Rickard, a managing director with data-management specialist DataFlux, says work with chemicals giant DSM prompted development of an off-the-shelf commodity coding solution for the purchasing and spend-analysis process that saves users time when managing data quality with international coding standards such as UNSPSC and e Cl@ss.

By Malcolm Wheatley, senior contributing editor, Heerlen, The Netherlands
PID, APC March 13, 2008

PACSystems 5th anniversary; development software free download

Benefits of PACs seen in hardware/software from GE Fanuc Intelligent Platforms.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC March 6, 2008

PLM consulting: Siemens and Wipro to help customers install PLM technology 

Siemens PLM Software, a provider of product life-cycle management (PLM) software and services, and IT services firm Wipro Technologies announced a global consulting and systems integrator alliance to provide optimized PLM software and services.

By Manufacturing Business Technology Staff
PID, APC March 6, 2008

ERP Appliance: SAP and Intel team on preconfigured solution for medium-size enterprises

SAP is teaming with Intel to market a Linux-based server preloaded with SAP’s Business All-in-One ERP solution. The product—being touted as “an ERP appliance”—will be powered by Intel’s Xeon processor. It will run SAP’s MaxDB database and the SUSE Linux Enterprise operating system from Novell.

By PRNewswire-FirstCall
PID, APC March 5, 2008

Software tools: PlantTriage adds graphical modeling

Drag-and-drop functions simplify matching model and actual process behavior.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC March 1, 2008

Europe: “The first economy of the low-carbon age”

It’s a new era in the fight against climate change, says European Commission president José Manuel Barroso. The 27 countries of the European Union have proclaimed far-reaching mandates to reduce carbon emissions and boost renewable energy use. He called on the rest of the world to join the EU in “the great project of our generation.

By Michael Babb, Editor, Control Engineering Europe
PID, APC March 1, 2008

2007 marks a year of success, progress and prosperity in Russia

The year 2007, as expected, was a successful year for the entire Russian economy. High oil prices and high domestic political motivation for investment ensured fairly good growth rates in most industries. Investors strove to use the favorable situation to the fullest extent and build future-oriented businesses.

By Inna Lukasik, General Manager, Control Engineering Russia
PID, APC March 1, 2008

Process Controllers Predict the Future

A feedback controller can steer a process variable toward the desired setpoint only if it can somehow predict the future effects of its current control efforts. A model-based controller does so with the help of a mathematical representation of the process’s behavior. A well-tuned PID loop uses an implicit model characterized by the values of the controller’s P (proportional), I (int...

By Vance J. VanDoren, Ph.D., P.E., Control Engineering
PID, APC March 1, 2008

VME/VXS board boasts PowerPC, FPGA

Pentek, Inc. has released Model 4207 for high-performance digital signal processing and data-acquisition systems. The board employs Freescale’s MPC8641D dual core PowerPC AltiVec processor and a Xilinx Virtex-4 FX Series FPGA. The company’s fabric-transparent crossbar switch bridges a number of gigabit serial resources including two XMCs, dual VXS ports, dual fiber channel ports, an...

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC February 28, 2008

Getting on the bus: PCI, PXI Profibus interfaces

National Instruments introduced new PCI and PXI Profibus interfaces, helping control engineers integrate LabView software into benchtop, real-time, and device test networks.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC February 23, 2008

Rapid PLM: Dassault targets midmarket with “express” version of ENOVIA SmartTeam

Dassault Systemes has introduced an easy-to-install product life-cycle management solution tailored for medium-size companies. This is a departure from Dassault’s history of catering primarily to top-tier manufacturing organizations. 

By Manufacturing Business Technology Staff
PID, APC February 22, 2008

Exploring new dimensions: Manufacturers finding many practical uses for 3D CAD models

Interactive product manuals developed by Logicom might bring out the handyman in you. In the repair manual for a boiler, the program guides you through the intricate wirework and mechanical layouts of the device in animated steps, visually directing you to the critical springs and control panels. This is just one example of the practical uses some forward-thinking manufacturers are finding for 3D CAD data. 

By Kenneth Wong, contributing editor
PID, APC February 22, 2008

PLM: Autodesk 2009 products to enhance design, collaboration

Updates to Autodesk products will help manufacturers virtually design a products and simulate their use before they are built.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC February 6, 2008

New software: Loop performance technology for power plants

Emerson Process Management introduced SmartProcess LoopMetrics technology, software engineered to help utilities improve the performance of power generating facilities, reportedly reducing costs, and increasing unit efficiency.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC February 6, 2008

Cyber security: CIA warns about industry hacking, extortion risks

SANS Institute comments follow on CIA process control and SCADA security presentation.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC February 1, 2008

Thriving through innovation

As I write this article, a host of negative economic data is streaming in and the major markets appear to be in a state of freefall. Transcending the subprime mortgage debacle, which has devastated the housing and financial markets, today’s economic woes seem to have a grip on virtually every industry—including manufacturing.

By Marc Moschetto, editorial director
PID, APC February 1, 2008

CAD data finds new use in manufacturing supply chain, support organizations

3D CAD data has many other uses outside the engineering function—in computer-based training tools, for example, as well as in marketing and maintenance manuals. But making use of 3D data for such purposes presents a challenge because often it's too technical for the nonspecialist user, thereby requiring costly transformations that undermine the whole logic of reusing the design data in th...

By Staff
PID, APC February 1, 2008

Rexam’s agile IT initiative keeps plants running

A division of London-based Rexam, an $8-billion packaging manufacturer with 24,000 employees and operations in 20 countries, the business had invested heavily in automating its 17 North American beverage can plants, which supplied cans to customers such as Anheuser-Busch and Coca-Cola. A single instance of SAP's R/3 enterprise application suite linked the plants to the administrative processes ...

By Malcolm Wheatley, senior contributing editor
PID, APC January 31, 2008

Rapid production: Survey says e-manufacturing is ready for the mass market

Mass production in the Western world is on the brink of a silent revolution and e-manufacturing is an important part of that change. These are some of the conclusions of a survey conducted by EOS at recent trade shows in Germany.

By Manufacturing Business Technology Staff
PID, APC January 28, 2008

Non-tagging fee: Wal-Mart to charge suppliers for not using RFID

Apparently frustrated by suppliers’ slowness in complying with its edict to put RFID tags on pallets sent to its distribution centers, Wal-Mart says it will start charging suppliers $2.00 for each pallet arriving at its Sam's Club warehouse outlet distribution center in Texas without an RFID tag.

By Datamonitor NewsWire
PID, APC January 11, 2008

Lean product management: High-tech manufacturers boost profits by reducing product complexity  

High-tech manufacturers are discovering the benefits of reducing product complexity. Those companies that are among the first wave to uncover and unleash sustained complexity-management programs will dominate the competition through increased ability to make innovative, desirable products—and higher profit margins.

By Joachim Ebert, Michael Baum--A.T. Kearney
PID, APC January 1, 2008

Third dimension in design solutions cuts truck maker’s race to market

The jump from two-dimensional to three-dimensional (3D) design is a leap that saves Loveland, Colo.-based SVI Trucks weeks of rework on the fire, police, and emergency trucks it makes for local governments around the U.S. The switch also eases communication between engineering and the shop floor, and enhances the company's marketing efforts, says Dave Moore-Sargent, engineering manager, SVI Tru...

By Manufacturing Business Technology Staff
PID, APC December 27, 2007

Program debug: Development software helps debugging

Express Logic released its first host-based embedded development tool: TraceX. The software helps embedded developers visualize and better understand the behavior of their real-time systems (RTOSs). TraceX, the company says, can help developers discover, analyze and correct some of the most difficult system problems by logging records of events.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC December 20, 2007

Act now, becomes law this week: U.S. guts Fermilab budget

Batavia, IL—The Bush Administration and Congress reneged on promises of increased support for basic science with the omnibus spending bill passed by the U.S. Senate on Monday, Dec. 17, 2007. Observers expect the bill to be signed into law by the end of this week; rapid action is needed for preservation. (Contacting the senator mentioned below would be a good start.)

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC December 13, 2007

Remote displays: Use of ‘visualization over Ethernet’ technology for hazardous locations

Pepprl+Fuchs has introduced what it is calling “the process industry’s first visualization solution to communicate exclusively via Ethernet.”

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC December 5, 2007

Project news: PetroChina releases results of polymer process optimization

Offering a rare peek behind the operating curtain, PetroChina has published detailed results of implementing an Aspen Technology control solution. The specific plant involved in the study is the Mitsui high density polyethylene unit in Daqing, China. The improvements include a combination of increased capacity, higher product quality, and lower operating costs. PetroChina implemented AspenTech’s aspenONE advanced process control for polymers solution on the HDPE unit, and reports that it has calculated annual savings of $640,000—equivalent to $8 per ton—through increased yield and reduced usage of reactor consumables.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC December 3, 2007

OPC-UA connectivity: ILS Technology, Softing integrate cooperate; OPC training

Boca Raton, FL and Haar, Germany– ILS Technology LLC’s deviceWISE 2.0 framework will be integrated into Softing’s OPC-Universal Architecture (OPC-UA) Factory Gateway solution. The cooperation is said to leverage Softing’s expertise in technology for OPC-UA device connectivity and deviceWise’s administration, security, and policy functions for industrial automation applications. Pilot production is expected early 2008.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC December 1, 2007

Connecting the Plant and the Enterprise: Taking Automation to the Next Level

Mitsubishi Electric Corporation (MELCO) recently hosted journalists from all over Europe and this reporter from North America to exclusive, full-access tours of several highly automated Japanese industrial plants. This article takes a look at the state-of-the-art automation we found and how Japanese industrial-automation engineers are working to link the shop-floor with enterprise-level networks.

By C.G. Masi, Control Engineering
PID, APC December 1, 2007

Google’s shine dulled as e-business scores take a hit in customer satisfaction survey

The University of Michigan's annual American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) tracks how successful e-business providers are at pleasing their customers. After six straight years of rising aggregate scores for the e-business sector, the 2007 score fell to 75.2 on ACSI's 100-point scale. This dip for the e-business category as a whole is due to a decline in perceived quality, says Larry Freed,...

By Karen Dilger, contributing editor (kadilger@comcast.net)
PID, APC November 19, 2007

Safety in numbers: IBM Centers of Excellence facilitate protected product launches

IBM says clients visiting the new centers are afforded access to a proven set of “PLM best practices” and software development models for use in new product-development initiatives.

By Manufacturing Business Technology Staff
PID, APC November 16, 2007

Automation Fair 2007: Rockwell Automation does process

Chicago — Rockwell Automation used Automation Fair 2007 to make known its capabilities in process industries, including life sciences, oil and gas, and food and beverage industries. Sessions covered topics like “MES solutions in the food and beverage industry.” Announcements covered Rockwell's suite of process application technologies, hardware, software, Pavilion Technologies and ICS Triplex acquisitions, and activities with Endress + Hauser.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC November 7, 2007

Industry news: Rockwell buys Pavilion; MTL buys Ocean Technical Systems

Following the urge to merge, there are two recent major industry acquisitions that will change the corporate landscape in industrial controls. First, Rockwell Automation has announced it will buy Pavilion Technologies , Inc., in a bid to strengthen its process industry offerings. Second, MTL will buy Ocean Technical Systems, Ltd., a U.K.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC November 7, 2007

Advanced control: Siemens offers library of function blocks for DIY applications

Siemens Energy & Automation has enhanced Version 7 of its Simatic PCS 7 process automation system by including a comprehensive set of easy-to-use advanced process control (APC) capabilities. Siemens says its PCS 7 system improvements give chemical, petrochemical, ethanol, glass, and other process plants the tools to increase throughput and yield, while minimizing energy costs, raw material consumption and product variability. “Many think advanced process control is extremely complex,” says Todd Stauffer, Siemens PCS 7 marketing manager. “PCS 7 now delivers an out-of-the-box, integrated set of tools that provides basic to sophisticated APC capabilities, which can be implemented by virtually anyone at the plant.” The APC functions are integrated into the system, allowing users to choose from different proven methods to help optimize processes.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC November 1, 2007

Green Manufacturing Comes of Age

The green lifestyle is about making choices based on the ecological consequences of one’s decisions. With so much media coverage on the topic of environmental ethics in the past few years, more and more companies are joining the movement toward a greener way of business. According to Larry Bliss, a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) accredited professional working for G...

By Lisa Sutor, Control Engineering
PID, APC November 1, 2007

International Paint adds EMI to its production IT palette

For actionable intelligence based on real-time visibility, International Paint is using IncuityEMI, an enterprise manufacturing intelligence (EMI) solution.  Recipes are downloaded from a QAD enterprise system to the production system, including supervisory control software. Incuity is linked to the production system via standard OPC connectors to access both historical and real-time production data.

By Staff
PID, APC November 1, 2007

Effective Process Planning and Scheduling

Integrated planning and scheduling—as opposed to spreadsheets as a step above legal-pad-and-pencil methods—has produced impressive results for olefins producers, but such practices can yield significant benefits for virtually any organization within the process industries. Our experience with major olefins producers shows the potential economic benefit is substantial: Producers tha...

By Elinor Price, Aspen Technology
PID, APC November 1, 2007

Automated survey gets an attitude adjustment, revealing customer satisfaction levels

In any service industry, getting timely input from customers can pave the way for future strategies and long-term goals. Enterprise feedback management (EFM) software offers another way to study, track, and measure customer attitudes. EFM—a growing subcategory of customer relationship management (CRM)—uses reporting and survey tools to solicit input from customers or employees, and ...

By Karen Abramic-Dilger, contributing editor
PID, APC November 1, 2007

Win in the flat world: Apply lean principles across the IT organization

Lean, as a management methodology, receives wide-ranging attention for the improvements it generates. Developed by Toyota more than 40 years ago to standardize on a methodology for continuous improvement, lean has seen numerous iterations. Lean most often is defined as a systematic approach to identifying and eliminating waste (nonvalue-added activities) through continuous improvement by flowi...

By David P. Spencer, associate VP and Gerhard Plenert, Ph.D., senior principal, Infosys High Tech & Discrete Manufacturing unit
PID, APC November 1, 2007

How Mercury Marine launched 48 outboard versions in just 60 months

The leadership at Mercury Marine knows all about balancing seemingly contradictory forces. For one, the manufacturer of boats and marine engines, a $2.3-billion division of Brunswick Corp. headquartered in Fond du Lac, Wisc., must balance conflicting customer desires—for power on the one hand and fuel economy on the other—in the engines it delivers.

By Roberto Michel, senior contributing editor
PID, APC October 31, 2007

Right the first time: For Finland’s Kemira, a warehouse scanning trial triggers global rollout

Christophe Lopez, a senior product strategist with inventory tracking and supply chain solutions vendor Intermec, says a long-range omnidirectional bar-code scanning solution in use by chemicals giant Kemira is yielding significant warehouse productivity gains while reducing worker fatigue.

By Malcolm Wheatley, senior contributing editor, Tiel, The Netherlands
PID, APC October 24, 2007

Global conference: Wonderware ‘breaking down barriers to operational excellence’

Las Vegas, NV – Wonderware kicked off the North American installment of WonderWorld on Tuesday, Oct. 23. The 10-city, globe-trotting event is designed to provide an in-depth look at the latest in controls, information intelligence, and human machine interfaces (HMI); showcase some of Wonderware’s innovative Certified Systems Integrators; and, in conjunction with ISA, offer a series of educational courses for automation professionals.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC October 23, 2007

Protocol conversion: Translation speeds communication programming

Brea, CA—Moxa Protocol Converter (MPC), a software engine from Moxa that runs on the company’s embedded computers, establishes bi-directional data stream channels between any two embedded computer ports, and loads custom-written drivers (in C) that audit the data stream as it flows from one port to port.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC October 4, 2007

The next step in PLM: Siemens showcases the latest version of its Teamcenter collaboration suite

Siemens is so excited about Teamcenter 2007 that it chose to make its unveiling the centerpiece of the annual Product Development and Management Association (PDMA) conference that took place in Orlando this week.

By Sidney Hill, Jr., executive editor
PID, APC October 4, 2007

ISA Expo 2007: Engineering skills gap, youth; connectors; awards; security

Day two of ISA Expo 2007 covered security, safety, process automation, enterprise integration, environmental & quality control, and wireless & networking, along with cybersecurity and the “skills gap” in manufacturing. Motion control, loop control software, connector system, industrial Ethernet were among other topics.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC October 2, 2007

I/O help: software adds functions to input / output devices

Opto 22 today announced the release of PAC Project version 8.1, what the company calls its flagship automation software suite for control programming, HMI development, OPC connectivity, I/O modules, and more. The latest version of the software features several new distributed control functions and support for new hardware including serial networked Snap PAC I/O, a new Snap PAC S-series programmable automation controller (PAC), and new 8-channel analog input modules. There's a basic version for free.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC October 2, 2007

Industry 1st: 10 Gbit Ethernet interface

Critical I/O, a provider of high-performance interfaces for real-time and embedded systems, claims the industry’s first 10 Gb Ethernet (10GbE) networking interface for embedded, military, and avionics applications. The new XGe 10GbE interface family offers low cost, interoperability, and Ethernet networking for very low latency, and “rock-solid” determinism.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC October 1, 2007

MES integrators mix controls, enterprise expertise to guide production management

The steady acquisition and building of manufacturing execution system (MES)-level software packages by industrial automation vendors wrought change in their service partner ecosystems. Where once the focus of partners was on helping install human machine interface (HMI) software that had an equipment-level focus, now the automation vendors are cultivating a new class of partners adept at helpin...

By Roberto Michel, senior contributing editor
PID, APC October 1, 2007

Steeplechase VLC with integrated motion network

Steeplechase VLC software from Phoenix Contact now features integration of the SynqNet motion network when used with the RapidCode VLC driver. The software with integrated SynqNet provides a programming environment for real-time motion control, which simplifies development and reduces the need to purchase, learn, and maintain multiple programming packages, says the company.

By Staff
PID, APC October 1, 2007

Switch-locking devices provide alternate control method

SLD series switch locking devices from Omron Scientific Technologies Inc. are intended for use as an alternative control method while performing routine, repetitive, or integral tasks to the production process. The SLD series enables personnel to quickly lock a safety interlock switch to a safe position to allow for certain types of maintenance.

By Staff
PID, APC October 1, 2007

Emerson, Cisco collaborate on wireless applications

Collaboration between Emerson Process Management and Cisco could lead to more rapid development of open-standard solutions for wireless process and plant management applications that install easily and operate reliably in process manufacturing environments. In addition, Emerson extended its PlantWeb Smart Machinery Health Monitoring capabilities to include API 670 protection, the American Petro...

By Staff
PID, APC September 26, 2007

E-waste advisory: Consumer electronics suppliers extend conservation initiatives

New Age Electronics is leading the charge among consumer electronics distributors to reduce electronic waste and create a greener supply chain.

By Manufacturing Business Technology Staff
PID, APC September 24, 2007

HP proves being green makes good business sense

From product and packaging design, to manufacturing and the supply chain, to recycling programs and marketing, HP uses green initiatives to cut costs and gain market share.

By Cole Ollinger, contributing editor
PID, APC September 19, 2007

World-class intelligence: Activplant and Patni deliver performance management solutions

Collaboration between the software vendor and the IT services provider will yield enhanced production performance management services for manufacturers across industries.

By Manufacturing Business Technology Staff
PID, APC September 18, 2007

The truth about outsourcing: It’s not as efficient as you think

The global outsourcing industry is expected to face sweeping consolidation in the next two years, mainly driven by low-cost global competition and broken business models.

By Business Wire
PID, APC September 17, 2007

SAP platform powers new alternative energy sources

Owners and operators of the emerging industry value chain, including growers, harvesters, processors and distributors, are turning to SAP for proven solutions to support their processes. 

By Manufacturing Business Technology Staff
PID, APC September 17, 2007

InfoShuttle application data-management solution sees adoption surge

The InfoShuttle application data management software for companies running SAP solutions saw a 37-percent increase in sales for the first half of 2007.

By Manufacturing Business Technology Staff
PID, APC September 13, 2007

InTouch 10.0: 200 new features; automatic porting to MS Vista

At corporate headquarters in Lake Forest, CA, Wonderware engineers and marketing people gathered to present what they called their “most significant launch in 20 years.”

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC September 11, 2007

Decision-makers get a high-visibility assist with Kinaxis response management solutions

Front-line managers that must make tradeoffs and compromises to make up for unexpected events now are able to analyze alternative response actions before making a decision using a new category of solutions called Response Management. According to Stephen Hochman, a director with Boston-based AMR Research , these solutions can lower costs and time-to-resolution of high-visibility judgment calls.“In high-velocity, supply-constrained businesses where decisions are high in risk and complexity, many companies reach the conclusion that they require systems for collective risk tradeoff and response as the new basis of competition,” says Hochman. “Whether the risk takes the form of a forecast spike, a component approaching obsolescence, a sales order shortfall, or gaining more strategic sales and operations planning or network commitments, discrete manufacturers place a premium on the ability to see, study, and simulate alternate resolutions that show financial and operational impact before pulling the trigger on a major tradeoff.”Graeme Walker, ERP development manager at Adeptron Technologies , a Toronto-based contract manufacturer, says reaction time is a key competitive differentiator, so the ability to run “what-if?” simulations ensures the right part is available at the right price, and can be delivered to customers when needed to build product on schedule.“Use of‘what-if?’ scenario planning allows quickly looking at the potential consequences of a proposed action—such as accepting a customer’s order change—so we can determine not only if we could make on-time delivery, but also how accepting that order change will impact other customers’ orders,” Walker says.

By Jim Fulcher
PID, APC September 10, 2007

ProfitKey ERP gains MTI Costimator

MTI Systems will embed its Costimator JS program in ProfitKey’s Rapid Response Manufacturing ERP software.

By Manufacturing Business Technology Staff
PID, APC September 4, 2007

Electronics makers gain control using Camstar MES suite

Camstar Systems, a leading provider of enterprise manufacturing execution and quality systems, announces its Electronics Suite, responding to industry-specific requirements for high complexity manufacturing processes, complete traceability, and high-volume transactions in electronics manufacturing.

By Manufacturing Business Technology Staff
PID, APC August 30, 2007

Change management is good: Survey uncovers overall value of PLM software 

Omnify Software—a leading provider of product life-cycle management (PLM) software for electronic, medical, mechanical, and defense manufacturers—offers results of its annual customer survey.

By Manufacturing Business Technology Staff
PID, APC August 23, 2007

Free guidebook explains lean manufacturing

Buchanan, MI—The Linear Motion and Assembly Technologies group from Bosch Rexroth developed a free guidebook called, “Lean Manufacturing: Principles, Tools and Methods.”

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC August 21, 2007

RFID transponders show strong growth; analyst briefing today

Venture Development Corp. (VDC) reports that radio frequency identification (RFID) transponders approached $1 billion of the global market last year. Frost & Sullivan says achieving faster returns on RFID investments is important.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC August 9, 2007

RFID Tribe launches professionals registry

The RFID Tribe association Web site offers a rapidly growing and interactive forum.

By Manufacturing Business Technology Staff
PID, APC August 7, 2007

Manufacturing: More motors shipped, 14% DCS growth, RFID expansion

Motors, distributed control systems (DCS) and radio frequency identification (RFID) are growth markets to watch, according to National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA), ARC Advisory Group, and IDTechEx RFID Knowledgebase.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC August 1, 2007

National Manufacturing Week event starts Sept. 24

National Manufacturing Week will be held Sept. 24-27, 2007, at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, IL, near Chicago. The conference starts the first day, and show floor opens on Sept. 25. Organizers say it is an event for engineering teams, executives, and practitioners responsible for the entire manufacturing process, including design, customer fulfillment, and business success.

By Staff
PID, APC August 1, 2007

Manufacturing software glue

The control loop is the core of manufacturing efficiency: sensors measure, logic decides, and actuators move the process where it should go. Then do it again. Networks and software bind it together and help information flow to make it happen. Information will flow from design, into the digital factory, through functional automation engineering and PLC programming, with incremental adjustments i...

By Mark T. Hoske, editor-in-chief
PID, APC July 31, 2007

Money for nothing: Consider replacing DCS now

Orlando, FL—There’s no such thing as a free lunch? Oh, but there is, if you consider savings that can add up and pay for investments in aging distributed control system infrastructure, according to a Rockwell Automation control technology replacement expert.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC July 31, 2007

Enterprise applications: Report shows quick decision making crucial

Boston, MA —The recently published “Intelligent performance management benchmark report” by Aberdeen revealed that volatility in the marketplace caused by rapidly changing market and economic conditions is the predominant pressure faced by 65% of manufacturing survey respondents.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC July 30, 2007

Solectron ups visibility using Kinaxis response management solution

Kinaxis RapidResponse permits real-time ‘what-if?’ analysis and generates resolutions, given available inventory and capacity that are best aligned with corporate strategies.  

By Staff
PID, APC July 20, 2007

10 Truths of Safety Instrumented Systems – Truths 4-6

10 Truths of SafetyInstrumented Systems CUSTOM ADVERTISING NEWSLETTER To SUBSCRIBE | To UNSUBSCRIBE | CHANGE YOUR PROFILE | PRIVACY POLICY July 19, 2007 In continuation of the 10 Truths of SIS: this newsletter we addressTruths 4-6 What follows is a summary of each Truth, click on a topic for more information or go to www.triconex.com/10truths to view all Truths of SIS. Truth 4 IEC61511 states that SIS users must show competence in functional safety. Just as process industries require SIS logic solvers to carry a TÜV certificate of the appropriate SIL, there is also a growing trend to require that the engineers specifying, integrating, programming, installing and maintaining these systems have a TÜV ASI - Rheinland certification of competency. Truth 5 Your SIS should protect your plant for its lifecycle. Production assets are built to last, and even when the investment is planned for a 20-year lifetime, many investments frequently extend their life beyond the original design specification.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC July 19, 2007

News: Radiation sensors hunt nuclear terror threats

The threat sounds like something from a Tom Clancy novel: A terrorist organization obtains a nuclear device or dirty bomb and sends it into a major city in the back of a truck. How can our security authorities find it before it’s too late? Sensors are available to spot when something “hot” is their range, but how does that information get where it needs to be? Thermo Fisher Scientific helps fill that gap with a new radiation detection platform. Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc., has announced its ViewPoint enterprise system, a three-pronged platform that delivers advanced radiation threat detection and readiness by closing the gap between detection, communication and decision analysis. The company says the system enables real-time, remote transmission of field radiological, gaseous, physiological, meteorological or other data to mobile, office or central command and control centers for security and first response monitoring.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC July 5, 2007

System integrators: Weed factory support offered

System integrators can get help rapidly on industrial fiber-optic networking products from Weed Instrument.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC July 1, 2007

Detecting trouble early with CBM

Condition based maintenance (CBM) is one of the latest buzz words in the control industry. CBM is being touted as a significant time and money saver across a broad spectrum of industrial applications. I was recently at a bearing production facility where spindle speed can reach 120,000 rpm or higher.

By Thomas R. Kurfess, Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research
PID, APC July 1, 2007

Sidney Hill, Jr.: Time to do some strategic thinking

The chief goal at Manufacturing Business Technology is helping you understand the strategic value of information technology. But every year at this time I find myself pondering which class of technology holds the most strategic value for a manufacturing enterprise. This introspection is inspired by our work on the annual Global 100 issue, which highlights the top 100 technology vendors, in term...

By Sidney Hill, Jr., executive editor
PID, APC July 1, 2007

Turning everyday applications into collaborative business solutions

While it doesn't use the term Enterprise 2.0 in its marketing efforts, Adobe Systems is at the forefront of this movement, which is all about harnessing interactive, Web-based technologies for business use. With its popular PDF Reader and Adobe Flash—the engine behind a plethora of animated features that show up on Web sites—Adobe is developing solutions that help manufacturers str...

By Staff
PID, APC July 1, 2007

Function block diagrams

A picture is worth a thousand words is a familiar proverb that asserts that complex stories can be told with a single still image, or that an image may be more influential than a substantial amount of text. It also aptly characterizes the goals of visualization-based software in industrial control. A function block diagram (FBD) can replace thousands of lines from a textual program.

By Arun Veeramani and Todd Walter, National Instruments
PID, APC July 1, 2007

Number of new customer wins a measure of confidence in rationalizing software acquisitions

In five years time, Infor amassed $2 billion+ in revenues, all recorded since its founding in 2002 as an enterprise software company. Growth was propelled by the deep pockets of San Francisco-based Golden Gate Capital; a big appetite for acquisitions, well above 20 companies thus far; and the mission to plug a perceived gap between small best-of-breed providers in vertical industries and large,...

By Staff
PID, APC July 1, 2007

Create intelligent industrial equipment

All-in-one platform from Freescale Semiconductor features Power Architecture technology and is delivered in the COM Express form factor in order to speed and simplify the creation of intelligent industrial equipment that runs demanding industrial networking protocols and requires precise, highly accurate communications.

By Staff
PID, APC June 26, 2007

Design: Rapid prototyping becoming more affordable

The evolution of 3D printers driven by severe pricing pressures has made concept modeling and rapid prototyping affordable to most end users. With prices of 3D printers ranging from $15,000 to $60,000, small companies are finding them extremely affordable to use for concept modeling and design optimization.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC June 20, 2007

CE TV

Title goes here The video description goes here. The text here can be pretty long, but only the first 120 characters of this description will appear on the category page. For more information: https://www.controleng.com This is a sample video that can be posted.; https://link.brightcove.com/services/link/bcpid980097345 https://www.brightcove.com/channel.jsp?channel=716127483.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC June 12, 2007

Wireless: Test labs in U.S, Japan approved by Wi-Fi Alliance

TÜVRheinland will soon be conducting tests of Wi-Fi wireless devices under the new IEEE 802.11n standard.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC June 12, 2007

Wiring: disconnectable splice design cannot pull apart

ECTO Incorporated has introduced a patent pending disconnectable splice design that prevents accidental disconnection.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC June 1, 2007

Internet-based EDI may be reliable and less expensive, but not necessarily easier

Electronic data interchange (EDI)—use of standard formats and communication protocols to exchange business documents such as orders, shipping notices, and invoices among trading partners—was conducted on private communications networks. Today, however, EDI messages often are sent and received over the public Internet.

By Jim Fulcher, contributing editor
PID, APC June 1, 2007

SpaceClaim 3D solution leverages Microsoft technology to empower product development novices

A new 3D design solution might not call for much fanfare, but when use of that technology doesn't require mastery of a CAD system—and the solution comes from a start-up packed with industry experts—it's a bigger story to tell. Recognizing that the benefits of 3D mechanical design remain out of reach for most people who contribute directly to product development, SpaceClaim recently ...

By Jim Fulcher, contributing editor
PID, APC June 1, 2007

LTF Technology Simplifies Light Sensing

A light-to-frequency (LTF) converter measures light intensity and produces a square wave signal with frequency directly proportional to the light intensity. The square wave's amplitude does not change with light intensity; only the frequency changes. The analog-to-digital conversion of the photodiode current to a signal that a microcontroller can use is performed inside the LTF converter.

By Ray King, TAOS
PID, APC June 1, 2007

As manufacturing goes global, use of BI makes for smart business

Crystal balls may be the stuff of myth, but for Tim Rey, leader of the data mining and modeling group at Midland, Mich.-based Dow Chemical, assessing the future is serious business. “We sell into practically every global market,” says Rey. “It pays for us to monitor macroeconomic forces.

By Tim Beyers, contributing editor
PID, APC May 24, 2007

Nano-mechatronics: motion control system cuts system integration costs

In collaboration with Bosch Rexroth and the Technical University of Eindhoven, Netherlands, electron microscope maker FEI has embarked on a project called “NewMotion,” which aims to create a modular motion control system optimized for applications where extreme precision and stability are necessary, but rapidity of motion is not.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC May 16, 2007

CTL’s Video VID

This is a sample video that can be posted.; https://link.brightcove.com/services/link/bcpid824731172 https://www.brightcove.com/channel.jsp?channel=716127483.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC May 11, 2007

Woodhead Video

This is a sample video that can be posted.; https://link.brightcove.com/services/link/bcpid823496335 https://www.brightcove.com/channel.jsp?channel=716127483.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC May 10, 2007

Data acquisition: Tour of hardware/software applications

Finding no typical industry or application for data acquisition processor (DAP) boards and software, Microstar Laboratories has created a place to explore applications in action. Applications described include one that performs in-place diagnosis of control valves for the process industry, and another that analyzes broadband sonar to detect fish size and species in real time. Pure Technologies has installed the SoundPrint system on nine major cable-supported bridges around the world, including the Quincy Bayview Bridge in Illinois. One application, now installed all over the world, was developed by Pure Technologies Ltd (Calgary, Alberta, Canada). The company created a patented infrastructure monitoring system that uses acoustical techniques to detect potential failures in buildings, parking structures, bridges, and containment vessels.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC May 2, 2007

New product: Single-loop electronic temperature/process controllers

The next generation of Allen-Bradley 900-TC16 and 900-TC8 single-loop process controllers reportedly outperform standard controllers by combining thermocouple and RTD sensing capability with either on/off or analog outputs into a single, highly versatile package. Moreover, for applications that use other types of sensors, the same unit is available with conventional analog inputs. Auto-tuning PID control technology with analog outputs increases system efficiency and smooths out control efforts. The result is tighter temperature regulation with fewer swings for greater control efficiency and lower energy use.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC May 2, 2007

New project: Monarch Cement deploys new MPC pyroprocessing control system

Monarch Cement Co. has selected a model predictive control (MPC) platform from Pavilion Technologies for the two kilns at its Humboldt, KS, plant. The application is intended to improve operating stability, enhance product quality, reduce specific energy costs, and minimize NOx emissions.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC May 2, 2007

Legacy technology: How much control and I/O infrastructure can (and should) survive a migration?

After publishing the first legacy technology discussion in March , I received an e-mail from an end user (name withheld) describing his experiences and some frustrations working with older systems and what can happen to the existing control strategy and I/O infrastructure when it’s time to upgrade. Since Honeywell was named specifically, I asked the folks at Honeywell Process Solutions (HPS) Original letter: “I read with interest your Control Engineering article on legacy DCSs and the speed at which companies are transitioning over to the latest fieldbus / networked systems. One thing that may not get much press is the difficulty in translating programming / application / control strategies from the old to the new.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC May 2, 2007

New software: Loop performance suite includes MPC

ControlWizard control loop performance monitoring (CLPM) software from PAS now offers capabilities compatible with multivariable predictive control (MPC) platforms. While MPC provides important control functions, some users have been reluctant to adopt it due to the specialized maintenance required. ControlWizard MV provides comprehensive application monitoring automatically, so plants can use sophisticated control strategies more freely. “Monitoring the performance of multivariable controllers is critical to ensuring the initial MPC investment continues to deliver on the expected benefits,” says Eddie Habibi, founder and CEO.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC May 1, 2007

Columbia Sportswear maintains its message while on the move using Microsoft Exchange Server

Anyone who likes sitting at a desk all day would not be happy working at Columbia Sportswear. More than 1,000 of its 2,700 employees spend 40 percent of their time on the road, with much of that travel taking them to remote locales where the company's outdoor clothing and recreational equipment typically can be found.

By Carolyn Heinze, contributing editor
PID, APC April 12, 2007

Programming: ‘Data oriented design’ targets changing systems

Existing methodologies and training for system software design, rooted in principles of object-oriented design, are beginning to break down. Approaches that worked for small-scale systems falter as developers discover operational limits that require frequent and unintended redesigns in programs year over year. A whitepaper from Real-Time Innovations Inc .

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC April 5, 2007

Tutorial: Wireless Ethernet transmission options

The most common approach to wireless Ethernet is radio frequency (RF) transmission in the spread spectrum bands. Globally, the 2.4 GHz and 5.8 GHz bands are available for license-free use in most countries. Wireless Ethernet transmission options include direct sequence and frequency hopping methods.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC April 4, 2007

Product: Wireless network setup software

Phoenix Contact has introduced its new RAD-Link software, V 3.0 to assist users as they configure wireless networks using the company's family of wireless Ethernet products. Using this system, users can set up new networks, and monitor performance of existing communication. This Microsoft Windows-based serial data radio programming software includes a setup wizard for new networks and to analyze interactions between transmitters and receivers. The advanced tree structure allows the user to see the name of each radio and review which slaves are communicating with the master and which are communicating through repeaters.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC April 4, 2007

Soybean power: Bio-Diesel facility selects control vendors

Louis-Dreyfus Agricultural Industries LLC , has announced its selections of an automation integrator and control system providers for its new soybean oil extraction and bio-Diesel processing facility in Claypool, IN. Matrix Technologies Inc ., has been selected as the control system designer and integrator, and will partner with Rockwell Automation and Invensys-Wonderware as hardware and software providers. The plant is being billed as the largest bio-Diesel facility in the U.S., and will process 50 million bushels of soybeans per year, turning out 80 million gallons of fuel and 1 million tons of soybean meal for livestock feed. (This represents a significant proportion of total production, as the U.S.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC April 4, 2007

Etherbus: One company says industrial PoE is indeed ready to go

In the February issue of Control Engineering , we said that Ethernet is not likely to replace fieldbus technology anytime soon due to impractical wiring topology and powering issues. Well, one company says that isn't true anymore and wants to prove it. Sixnet is launching a new line of networking equipment under the banner Etherbus that claims to be the best of the worlds of Ethernet, PoE, and fieldbus technology. This is an ambitious launch in that it involves a whole range of products, and the larger implications are certainly interesting.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC April 4, 2007

Legacy technology: Will cyber security concerns shut down that old DCS?

Cyber security issues are becoming more critical, almost by the day. DCS vendors are working diligently on increasing the security provisions of current and new networking and control products, but what about old systems that are still operating and not slated for replacement? Can these be adequately defended in an increasingly threatening world? The answer is a heavily qualified yes. Here are some of the possibilities: Your original vendor may provide some security strategies. This is highly dependent on what you have and how old it is, but it never hurts to ask. You can create perimeter defenses through firewalls or DMZs placed where the DCS connects to outside networks.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC April 3, 2007

Process instrumentation: Sensors add VOC detection to monitors

Two piD-Tech plus photoionization sensors for portable and stationary gas monitors, from Baseline-Mocon Inc., include Black Label and Silver Label models with linear dynamic ranges of 0.1 to 2,000 ppm and &0.01 to 20 ppm respectively. Lyons, CO —Two patented piD-Tech plus photoionization sensors from Baseline-Mocon Inc . add state-of-the-art, low-level volatile organic compound (VOC) detection to portable and stationary gas monitors.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC April 1, 2007

New Views for Existing Systems

The interface between people and machines has improved dramatically in the past few years. Does that mean you should replace current human-machine interfaces (HMIs) and supervisory control and data-acquisition (SCADA) systems with new technology? Several companies in the process industries have said “yes.

By Steve Scheiber for Control Engineering
PID, APC April 1, 2007

Inverse response is deceptive

Most industrial processes respond to the actions of a feedback controller by moving the process variable in the same direction as the control effort. The temperature goes up when a controller feeds more fuel to the burners in a furnace, the flow rate drops when a controller closes the valves in a pipeline, and the speed increases when a controller revs up the motor driving a conveyor.

By Vance VanDoren, Ph.D., P.E., Control Engineering
PID, APC April 1, 2007

Digital Cameras in Control Applications

Machine vision is an increasingly valuable technology for industrial control, with uses in automated quality inspection, error detection, parametric measurements, and automated assembly. A key component of such systems, affecting the cost, speed, and accuracy of applied machine vision, is the digital camera.

By Petko Dinev, Imperx
PID, APC April 1, 2007

Profit Suite R300 boosts economics

Honeywell Process Solutions Profit Suite works with a DCS to maintain controller set points, while it continuously analyzes process information and makes necessary adjustments to improve a plant’s overall economics. Profit Suite then adjusts set points within specified ranges to achieve economic goals.

By Staff
PID, APC April 1, 2007

SAP applications ecosystem spawns new capabilities, performance opportunities

When discussion steers toward concepts such as partner ecosystems and integration middleware, the business imperatives behind the concepts can get lost pretty easily. But not for Tom Alloway and other managers at NOVA Chemicals. Alloway is corporate advanced process control (APC) leader at the Pittsburgh-based manufacturer of plastics and chemicals.

By Roberto Michel, senior contributing editor
PID, APC March 29, 2007

Magnetic encoders help break 7-second motorcycle quarter-mile record

Hoffman Estates, IL —Take a 360 kg motorcycle with absurd power output, a fearless Finn with a reputation for breaking speed records, and things happen fast. Within a split second, the engine screams to 7,500 rpm. Before the spectator has a chance to comprehend what has transpired, the race is over and bike and rider are a quarter mille down the track, braking frantically.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC March 21, 2007

ABB users say: Don’t wait for a disaster to upgrade instrumentation

Orlando, FL —Hurricane Katrina destroyed much of the instrumentation at the DuPont First Chemical facility, but after restart 102 days later, benefits of the upgrade were being recorded. Separately, Dow Chemical learned how standard, integrated safety systems can accumulate significant savings. These were just two of many end-user stories among presentations at the ABB Automation World 2007 Users’ Conference and Exhibition on March 20. Hurricane Katrina destroyed much of the instrumentation at the DuPont First Chemical facility in Pascagoula, MS, in November 2005.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC March 20, 2007

Wireless interface: Modem suitable for hazardous areas

Viator Bluetooth interface, announced last week in the March issue of Control Engineering magazine, is the latest addition to MacTek Corp.'s line of PC modems. The product needs no configuration and is HART compliant to work with any HART-enabled device. Gates Mills, OH and Oak Brook, IL —Viator Bluetooth interface is the latest addition to MacTek Corp .'s line of PC modems.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC March 19, 2007

Exclusive: Modular, embedded controllers

EMC 40 Series controllers from Athena Controls offer the capabilities of a multi-zone PLC with analog functions on a small (4.5 x 7-in.), inexpensive control board for maximum flexibility in machine design applications.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC March 13, 2007

Fastest failover time: Industrial managed Gigabit Ethernet switch

Korenix Industrial Gigabit managed switch JetNet 5010G has 7.4 Gbps wire-speed forwarding rate and supports rapid super ring (recovery time &30ms). Shing Tien City, Taipei, Taiwan —JetNet 5010G industrial Gigabit managed switch series from Korenix has three combo Gigabit ports plus 7-port 10/100 Fast Ethernet, with the fastest failover time in the world, the company says, at less than 30 ms. The industrial automation switch features enhanced redundancy, high security, and full network management. For critical, non-stop for industrial applications, JetNet 5010G supports rapid super ring technology, with the fastest failover time in the world, less than 30 milliseconds.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC March 8, 2007

ODVA: CompoNet component-level network spec published

First edition of The CompoNet Specification has been published, with related product expected this year, according to ODVA, the industry association overseeing CIP protocols . CompoNet is said to meet the requirements of applications using large numbers of simple sensors and actuators by providing high speed communications with configuration tools and combining this with efficient construction, simple set-up and high availability, on one network. CompoNet, complementary to other CIP (the Common Industrial Protocol) networks, will likely see vendor adoption in Japan first, with products expected in 2007, ODVA says. First edition of The CompoNet Specification has been published, with related product expected this year, according to ODVA, the industry association overseeing CIP protocols . Complementary to other CIP (the Common Industrial Protocol) networks, CompoNet is said to meet the requirements of applications using large numbers of simple sensors and actuators by providing high speed communications with configuration tools and combining this with efficient construction, simple set-up and high availability, on one network.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC March 1, 2007

China: Progressive Metamorphosis Underway

In the fifth year of China’s entry into the WTO (World Trade Organization), statistics from the National Statistical Bureau show that large industrial enterprises netted a profit of CNY 1469.7 billion from January through October 2006, a 30.1% increase compared to the same period last year. Strong double-digit numbers give us a vivid illustration of the extent of China’s manufacturi...

By Ivy Peng, executive editor, Control Engineering China
PID, APC March 1, 2007

How green is my power supply?

Most electronic devices work best with direct current power. Thomas Edison advocated dc power distribution, but we use George Westinghouse’s ac power distribution system because, as Nicola Tesla pointed out, you can move electricity over long distances much more efficiently as high-voltage, low-current ac.

By C.G. Masi
PID, APC March 1, 2007

Wireless: Bluetooth interface

Viator Bluetooth interface is the latest addition to MacTek Corp.’s line of PC modems. Slated for availability in June 2007, this point-to-point modem for temporary connection to HART-enabled field devices will be ATEX- and IS-certified for use in hazardous areas. The modem is powered by a rechargeable battery that can operate 8-10 hr between charges.

By Staff
PID, APC March 1, 2007

Instrumentation: 3 electron microscopes to support nanotechnology research

Commercialization of nanotechnology products got a boost recently when the California NanoSystems Institute (CNSI) specified three sophisticated microscopes for nanotechnology research. The first two systems are expected in the first half of 2007; the third in the fourth quarter. The mission of CNSI is to encourage university/industry collaboration and to enable the rapid commercialization of d...

By Staff
PID, APC February 27, 2007

Done deal: Schneider Electric buys American Power Conversion for $6.1 billion

Palatine, IL — Schneider Electric recently completed its $6.1 billion acquisition of American Power Conversion (APC), and, consistent with the European Commission's requirements, plans to divest its MGE UPS Systems operations in systems below 10 kVA. With estimated sales of around $196.8 million, the divestment represents 6% of the combined operations of APC and MGE UPS Systems in critical power. Jean-Pascal Tricoire, president and CEO of Schneider Electric, says, "APC and MGE will generate value for our customers through a large choice of tailored solutions, a global services network and expanded technical expertise. We are now ready to greatly strengthen Schneider Electric in the fast-growing segment of critical power and cooling services and we are extremely confident in the combined talents of the APC and MGE people to achieve this." Rob Johnson, former president and CEO of APC, says: "The APC team is excited to join with Schneider Electric and MGE UPS Systems." Claude Graff, president of MGE UPS Systems says APC and MGE are a powerful combination and would offer customers a large choice of solutions and services. Under the terms of the acquisition, each share of APC common stock is converted to the right to receive $31.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC February 27, 2007

Study: Fieldbus Foundation leads process industries

Houston, TX —FOUNDATION fieldbus technology accounts for over two-thirds of process fieldbus revenues, according to a study prepared by the ARC Advisory Group . The Fieldbus Foundation announced the survey results at its 2007 General Assembly, Feb. 22, saying the 'new research confirms its dominance of fieldbus protocols in the process industries.' In separate meeting news, a second source application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) is available for the FOUNDATION H1 technology. In the study titled, 'Fieldbus Solutions in the Process Industries Worldwide Outlook,' the ARC Advisory Group, a manufacturing research and advisory firm based in Dedham, MA, reported that the global market for fieldbus solutions (those protocols included in IEC 61158) in the process industries reached $831.7 million in 2006.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC February 13, 2007

2006 boost: Industrial controls, packaging machinery markets grow

Rosslyn and Arlington, VA —Positive 2006 U.S. manufacturing indicators could lend hope to early 2007 if trends continue in industrial controls and in one of its major beneficiaries, packaging machinery. Segments of the manufacturing sector, including the electroindustry, continue to perform well.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC February 7, 2007

Products: New alarm notification system upgrades features

The new Sensaphone 400 replaces the earlier 1104 model, adding a group of new features. Sensaphone is upgrading its line of remote monitors and alarm notification devices with a more advanced system featuring new capabilities. The new Sensaphone 400 reportedly includes: Customizable voice messaging; Programmable relay output; Phone line seizure capability; and, Diagnostic test functions. The system is a standalone remote monitor and alarm notification system with no monthly fees.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC February 6, 2007

Nanotechnology update: Nanoparticle composite resin cuts parts finishing time

Elgin, IL —A nanotechnology-based composite resin material now is available commercially. NanoTool, from DSM Somos , is heavily filled with non-crystalline nanoparticles that allow for faster processing and reduced finishing requirements that speed part production, compared to current composite stereolithography (SL) materials. SL technology, also called 3D printing, can speed products to market, avoiding re-engineering costs during manufacturing by moving any design changes earlier in the product lifecycle. NanoTool is the third-generation of Somos ProtoComposite materials.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC February 1, 2007

Managing Alarms

Technology is good, so more technology must be better. Right? Wrong. More is not always better. The advent of the microprocessor and the proliferation of the modern distributed control system (DCS) made it easy to alarm something…everything, in fact…at little or no cost. As a result, many facilities today have an overwhelming number of notifications daily, leading to frustrating, s...

By Jeanine Katzel
PID, APC February 1, 2007

2006 top 10

Many factors determine what gets read online; you’re one of them. Here’s why I think you helped make the following articles the most popular of 2006, as measured by number of clicks during each calendar month at Control Engineering online. 1. Weblog Project: Baton Rouge Wastewater Pump Station SCADA System.

By Mark T. Hoske, Editor-in-Chief
PID, APC January 30, 2007

Belden to buy Hirschmann, citing Ethernet, wireless, fiber-optics allure

St. Louis, Mo — Belden agreed to purchase Hirschmann Automation and Control GmbH (HAC) from HgCapital, a European private equity investor, for approximately $260 million in cash. Belden says HAC is “a leading supplier of industrial Ethernet solutions and industrial connectivity,” citing that as a major reason for the acquisition, along with HAC’s wireless and fiber-optic technologies. Along with the purchase price, Belden will be responsible for certain obligations, including pension liabilities of approximately $60 million to be funded in future years.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC January 12, 2007

Free research and development: Match projects to researchers

Matching research and development (R&D) projects with university-based researchers can be challenging and time consuming if a company doesn’t have close ties with a local university or college. Another way is a recently created site that’s still seeking participants free of charge. FreeRandD.com launched in October 2006 and has tried to spread the word to about 350 universities, government agencies, business development centers, and media, says co-founder Gerald B.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC January 9, 2007

In memory: Control Engineering’s George Blickley dies

Oak Brook, IL, and Tucson, AZ —George Blickley, an active participant in the world of process control, instrumentation, and automation for more than 50 years, died Dec. 16, 2006, at age 82. His career as a writer and editor for Control Engineering spanned 20 years, covering process control and other topics vital to readers. A news story announcing his arrival at Control Engineering in 1984 said, Blickley "brings with him some 30 years of experience in the engineering, sales, and marketing of control products.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC January 2, 2007

Automation infrastructure: Conference targets alarm management, process control

Hartland, WI —'Building a stronger automation foundation' is the theme of a joint ExperTune / TiPS user's conference planned for this spring in Austin, TX. The event, to take place April 17-19, will focus on technologies and techniques that strengthen and restore automation. ExperTune is a developer of optimization software for the process industries, including PlantTriage.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC January 1, 2007

Ask questions, build credibility

Early in my career, I’d spend a substantial percentage of time performing on-site troubleshooting. To this day, it’s one of the more rewarding aspects of the job—an engineer’s crossword puzzle, if you wish. As a young buck, I was always worried the client was concerned about my ability to identify the problem, so I read anything and everything about my field I could get ...

By Chuck Sherman, The Benham Companies, LLC
PID, APC December 26, 2006

2007 predictions: HMI, embedded, wireless, networks

Scottsdale, AZ, Oak Brook, IL —Key predictions for 2007 will influence certain markets that cross into industrial automation-human machine interface, wireless, embedded controls, and industrial networks among them—suggests In-Stat , a technology research firm. In-Stat and Control Engineering both are part of Reed Business Information. "In-Stat Predictions—2007," a white paper, covers high-definition television; software, devices, and semiconductors; networks and security; and wireless; while looking at how last year's predictions turned out. Some key In-Stat predictions follow, along with Control Engineering commentary on what that could mean for industrial automation. In-Stat says high-definition TV programming increasingly will become available via broadband Ethernet.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC December 18, 2006

Model-Following Control Robustness and quality at the same time? Is it possible?

Krzysztof PietrusewiczAssistant Professor, Institute of Control Engineering, Szczecin University of TechnologyControl Engineering PolandNowadays, almost 95% of industrial applications are based on the well-known PID control algorithm. Nearly 90% of Canadian sawmills use PI controllers.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC December 7, 2006

Business: Integrator manages documents; growth in Europe, Middle East

Several system integrators were involved in reseller agreements that expand their reach in regions including Europe and the Middle East. Swedish technology integrator Condesign formed a reseller partnership with Lattice Technology Inc . Lattice Technology provides applications that enable organizations to rapidly integrate, re-use, publish, and communicate 3-D data that originates as engineering CAD models. The agreement is said to underscore the growing demand for effective 3-D publishing software within major automotive OEMs and other large-scale manufacturers.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC December 6, 2006

Opinion: Integrating process design, control systems, wireless, and instrumentation

One result of open systems in industrial automation has been the passing of the notion that an engineer has to stick with one supplier. When a control system and its instrumentation can be assembled using parts from any number of companies communicating with common standards, that's a good thing, right? In general, yes. Any equipment vendor who tries to enforce one platform by designing items incompatible with others will have a hard time competing.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC December 1, 2006

10-centimeter undersea precision

In 1997, the Ormen Lange gas field was discovered off the western coast of Norway. It was the second-largest natural gas discovery on the Norwegian shelf and has the potential to produce around 20 billion cu m of gas each year. Ormen Lange, which means “the long serpent,” is approximately 40 km long and eight km wide and lies about 3,000 m below sea level.

By Halvor Snellingen, Nexans
PID, APC November 30, 2006

Power over Ethernet – The Industrial Opportunity Today by GarrettCom

It took 10 years or longer for Enterprise-based Ethernet technologies to be adapted foruse in industrial applications. Power over Ethernet (PoE), because of its tremendous advantages,is taking considerably less time. GarrettCom believes that the company contributed to fasteradaptation through the introduction of the first industrial PoE switch in the spring of 2005, lessthan two years after the IEEE 802.3af (Power over Ethernet) standard was solidified. Today thecompany also offers PoE as a config

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC November 22, 2006

Interview: Dr. Jörg Leonhardt on intelligent automation through mechatronic design

The term mechatronics, discussed in Control Engineering for more than eight years, recently has gained popularity for describing integration of various motion technologies. Mechatronic designs can create intelligent automation, suggests Dr. Jörg Leonhardt, CEO of Innovation Management for SEW-Eurodrive , Dr.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC November 21, 2006

Wireless milestone: First ZigBee products certified

Munich, Germany and San Ramon, CA —The first group of ZigBee certified wireless network products is now available, the ZigBee Alliance announced last week. Member companies earning certification status include MaxStream , NEC Engineering , S3C , and Software Technologies Group . Certification ensures a product will perform in ZigBee networks as promised; the group developed the testing process to prove "the robustness of ZigBee products at testing facilities with known ZigBee network implementations." ZigBee certified products are designed on one of the Alliance's more than 30 approved ZigBee compliant platforms and have passed stringent independent lab tests conducted by National Technical Systems (NTS) and TÜV Rheinland Group .

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC November 6, 2006

Multi-run flow computer

AutoExec multi-run flow computer from Thermo Electron Corp. reportedly measures and controls the flow of natural gas products on 32 lines simultaneously and calculates flow rate at 10 times a sec.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC November 1, 2006

Ease of Use in Engineering

In the last installment, (September issue, Inside Process) we discussed how engineering management software helps keep control system development on course and examined how it applies to continuous manufacturing processes. To review briefly, an engineering management system has to have basic core functions: The first three points were discussed in September.

By Kurt Polzer and Todd Stauffer
PID, APC November 1, 2006

From Math to Models

Unlike a plastic or clay model that shows the appearance of an object, a process model shows how a controlled process reacts to control efforts and disturbances. A process model generally takes the form of mathematical equations that quantify the relationship between the process’ inputs and its outputs.

By Vance VanDoren, Ph.D., P.E.
PID, APC November 1, 2006

Fundamental models and process control

Fundamental dynamic models play a central role in process dynamics and control. Such models can be used to: The fundamental modeling of chemical and biological processes using first principles usually leads to mathematical models that are systems of differential and algebraic equations, typically material and energy balances plus the physical, chemical, and thermodynamic relationships of the sy...

By Thomas F. Edgar, Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Texas at Austin, tfedgar@austin.utexas.edu
PID, APC November 1, 2006

Machine Vision Sees Through the Heat

Fiberglass, as its name implies, is made from extremely fine fibers of glass. As early as the 1890’s, experimental glass fibers had been created and found useful for their high ratio of surface area to weight. For example, blocks and bats of glass fiber trap air which is the basis for many types of thermal insulation.

By David Crump
PID, APC October 24, 2006

Metrics that Matter: Uncovering KPIs that Justify Operational Improvements by Mesa International

Metrics matter in business performance. The better the company's system for metrics, the more their operation performance improves, and the more their business and finanical performance improves.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC October 16, 2006

Statistical process control software

Synergy 3000 statistical process control software from Zontec Inc. is called a “true SPC Web application developed using the Microsoft .Net platform.”

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC October 4, 2006

Modeling software: Updated platform adds key functions

Pavilion8 Version 2.0 modeling software adds enhanced functions key to process industries to a more powerful analytic engine and new functional modules. Screen shot shows kiln control trends. Users of process model analysis tools will be interested in the new release of Pavilion8 Version 2.0 .

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC October 4, 2006

Video display: Field-mountable data recorder can go anywhere

ABB's SM500F videographic recorder offers four-channel graphic data logging without a PC or other supporting equipment. Process recording and monitoring can leave the control room and go anywhere in the plant using a new field mountable data recorder. ABB says its SM500F is the first and only videographic recorder of its kind, offering four-channel graphic data logging without a PC or other supporting equipment. Self-contained in a sealed NEMA 4X and IP66 enclosure, the SM500F can be installed in a panel or bolted to a pipe just about anywhere.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC October 1, 2006

From raw ideas to success

To succeed, we should implement innovative engineering ideas from smart people in our organizations. Unfortunately, statistics show that stupidity is winning, says Doug Hall, founder and CEO of Eureka! Ranch. Hall cites a Journal of Marketing Research study that reflects an overwhelming rate of innovation failures.

By Mark T. Hoske, Editor-in-Chief
PID, APC October 1, 2006

Automation expands in Asia; nanotechnology; wireless

Separate recent agreements expand automation in Asia, further the use of nanotechnology, and may make ZigBee easier to implement. Yokogawa Electric Corp. and OSIsoft Inc. partnership is designed to serve industrial automation markets throughout much of Asia. Under the pact, Yokogawa will acquire full use of technology for real-time operational decision making and enterprise management, and OSIs...

By Staff
PID, APC September 19, 2006

Nanotechnology: Companies team to promote nanoparticle analysis

Hillsboro, OR— Advanced nanoparticle analysis is taking a leap forward thanks to the combined efforts of a hardware and a software firm. FEI Co . and UK-based Malvern Instruments Ltd .

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC September 12, 2006

Omron to buy NHK Spring’s optical coupler business

Tokyo, Japan— Making plans to expand more heavily into optical coupler markets, Omron Corp . has reached a preliminary agreement to buy a portion of NHK Spring's optical coupler business. The acquisition includes the component micro-fabrication technologies and film deposition technologies required to produce high-performance quartz optical waveguides and the development, manufacture, and sale of optical coupler modules that incorporate these optical waveguides.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC September 11, 2006

Novel algorithm helps optimize control strategies

“More bang for the buck” is a goal that control-system designers may be able to better aim for with a newly developed optimization strategy from researchers at Cardiff University’s Manufacturing Engineering Centre (MEC). Called the Bee Algorithm, the method adopts a strategy used in nature when honeybee colonies attempt to concentrate their honey-gathering resources to the most promising fields available at any given time. The researchers’ contribution was to apply the strategy to finding the most effective set of values for a number of automated control settings. It’s fairly simple to determine the best setting for a single control input, but when a system includes a large number of mutually interacting inputs, optimization quickly becomes a daunting, if not impossible, task.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC September 7, 2006

Seminars teach integrators about battery-pack design, safety

Among other topics, recent news regarding the safety of Li-ion battery packs will be explored in a series of battery-powered seminars to be presented by battery-pack vendor Nexergy . The Portable Power Technical Seminar Series will be devoted exclusively to battery pack and charger technology, covering all aspects of battery pack and charger design from cell selection to battery safety. Led by Chris Turner, director of battery technology, and Lon Schneider, director of product development, the series will include detailed presentations on all issues related to designing the optimal battery pack and charger. The series will emphasize safety circuits, validation and testing, cell balancing, and the repercussions of counterfeit battery cells.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC September 7, 2006

Airbee, ZMD agreement eases ZigBee integration

Airbee Wireless , a developer of software for unwired voice and data networking applications, executed a license agreement with Zentrum Mikroelektronik Dresden AG ["ZMD," developer of mixed-signal application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs) and application-specific standard products (ASSPs) for automotive, industrial, and medical applications] to provide ZigBee-compliant and ZigBee-based network protocol stacks (ZNS and ZNS Lite). When released, these products will help give integrators and OEMs deploying ZigBee wireless sensor networks access to the ZMD44102 radio at 900 MHz paired with TI MSP430-1612 microcontrollers. The venture will offer a ready-made platform for integrators and OEMs seeking turnkey 900 MHz ZigBee technologies requiring extended range and robust performance. The two companies will integrate Airbee-ZigBee Network Software (ZNS) stack with ZMD's ZMD44102 transceivers operating in the European 868.3 MHz and North American 902 MHz to 928 MHz license-free bands.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC August 29, 2006

IBM advances security services position with ISS acquisition

Armonk, NY and Atlanta, GA— IBM continued its buying spree last week announcing it will acquire Atlanta-based Internet Security Systems Inc . (ISS) in an all-cash transaction for about $1.3 billion, or $28 a share. The move is subject to shareholder and regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC August 10, 2006

Tundra Semiconductor, Atmel to provide system interconnect products

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada and San Jose, CA — Tundra Semiconductor Corp. and Atmel Corp. announced an agreement enabling Atmel to deliver a selection of Tundra's portfolio of high-performance interconnect devices with enhanced capabilities for applications requiring extended-temperature and extended-reliability specifications.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC August 10, 2006

Planar buys Clarity Visual Systems, extends reach into special displays

Planar Systems Inc. plans to extend its presence in the specialty display market with an agreement to acquire all outstanding capital stock of Clarity Visual Systems for $46 million in cash and Planar stock. The sale, subject to the usual regulatory and shareholder approvals, is expected to close late this year or early in 2007.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC August 8, 2006

Numbers: Active RFID growth; industry benchmarks

Industrial applications will be among those using active radio frequency identification (RFID) tags, contributing to a 12-fold growth by 2016, while in separate news, industry control, automation, and instrumentation firms again shared numbers with the Measurement, Control & Automation Association (MCAA) for benchmarking their performances. Value of sales of active RFID systems will grow very rapidly from $0.55 billion in 2006 to $6.78 billion 2016, according to a report from analysts IDTechEx , “Active RFID 2006-2016.” Primary factors creating this growth will be real time locating systems (RTLS) and disposable RFID sensor systems, including ones in the form of Smart Active Labels (SALs). IDTechEx based its forecast on four major factors. First is the much stronger market demand for tracking, locating, and monitoring people and things.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC August 3, 2006

Deeper Ethernet: Processors integrate time synchronization protocol

Austin, TX — Freescale Semiconductor teamed with Ixxat to use IEEE 1588 time-synchronization protocol within Freescale PowerQuicc communications processors, built on Freescale Power Architecture technology. The move may make Ethernet more economical at the sensor level. Ixxat demonstrated the IEEE 1588 protocol running on the MPC8349E PowerQuicc II Pro processor at the Freescale Technology Forum, July 24-27, in Orlando, FL. Target applications for the IEEE 1588 protocol include time-sensitive telecommunication services, which require precision time synchronization between communicating nodes.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC August 2, 2006

Electronic valve actuator gets even smarter

New, smarter, MX series valve actuator from Flowserve. Flowserve’s Limitorque MX smart electronic valve actuator has gotten even smarter with the addition of several new enhancements. Said to be designed for reliable and safe operation even in the harshest environments, the MX series now offers new mechanical and electronic refinements while widening options available for system communication and operator interface. The MX series has always offered features such as absolute encoders with battery-free backup, LimiGard circuit protection, and Hall-effect devices to eliminate reed switches.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC August 1, 2006

Failure to change can be fatal, even for industry leaders

A good percentage of the articles appearing in this magazine over the past year revolve around one theme: manufacturers' need to continually adapt to change. That's because we are in an era in which any company that stands still—no matter how robust sales may be—is destined to die.

By Sidney Hill, Jr., executive editor
PID, APC August 1, 2006

Study shows substantial waste in working capital in U.S. and European companies

In a survey of 2,000 of the largest companies across the U.S. and Europe, Atlanta-based advisory firm The Hackett Group found $1 trillion-plus unnecessarily tied up in working capital. The study, which comes as a result of Hackett's acquisition of REL Consultancy Group last year, shows companies are not yet fully optimizing customer-to-cash cycles.

By Staff
PID, APC August 1, 2006

Open to change

"A person needs at intervals to separate from family and companions and go to new places. One must go without familiars in order to be open to influences, to change," said writer Katharine Butler Hathaway. During a time of tremendous change in manufacturing, personal decisions to move on or to separate can often facilitate tremendous growth and satisfaction.

By Renee Robbins, Editorial Director
PID, APC July 20, 2006

Dissolved ozone analyzer for online monitoring

Dissolved ozone analyzer from Analytical Technology is intended for online monitoring and control of ozonation systems. Q45H/64 dissolved ozone analyzer from Analytical Technology Inc. is designed for online monitoring and control of ozonation systems.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC July 13, 2006

Software development kit for unmanned systems

RE2 JAUS Software Development Kit (SDK) Version 1.0 and its RE2 Solution Services from RE2 Inc. allows military and commercial unmanned systems developers to design and implement a JAUS-compliant system. JAUS (Joint Architecture for Unmanned Systems) is a Department of Defense (DoD) mandated software-messaging protocol developed to establish a standard for unmanned ground, surface, and underwater vehicles that enables interoperability between unmanned systems and components. The kit includes: Development libraries, including message packing/unpacking and UDP/IP delivery; Routing binaries, including node managers and communicators; and Software documentation, including a user’s guide, an interactive HTML-based manual, and component examples. Prior to the release of version 1.0, RE2 conducted beta testing with unmanned systems vendors and research universities, including AnthroTronix Inc., DRS Unmanned Technologies, Bluefield State University, and Drexel University. RE2 Inc.— Robotics Engineering Excellence —is a Carnegie Mellon spin-off specializing in agile defense robotics with an emphasis on JAUS-compliant unmanned systems and components.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC July 5, 2006

Precision balances offer built-in software, precision weighing

Reflex HP Series precision balances from Avery Weigh-Tronix Inc. are available in eight models for high-precision applications in the food and beverage, chemical, and pharmaceutical industries. Reflex HP Series precision balances from Avery Weigh-Tronix Inc.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC July 1, 2006

Feedback on what to teach in process control

I read with great interest the Academic Viewpoint column "Process controls: what to teach" (CE, May 2006, p. 26). While I am not a chemical engineer, I have worked in the process control field (instrumentation R&D and design) for over 30 years. My academic education included two courses in control theory that covered many of the topics discussed in the column.

By Staff
PID, APC July 1, 2006

The Amazing World of Nanotechnology

The body of information surrounding nanotechnology is incredible. If you search the subject on Google, you will find well over a million entries. Interest in the field is unquestionable, and the buzz about its possibilities and potential increases daily, fueled by media hype and science fiction such as Michael Crichton's novel Prey.

By Jeanine Katzel
PID, APC July 1, 2006

Roundup of wireless, RFID activity

Radio-frequency identification (RFID) and other wireless technologies continue to expand in several separate developments. Datalogic Group, with headquarters in Bologna, Italy, through acquisition of PSC Inc., has become a member of Intermec's RFID Rapid Start program, according to Intermec Inc. Datalogic manufacturers CCD (charge-coupled device) and laser-based bar-code readers, mobile compute...

By Staff
PID, APC June 29, 2006

Accelerate machine-vision application development

VisionPro from Cognex offers an interactive environment for vision-system development. Its user-friendly elements include interactive drag and drop, .NET scripting, and a full programming toolkit. Machine-vision technology is embarked on a growth path of capabilities.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC June 21, 2006

Free software helps with functional specifications

Various software tools can help develop functional specifications that can increase probability of success in automation and control implementations. ControlDraw Ltd. now offers a free version of its software, offering basic functions for specification and design of S88 models, useful beyond batch applications for process automation. Free version of ControlDraw3 reportedly includes ability to: Draw process flow diagrams with state matrices for unit and equipment modules, with animation; Draw logic diagrams and then run them, watching the logic signals flow through the diagram. Draw control loop function block diagrams (SAMA loops) and run them, simulating processes and their PID control loops; Draw and simulate Grafcet/SFC charts, state transition diagrams more; Build small hierarchical S88-oriented models; Build state matrices that define the possible states of a collection of objects in one matrix. Click here to get more information, register, and download an evaluation version and the free edition. To read more on the topic from Control Engineering , please read “Project Documentation: Functional Specifications.” --Edited by Mark T.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC June 15, 2006

Visualization for remote I/O

Calling it "a new concept in the area of visualization," B&R has announced an innovative system for remote I/O stations using its Automation PC 620 and corresponding Automation Panel.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC June 9, 2006

Omron: 1st mass-producible polymeric ultra-wideband antenna

Omron Corp. launched a new SMD Polymeric Antenna (WXA-N1SL) for short-range, wireless Ultra-Wideband (UWB) applications. UWB, a recently commercialized short-range wireless technology, is expected to be widely adopted in consumer goods.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC June 7, 2006

Valve positioners, actuators for safe process control

Valve positioners and actuators from Burkert include three devices for improved safety in process control applications. They include Type 1067 PID controller/positioner, Type 8630 Top control system, and Type 8365 process controller/positioner.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC May 31, 2006

RFID and the ‘big picture’

Radio Frequency Identification—RFID—has many uses. In one form or another it is found in fields as varied as supply chain logistics, aerospace and defense, automotive, border security, life sciences and pharmaceuticals, retail, transportation and more. Although many reports published by ABI Research and other analysts address specific vertical markets and RFID applications, their diversity has often made it difficult for investors, governments, integration service providers, end-users, developers and others to grasp the bigger RFID picture and to understand the landscape of this rapidly growing collection of markets. That gap has now been filled by a new ABI Research study,‘RFID Annual Market Overview: Vertical Market and Application Market Overviews for Tags, Readers, Software and Services.’ It provides a high-level, but still detailed, examination of RFID technologies, applications, and addressable vertical markets by region, and is intended to give readersa general outline of the broad RFID market. According to Erik Michielsen, director, RFID and Ubiquitous Networks Research, “RFID shows nuances across technologies, active and passive designs, and a wide range of frequency bands.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC May 15, 2006

RFID widens into the ‘bigger picture’

Radio frequency identification—RFID—has many uses. In one form or another it is found in fields as varied as supply chain logistics, aerospace and defense, automotive, border security, life sciences and pharmaceuticals, retail, transportation, and more. Although many reports published by ABI Research and other analysts address specific vertical markets and RFID applications, their diversity has often made it difficult for investors, governments, integration service providers, end-users, developers, and others to grasp the bigger RFID picture and to understand the landscape of this rapidly growing collection of markets. That gap has now been filled by a new ABI Research study, “RFID Annual Market Overview: Vertical Market and Application Market Overviews for Tags, Readers, Software and Services.” The study is said to provide a high-level, but still detailed, examination of RFID technologies, applications, and addressable vertical markets by region, and is intended to give readers a general outline of the broad RFID market. According to Erik Michielsen, director, RFID and Ubiquitous Networks Research, “RFID shows nuances across technologies, active and passive designs, and a wide range of frequency bands.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC May 11, 2006

RFID: Datalogic buys PSC Inc., joins Intermec rapid-start program

Datalogic Group , with headquarters in Bologna, Italy, through its acquisition of PSC Inc., has become a member of Intermec ’s RFID Rapid Start program, according to Intermec Inc. Datalogic Group manufacturers CCD (charge-coupled device) and laser-based bar-code readers, mobile computers, and RFID systems. The program closed Aug.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC May 1, 2006

Omron begins full-scale entry into India

Omron Corp., a $5.5 billion/yr, manufacturer of automation and sensing products, has established Omron Automation PVT Ltd. (OEP-IN), a wholly owned subsidiary in New Delhi, India. The move marks the beginning of a full-scale entry to the rapidly growing Indian factory automation market by Omron's Industrial Automation Business (IAB).

By Staff
PID, APC April 13, 2006

In, out, and about HMI: Display, monitor products make their mark

A variety of display products are making their way to market this month. They include a series of rugged monitors and avionics displays; a new family of single-LED molded light guides; and a color service monitor for analog radio testing and maintenance.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC April 13, 2006

Software firm to help cement producer hike efficiency, cut energy use

Software vendor Pavilion Technologies has signed an implementation agreement to improve operating efficiency and increase the use of secondary fuels at Buzzi Unicem, an Italian cement producer. As part of the agreement, Buzzi Unicem will deploy Pavilion's Pavilion8 kiln control system on a kiln at its Robilante operations plant.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC April 10, 2006

Tyco renews touch control relationship, adds manufacturing centers

Tyco Electronics renewed its relationship and entered into an exclusive licensing agreement with Pressenk Instruments, Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The move allows Tyco to continue to market touch control technology (TCT), a solid-state touch control method that uses Pressenk’s patented touch technology to provide an alternative to other switch technologies, such as membrane switches, mechanical keyboards, and solid-state keyboards. Tyco Electronics has extended its exclusive licensing agreement with Pressenk Instruments allowing it to continue to market Pressenk’s patented touch control technology (TCT), a solid-state touch control method. TCT is said to provide cost-effective options beyond existing solid-state keyboards, such as capacitive, infrared, piezo-effect, and field-effect.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC April 6, 2006

SABIC to maximize productivity, improve ROI

Honeywell has signed a $12 million agreement with Saudi Basic Industries Corp. (SABIC), a Saudi Arabian petrochemical company, to provide advanced process control and implementation services to SABIC sites throughout the Kingdom.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC April 1, 2006

Bioterrorism Act: Burden or Benefit?

The event that has come to be known as 911 changed forever the American way of life. Around the world, in an instant, people recognized their vulnerability to catastrophe. In its wake grew new policies, procedures, and laws to attempt to prevent, or at least mitigate, future incidents. Among the most notable of those measures is the Bioterrorism Act of 2002, the basis for regulations governing ...

By Jeanine Katzel
PID, APC March 10, 2006

Partitioning technology for secure embedded systems

QNX Software Systems , a provider of embedded operating systems and design tools, recently announced a new operating system extension that allows developers to build hardened, secure compartments around their software applications yet provide flexibility to maximize CPU resources. Announced at the recent Embedded World 2006 show in Germany, new QNX Neutrino Adaptive Partitioning technology claims “an industry first” by offering embedded designers the best of both worlds—that is, resource guarantees for greater security and full CPU use for maximum performance, according to QNX. Adaptive Partitioning technology from QNX is said to be ideal for embedded designs that demand secure operation and guaranteed response times—such as security applications, industrial control systems, high-speed telecommunications, and in-car computing devices. Key to QNX's new Adaptive Partitioning (AP) technology is a patent-pending scheduler that guarantees CPU time for heavily loaded applications by dynamically reassigning resources from partitions not under full load to those that need additional processing time.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC March 7, 2006

Chipless RFID tags show increasing application

Cambridge, U.K. —Chipless RFID tags—those that do not contain a silicon chip—could eventually be printed directly on products and packaging for as little as 0.1 cent each, replacing trillions of barcodes with something more versatile and reliable, findings from a recent IDTechEx report indicate. The tags can be expected to experience a rapid gain in market share over the next 10 years, the study shows, adding that the numbers will rise dramatically from 5 million units in 2006 to 267 billion units by 2016, increasing market share from 0.4 to 45%. “Chipless RFID forecasts, technologies, and players, 2006-2016” found that chipless tags will rapidly come to dominate the RFID market after 2016.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC March 1, 2006

Innovation accelerated

Inside the gleaming glass headquarters of Callaway Golf in Carlsbad, Calif., product developers are hard at work coming up with the next great golf club. However, much of what Callaway does to launch clubs such as its Big Bertha Fusion FT-3 driver spans multiple locations, some of them external to the company, says Steve Ehlers, Callaway's VP of product design and development.

By Roberto Michel, senior contributing editor
PID, APC March 1, 2006

Profitable Process Control

Previous articles in this series have discussed how best to achieve a set of control objectives. Specifying those objectives has not been an issue. This article discusses creating and integrating a process optimization function with process control functions. The ultimate goal: move the process from current operating objective to a more profitable one.

By Lew Gordon
PID, APC March 1, 2006

Ultracapacitors help fuels cells replace lead-acid batteries

A hydrogen fuel cell manufacturer is using ultracapacitors to enhance performance and energy management in its drop-in replacement for lead acid batteries in forklifts. General Hydrogen (GH), a developer of fuel cell systems and hydrogen fueling technologies, placed a 200,000 unit, three-year order for Maxwell's Boostcap ultracapacitors, to be used for GH's Hydricity Pack ...

By Staff
PID, APC March 1, 2006

Manage knowledge… or lose ‘memory’

Quick!Quick! Capture that knowledge! It's hard to believe that, in the information age, one of our biggest problems may be the loss of vital information. Three factors converge: Information—more importantly knowledge—that has been patiently collected through years of experience will be lost because engineers do not have the time, or opportunity, to pass on their knowledge to the ne...

By Dennis Brandl, BR&L Consulting
PID, APC February 15, 2006

‘Rambling Wrecks’ create more compact, inexpensive spectrometer

One of the key advantages to the new spectrometer is its insensitivity to alignment. Spectrometers are very sensitive to the direction and wavelength of light and several of their parts are devoted to keeping the light correctly directed. Atlanta, GA —Spectrometers’ optical delicacy underlies their pickyness about light.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC February 9, 2006

GE Fanuc: VMEbus ‘managed’ Gigabit Ethernet switch platform

Pricing for GE Fanuc Embedded Systems’ RM921 family starts at $4,000. GE Fanuc Embedded Systems announced the availability of its new RM921, a family of VMEbus managed Gigabit Ethernet switches enabled with the new Internet IPv6 standard. The switch platform comes with 12 (single slot) or 24 (dual slot) front-panel Gigabit Ethernet ports, copper and/or fiber-optic connectivity options, conformal coating, and an optional 10 Gigabit Ethernet uplink port. “Managed” switches refer to applications where an operator interface is needed.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC February 8, 2006

Wireless mesh networking to foil improvised explosive devices (IED)?

Dallas, TX — RF Monolithics Inc. announced that its Wireless Systems Group is participating in a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract awarded to Nanotherapeutics Inc. to develop an improved system to detect IEDs.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC February 6, 2006

‘Five Clear Warning Signs’ Point to Lower Economic Growth, Living Standards

Washington, DC —Downward trends in U.S. manufacturing innovation pose a serious threat to America's long-term economic growth and living standards, according to a new report released today by the Council of Manufacturing Associations (CMA) and The Manufacturing Institute of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM). “The manufacturing economy generates a large share of American prosperity,” said NAM president John Engler. “America’s continuing leadership in innovation and the production of high-value manufactured goods is essential to our nation’s long-term economic growth, productivity gains and standard of living.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC February 1, 2006

Obsolescence is no defense

As with all technology, industrial automation products eventually become obsolete. However, with careful planning and proper maintenance, end-users can continue to realize a return from their automation investments for years, even decades. Here are 10 tips from system integrators who know how to keep an automation system running on a budget.

By Vance J. VanDoren, Ph.D., P.E.
PID, APC February 1, 2006

Top 10 articles of ’05

Most popular articles of 2005 follow—measured by number of "hits" (page opened) during each calendar month at Control Engineering's Web site. Results reflect readers' desire for trends, technologies, and tutorials to more efficiently design and operate their applications. Specific interests include economic influences, Ethernet, and loop tuning.

By Mark T. Hoske, Editor-in-Chief
PID, APC January 31, 2006

Vector signal generator first in new RF test instrument line

Line of RF test instruments from Keithley Instruments Inc. includes Model 2910 RF vector signal generator, Model 2810 RF vector signal analyzer, and Model 3500 portable RF power meter. Cleveland, OH —Model 2910 vector signal generator from Keithley Instruments Inc .

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC January 24, 2006

PLC architecture has DCS functionality

A2 T2550 distributed control system from Invensys Foxboro combines control and I/O technology in an expandable base plate or chassi. Foxboro, MA — Foxboro A2 T2550 system from Invensys Foxboro combines process controllers and I/O devices into an expandable base plate (or chassis), providing a powerful, low-cost, stand-alone or networked DCS solution.An alternative for smaller applications, the controller lets multi-loop process control capability be deployed at the process unit. Easily integrated into a control or plant network, it will continue to control a process even if a network link is lost.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC January 17, 2006

Fluid processor helps develop cholesterol-blocking food additives

Fluid processing equipment from Microfluidics Corp. is helping University of Massachusetts-Lowell researchers study ways to develop water-soluble plant sterols for use as cholesterol-blocking food additives. Newton, MA —Fluid processing equipment is playing a key role in an effort to develop water-soluble plant sterols for use as cholesterol-blocking food additives.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC January 9, 2006

LabView simulation module

LabView simulation module 2.0 extends LabView’s graphical environment to deliver one seamless platform for modeling, design, simulation, and real-time implementation of control systems.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC January 1, 2006

Challenge: Boost Efficiency of the Efficient

A top-performing dry-mill ethanol plant in Watertown, SD, sought even greater improvements in energy and yield. Glacial Lakes Energy LLC (GLE) operates this plant, which processes over 17 million bushels of corn annually, yielding 48-million gallons of ethanol and 140,000 tons of dried distiller grains (DDG).

By Staff
PID, APC December 22, 2005

Discrete industries’ automation buy to exceed $38 billion

Dedham, MA —Last year’s over-$27 billion worldwide automation-market for discrete industries was succeeded by even more robust growth in 2005 as the global economy expanded with heightened demand from various emerging areas. The overall automation market for the discrete industries is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 7% over the next five years. The market is forecast to exceed $38 billion in 2009, according to a new ARC Advisory Group study.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC December 12, 2005

Embedded controllers for next-generation industrial use

MPC5554 32-bit embedded controller, based on PowerPC architecture, extends Freescale Semiconductor’s MPC5500 family to the industrial market.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC December 8, 2005

Mindready acquires U.S.-based system integrator

Montreal, Canada — Mindready Solutions Inc. (MS), a supplier of solutions for test- and embedded-systems, announced the acquisition of Radical Systems Inc. (RS), an Alabama-based systems integrator—with sales of approximately $2 million for first-half 2005—specializing in automated tests, measurement, data acquisition, machine vision, and process-control systems to customers in the southeastern U.S.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC December 7, 2005

Globalization drives PLC market growth

Emerging markets' heightened demand has created robust growth for the global programmable logic controller (PLC) market. PLCs' worldwide market should grow at a compound annual rate of 5.9% over the next five years. The PLC market was nearly $7 billion in 2004 and is forecast to exceed $9 billion in 2009, according to a new ARC Advisory Group study.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC December 7, 2005

Hazardous-location-certified rotary electric actuators

Harold Beck & Son's Group-11 rotary control drive is certified for Class 1, Division 1 hazard-ous environments. Harold Beck & Sons Inc. has released its Group-11 rotary-control drive (G11; electric actuator) rated for hazardous environments.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC December 1, 2005

Robust Ethernet switches

Weidmuller's 8-, 16- and 24-port copper/fiber managed Ethernet switches provide robust Ethernet management capabilities. Equipped with a full range of standard features, the switches enable comprehensive visibility into industrial Ethernet networks by generating statistics such as data rate, throughput, and the number of error frames being received.

By Staff
PID, APC December 1, 2005

Award for work in advanced process control

The American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) has awarded the Computing Practice Award to Dr. Mike Morshedi, inventor and co-inventor of several multivariable predictive control technologies in widespread use today. The award recognizes his ongoing contributions to advance real-time process control and optimization.

By Staff
PID, APC November 30, 2005

Project: Biopharmaceutical filtration automation (November 30, 2005)

November 30, 2005 Project Status Summary: 1. Control software development code complete 100%2. HMI software code complete 100%3.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC November 10, 2005

PICMG adds serial RapidIO to AdvancedTCA, defines mapping to ATCA

Release of the latest PICMG specification for high-speed interconnects over AdvancedTCA (ATCA) backplanes—PICMG 3.5 RapidIO for ATCA—improves a shortcoming of the prior specification. Previous PICMG 3.0 spec defines detailed characteristics of ATCA cards, chassis, backplanes, and the protocol for the base interconnect between cards (Ethernet); however, an add-in card is needed to notify the system manager which fabric it supports before interconnects are enabled onto the backplane, according to the PICMG organization. Serial RapidIO is the latest fabric to be mapped onto AdvancedTCA. PICMG (founded in 1994 as the PCI Industrial Computer Manufacturers Group) is a consortium of more than 400 companies that collaboratively develops open specifications for high-performance telecommunications and industrial computing applications.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC November 2, 2005

Project: Biopharmaceutical filtration automation-November 2, 2005

November 2, 2005 Project Status Summary: 1. MF software design 100%2. MF software code complete 100%3.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC November 2, 2005

CPM to grow substantially

The collaborative production-management market for process manufacturing (CPM-P) is expected to grow at a compound annual rate of some 12% over the next five years. The market was over $1.3 billion in 2005 and is forecast to approach $2.3 billion in 2010, according to a new study by the ARC Advisory Group . The CPM-P solutions market has been steady for the past couple of years, but this is rapidly changing as demand is on the rise. "Contributing to growth is increased demand from developing regions that are constructing new plants and purchasing best-in-class solutions to achieve world-class manufacturing capabilities and have their products well accepted around the world," said Tom Fiske, senior analyst and principal author of: “CPM Systems for the Process Industries Worldwide Outlook.” Fiske continued, "As global competition increases, existing manufacturing facilities are under incredible pressure to improve their return on assets (ROA).

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC November 1, 2005

High Horsepower Vision Sensors

Technology advances have made vision sensors easy to setup and use. Beyond that, suppliers differ in how they characterize these technologies. In general, vision sensors are seen as having more capabilities, complexities, and costs than photoelectric sensors, but less than embedded or PC-based vision systems.

By Mark T. Hoske, Editor-in-Chief
PID, APC October 27, 2005

4-in-1: Universal analog input module

"Four modules in one" functionality for the GE Fanuc PACSystems RX3i Universal Analog Input module is said to significantly simplify wiring and configuration, and reduce troubleshooting time. PACSystems RX3i Universal Analog Input module, from GE Fanuc Automation Americas Inc. , offers functionality of four modules in one, reducing I/O module space requirements, decreasing the number of spare parts and inventory, and simplifying wiring and configuration for OEMs or end-users.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC October 24, 2005

Automated parts service handles high volumes, production-grade plastics

New Stratasys RedEye service allows 24/7 ordering of part prototypes online, made from a variety of plastics. Stratasys Inc. recently launched RedEye RPM, what it calls the world’s largest rapid prototype and part-building service.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC October 17, 2005

Exclusive: Simplifying alarm management

DeltaV Analyze software now identifies nuisance alarms, trends in plant alarms, and control modules responsible for those alarms, and delivers information on structured Web pages for rapid, easy access.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC October 5, 2005

Invensys to implement major refinery-expansion automation

Sinopec Corp. is China’s largest petroleum refiner with 27 branches (subsidiaries) in China’s southeast coastal area, northern area and Yangtze River Delta. Key petroleum products include: gasoline, kerosene, diesel, lube oil, chemical light feedstock, fuel oil, solvent oil, petroleum wax, asphalt, petroleum coke, LPG, propylene and benzene products for refining.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC October 1, 2005

Excess Air Control For Energy Efficiency

When there is too much air in the combustion process, additional fuel is burned to raise the temperature of this excess air to that of the combustion process. Excess air is a costly waste of fuel because it simply absorbs heat that goes up the stack, rather than into the process. How does one guard against these problems? If there is not enough air being introduced into the combustion process, ...

By Robert J. Bambeck
PID, APC October 1, 2005

Simplifying alarm management

DeltaV Analyze software now identifies nuisance alarms, trends in plant alarms, and control modules responsible for those alarms, and delivers information on structured Web pages for rapid, easy access. It examines alarms, events, and operator actions from a plant Event Chronicle or Plant-Wide Event historian and highlights the most frequently occurring alarms and the control modules responsibl...

By Staff
PID, APC October 1, 2005

Frequency Domain Analysis Explained

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

By Vance VanDoren
PID, APC October 1, 2005

High-speed process controller

HA Series high-speed controller is designed for applications requiring high accuracy and versatile functions. It offers embedded Profibus or DeviceNet communications and features a sampling rate of 0.025 s or 40 times per second, making it suitable for fast processes and mass flow processes in which measured values change rapidly.

By Staff
PID, APC September 19, 2005

Fast Ethernet switch

Gigabit-enabled industrial Ethernet switches provide 10 times higher data throughput.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC September 14, 2005

Data-center grade embedded device server, network OS

Lantronix introduced the new XPort Architect (AR) embedded processor module and the Evolution Network Operating System (ENOS) to deliver a flexible, programmable networking platform for making intelligent, secure devices, the company says. The module and software are the first data-center-grade embedded device server and network operating system to relay information through private networks and the Internet for secure connections to control and business applications, the company says. XPort AR uses the same high-level data transport and security mechanisms used by IT. Lantronix says the announcement advances capabilities of the XPort family with more memory, processing power, and data-center protocols for applications requiring increased on-module intelligence and customization.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC September 7, 2005

Webcast: ‘The Roadmap to RoHS’

A live keynote interview on RoHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substances) will air Sept. 14, 2005, 11 a.m. EST, part of “ECN’S EOEM Design Conference & Exhibition Online.” ECN, a Reed Business Information publication, says the webcast will be available for archive viewing after-ward, as well.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC September 5, 2005

Software forecasts energy efficiency

Energy Savings Predictor (ESP) software, free to owners of Yaskawa E7 drives, accurately forecasts energy efficiency and savings potential for HVAC systems, fan, pump, and cooling tower applications.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC September 1, 2005

Environmental condition monitor

Model ECM environmental condition monitor is designed for rapid detection of corrosive conditions, including humidity, temperature, and differential pressure. Corrosion monitoring system provides constant surveillance of the atmospheric environment and detection of conditions that could result in damage to expensive equipment such as computers, instrumentation systems, and other sensitive equip...

By Staff
PID, APC September 1, 2005

Lead-free: Materials documentation still a mess

One of the thorniest issues in the conversion to lead-free electronics is compliance information. The International Electronics Manufacturing Initiative (iNEMI) worked with the IPC, the electronic industry’s packaging group, to offer a standard for collecting, tracking, and disclosing information on the material content of components, but so far the standard has done little to alleviate the confusion about RoHS certification and material content information. A recent study on the status of RoHS conversion conducted by Technology Forecasters Inc. of Alameda, CA, shows more confusion on declaration than any other lead-free issue.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC September 1, 2005

Tektronix, Virginia Tech collaborate on developing cognitive radio

Tektronix Inc. reports that it's conducting joint research with the Mobile and Portable Radio Research Group (MPRG) at Virginia Tech to develop Cognitive Radio (CR) technology and a test methodology for it. This effort extends an existing research relationship with Virginia Tech that began with developing integrated solutions for characterizing and testing Software Defined R...

By Staff
PID, APC August 29, 2005

‘Micro’ PLCs deliver large capabilities

As micro PLCs pack in more functions, logic-based system may be approaching the point where obsolescence is a thing of the past. Control Engineering spoke recently with several manufacturers of micro PLCs, about trends about these and other forms of logic. For more on this subject, look for a September 2005 issue article on Micro PLCs under Archive at Control Engineering online . Integrated architecture offers powerful capabilities, according to Mike Miclot, Rockwell Automation , director, Automation, Control and Information.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC August 23, 2005

Plant asset management systems market set to soar

Dedham, MA—Worldwide market for plant asset management (PAM) systems is expected to experience unprecedented growth over the next five years, a recent ARC Advisory Group study forecasts. Manufacturer needs, driven by economic and competitive factors, are behind the move. “Plant Asset Management Systems Worldwide Outlook Study” reports the current $1.1 billion+ market will exceed $1.8 billion by 2009, reflecting a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) approaching 10%.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC August 15, 2005

Operator Interfaces

The days of manual pushbuttons, analog meters, and clipboards to control, track, and record plant floor conditions are rapidly drawing to a close. Today, operators are able to exercise control and record operational history via modern, operator interface video panels. The term "operator interface" is a bit of a misnomer, as it suggests that the product is little more than a relatively "dumb" c...

By Dan Sussman, for Control Engineering
PID, APC August 15, 2005

I/O Devices

Given that I/O devices tie together all elements of a control network, primary buying considerations are pretty basic: Does the I/O equipment support the fieldbus protocols and signal types needed? That sounds simple, but there's a dizzying array of possible protocols and signals to consider. There's also the question of I/O intelligence to bear in mind, as well as a number of other factors, su...

By Hank Hogan, for Control Engineering
PID, APC August 9, 2005

Project: Biopharmaceutical filtration automation, August 8, 2005

August 9, 2005 Over the past week we have been involved with process simulations to allow developers to run sequences, test alarm conditions, execute recipes, and generate operational data that can be used for development of data analysis applications for this project. Historically, we have developed simulations inside the control system. Recently, however, we have developed a simple simulation application in VB.Net that uses OPC to manipulate module parameters based upon a simulation calculation defined by the user.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC August 1, 2005

Refinery Expertise Preservation

Some skeptics have expressed doubt about the reality of the problem refiners face in an aging workforce. But industry leading operating companies, think tanks, and government groups are increasingly recognizing that after decades of turmoil (over the past 20 years, the industry has lost a half-million workers to layoffs and mergers) there is a serious shortage of qualified and knowledgeable per...

By Stephen Clark
PID, APC August 1, 2005

Integrating Utility Networks

Companies involved in energy or energy-related transmission and distribution are finding that the lifecycles of SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition) systems are not as long as they once were, due to rapidly developing technologies and changing market requirements driven by ongoing deregulation, liberalization, and privatization of energy-related markets.

By Yauheni Veryha and Markus Gauder
PID, APC July 28, 2005

Compact vector drive includes PLC functions

Small physical size is no indication of the performance available from a new ac motor drive from Saftronics Inc.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC July 25, 2005

Flow switch has fast response time

NuTec FS2000L inline flow switch features a non-intrusive thermal mass flow sensor design and 316L stainless steel construction to isolate it from the process media.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC July 14, 2005

FTF 2005: Encirq works with Freescale to transform automotive app

Encirq Corp., a leading provider of high-performance data management solutions for embedded systems, announced at the recent Freescale Technology Forum (FTF) in Orlando, FL, its intent to work with Freescale Semiconductor to deliver an integrated solution to simplify development of sophisticated automotive applications while helping to reduce risk and cost.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC July 14, 2005

HoloTouch accepted into development program for high-tech start-ups

Holographic-type touchscreens gained some ground as HoloTouch Inc. has been selected to participate in a mentoring and development program for high-technology start-up companies.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC July 12, 2005

Wonderware launches production events module for traceability, historical data management

Lake Forest, CA—Wonderware has released a new Production Events Module (PEM) for the Industrial Application Server.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC July 5, 2005

Hydraulic simulator for multiphase flow networks

Lake Forest, CA—To help engineers to analyze data and present results using familiar Excel spreadsheets, the SimSci-Esscor unit of Invensys Process Systems has released version 9.0 of its Pipephgase simulation program.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC July 5, 2005

Tridium, Dust Networks form energy-monitoring alliance

Richmond, VA; Hayward, CA—Tridium Inc. and Dust Networks have formed an alliance to reduce the costs of energy monitoring and real-time demand response applications.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC July 4, 2005

3-D rapid prototyping program

Rapid prototyping program offers 3-D, high-definition color prototypes that can be used for concept visualization, design review, mock-ups for form-and-fit testing, as well as patterns for casting applications.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC July 1, 2005

Exclusive: High-temp superconducting wire aids motor development

Rockwell Automation reports it successfully demonstrated in June 2005 the first use of second-generation (2G) high-temperature superconducting (HTS) wire in a 2-hp Reliance Electric HTS motor. The firm adds that HTS wire remains key to making HTS technology practical for use in large, industrial motors.

By Frank J. Bartos, executive editor
PID, APC July 1, 2005

Rats, Danish royalty, and wireless

What do a 10th century Danish king and the common rat have to do with the move to wireless on the factory floor? The rat typifies the problems inherent with physical wiring. One of my OEM customers lost the Ethernet connection to a machine several years ago. Unable to find anything wrong with the equipment itself, he tracked the Cat 5 Ethernet cable back to its source.

By Valerie L. Tur
PID, APC July 1, 2005

Sensors Expo 2005: Millennial Net, Freescale partner on wireless sensor networks

Freescale Semiconductor and Millennial Net have formed a partnership to help OEMs rapidly develop and deploy wireless mesh network solutions for large, complex, commercial applications in industrial automation, healthcare, and military/homeland defense markets. Millennial Net will sell, integrate, and support MeshScape wireless sensor networking system on Freescale's MC1319x p...

By Staff
PID, APC June 28, 2005

SAP buys Lighthammer to aid plant-floor/enterprise connectivity

Boston, MA; Exton, PA—To enhance connectivity between the plant floor and the enterprise, SAP AG reports that it’s acquiring Lighthammer Software Development Corp., a privately held supplier of enterprise manufacturing intelligence and collaborative manufacturing software.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC June 27, 2005

7-zone temperature/process controller

CN1500 Series temperature/process controller puts the features of up to seven controllers in a single 1/8-DIN enclosure.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC June 16, 2005

Balance features, price in process analytical instruments market, analysis says

A balance between advanced product features and price is crucial for success in the process analytical instruments market, a recent analysis from Frost& Sullivan (F&S) reveals.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC June 13, 2005

Software for control applications

WinCon 5.0 software for Microsoft Windows-based control applications is suited for rapid control prototyping (RCP) and hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) testing.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC June 2, 2005

SPS Electric Automation America show debuts near Chicago

Billed as the first North American trade event to focus on electric automation technologies for industrial applications, the first SPS Electric Automation America trade show included many industrial networking and automation component solutions at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center near Chicago.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC June 1, 2005

Temporary slowdown

Following the sharp fourth-quarter 2004 increase of the Control Engineering composite share price index, the group's valuation reversed course in the first-quarter of 2005, with an average share price decline of 3%. This negative momentum continued in April with a 4% drop. While there have been a few scattered signs of a "soft patch" in the manufacturing sector, trends are still broadly positive.

By Mark Koznarek
PID, APC May 24, 2005

Polimaster charges RAE Systems misappropriated intellectual property

San Francisco, CA—Polimaster Ltd. reports that it filed a complaint May 9 in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California against RAE Systems Inc., alleging that RAE Systems misappropriated proprietary information developed by Polimaster to manufacture GammaRAE II handheld radiation detection units.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC May 10, 2005

Zilog releases free ZTP, RZK software for its microcontrollers

San Jose, CA—Zilog Inc. reports that it has launched a new version of its integrated, preemptive-multitasking OS and TCP/IP protocol software for its eZ80Acclaim 8-bit Flash microcontrollers (MCUs). The new release, ZTP 1.5, is available free of charge to registered users.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC May 1, 2005

Monitoring and Control of Batch Processes

For many years, chemical and process industries have successfully employed statistical process control (SPC) as a tool for monitoring and maintaining the consistency and operation of process systems. Traditional SPC approaches involve plotting trends of important quality parameters and ensuring that these trends do not violate pre-specified control limits.

By Dr. Barry Lennox and Dr. Ognjen Marjanovic
PID, APC May 1, 2005

Advanced Regulatory Control: Decoupling

Feedforward control systems act to isolate the controlled variable from influences that would otherwise disturb it. When a process has multiple loops and the various control loops upset each other, use of a reciprocal system that isolates the loops from each other may be required. Such a design is referred to as decoupling control.

By Lew Gordon
PID, APC May 1, 2005

Spring into expansion

Creation reaffirms life, faith, and industry. With the need for hope in human endeavors, we tend to rejoice with rebirth and growth. Now that spring's in full swing, I'm really looking forward to summer. (Maybe I'll reconsider after a few more times cutting the grass, but smells great now.) Here are three other hopeful transitions underway.

By Mark T. Hoske
PID, APC April 28, 2005

More safety PLCs to be used

High growth is expected for safety PLCs and safety bus/networks, according to a market study by Venture Development Corp.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC April 26, 2005

Process manufacturing research study seeks participants

Oak Brook, IL—Aberdeen Group and Control Engineering are seeking participants for a benchmark surbey that will examine drivers, strategies, and enablers for achieving manufacturing excellence, and integrating its capabilities into the business and supply chain.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC April 21, 2005

Multi-gas leak detector for demanding environments

Ecotec E3000 multi-gas leak detector from Inficon is designed for demanding production environments.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC April 14, 2005

Jaco Electronics opens new flat panel display integration center

Jaco Electronics has opened a new 20,000 sq ft integration center at its Long Island, NY, headquarters to enhance its ability to service the rapidly growing flat panel display marketwith the latest product technology and display solutions. The company distributes electronic components to original equipment manufacturers.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC April 6, 2005

Process points: Book, guides, trade shows, standards development target process industries

Numerous resources for the process industries were announced recently.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC April 5, 2005

Siemens buys Flender Holding for 1.2 billion euros

Munich, Germany—Siemens reports that it’s expanding its industrial drive business by acquiring Flender Holding GmbH from London-based Citigroup Venture Capital (CVC) Equity Partners for 1.2 billion euros, pending approval by antitrust authorities.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC April 1, 2005

Tracking and tracing made simple

New requirements for manufacturing IT usually come from new business processes or new manufacturing processes, but sometimes they come from new laws and regulations. Two new laws, the USA Bioterrorism Act "USA Public Law 107-188" and the European Health and Consumer Protection Directorate 178/2002 will require new or expanded manufacturing IT systems.

By Dennis Brandl BR&L Consulting
PID, APC March 10, 2005

China’s semiconductor demand expected to outpace supply for some time

Production of semiconductors in China has not kept pace with demand—not due to domestic demand, but rather from the export market’s appetite for chips—according to a recent 62-page report from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) entitled “China's Impact on the Semiconductor Industry.”

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC March 8, 2005

American Power Conversion, Eaton settle patent litigation

West Kingston, RI; Pittsburgh, PA—American Power Conversion (APC) and Eaton Corp. report that they’ve formally agreed to settle ongoing patent litigation currently pending in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina and the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC March 3, 2005

Raymarine’s wireless boat autopilot enabled by Ember’s ZigBee-ready networking

Raymarine reports that sport boat owners can now control their vessels wirelessly, even away from the helm, using its SmartPilot S1000 wireless autopilot system with Ember’s built-in, ZigBee-ready networking technology.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC March 1, 2005

Bosch Rexroth touts diverse technologies, application know-how at summit

Recent business successes with prospects for more of the same, plus multiple technologies united under one uniform control system, and deep application know-how in Bosch Rexroth Group's five divisions were emphasized at its "1st Global Technology Summit" in late January 2005.

By Staff
PID, APC March 1, 2005

Ethernet rules, distributed controls outpace centralized in Wago, CE survey

Germantown, WI—Ethernet is the most used fieldbus protocol and distributed control architectures are beating centralized architectures, according to a recent survey of approximately 150 readers of Wago Corp. and Control Engineering’s “Programmable I/O System with the Power of a PLC” customized, e-mailed newsletter.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC March 1, 2005

Competition breeds control

Manufacturing activity remains strong well into the first quarter of 2005. Institute for Supply Management's PMI (purchasing manager's index) was at 56.4% for January, indicating that the U.S. manufacturing sector is still growing—for the 20th consecutive month. Growth in manufacturing, however, is a term that now applies worldwide.

By David Greenfield, Editorial Director
PID, APC March 1, 2005

Dual-processor SBC

SVME/DMV-183 dual-processor rugged 6U VMEbus single-board computer (SBC) features faster processors, additional operating features, and costs less than its predecessors. It features single or dual 1.5 GHz Freescale MPC7447A/7448 PowerPC processors and is fully compatible with earlier generations of the company's PowerPC-based boards.

By Staff
PID, APC February 15, 2005

Programmable, image acquisition and processing board for real-time vision

Montreal, QC, Canada—Coreco Imaging Inc. recently launched a flexible, programmable image acquisition and processing board, Anaconda, which is specifically designed for real-time image acquisition, processing, and analysis.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC February 15, 2005

Honeywell buys Russian advanced solutions provider

Phoenix, AZ; Moscow, Russia—Honeywell reports that its has bought Petrocom, which provides consulting services and advanced process control solutions for Russia’s refining, oil and gas, and other industries.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC February 14, 2005

Temperature controller probes

CL4000 reagentless, free, and total chlorine probes have been added to MicroChem2 transmitter/controller system, which features multiple measurement capability and single or dual PID control outputs.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC February 10, 2005

OceanView-A Sytem for Rapid Development and Reconfiguration of Subsea Tooling Control

In the Subsea industry there is a need for an easy way to assemble hardware and software for commanding and reading data back from the various actuators, valves and sensors temporarily attached to an existing system due to the immediate demands of the project. In the past, various serial RS-485 and other interface devices have been hooked to a PC and custom software written to “glue” them all together. Generally, interface to each device is unique and awkward, and a very high level of skill is

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC February 10, 2005

PID loop tuning pocket guide, version 2

ControlSoft Inc.’s PID Loop Tuning Tips Pocket Guide—an eight-page publication created to give engineers a short, easy-to-use guide to tuning PID loops—has been expanded to include additional information.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC February 2, 2005

ISA batch control standard released as an IEC PAS

Batch control, consistency, and quality control within and among facilities will become easier, as a result of streamlined ISA/IEC cooperation. An ISA standard widely used for batch control has been released as an IEC PAS (Publicly Available Specification), thanks to a joint effort by the Instrumentation, Systems, and Automation Society and the International Electrotechnical Commission.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC February 1, 2005

Wireless module links industrial applications

PPM-Wireless PC/104-Plus module enables both 802.11b and rapid 802.11g wireless networking capabilities. Technology provides a high-speed, industrial data network based on MiniPCI wireless modules and Ethernet, using a TCP/IP protocol stack to simplify cabling installation and configuration issues. Module measures 90 x 96 mm and has interface electronics and a MiniPCI connector on board.

By Staff
PID, APC January 17, 2005

Portable DAQ has touchscreen monitor

Dash 18X portable data acquisition system is equipped with a 17-in. display for intuitive touchscreen control and real-time data viewing and analysis.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC January 5, 2005

Robust growth forecast for batch process control market

The batch control market is in a robust expansion phase, reports a recent study by the ARC Advisory Group.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC January 4, 2005

Embedded motherboard market shifting to smaller form factors

Natick, MA—The worldwide market for active-backplane motherboards in embedded and real-time applications is shifting rapidly toward the use of smaller form factors, according to re-cent research by Venture Development Corp. (VDC).

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC January 1, 2005

Ethernet Explained

Ethernet was born in 1973 when Xerox's Bob Metcalfe sketched the basic concept on a napkin now archived at Xerox's Palo Alto Research Center. Originally designed for interoffice communications, Ethernet's performance and applications have expanded considerably in recent years. The original standard operated at 2.

By Vance VanDoren, Control Engineering, and Mario Bernardini, B&B Electronics
PID, APC January 1, 2005

Dynamic modeling technology

OneSpace Designer CAD and data management software includes a family of products for rapid 3D modeling, 2D drafting and analysis, and team-focused data management. Designer Modeling 2005 eliminates the sequenced steps that constrain designs. New release features enhanced data management that communicates design changes across the development team as they occur, ensuring that designers are alway...

By Staff
PID, APC January 1, 2005

SPS/IPC/Drives 2004: SynqNet User Group established

To facilitate adoption and broaden the application capabilities of the SynqNet industrial networking protocol, Danaher Motion and other SynqNet suppliers jointly launched the SynqNet User Group at the recent SPS/IPC/Drives fair. The group is seeking to ensure ease-of-use and interoperability of SynqNet industrial networking products for end-users and OEMs by educating s...

By Staff
PID, APC January 1, 2005

Temperature transmitter serves as controller

T5350 temperature transmitter from Wika is FOUNDATION fieldbus-compliant, and is certified by the Fieldbus Foundation's Interoperability Test Kit (ITK) 4.51. The transmitter also has the capabilities of a link-active scheduler (LAS) and PID controller, which allow autarkic control functions to be performed in the field.

By Staff
PID, APC December 28, 2004

ODVA opens first European conformance testing center for EtherNet/IP

Ann Arbor, MI—With user demand for EtherNet/IP rapidly increasing, ODVA and the Center Verteilte Systeme at the Institute of Ergonomics, Manufacturing Systems, and Automation (CVS@IAF) recently opened its first Europe-based facility for EtherNet/IP product conformance testing.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC December 7, 2004

ExpertTune’s software saves Kruger Paper $1 million per year

Trois-Rivieres, Quebec, Canada—Plant personnel at the Kruger Wayagamack facility recently reported that ExperTune's PlantTriage automatic diagnostic software has increased efficiency of their #4 paper machine by 2% per year, which corresponds to more than $1 million annually.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC December 2, 2004

Weidmuller: 24-V power supplies, redundancy, electronic fuses

Weidmuller recently introduced a line of 24-V dc power supplies to drive higher-power automation control panels, according to Francisco M. Tacoa, marketing manager for Weidmuller's Electronics product line.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC December 2, 2004

Volkswagen properly seals 35 products with machine vision

Assembling automobile transmissions at a Volkswagen plant in Cordoba, Argentina, involves putting the top and bottom pieces of together. A robot applies sealant used to join the pieces. However, smeared or irregular sealant lines, or sealant falling into the bottom block, can result in a defective product.

By Mark Hoske
PID, APC November 11, 2004

Automatic process control helps lower energy costs

Control Station Inc. has released its 4.0 Product Suite, designed to improve performance of manufacturing systems by applying advanced process control capabilities.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC November 8, 2004

Web-based production management

POMSnet Web-based production management system manages specifications and directs manufacturing execution according to pharmaceutical good manufacturing practices.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC November 1, 2004

Embedded temperature controller

K1N customizable temperature controller is designed to be embedded in OEM equipment that does not require a visual display or operator interface. Key operating parameter can be set using a detachable display board or the manufacturer's iTools Engineering software. Features include an advanced PID control algorithm, support for multiple control outputs, alarm outputs, and universal input.

By Staff
PID, APC November 1, 2004

Condensate recovery pump

Pivotrol Pressure Powered condensate pump is engineered for dependable steam system condensate recovery in rapid-cycling process environments and under wide pressure and temperature conditions. It is designed as a solution to excessive maintenance and energy consumption, heat exchanger stall, water hammer, and erratic steam system performance.

By Staff
PID, APC October 28, 2004

Magsoft: 3-D thermal simulation for motors and generators

Detailed thermal analysis is required for optimal motor application. New release of a suite of software tools promises improved simulation and interface technologies for additional types of electrical machines—brush/brushless permanent magnet motors, induction motors, switched-reluctance motors, synchronous generators, and claw-pole generators.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC October 12, 2004

ISA Expo 2004: Wonderware offers enterprise application integration

Houston, TX—Wonderware released its new enterprise application integration capabilities using the ISA S95 XML standard at last week's ISA Expo 2004.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC October 7, 2004

ISA Expo 2004: CSIA encourages members to offer maintenance services

Houston, TX—The Control and Information System Integrators Association (CSIA) announced at ISA Expo 2004 that it's encouraging its members to offer maintenance and support services in addition to the integration and implementation services they've traditionally offered in the plant automation and control system markets.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC October 7, 2004

Cirronet introduces ZigBee-ready wireless products

Cirronet Inc. introduced three new ZigBee-ready wireless modules and sensor products at the recent Wireless Sensing Show in Rosemont, IL, near Chicago.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC October 5, 2004

ISA Expo 2004: DPAC exhibits 802.11b WLAN node module, kit

Houston, TX—DPAC Technologies Corp. is showing its APC Airborne WLNB-AN-DP101802.11b wireless LAN (WLAN) node module and its WLNB-EK-DP001 evaluation and development kit at ISA Expo 2004, Oct. 5-7, at the Reliant Center.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC October 1, 2004

International Manufacturing Technology Show 2004 highlights

The latest edition of the bi-annual International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS) 2004 on Sept. 8-15 at McCormick Place included exhibits featuring thousands of useful products and services, such as:

By Staff
PID, APC September 14, 2004

IMTS 2004: Faro provides affordable 3-D measurement

Chicago, IL—Faro Technologies Inc. has released two inexpensive versions of one of its most popular coordinate measurement machine (CMM) solutions. Gage and Gage-Plus give small machine shops many 3-D measurement capabilities not currently available with less advanced quality control methods.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC September 9, 2004

Servenger’s new programmable modules speed analog circuit design

Field-programmable analog arrays (FPAAs) are key to analog circuit design just as field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) are to digital circuit design.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC September 7, 2004

Down-to-Earth Engineering in Space

Click here to read the original print article. Chet Vaughan, Boeing’s acting chief engineer for the International Space Station, says basic control and automation principles help the U.S. space program cope with challenges from galloping technical evolution to integration and standardization issues.

By Jim Montague
PID, APC September 7, 2004

Advances Beyond Imagination

Click here to read the original print article. Sporting more than 50 years in the automation and control industry, Dr. Irving Lefkowitz has seen it all when it comes to the modern advancement of industrial technologies.

By David Greenfield
PID, APC September 2, 2004

RF Industries acquires Aviel Electronics

RF Industries Ltd. reports that it recently acquired Aviel Electronics, a privately held manufacturer of microwave and radio frequency (RF) connectors, for an undisclosed amount of cash.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC August 24, 2004

North American general motion control market rebounding

Dedham, MA—The North American General Motion Control (GMC) market will likely experience a healthy 6.2% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) and reach the $1 billion level during the next five years, according to a new study, “General Motion Control Outlook for North America, Market Analysis and Forecast Through 2008” by ARC Advisory Group.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC August 12, 2004

The Mathworks updates MatLab and Simulink

The MathWorks simultaneously released upgrades to its MatLab and Simulink products—MatLab 7 and Simulink 6.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC August 5, 2004

Sixnet’s Ethernet managed switch aids network reliability

Sixnet reports that its new EtherTrak Ethernet-managed switches offer ultra-reliability enhanced with open-source Linux software.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC August 1, 2004

Invensys to automate pulp mill in Brazil

Veracel Celulose S.A. has awarded Invensys Systems Brasil a multi-million-dollar automation contract to supply Foxboro I/A Series automation systems, advanced process control applications, and associated services for Veracel's 900,000 metric ton per year bleached eucalyptus pulp mill now under construction in Eunápolis, Bahia, Brazil.

By Staff
PID, APC July 28, 2004

HART foundation releases device description development tools

Austin, TX—To help reduce device description (DD) development time reportedly by 30-40%, the HART Communication Foundation (HCF) recently released its new Device Description Integrated Development Environment (DD-IDE).

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC July 20, 2004

Invensys to automate 900,000-tons per year pulp mill in Brazil

Foxboro, MA—Veracel Celulose S A has awarded Invensys Systems Brasil an automation contract to supply Foxboro I/A Series automation systems, advanced process control applications, and associated services for Veracel's 900,000 metric tons per year bleached eucalyptus pulp mill under construction in Eunápolis, Bahia, Brazil.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC July 15, 2004

Digitized, automated solutions boost nondestructive test equipment market

Consolidation will challenge and benefit the nondestructive test (NDT) equipment industry, recent analysis of the market by Frost & Sullivan shows.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC July 15, 2004

Wonderware extends ArchestrA software architecture into APC applications

Wonderware brings its software solutions to semiconductor fabrication with the extension of its ArchestrA software architecture into advanced process control (APC) applications.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC July 13, 2004

Siemens, SAP AG to link production, business data in one information portal

London, U.K.—Siemens AG has formed a partnership with SAP AG to link what it reports are the previously separate worlds of production and business data together into one information portal.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC July 8, 2004

CIMdata names CAM market leaders

CIMdata recently named UGS PLM Solutions, IBM/Dassault Sytemes, CNC Software, and SolidCAM as the worldwide CAM (computer aided manufacturing) software market leaders in 2003.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC July 1, 2004

Get lean, eliminate waste

Throw technology at old manufacturing processes and procedures, and you still can get a train wreck; it just happens faster. Infuse lean manufacturing techniques into the hearts and minds of those involved with plant processes, and your technological dollars will go a lot farther. The difference is like comparing the clunky "Warning Will Robinson" Lost in Space robot to the deftness imagined ...

By Mark T. Hoske, Editor-in-Chief
PID, APC July 1, 2004

RAE Systems demonstrates wireless sensor networks

To provide multiple data streams for comprehensive facility and cargo monitoring, RAE Systems Inc. recently demonstrated its wireless RAEWatch sensor bundle at several venues including the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency/Microsystems Technology Office (DARPA/MTO) Workshop on Networked Microsystems in Arlington, VA and the ZigBee Alliance open house in Seattle, WA.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC June 17, 2004

ARC Webcast focuses on product tracking, tracing, in food, beverage industries

Taking steps to improve product tracking and tracing to meet current and future regulations and improve efficiency is a critical part of manufacturing operations, according to participants in a recent ARC Advisory Group Webcast.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC June 10, 2004

Eclipse Foundation names executive director

The Eclipse Board of Directors named Mike Milinkovich executive director of Eclipse Foundation, effective June 1. Milinkovich previously served as vice president of OracleAS Technical Services at Oracle Corp.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC June 8, 2004

Increasing applications, expanding regional use fueling PLC market

Dedham, MA—The worldwide market for programmable logic controllers (PLC) is expected to grow at a 4.6% compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) during the next five years from more than $6 billion in 2003 to more than $7.5 billion in 2008, according to “Programmable Logic Controller Worldwide Outlook” by ARC Advisory Group. 

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC June 1, 2004

Siemens buying US Filter for $993 million

To expand in the rapidly growing water treatment and supply market, Siemens AG's Industrial Solutions and Services (I&S) Group is buying US Filter Corp. for $993 million from its parent company, Paris-based Veolia Environnment. Based in Palm Desert, CA, and Houston, TX, US Filter employs 5,800 people at 120 locations worldwide, and has annual sales of approximately $1.

By Staff
PID, APC June 1, 2004

Electric power equipment demand to exceed $85 billion in 2008

Cleveland, OH—Worldwide demand for equipment used in electronic power transmission and distribution is projected to increase by 4.5% annually though 2008, reaching $85.7 billion, according to Freedonia Group Inc.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC May 24, 2004

Ultracapacitor in D battery size

BCAP0350 D Cell Boostcap ultracapacitor is standardized on battery sizing to provide a low-cost, reliable, standard-sized energy storage and power delivery component for seamless and rapid integration into a variety of applications.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC May 20, 2004

Electrochemical systems build quality into the process

Electrochemical systems can play a vital role in improving productivity by building product quality into the manufacturing process, according to a recent ARC Advisory Group study.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC May 20, 2004

ISA, EPRI plan joint controls, instrumentation conference

Power generation controls in a digital world will be the focus of the 14th Joint ISA POWID/EPRI Controls and Instrumentation Conference, scheduled for June 6–11 in Colorado Springs, CO.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC May 20, 2004

Innovation key to success of PC-based test equipment

Limited capital and lack of consumer confidence have plagued PC-based test equipment vendors over the past several years, recent Frost & Sullivan research reveals.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC May 18, 2004

Emerson, OSIsoft form alliance to enhance productivity

Austin, TX—To help users gather, distribute, and using data to improve plant throughput, quality and uptime, Emerson Process Management recently formed an alliance with OSIsoft.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC May 11, 2004

Nova Chemicals picks Pavilion’s software for global APC solutions

Austin, TX—To optimize its plastics and petrochemical manufacturing processes, Nova Chemicals recently selected Pavilion Technologies as its worldwide partner for advanced process control (APC) technology.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC May 1, 2004

Ruggedized Ethernet switch has 9 ports

RuggedSwitch RS900 is a 9-port industrial-hardened, fully managed Ethernet switch designed to operate in harsh electrical and climatic environments. It is highly immune to electromagnetic interference (EMI) and heavy electrical surges typically found on plant floors. An operating range of -40 to 85 °C (-40 to 185 °F) and hazardous location certification (Class 1 Division 2) makes it a...

By Staff
PID, APC April 27, 2004

Control Engineering launches new online Resource Center

Oak Brook, IL—To help engineering professionals improve productivity, reduce costs, and advance their careers, Control Engineering has launched its new online Resource Center.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC April 20, 2004

Ember buys ZigBee radio technology to develop single-chip solution

Boston, MA; Cambridge, U.K.—To help it offer a single-chip ZigBee solution in 18 months, Ember Corp. recently bought what it reports is one of the world’s deepest portfolios of 802.15.4 radio frequency (RF) integrated circuit technology from Cambridge Consultants Ltd. (CCL).

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC April 8, 2004

Industrial systems security report

ISA (Instrumentation, Systems, and Automation) Society has announced the approval of a new ISA Technical Report addressing the need for industrial cyber security.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC April 1, 2004

Why System Integrators Consolidate

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

By Vance VanDoren
PID, APC April 1, 2004

Decentralized Control

History of centralized control in manufacturing and similar environments is—as with most technological developments—a double-edged sword. The situation is reminiscent of the two-headed animal from the Dr. Doolittle children's stories—the "Pushmepullyou." In this case, should the design shape the process or process dictate the design? Centralization often can mean accessing an...

By Stephen Scheiber
PID, APC April 1, 2004

Redundant Ethernet switch

EtherDevice EDS-508 Series is a rugged switch designed for deployment in demanding environments. Eight-port devices provide 10/100BaseTx Ethernet and 100Fx fiber-optic connections. They also offer intelligent switching services, including multicase filtering service-IGMP snooping, virtual LAN, security and quality of service that help deliver the benefits of industry-standard Ethernet from the ...

By Staff
PID, APC April 1, 2004

Techniques for Adaptive Control by Vance VanDoren

Written by a team of contributors from the industry's best-known product manufacturers and software developers. This book provides real insight into new technologies available in the industry  and outlines practical applications of adaptive control technology

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC March 25, 2004

Products: PLC chip, gateway, laser sensors, vision

Recent products of interest include a chip-based PLC, a communications gateway for PLCs, laser measurement sensors, and a bunch of machine-vision developments.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC March 22, 2004

HMI, SCADA software

FactoryLink 7.2 software solution for industrial human-machine interface and supervisory control and data acquisition offers enhancements for faster and easier application building.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC March 22, 2004

Small-footprint SBC

Spider credit-card-sized single-board computer consumes as little as 4 W of power and features a standalone operation and hot swappability that make it suitable for a broad range of embedded applications, from distributed control systems and scalable telecom blade servers to hand-held computing, in-flight entertainment and defense/homeland security.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC February 24, 2004

Adept, Applied Computing ally on simulation software

Livermore, CA—Adept Technology Inc. reports that it has allied with Applied Computing & Engineering (AC&E) for 3-D factory simulation software.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC February 17, 2004

Matrikon, Tai-Ji partner on controller performance

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada—Matrikon Inc. and Tai-Ji Control recently joined to provide a “closed-loop system identification” solution to reduce deployment and maintenance needed by model-predictive control (MPC) applications.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC February 12, 2004

CPU evaluation kits for Parvus’ SpacePC x86 PC/104 computers simplify customers’ task

Parvus Corp. has made available a CPU Evaluation Kit for its SpacePC line of x86 PC/104 computers, which include Series 4320, 4200, 2320, and 2110 embedded PC boards.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC February 12, 2004

Plan now for electronicaUSA with the Embedded Systems Conference

"electronicaUSA with the Embedded Systems Conference" (an expansion of last year’s event) will debut March 29 to April 1, 2004, at San Francisco’s Moscone Convention Center.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC February 11, 2004

Keithley partners with Suny-Albany’s NanoTech Center

Albany, N.Y.—Keithley Instruments Inc. is partnering with the Albany NanoTech Center at the State University of New York (SUNY) Albany to share research information and cooperate to further the understanding of nanotechnology and optoelectronics technologies.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC February 5, 2004

Wonderware Strategic Integration Group wins $1.5-million Aventis contract

Lake Forest, CA; Strasbourg, France—Wonderware, a business unit of Invensys Systems Inc., announced that its Wonderware Strategic Integration Group (WSIG) has been awarded a $1.5 million contract to provide Aventis with an automated manufacturing system application.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC February 5, 2004

Contemporary Control’s managed Ethernet switch performs in punishing environments

Downers Grove, IL—Contemporary Controls recently launched a managed version of the EISX switches in its CTRLink family, which serve in high reliability situations and extreme temperatures.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC February 3, 2004

Newport launches actuator, photodetector, lenses, sensor

Irvine, CA—Newport Corp. recently introduced a half dozen new products and technology developments, including its new long travel actuator (LTA), spatial filters, simple lenses, photodetector, laser distance sensor (LDS), and an improved coating process for its deep-ultraviolet optics.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC February 1, 2004

Where’s the disconnect?

Control applications have changed significantly in the past decade from PID, CNCs, and PLCs to systems running advanced control algorithms, sporting sophisticated GUIs and built-in intelligence, and offering an extremely high degree of programming flexibility. However, much of what is taught in undergraduate and graduate controls courses is still not implemented in the bulk of smaller, simple c...

By Thomas R. Kurfess, Georgia Technical Institute
PID, APC February 1, 2004

Dual PID module

CSPID2 dual PID module designed for the Red Lion modular controller offers drag-and-drop configuration and downloadable PLC drivers in a high-density, 32-zone/single node module for dedicated PID control outside the PLC. Module makes integration of dedicated PID control easy to apply. It eliminates writing PLC protocols and lets users integrate with any PLC.

By Staff
PID, APC February 1, 2004

Opto 22 introduces new controller, processors, software

Opto 22 recently launched three major solutions: Snap-LCE controller; Snap OEM family of I/O processors; and ioProject suite of automation and data acquisition software. Opto 22 manufactures and develops hardware and software for industrial automation, remote monitoring, enterprise data acquisition, and machine-to-machine applications.

By Staff
PID, APC February 1, 2004

Web services for manufacturing

Last month, I recommended using loosely coupled and asynchronous interfaces for systems that must be robust in the face of failures, especially the temporary loss of communications or temporary unavailability of systems. Fortunately, there is a new IT technology that meets these needs. Web services are a new class of APIs (application program interface) standards that are rapidly becoming the p...

By Dennis Brandl, BR&L Consulting
PID, APC February 1, 2004

Product Focus: Process Automation SystemsFeature Rich, Under-Utilized

Be it new or old process automation systems (PAS), available features and capabilities are well suited for the applications, say 72% of survey respondents. Unfortunately, 48% of respondents are only using 50% to 75% of available features and capabilities, and another 23% use less than 50% of installed PAS features and capabilities.

By Dave Harrold
PID, APC January 15, 2004

Delphi releases two structured CAD/CAM methodologies

Delphi Technologies Inc., a subsidiary of Delphi Corp., has released two structured CAD/CAM methodologies for manufacturing companies: Horizontal Modeling and Digital Process Design.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC January 15, 2004

New drag-and-drop tool helps OEMs create displays

Microsoft Windows-based programming tool for large-format LCD panels from Teleflex-Morse Electronics gives industrial designers in-house control over the look, functionality and er-gonomics of instrumentation for vehicle cabs, pumps, compressors, and engine-powered equipment.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC January 8, 2004

Schneider Electric donates original safety switch to Smithsonian

Washington, D.C—An original and still-working 1922 model of the electrical safety switch was donated on Nov. 10 by Schneider Electric to the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C., to help commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Square D brand of electrical equipment.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC January 1, 2004

Computer-on-module based on Intel’s Pentium M

Kontron reports that its low-power, high-speed ETX-PM CPU is the first computer-on-module based on an Intel Pentium M processor. ETX-PM provides 1.1-GHz performance and 1 gigabyte of DDR RAM, which means that memory bandwidth is no longer a performance bottleneck. Power consumption is comparable to a 1.

By Staff
PID, APC January 1, 2004

So Many Loops, So Little Time

Many who watch motorsport racing become fascinated by the crew chief's last pit stop strategy decisions—put on four tires or two; add or remove a half-pound of tire pressure; adjust a torsion bar or not; and decide if more fuel is needed to finish. Make the wrong choices and the extra time spent in the pits can't be made up on the track with the improved performance.

By Dave Harrold
PID, APC January 1, 2004

Processor PMC module reaches 1.3 GHz speed

Motorola Computer Group reports that its PrPMC880 mezzanine module is the "industry's fastest processor PMC module." A Power PC processor, MPC7447, allows this standard, single-width module with internal L2 cache and maximum-sized heat sink to operate at speeds up to 1.3 GHz. PrPMC880 also provides Ethernet connectivity at 1 Gbps and is compatible with the recently ratified VITA 32 processor PM...

By Staff
PID, APC January 1, 2004

Tool automates design of PID control loops

AnadigmPID, an electronic design automation (EDA) tool, automates development of analog proportional, integral, derivative (PID) control loops. The company reports that its AnadigmPID tool reduces to minutes the time required to design and implement one of the most common types of control circuits in industrial, medical, and communications applications.

By Staff
PID, APC December 30, 2003

Green Hills offers royalty-free CANbus support for its RTOS

Santa Barbara, CA—To assist users in automotive and industrial controls markets, Green Hills Software Inc. is offering a complete, royalty-free CAN Application Developers Kit through its partnership with Steinhoff Automation.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC December 15, 2003

State Automates Liquor Fulfillment

Facing mounting public pressure to either meet rapidly growing order complexity with an outdated order fulfillment system, or be forced to privatize liquor distribution, the Washington State Liquor Control Board (WSLCB) elected to transform its entire operation from an aging, paper-based, manual order-filling facility into a new, highly automated distribution center.

By Staff
PID, APC December 9, 2003

U.S. Energy Dept. to use Honeywell’s sensing, wireless technology

Minneapolis, MN—Honeywell reports the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has picked it to participate in a $10-million project co-funded by the department to develop wireless and sensor technologies that can meet plant-floor control challenges.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC December 1, 2003

Tools for HMI ApplicationsIncludes Online Extras

Building an effective human-machine interface (HMI) for your operation is an intensely personal undertaking. Every installation is different, with different requirements, goals and needs. Achieving just the right interface screens for your operation means understanding your processes and all their surrounding systems thoroughly.

By Jeanine Katzel
PID, APC November 20, 2003

Opportunities to learn

It looks like this must be the time of year for learning, at least that's the conclusion I arrived at after looking over my recent e-mails promoting Web and in-person seminars and training classes.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC October 14, 2003

Real-time process optimization market expected to grow 10.3% annually

Dedham, MA—Shipments of real-time process optimization (RPO) solutions are expected to increase by 10.3% per year from more than $550 million worldwide in 2002 to more than $925 million by 2007, according to 'Real-time Process Optimization and Training Worldwide Outlook,' by ARC Advisory Group.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC October 9, 2003

NIST Awards $2 million grant for flexible control systems software development

Starthis, a provider of software which allows enterprise applications running on a Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE) Application Server to communicate directly with industrial machines and controllers, has been awarded a $2 million grant from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Advanced Technology Program (ATP) to develop a software infrastructure that engineers in manufacturing companies can use to design and deploy flexible control systems.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC October 2, 2003

Foxboro adds ‘mesh’ network to I/A Series

Foxboro Automation Systems has introduced ''mesh'' network technology to its I/A Series automation platform. The new technology incorporates commercial off the shelf (COTS) Ethernet switches, ports, and fiberoptic media in meshed configurations that provide multiple communication paths between network stations, and can withstand multiple points of failure without losing communications. Foxboro is a unit of Invensys plc.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC September 25, 2003

Sensors Expo Fall 2003: Sense the world through online eyes

Anaheim, CA—The interactive and increasingly pervasive nature of the Internet, sensing devices, and connecting communications were some of the issues covered by Lucian (Luke) Hughes and Gary Boone, both of Accenture Technology Labs, (Palo Alto, CA), when they delivered a Sept. 23 keynote, “The Sensated World Brought Online,” during Sensors Expo Fall 2003.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC September 8, 2003

Maintaining a Single Source of Truth

Online Extra for September 2003,‘Maintaining a Single Source of Truth To read Main article click here . Maintaining a Single Source of Truth Avoiding erosion of process asset information can save millions by upgrading instead of recreating data, augmenting communications, and knowing what you need when it matters most. Dave Harrold Control Engineering How much does it cost to make an unscheduled plant shutdown, install a backup spare pump, restart the plant, and then learn the backup pump you just installed has the wrong impeller for the current application?For a refinery that one incident could easily cost $335,000. “No way,” you say. So let’s add it up. $90,000 to expedite and install the correct impeller; Four days of lost production (22,500 barrels per day x $2.50 per barrel x 4 days); and $20,000 to buy, install, warehouse, and dispose of the incorrect impeller That’s $335,000 for a single incident. The root cause of this “real” incident was traced to an outdated equipment datasheet.Several years had elapsed since the plant was built, and process materials, fluid properties, and pump impeller sizes had changed–in reality, but not on paper.

By Dave Harrold
PID, APC September 2, 2003

Ultrasonic still the fastest growing flowmeter

Wakefield, MA—Ultrasonic flowmeters remain the fastest growing type of flowmeter, according to a new market study, “The World Market for Ultrasonic Flowmeters,” released Aug. 26 by Flow Research.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC August 21, 2003

Loop tuning pocketbook

Loop tuning continues to be a popular Control Engineering topic with readers often asking our opinion about specific tuning requirements.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC August 14, 2003

NI Week 2003: Software makes hardware ‘disappear’

Austin, TX—Good software makes hardware disappear, contends National Instruments’ CEO and co-founder Dr. James Truchard, in the Aug. 13 NI Week 2003 keynote presentation, amid demonstrations of current and future technologies.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC August 1, 2003

‘See’ the Results

Seeing is believing, as the saying goes, so examine the following technology explanations and application tips to ease your next vision/bar-code implementation. The basics Bar codes in basic one-dimensional form are vertical lines of varied width and spacing (like those on packaged goods). More complex two-dimensional (2D) data matrix codes put more information in a 2D format.

By Mark T. Hoske
PID, APC August 1, 2003

Model-predictive control looks to the future

A model-predictive controller uses a mathematical model of the process to predict future effects of current control actions. Knowing where the process is headed and how the process variable reacts to the controller's actions gives the controller the foresight to push the process in the right direction.

By Vance J. VanDoren, consulting editor
PID, APC July 29, 2003

Look inside: Siemens E&A ‘listens to customer visions’

Norcross, GA—Siemens Energy & Automation has been aiming to emphasize the strengths of its “Totally Integrated Automation” message with customers, according to a recent conversation with Jeffrey Howe, Automation and Motion Division’s product business manager for PLC and I/O platforms.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC July 21, 2003

Woodhead, MOST partner on combining Ethernet, open process control

Buffalo Grove, IL; Hampton, NH—Woodhead Industries and MTL Open System Technologies (MOST) have formed a partnership to help process industry engineers assemble open system components and Ethernet infrastructure by allowing MOST to package its open systems with Woodhead’s RJ-Lynxx line of harsh-duty data communication solutions.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC July 1, 2003

Change Engineers

The world of the control engineer has remained remarkably constant for much of this century. Certainly there have been many new innovations, tools, and technologies that have spurred change in the profession over the years, but the control engineers of today often bear a great resemblance to those of the 1950s.

By David Greenfield, Editorial Director
PID, APC July 1, 2003

Anadigm brings electronic design to PID control

Anadigm has released an electronic design automation (EDA) tool that automates development of analog "proportional, integral, derivative" (PID) control loops. The company reports that its AnadigmPID tool reduces to minutes the time required to design and implement one of the most common types of control circuits in industrial, medical, and communications applications.

By Staff
PID, APC July 1, 2003

HMI for micro-controllers

Intec Automation's microCommander v1.3 software uses familiar drag-and-drop techniques to develop controller and graphical HMI applications for Z-World single board micro-controllers. Application development tools in microCommander include PID, on/off, sequencer, and timed functions. Visualization tools include switches, knobs, gauges, and LED's.

By Staff
PID, APC June 1, 2003

Severe steam application valve

Emerson Process Management’s Fisher TBX valve has flow-up design to provide ease of maintenance and increased stability during cycling plant conditions.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC May 21, 2003

Schneider Electric buys Hyde Park Electronics

Palatine, IL—To add to its expanding portfolio of sensor solutions, Schneider Electric announced May 15 that it has acquired Hyde Park Electronics Inc. (Dayton, OH), which is a family business and a North American leader in ultrasonic sensor technology.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC May 13, 2003

Stratus’ ftServer aids real-time data infrastructure

Maynard, MA—Stratus Technologies Inc. announced May 6 that OSIsoft (San Leandro, CA) is offering Stratus' continuously available ftServer with OSIsoft's PI System, a real-time information infrastructure.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC May 1, 2003

Intelligent motion and logic controller system

VisualMotion open control and intelligent drive system (shown at NMW 2003 in Chicago) is designed for accurate process control with capability for rapid process changes.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC May 1, 2003

Recover, verify data in less than 20 minutes

RealTime rapid data-recovery software can recover and verify a terabyte of data in less than 20 minutes. Package can be added on top of existing backup software. It runs across two systems: an application server and a backup server, capturing data continuously without impacting the application or network.

By Staff
PID, APC April 16, 2003

Text-based HMIs survive emergence of touch-based HMIs

Wellingborough, U.K.; Austin, TX—Touch-based displays are the fastest growing, most publicized part of the human-machine interface (HMI) hardware market, but the text-based HMI sector is still surprisingly healthy, according to a new European market study from IMS Research.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC April 14, 2003

GE Fanuc’s adaptive control reduces milling cycle time by 40%

Charlottesville, VA—GE Fanuc Automation North America Inc. introduced April 10 its new i Adapt for Milling adaptive control system, which it reports automatically maximizes a machine's material removal rate during rough cutting.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC April 4, 2003

Anadigm’s FPAA has I/O cell design for multichannel signal processing

Campbell, CA—Anadigm Inc. released March 31 its dynamically reconfigurable Field Programmable Analog Array (FPAA) with a versatile input/output (I/O) cell design.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC March 27, 2003

Florite incorporates data logging option

Woodland Hills, CA — Florite recently completed incorporating data logging capability to optionally enhance its 990 or 994 Integrated Instrument.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC March 7, 2003

More exclusive photos from National Manufacturing Week

Take a photo tour of NMW 2003 by visiting our exclusive photo gallery. And click here to view more exclusive photos from the conference and the show floor.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC March 6, 2003

NMW 2003: Cisco launches Ethernet switch

Chicago, IL—To extend intelligent Ethernet solutions to the factory floor, Cisco Systems Inc. (San Jose, CA) unveiled its Cisco Catalyst 2955 Series, which is a rugged switch for harsh environments, on March 3 at National Manufacturing Week (NMW) 2003 at Chicago's McCormick Place.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC February 1, 2003

Industrial Ethernet growth seen at 84% annually

Despite slowness in many automation markets, installed industrial Ethernet nodes worldwide are expected to increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 84.1% over the next five years. The market consisted of 286,800 nodes in 2002, but will likely explode to more than 6 million nodes by 2007, according to a recent study, "Ethernet at the Device Level Worldwide Outlook,"...

By Staff
PID, APC February 1, 2003

Schematic Software—Look Inside Clean, Productive Designs

Today's schematic software packages help users look inside electrical product and panel design by decreasing product cycle times, linking with other software, and preserving intellectual investments. Electrical computer-aided design (CAD) or computer-aided electrical (CAE) design software simplifies wiring layouts, lowers design and development costs, and decreases training time for those using...

By Mark T. Hoske
PID, APC January 17, 2003

Industrial Ethernet devices to skyrocket 84% annually: ARC study

Dedham, MA—Despite ongoing economic turmoil in many automation markets, installed industrial Ethernet nodes worldwide are expected to increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 84.1% over the next five years, according to a new ARC Advisory Group study.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC January 6, 2003

Axeda adds Software Management for remote devices to its DRM system

Mansfield, MA—Axeda Systems Inc. added Jan. 6 its new Axeda Software Management application to its device relationship management (DRM) system of enterprise software and services.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC January 1, 2003

Square D marks 100 years in power, control fields

Square D celebrated its 100th birthday on Dec. 15, 2002. One of America's best-known brands of electrical distribution and control equipment, Square D accounts for the greatest share of $2.7 billion in annual sales by Schneider Electric's (Paris, France) North American Division, which provides nearly one-third of Schneider's global revenues and employs 17,000 people in the U.

By Staff
PID, APC January 1, 2003

Learning from the Other Guy: Benchmarking and Best Practices

How does your company respond to competitive pressure and the need for change? Does your company utilize standards and documented best practices to respond to changes with minimum impact to operations, or does every change invoke panic? In today's fast-paced business environment, how a company responds to outside influences can mean corporate life or death.

By Maurice J. Wilkins, Millennium Specialty Chemicals
PID, APC January 1, 2003

Resolve to evolve

People who make resolutions are 10 times more likely to make a specific change than those who don't, according to psychologist John Norcross, a researcher at the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania (www.usatoday.com, Dec. 29, 2002). That's in the same category as my favorite fortune cookie wisdom: "Your feet will find the road easier if your heart will walk with them.

By Mark T. Hoske
PID, APC January 1, 2003

Taking LabView into harsh environments

Compact FieldPoint from National Instruments (Austin, TX) provides a small, rugged, intelligent platform that extends the reach of its LabView software into harsh industrial environments, such as embedded machine control, industrial data acquisition, data logging, and in-vehicle applications. Previously hampered by extreme industrial settings, engineers and scientists can use Compact FieldPoint...

By Staff
PID, APC January 1, 2003

Remember People when Benchmarking and Applying Best Practices

When you become ill you seek a doctor's advice to get well. The doctor reviews the symptoms, performs an examination, diagnoses the problem, and prescribes the medicine necessary to get you feeling better. But what do you do when your business is ill?

By Maurice J. Wilkins, Millennium Specialty Chemicals
PID, APC January 1, 2003

Micro PLC offers expansion card slots

The DL06, a member of AutomationDirect's (Cumming, GA) DirectLogic line of programmable logic controllers, is an expandable micro PLC that combines 20 inputs and 16 outputs of fixed I/O points, with up to four option card slots for discrete, analog, and communication modules, providing up to 100 total I/O points.

By Staff
PID, APC December 27, 2002

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Control Engineering Sales & Business Staff Control Engineering Editorial Staff Control Engineering Europe Staff Editorial & Business Offices 2000 Clearwater Drive, Oak Brook, IL 60523 USA(630) 288-8000 David A. Harvey Publisher dharv@cahners.com Juliet O'Donovan Business Manager jodonova@cahners.com Mary Ann Brockway Ad Service Coordinator mbrockway@cahners.com Susan Johnson Ad Production Manager sjohnson@cahners.com U.S./Canada Sales Staff ATLANTAAL, AR, FL, GA, LA, MS, NC, SC, OK, TN, TX Franny Singleton 3260 Keith Bridge Rd., #171 Cumming, GA 30041678/947-4171 fsingleton@cahners.com Sales Assistant: 630/288-8584 BOSTONCT, DE, ME, MA, MD, NH, NJ, RI, VT, NE, NJ, Eastern NY including NYC, Eastern PA including PhiladelphiaMontreal, Quebec, Windsor & East Julie Timbol 275 Washington St. Newton, MA 02458617/630-3820 FAX: 617/928-4801 jtimbol@cahners.com Sales Assistant: 617/630-3824 CALIFORNIACA, MT, ID, OR, CO, NV, UT, AZ, NM, WA, WY, W.

By Staff
PID, APC December 1, 2002

Remote operations controller

The ROC809 controller is said to offer flexibility in meeting a wide range of field operation.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC December 1, 2002

NEMA’s 3Q02 control indices show uneven recovery

The National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) reported Nov. 4 that its Primary Industrial Control Index and Primary Industrial Control and Adjustable Speed Drives Index improved slightly for 3Q02 over the same quarter a year earlier. The indexes consist of data collected by NEMA's Industrial Automation Control Products and Systems Section.

By Staff
PID, APC December 1, 2002

NI’s Compact FieldPoint takes LabView into harsh environments

National Instruments launched Nov. 5 its new Compact FieldPoint product line, which provides a small, rugged, intelligent platform that extends the reach of its LabView software into harsh industrial environments, such as embedded machine control, industrial data acquisition, data logging and in-vehicle applications.

By Staff
PID, APC November 14, 2002

Uniformance PHD provides critical plant information

The Industry Solutions business of Honeywell Automation and Control Solutions (ACS) recently introduced Uniformance PHD Release 200—a plant information management system designed to collect, store, and replay critical plant data.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC November 7, 2002

NEMA’s 3Q02 industrial control business indices show uneven recovery

Rosslyn, VA—The National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) reported Nov. 4 that its Primary Industrial Control Index and Primary Industrial Control and Adjustable Speed Drives Index improved slightly for 3Q02 over the same quarter a year earlier.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC October 16, 2002

How productive is the plant? SCLE’s Make Pavilion sessions focus on metrics & solutions for plant productivity

HOW PRODUCTIVE IS THE PLANT? SupplyChainLinkExpo ''Make pavilion'' sessions focus on metrics & solutions for plant productivity.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC October 3, 2002

ei3 Expands OEM Partnership with Polytype’s Dry-OffSet Specialty Printing Division

Montvale and Mahwah, NJ - ei3 Corp., a provider of real-time engineering services, and Polytype America Corp., a provider of dry-offset printing equipment, announced September 27 a partnership that will provide Polytype America customers worldwide with 24/7 service on all new and existing printing equipment.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC September 24, 2002

Standards, software tools deliver manufacturing productivity

Oak Brook, IL- Greater use of standards and better software tools are two ways manufacturers are increasing productivity from the plant floor up through the organization. Today's manufacturing challenges are many-global competition; price, cost, and time-to-market pressures; customer needs; customization pressure; outsourcing; quality and efficiency; and need to improve and connect business processes. Pressures on Manufacturing ProductivityPressures on manufacturing productivity include: Cost of time, materials, and processes Customer demands for better service over product lifecycle Customization Demands for faster time-to-market Desire to connect/streamline business processes Global competition Outsourcing Price of goods sold Quality Standards, tariffs, other economic barriers. Source: Control Engineering OPC Foundation (Scottsdale, AZ) improves manufacturing by delivering non-proprietary technical specifications. Getting control and automation manufacturers to agree on the best course hasn't always been easy, but results ensure interoperability advantages among automation/control applications, field systems/devices, and business/office applications.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC September 12, 2002

Citect, Toshiba plan open-automation solutions for process applications

Sydney, Australia— Citect and Toshiba International Corp. (Parramatta, New South Wales, Australia) expanded their existing 10-month-old cooperation agreement on Sept. 9 by signing a new joint venture agreement. The firms state that they formed their joint venture to deliver fully integrated control systems featuring Toshiba's new V-Series hybrid controllers and Citect's SCADA software and integration services to process industries throughout Australia.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC September 12, 2002

Coreco Imaging named one of Canada’s top companies

Coreco Imaging, developer of machine vision products, has been named one of Canada's top technology companies by two leading business publications. Canadian Business Magazine has ranked the company in its annual list of top technology companies in Canada based on quarterly sales and earnings figures. Report on Business (ROB) magazine has also chosen the company as one of Canada's Top 1000 companies in its annual list.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC August 15, 2002

Turbocraft debuts PID support for Opto 22 software

Tukwila, WA - To allow easier control programming, Turbocraft Inc. released Aug. 13 two proportional-integral-derivative (PID) control products for Opto 22's (Temecula, CA) FactoryFloor and ioControl software suites.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC August 8, 2002

Control Engineering Software eNewsletter for August 2002

In this issue: Components, objects, and control software Test suite for XML standard Training studio Invensys, IBM join for production software Your comments from last month SPC report writer Utilities aid SPC communication Control Engineering Buyer's Guide Control Engineering plans October webcasts on manufacturing productivity Components, objects, and control software It may be just a quirk of personality. I like to be organized, and I prefer to have my thoughts organized as well. Way back in 1978 when I picked up a Timex/Sinclair computer and a book on BASIC, I tried to find ways to organize the code.

By Gary Mintchell
PID, APC August 1, 2002

Sensors Expo moves to Boston

The second of this year's two Sensors Expo shows will be held Sept. 24-26 at Boston's World Trade Center West. Organizers say the event will bring together a broad range of technologies that are shaping sensing, MEMS (micro-electromechanical systems), data acquisition, control, and communications.

By Staff
PID, APC July 30, 2002

Moeller displays `cool’ drives

Birmingham - To show energy savings possibilities offered by ac variable frequency drives, Moeller Electric produced an eye catching demonstration here at the Drives & Controls exhibition of its Optidrives running an industrial fridge.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC July 18, 2002

Adept Technology to acquire MetaControls Technologies

San Jose, Calif . - Adept Technology announced July 17 that it has signed a letter of intent to acquire a controlling interest in privately held MetaControls Technologies (Morrisville, N.C.) in a common stock transaction. Completion of the acquisition remains subject to entering into definitive agreements, completion of due diligence, obtaining required approvals and other standard closing conditions.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC July 12, 2002

Dutch Rijkswaterstaat picks Axeda DRM for bridge, lock management

Mansfield, Mass.- Axeda Systems Inc. announced July 9 that Rijkswaterstaat (RWS) has selected Axeda Supervisor, a component of Axeda's Device Relationship Management (DRM) system, to remotely manage and control critical bridge systems and continuously monitor salt water introduced into the Province of Zeeland's rivers. Rijkswaterstaat is a directorate-general of the Dutch Ministry of Transport, Public Works and Water Management builds and maintains bridges, roads, dikes and water locks.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC July 1, 2002

Autotune temperature/process controller

Stamford, Conn.— The CN9600 controller includes the option of a low-cost serial communication system that uses Microsoft Windows-based software. CN9-SW Series software bridges the gap between the "standalone" system and full SCADA of fieldbus control networks by allowing remote supervision of up to 128 instruments using Modbus protocol.

By Staff
PID, APC June 12, 2002

EC to support development of IEC 61508 implementation guidelines

London - The European Community has sanctioned a project led by ABB and its partners Hima and Aston Dane to develop a set of guidelines for the implementation of IEC 61508. IEC 61508 covers functional safety of electrical, electronic and programmable systems and constitutes international best practice for safety systems whose failure can impact on the safety of persons and the environment. The key objective of the project, which will span 2 years, is to provide the EU process industries with a set of Guiding Principles for the achievement of safe industrial processes through a unified approach to the implementation of IEC 61508. "The Guiding Principles will ensure that European industry exploits as rapidly as possible the benefits that IEC-61508 offers, reducing capital and operational costs of systems, while maintaining safety performance and protecting people, environment and assets," says Stuart Nunns, project co-ordinator. "They will improve communication, assist regulatory bodies in ensuring that new systems do not introduce new intolerable risks and reduce both assessment time and time to market." The project will canvas views across the EU via a series of 2-day workshops and technology transfer events at selected European venues, gathering essential information from the process industry community. Workshops are planned in Norway, Netherlands and the UK during 2002.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC June 4, 2002

Control Engineering’s Process Control Newsletter for December 2000

In this issue: Seeking Employment? Charge of the Light Brigade and Dot-Coms Mergers, Acquisitions, and Divestitures Airline Safety; What We Can Learn Security Concerns Training Seminars December in Control Engineering Dave's public service announcement Seeking Employment? If you hadn't noticed, Control Engineering has added job and resume posting services . Take a look-your next job might be waiting for you. Back to top Charge of the Light Brigade and Dot-Coms I've been reading and hearing about dot-com employees and venture capitalists who are dismayed they are being laid off or losing their venture money, and I'm reminded of Lord Alfred Tennyson's famous poem, 'The Charge of the Light Brigade.' You probably have heard the poem. It starts, 'Half a league, half a league, half a league onward...' It's about 600 soldiers who follow orders to attack, despite overwhelming odds and a poorly conceived battle plan.

By Dave Harrold
PID, APC June 4, 2002

Control Engineering’s Process Control Newsletter for February 2001

In this issue: Landmark Control & Automation Support Services Survey Power & grounding feedback Learning opportunities ASP provides live process data via the Internet It must be spring because.... February in Control Engineering Dave's public service announcement Landmark Control & Automation Support Services Survey How well are your control and automation system vendors meeting your support service needs? Do some consistently exceed expectations and others consistently disappoint you? Do they listen and match their service offerings to your needs? Your opinions about these and other service related questions are what Control Engineering is attempting to learn from our online Service Support survey. Please take the time to complete this landmark survey. There is a link from the home page or by clicking the link below. Control Engineering will report the results in the June issue and online. When you complete the survey, you may enter a drawing for one of five $200 e-gift certificates.

By Dave Harrold
PID, APC June 1, 2002

Gain scheduling handles nonlinear processes

A majority of feedback control techniques, including the venerable PID algorithm, relies on the principle of linearity that guarantees a Y % change in the process variable following an X % change in the control effort. The ratio or gain between X and Y will be fixed, whether the process is currently running at maximum capacity, minimum capacity, or somewhere in between.

By Vance VanDoren
PID, APC May 2, 2002

Digi adds secure network serial connectivity to terminal server products

Minnetonka, Minn. - Digi International Inc. recently announced that it has added advanced security and diagnostic capabilities to its PortServer TS terminal server products.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC May 2, 2002

Flow computer replaces charts

Marshalltown, Ia. - The FloBoss 103 Flow manager from Emerson Process Management is a flow computer for natural gas flow measurement. The device eliminates off-chart gas flow problems inherent with chart recorders.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC April 25, 2002

The Mathworks introduces Embedded Target for Motorola

Natick, Mass. - The MathWorks Inc. announced April 22 Embedded Target for Motorola MPC555, a tool for design engineers using MatLab and Simulink. This tool provides the ability to test, analyze and refine automatically generated code from The MathWorks Real-Time Workshop Embedded Coder directly on the microcontroller.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC April 16, 2002

Digi International adds SSHv2

Minnetonka, Minn. - Digi International Inc. announced April 16 new security and diagnostic capabilities for the PortServer TS line of terminal server products that are available to customers immediately as a free Flash ROM update.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC April 12, 2002

MKS Instruments acquires IPC

Andover, Mass. - To help it become a leading enabler of e-diagnostics and advanced process control (APC), MKS Instruments Inc. announced April 5 that it has acquired privately held, Germany-based IPC Fab Automation GmbH.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC April 5, 2002

SoftIntegration releases Ch data acquisition toolkit for NI-DAQ

Davis, Calif. - SoftIntegration Inc., developer of scripting technology for ubiquitous computing, announced the release April 3 of Ch Data Acquisition Toolkit for NI-DAQ. Ch is an embeddable C interpreter. It supports ISO 1990 C standard (C90), major features in C99, C++ classes, POSIX, X/Motif, OpenGL, ODBC, GTK+, CGI, 2D/3D graphical plotting, numerical computing, and shell programming.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC April 1, 2002

Much for all, or all for a few?

How'd we get to the point where manufacturers and end-users are getting sued for patent infringement for what they believed to be open technologies? (Gary Mintchell and Jim Montague have been following developments; see "News" in this issue.) In recent years, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office granted patents that to many now seem obvious and overly pervasive.

By Mark T. Hoske
PID, APC March 14, 2002

National Instruments software selected by Visteon

Austin, Tex. - National Instruments announced March 13 that Visteon Corp. (NYSE: VC), one of the world's largest suppliers of automotive systems and components, has adopted NI's LabView Real-Time and PXI development platform for rapid prototyping of next-generation automobile control systems.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC March 13, 2002

Coreco Imaging forms Intelligent Products Division

Montreal, Quebec, Canada - To concentrate on robust, easy-to-use machine vision solutions for end users, Coreco Imaging announced Mar. 12 that it has formed a new Intelligent Products Division (IPD, Billerica, Mass.) to provide pre-packaged machine vision products. IPD will be a wholly owned subsidiary of Coreco that will serve international markets.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC March 1, 2002

Ariba bullish on “spend management

The new corporate mantra at Ariba, Mountain View, Calif., is convincing customers to "put spend management at the center of their universe." Spend management is the term Ariba adopted to describe how companies will use its latest set of software solutions. Both the term—and the software package behind it—represent a significant evolution for Ariba, which was at the forefron...

By Sidney Hill, Jr., executive editor
PID, APC March 1, 2002

A secret that saves

Windows Terminal Services technology may not be revolutionizing LITESPEC Optical Fiber's approach plant-floor supervisory control, but it certainly improves the reliability of that approach, and cuts costs in the process. That's an evolution that David Criswell, a senior systems engineer and information systems support supervisor for LITESPEC, is happy about.

By Jim Fulcher, contributing editor
PID, APC February 27, 2002

TouchSystems to focus on touch PCs and integrated displays

Austin, Tex. - In a move aimed at intensifying the company's focus on the integrated touch display business, TouchSystems Inc. announced the sale of its touchscreen components operation to Touch International Inc.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC February 14, 2002

Microsoft launches XML web services with Visual Studio .Net and .Net Framework

San Francisco, Calif. - Microsoft Corp. chief software architect Bill Gates February 13 officially launched Visual Studio .Net and the .Net Framework, the application development tool and platform for .Net applications, at the VSLive! 2002 Conference in San Francisco.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC February 5, 2002

ei3 to streamline product changeovers for automated process lines

Montvale, N.J. - ei3 Corp., a provider of online engineering and Web-enabled applications that maximize manufacturing productivity, announced January 30 SiteSetpoint, a new Web-enabled service that speeds product changeovers on automated process lines with digital electronic controls, that the company says eliminates the need for SCADA software on the plant floor.

By Gary A. Mintchell, senior editor
PID, APC February 1, 2002

Vortex flowmeters

A family of liquid vortex flowmeters has been added to an exiting line of air, gas, and steam flowmeters.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC February 1, 2002

Environmental interconnects

Sidney, N.Y.— The Star-Lok Series of connectors are said to provide rapid, one-handed, consistent mating of industrial plugs and receptacles for power, signal or mixed applications. They are intended for use in automation, process control, power generation, petrochemical and other demanding industrial systems.

By Staff
PID, APC February 1, 2002

Versatile vortex flowmeters

Cedar Rapids, Ia.— A family of liquid vortex flowmeters has been added to an exiting line of air, gas, and steam flowmeters. The new liquid flowmeters include an inline version (VL600), a wafer-style version (VL650), and a liquid insertion version (VL600TRI). Features of all three models include up to 20:1 measurable turndown ratio, 0.

By Staff
PID, APC February 1, 2002

National Instruments unveils LabView 6.1

Austin, Tex.— To help users instantly enable web-based measurements, National Instruments (NI) launched LabView 6.1 on Jan. 15. This is the latest release of NI's widely used graphical development environment for test, monitoring and control applications from the research lab to the plant floor.

By Staff
PID, APC January 17, 2002

Axeda, Nokia collaborate for wireless device connectivity

Mansfield, Mass. - Axeda Systems Inc. January 16, 2002 announced collaboration with Nokia to deliver solutions with Universal Wireless Connectivity.

By Gary A. Mintchell, senior editor
PID, APC January 6, 2002

Frequent, face-to-face conversation

E ngineers, trained to be whizzes at meeting technological challenges, are sometimes rewarded with management jobs they aren’t prepared to handle. Engineering education and most manufacturing settings are traditionally so focused on completing technical tasks that they sometimes neglect to give rookie project managers the leadership and people skills they need to help their teams cooperate and succeed. Using only technical problem-solving abilities, many project managers develop overly autocratic and/or detached management styles that can limit their effectiveness and hamstring their projects. Advice for new managers Y ou’ve been a hard-working engineer doing excellent work for several years. You’ve been hoping for a promotion, and suddenly you get it.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC January 1, 2002

Corrosion monitoring instrumentation

Plant operators and process managers can now easily monitor corrosion rates alongside other process variables, such as pressure, temperature, and flow through ''smart box'' instrumentation from InterCorr International.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC December 14, 2001

Camstar unveils vertical market solution sets

Campbell, Calif. - Camstar announced the immediate availability of solution sets and integration tools that enable faster implementation of InSiteLive and the Virtual Factory Suite for four vertical industries-semiconductor, optical electronics, medical devices, and electronic assembly.

By Gary A. Mintchell, senior editor
PID, APC December 14, 2001

New roles, new initiatives at Phoenix Contact USA

Harrisburg, Pa. - Phoenix Contact Inc., manufacturer of specialized electrical/electronic interface products for industry and automation, has announced that Donald Springer has been named president and ceo for the company's new production initiative in the United States.

By Gary A. Mintchell, senior editor
PID, APC December 6, 2001

Infrared sensor market expected to grow 7-8% annually through 2007

San Antonio, Tex. - North American markets for infrared sensors are projected to grow 7-8% per year from producing revenues of $474.2 million in 2000 to generating $815.4 million by 2007, according to analysis released Dec. 5 by Frost & Sullivan.

By Jim Montague, news editor
PID, APC November 29, 2001

Microsoft Announces Availability of Windows XP Embedded

Redmond, Wash.- Microsoft Corp. kicked off the second annual Windows Embedded Developers Conference on Nov. 28 with a keynote address by Jim Allchin, group vp of the company's Platforms Division, announcing the availability of Windows XP Embedded.

By Gary Mintchell, senior editor
PID, APC November 1, 2001

Rockwell Automation, Wind River sign license agreement

Milwaukee, Wis. and Alameda, Calif. - Rockwell Automation and Wind River Systems Inc. October 31 announced an agreement to integrate EtherNet/Industrial Protocol (IP) technology-based on Rockwell Automation's EtherNet/IP Master Library-and Wind River's Tornado for Industrial Automation development software.

By Gary A. Mintchell, senior editor
PID, APC October 29, 2001

Woodhead Industries announces new organizational structure

Deerfield, Ill. - Woodhead Industries Inc. announced on October 17 several organizational changes as part of the corporate strategy to continue to streamline operations and focus sales and marketing efforts to maximize revenue and efficiency.

By Gary A. Mintchell, senior editor
PID, APC October 26, 2001

Graphic displays drive monitor market

Natick, Mass. - Venture Development Corporation (VDC) has recently published a market study titled "North American Markets And User Needs For Operator Interfaces and Monitors In Discrete & Process Manufacturing: Are We Ready For The Internet Yet, 4th Edition".

By Gary A. Mintchell, senior editor
PID, APC October 26, 2001

PRI Automation and eMation partner to deliver eDiagnostics for semiconductor manufacturing equipment

Mansfield, Mass. - eMation announced October 16 that PRI Automation Inc. has partnered with eMation to enable eDiagnostics capabilities across its TransFab line of semiconductor factory automation equipment.

By Gary A. Mintchell, senior editor
PID, APC October 1, 2001

OPC to create data exchange standard for Ethernet

The OPC Foundation announced Sept. 11 at ISA 2001 that it and several partners are developing the OPC data exchange (DX) standard for Ethernet. ControlNet International, Fieldbus Foundation, Open DeviceNet Vendor Association, and Profibus International have agreed to support the OPC working group that will produce the DX specification.

By Staff
PID, APC August 15, 2001

Control Engineering’s E-News for Human-Machine Interface – April, 2001

In this issue: Technology Webcast Trade Shows Whither HMI Peer-to-peer and Collaboration Portable Devices Internet Appliances The Elegant Universe Art of Possibility Organic Displays Question of the Month April in Control Engineering Technology Webcast Join me on May 1 at 1:00 PM CDT (2:00 EDT) for an informative technology webcast, 'Moving Manufacturing to the Internet Age.' I'll be discussing some industry trends, while Benson Hougland of Opto 22 will introduce a new product and John Irwin of Callaway Golf describes real applications. Also a chance for live Q&A. Sign up at /webcast/ Back to top Trade Shows I'm just back from San Francisco and the Embedded Systems Conference.

By Gary Mintchell
PID, APC August 1, 2001

eMation Announces New Fast Forward Program; Gets Manufacturers Up and Running with Device Relationship Management in Only 30 days

MANSFIELD, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE) via NewsEdge Corporation -- eMation(TM), a pioneer of Device Relationship Management (DRM) enterprise software solutions, today announced a new rapid-adoption program called Fast Forward(TM) that can get equipment and device manufacturers up and running with the benefits of...

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC August 1, 2001

Logistics automation provider, Siemens Dematic, launched in U.S.

Siemens Dematic AG (Nuremberg, Germany) announced at a July 17 press conference the formation of Siemens Dematic Corp. (Grand Rapids, Mich.) from the former Rapistan Systems, a division of Mannesmann Dematic and Siemens Production and Logistics Systems. The combined firm represents more than $4.

By Staff
PID, APC August 1, 2001

Modular analyzers

Racine, Wis.— Q45 analyzers feature modular construction for its line of microprocessor-based transmitters for pH, ORP, conductivity, and dissolved oxygen. The multi-purpose instrumentation platform is said to allow easy implementation of portable, loop-powered, or line-powered analyzer capability with the same instrument.

By Staff
PID, APC July 1, 2001

How step-motor performance varies with type of control

Stepping motor-based systems offer an economical method of motion control. Different types of drives (or controls) expand step-motor performance for added versatility. Relative performance of a typical standard hybrid step motor under various drive conditions is shown in the diagram. (Popular in industry, hybrid step motors combine characteristics of permanent magnet and variable-reluctance s...

By Fred Phillips, project engineer, EADmotors (Dover, N.H.)
PID, APC June 1, 2001

Software offers configuration environment options

Configuration of programmable logic controllers is a common task in the controls industry because PLCs serve as the workhorse of automation in many industry segments from component manufacturing and assembly to chemical process automation. In each industry-specific requirements exist for each application, as well as individual preferences for programming methods.

By Tracy J. Coates
PID, APC May 1, 2001

Pharmaceutical and packaged goods weigh-dispenser solution

Phoenix, Ariz. -Honeywell POMS recently introduced its MES Express weigh-dispenser software solution designed specifically to provide pharmaceutical and consumer goods manufacturers a 'ready-to-use' solution that eliminates the manual weighing and dispensing of materials. Because MES Express has been designed as a stand-alone solution with a direct interface featuring scales and bar-coded labels, deployment is said to be rapid.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC March 7, 2001

DeltaV gets bigger, adds more features

Austin, Tex. -DeltaV v5 automation system increases the number of supported fieldbus protocols and accommodates up to 30,000 I/O points and 120 network devices from a mix of 100 controllers and 60 workstations. It includes advanced fuzzy logic, loop tuning, loop performance monitoring, and model predictive control.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC March 7, 2001

Machine vision sees lower cost

Natick, Mass. -Slightly smaller than a standard telephone, In-Sight 2000 is positioned between single-purpose `smart cameras' and more complex, general-purpose machine-vision systems. It is the first vision system to use a spreadsheet to configure applications, eliminating need for programming or an external PC for setup.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC March 7, 2001

Predictive software embedded in processors

Foxboro, Mass.- Embedded Connoisseur places Multivariable Predictive Control (MPC) software in fault-tolerant I/A Series Control Processors to build and deliver robust, responsive MPC solutions to fast acting processes such as combustion and surge control. I/A Series embedded Connoisseur supports developing mathematical process models, establishment of constraint limits, and automatic control of the process to maximize economic, quality, and production objectives. Foxboro www.foxboro.com Added information I/A Series Embedded Connoisseur MPC traces its roots back to the original Connoisseur Multivariable Predictive Control package developed back in the early 1980s by Dr.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC March 7, 2001

Intellution introduces next-generation `Manufacturing Historian’

Foxborough, Mass. -Manufacturing Historian, an open, standards-based platform that allows users to easily plug in software components from Intellution and others, can solve unique business and production challenges. Data historian software applications collect, archive, and distribute information from production processes.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC February 1, 2001

Long-term outlook

Long-term outlook remains positive. We're in an industry that's rapidly embracing new technologies to create products that are more useful, faster, better, smaller, more economical, scalable, reusable, more flexible, and more closely tied to business goals. Education about products, applications, technologies, and trends serves long-term business goals and short-term professional develo...

By Mark T. Hoske, Editor-in-Chief
PID, APC February 1, 2001

Think & Do, Steeplechase may ignite PC-based control

Merging Steeplechase Software into Think & Do Software does a lot more than unite two old rivals in PC-based control. The resulting company, Entivity (Ann Arbor, Mich.), will likely achieve critical mass of investment, products, and customers, which can finally bring this subset of control into the mainstream.

By Gary Mintchell, Senior Editor
PID, APC February 1, 2001

Multiple PID settings for varying loops

Hubertus, Wis. —Perform several tests on a loop and ExperTune's new Loop Summary feature will provide a table of the tuning parameters, process model, model confidence, and relative response time (RRT) of the loop, and highlight the average and most conservative tuning values. Conservative tuning values are useful in loops with varying conditions such as temperature loops that heat quick...

By Staff
PID, APC January 1, 2001

How Manufacturing Benefits by Understanding ERP and IT

During the '90s billions of dollars were spent by businesses that bought into the notion that ERP (enterprise resource planning) systems would lead to the "promised land" of gaining competitive advantage. Throughout the evaluation, design, implementation, and testing of ERP systems, the question "How do we tie in manufacturing?" was held at arm's length with the curt answer, "That's not ...

By Dave Harrold, CONTROL ENGINEERING
PID, APC January 1, 2001

Rockwell International plans to spin off Rockwell Collins

Rockwell International Corp. announced Dec. 8 that its board has approved a spinoff of its Rockwell Collins avionics and communications division (Cedar Rapids, Ia.) as a separate, publicly traded company. The tax-free spinoff to shareholders is expected to be completed in 2Q01—if the deal secures required approval from the U.

By Staff
PID, APC December 1, 2000

APACS+ receives major upgrade

Spring House, Pa. -Siemens Moore's APACS+ process automation system version R4 includes an open application server that allows users to embed in the control system advanced control applications, including third party applications. Batch enhancements include graphical creation of batch reports using Batch Report Writer; help in meeting regulatory compliance using Batch History archive and restore utilities; and modeling and automating production processes without writing a single line of code using Batch Manager.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC December 1, 2000

Software checks for control valve problems

Hubertus, Wis. -Sticking control valves often cause the control loop to cycle and can permeate through an entire plant. A new version of ExperTune's PID Loop Analyzer includes an on-line wizard that test for control valve problems such as stiction, hysteresis, and sizing and reports quantified findings.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC November 1, 2000

New tools improve network diagnostics, maintenance

Maximum reliability for industrial communication networks requires fault prediction so maintenance can be scheduled before faults occur. In the past, network gurus were needed to reactively troubleshoot industrial network faults using complex software. New tools are changing that. Industrial network protocols, such DeviceNet and Profibus, are accepted by international standards organizat...

By Steve Montgomery
PID, APC November 1, 2000

Partial-Stroke Testing of Safety Block Valves

For many operating companies, the most difficult part of complying with safety standards is the testing of final elements, especially emergency block valves. Traditionally, emergency block valves have been tested at unit turnaround, using a full-stroke test to demonstrate performance. Thirty years ago, turnarounds were every two to three years, but improvements in mechanical reliability a...

By Angela Summers and Bryan Zachary, SIS-TECH Solutions
PID, APC October 1, 2000

Virtual Reality Saves Money!

For a long time the resources and effort required to create complex simulations of manufacturing and process operations was avoided for all but the toughest problems, and when they were constructed, it was often a last resort. "Simulations? We can't afford that fancy stuff. That's just for the 'big boys,'" was heard for years throughout operational units around the world, but not any more.

By Dave Harrold, CONTROL ENGINEERING
PID, APC October 1, 2000

Think & Do Studio arrives

Think & Do Studio, first announced in February (see Control Engineering March 2000 news or Control Engineering Online at www.controleng.com/archives/news/2000/february/gm0211a.htm), has arrived. The automation software combines control and information technology with Microsoft Visio 2000, and delivers built-in enterprise connectivity and productivity analysis capabilities.

By Gary A. Mintchell
PID, APC September 1, 2000

Smart temperature transmitter with HART

Hudson, Mass.—AI-1500 is a smart, two-wire temperature transmitter that features automatic self-calibration and HART communication. At seven updates per sec, the device executes not only self-calibration but also integral diagnostics and measurement parameter validation, rapidly compensating from ambient temperature changes, variations in line voltage, and fluctuations in internal electri...

By Staff
PID, APC September 1, 2000

Alstom develops test rig for variable-speed drives

Alstom Power Conversion recently developed a computerized test rig for its MV3000 variable-speed drive. The new rig records every test parameter next to each drive's serial number, frame size, and ratings. Electronic data recording allows hundreds of parameters to be monitored, and makes testing more efficient.

By Staff
PID, APC July 1, 2000

ABB’s MV ac drives on the move—on shore and underwater

As if rejuvenated by an elixir, medium-voltage (MV) ac drives are making some agile moves for such large equipment. On May 26, ABB launched its ACS 6000 MV drive family, rated from 6 to 27 MW at supply voltages up to 3.3 kV. This extends the power range of ABB's MV drives substantially above the 5 MW provided by ACS 1000, launched in late 1997.

By Staff
PID, APC July 1, 2000

Steeplechase secures patent for graphical execution viewer

Steeplechase Software Inc. was recently granted a U.S. patent for Execution Tails, an addition to its Visual Logic Controller debug system that allows users to program in flowcharts and then graphically view control program execution.Creating automation control programs requires developers to understand how programs execute their logic.

By Staff
PID, APC July 1, 2000

New GE, Cisco firm to aid factory-to-office networks

GE Industrial Systems (Plainville, Conn.) and Cisco Systems (San Jose, Calif.) announced June 6 that they've formed a new company, GE Cisco Industrial Networks, to assess, design, and build network infrastructures for plant floor and industrial environments. The partners say these infrastructures will aid enterprise-wide communications essential to real-time decisio...

By Staff
PID, APC June 1, 2000

Frequent, face-to-face conversation key to proactive project management

Engineers, trained to be whizzes at meeting technological challenges, are sometimes rewarded with management jobs they aren't prepared to handle.Engineering education and most manufacturing settings are traditionally so focused on completing technical tasks that they sometimes neglect to give rookie project managers the leadership and people skills they need to help their teams cooperate ...

By Jim Montague, News Editor
PID, APC June 1, 2000

Motion control software demos, purchases via web

Charlotte, N.C. -Software Toolbox Inc. and Roy-G-Biv Corp.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC May 1, 2000

Omron, Rockwell form relationship

Omron Corp. and Rockwell Automation announced April 3 that they have entered into a global technical and product cooperation agreement. Initial emphasis of the new relationship will be on developing, adopting, and promoting common technologies that simplify customer applications and improve performance of industrial automation systems from anywhere in...

By Staff
PID, APC May 1, 2000

Multi-loop process controller

Reston, Va .—Model 2604 1/4-DIN multifunction PID or valve positioning controller is available as single-, dual-, or three-loop. Each loop can be defined as single loop, override, cascade, or ratio control. The dual seven-segment display provides process value and setpoint details, while a 2-line LCD text screen shows alarm messages, program information, and loop status.

By Staff
PID, APC April 1, 2000

What’s hot

At National Manufacturing Week in Chicago, March 13-16, it was e-everything, from sensor companies to system software providers, in automation, design, information technology, and quality, throughout the plant and enterprise. It was networking—personal/professional, devices, software, wired and wireless.

By Mark T. Hoske
PID, APC April 1, 2000

Going Fast with Wireless Technology

At 220 mph you inch your Indy Racing League (IRL) racecar away from the wall and head for the apex of turn number four. Your driving line brings your left side wheels just above the white line. You press the accelerator pedal and your 4.0-liter, 700 hp, Oldsmobile Aurora engine moves you smoothly onto the main straightaway.

By Dave Harrold, Control Engineering
PID, APC March 1, 2000

E-business services market tops $20 billion

North America's e-business services market exceeded $10 billion in 1999 and will increase at a combined annual growth rate of 15% to top $20 billion by the end of 2004, according to a new ARC Advisory Group study. E-business applications include enterprise resource planning, extended supply chain, customer-relations management, and core e-business solutions.

By Staff
PID, APC February 1, 2000

Packaged model-based control system

In most process applications the user must implement regulatory control loops to maintain the process at a specified state. These loops most often consist of an analog input value (temperature, pressure, etc.), a control function, and then an analog output to bring it to the desired state. The most common control function in use today is the PID loop or Proportional-Integral-Derivative c...

By Tracy J. Coates P.E.
PID, APC February 1, 2000

Enterprise and Controls Companies Converge in the Information Management World

Forward-thinking industries initially regarded enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions as efficient means of automating business processes. During ERP's relatively short lifetime its character has been modified such that the latest versions are flexible information management tools, applicable to diverse industries and several points in the supply chain.

By Matthew Peach, Contributing Editor
PID, APC January 1, 2000

Next Generation Control System Technologies Promote Solutions

"Americans have done an outstanding job of inventing and documenting how their inventions work, but have tended to put those inventions on a shelf and go off to invent something new," says Dick Morley, inventor of the programmable logic controller and entrepreneur.Support for that proclamation is the change in philosophy and mission goals of the U.

By Dave Harrold, CONTROL ENGINEERING
PID, APC December 1, 1999

Sight flow illuminators

Prophetstown, Ill. -New compact sight flow illuminators from Penberthy provide glare-free illumination of the internals of sight flow indicators, pipelines or tanks which are normally closed and not conductive to inspection. Used in conjunction with sight flow indicators or conventional sight windows, these lights mount directly to the sight indicator or sight window via a hinged bracket.

By Control Engineering Staff
PID, APC December 1, 1999

Rockwell, U.S. Navy to develop power conversion technologies

Thousand Oaks, Calif .— Rockwell International and the U.S. Navy's Office of Naval Research announced Nov. 9 the formation of a team to develop point-of-use power conversion technologies for commercial and defense applications. The two-year, $8 million project will operate under the Joint Services Dual-Use Science and Technology Program and the Office of Naval Research Power Elect...

By Staff
PID, APC October 1, 1999

Software helps reduces valve wear

Hubertus, Wis.— A new version of ExperTune software calculates process variable filtering and PID values to help eliminate unnecessary valve travel and reversals for less valve wear. From process analysis data ExperTune compares predictions of valve travel and reversals in the presence of noise and develops a "valve travel index" that is used to suggest first order, second order, butter...

By Staff
PID, APC October 1, 1999

AC drive market posts record year

Despite global economic woes, a strong, consumer-driven North American economy pushed the ac drive market over the $1.1 billion mark in 1998, according to a Sept. 10 report by ARC Advisory Group. The study, "AC Drive Outlook for North America—Market Analysis and Forecast through 2003," states rapid technology advancements, compact products, and aggressive prici...

By Staff
PID, APC October 1, 1999

Handheld virtual instrumentation

Rockville, Md.— OmniMeter handheld virtual instrumentation platform is a Microsoft Windows CE-based platform that allows virtual instrument developers to rapidly deploy handheld test and measurement devices. With added support for commercial off-the-shelf DAQ peripherals, the OmniMeter is said to aid users in developing custom and automated devices for mobile and field environments.

By Staff
PID, APC July 1, 1999

Operator interface terminals, monitor markets expand

The North American market for industrial monitors and operator interface terminals, $606 million in 1998, should reach over $946 million in 2003, for a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.3%, according to a new study by Venture Development Corp. (VDC, Natick, Mass.) in cooperation with Control Engineering.

By J. Timothy Shea
PID, APC July 1, 1999

ControlNet cuts chip price, adds Ethernet abilities

Troy, Mich.–ControlNet International (Boca Raton, Fla.) announced multiple efforts June 9 to make its high-speed industrial network more attractive for end-users and OEMs. Initiatives include dropping silicon prices more than 75% and enhancing ControlNet services over Ethernet, first introduced in March 1998.

By Mark T. Hoske
PID, APC April 1, 1999

Estimating Process Control Implementation Made Easier

When ISA's S88 committee released ANSI/ISA S88.01 Batch Control: Models and Terminologythe process control industry received a method that allowed project planning and estimating to move from an art to a science. The standard creates basic modules that never loose their independent identity, functionality, and interconnectivity.

By Dave Harrold, CONTROL ENGINEERING
PID, APC April 1, 1999

PID tuning wizards

Hubertus, Wis.—ExperTune software tunes and analyzes PID loops in many PLCs and controllers. The simple three-step tuning process is: start Expertune software, specify loop number or register, and click on "auto-tune." Wizards support Allen-Bradley, Bailey, Fisher Provox, GE Fanuc, Modicon, and Moore Products.

By Staff
PID, APC April 1, 1999

It’s the reliability, stupid!

Editors love to receive fan mail. But some of Control Engineering's recent coverage of Microsoft Corp. systems has elicited something closer to hate mail. Readers have e-mailed us complaining that Microsoft operating systems are not reliable or easy to use. In particular, readers have questioned the real-time capabilities of Windows CE.

By Jane S. Gerold
PID, APC April 1, 1999

Ultrasonic sensor

Dayton, O.— Hyde Park's new model SM606 Series sensors monitor the distance to an object and generate a proportional 0-10 V output. The sensors offer measurement and control of materials within fixed-window spans of up to 9 in. and sensing ranges up to 10 in. They detect objects of all colors and materials as small as 0.

By Staff
PID, APC April 1, 1999

E-commerce is on the rise for manufacturing

E-commerce is emerging rapidly for factory automation and process control products. Internet usage has risen astronomically over the past four years, and it is estimated that the number of Internet users will reach one billion by the year 2005. Looking at current Internet trends, it makes sense that more services are focusing on online consumers.

By Laura Zurawski
PID, APC March 1, 1999

How search engines organize the web

If you've ever used a search engine for research on the web, you know that the lengths of the lists of matching web sites returned after entering a search can vary dramatically based on the search, and the search engine used. For example, if you enter the phrase "automation" on the Yahoo! search engine, you get a list of 96 categories and 2,688 specific sites to peruse.

By Laura Zurawski, Web Editor
PID, APC March 1, 1999

Distributed control with programmable controllers

Distributed control systems (DCSs) have long been a staple of the industrial automation industry. They are powerful, extensible, and capable of running real-time control programs uninterrupted for years on end. Unfortunately, DCSs also tend to be unique to each vendor, built from proprietary hardware available from only one source.

By Vance J. VanDoren, Consulting Editor
PID, APC March 1, 1999

Rockwell International moving to Milwaukee

To locate its corporate headquarters closer to its two remaining, primary business units, Rockwell International will join its Rockwell Automation subsidiary in Milwaukee, Wis., by the end of 1999. The parent company plans to move into a different downtown Milwaukee site than Rockwell Automation.

By Staff
PID, APC March 1, 1999

Software incorporates OPC functions

Think & Do Software recently added OLE for Process Control (OPC) capability to its standard software development package. This OPC server gives Think & Do seamless connectivity to third-party software packages designed for plant-floor data collection and enterprise data management.

By Staff
PID, APC March 1, 1999

Partners enhance rapid transit project data

Oracle Canada and Primavera Systems (Bala Cynwyd, Pa.) recently created planning and accounting software to give managers advanced tools for tracking and analyzing project data. "Development and improvement of best practices is easier when project information is stored in a relational database that can compare different projects with only a few similar ...

By Staff
PID, APC March 1, 1999

Orifice Technology Leads the Flowmeter Pack

You need not go further than question three of the 1999 Control Engineering Flowmeter Study to see just how complex the state of flow measurement is today. The question is simple enough. It asked 1,500 selected CE readers what types of flowmeters they use. That ostensibly innocent question opened the flood gates.

By Staff
PID, APC March 1, 1999

Improving productivity of manufacturing assets

Expand production and add prodution flexibility at little or no capital cost—Is this too much of process engineers to ask of existing facilities? Not according to the software specialists at Pavilion Technologies Inc. (Austin, Tex.).Pavilion's Production Chain Optimization (PCO) software is said to yield profit improvements in manufacturing plants that approach or exceed the impact ...

By Dick Johnson, Senior Editor
PID, APC February 1, 1999

New PC platforms are refocusing data acquisition market

New data acquisition platforms are growing quickly and older platforms are declining, according to a recent report, "U.S. Data Acquisition Boards and Software Markets," by Frost & Sullivan. While data acquisition hardware, software, portability, and system integration technologies continue to evolve, the report found that U.

By Staff
PID, APC February 1, 1999

Loop analysis for MS Word

Hubertus, Wis.— ExperTune PID analyzer/tuner now creates reports of loop analysis in Microsoft Word. After tuning a PID loop, one mouse click creates a detailed loop report with all the analysis graphs and tuning values. Users can customize and configure reports. In the Word template, choose the location and size of added analysis pictures or text.

By Staff
PID, APC January 1, 1999

Measure gas flow in BTUs per hour

Orrville, O. —Rosemount Analytical and Fisher Controls, members of the Fisher-Rosemount group of companies, have combined to provide a solution for gas flow measurement. By linking the GCX Process Gas Chromatograph Transmitter with the Fisher FloBoss 407 Flow Manager, gas flow is measured in BTUs per hour.

By Staff
PID, APC December 15, 1998

Rock Solid Results

Graybec Calc Inc. (Boucherville, Quebec, Canada) is a leading supplier of lime and limestone products for eastern Canada and the northeastern United States. In addition to bulk quicklime, Graybec Calc produces bagged and bulk hydrated lime, limestone aggregates for construction, and pulverized limestone.

By Staff
PID, APC December 1, 1998

Control software complements I/O products

When I think of Opto 22 in Temecula, California, I think of input/output (I/O) modules that are "guaranteed for life." The company has a long history of providing devices that can interface a computer to virtually any kind of sensor or actuator. However, there's more to Opto 22 than just I/O hardware.

By Vance J. VanDoren, Ph.D., P.E.
PID, APC December 1, 1998

Event Technologies closes

Open software architecture pioneer, Event Technologies Inc. (ETI) ceased active operations Sept. 30 and closed its office here. "The soft control market didn't develop as rapidly or in the way most observers expected," says Richard Pryce, ETI's president and ceo. "In 1992, ETI predicted the move to soft control would begin in 18 months to three years, but the move ...

By Staff
PID, APC November 1, 1998

Process Instrumentation’s ‘Utility Infielder’

This is the final installment of a five-part series on Process Sensing. Pressure sensing appeared in March. Smart sensors appeared in May. Other articles included temperature sensing (June) and flow measurement (September).It is probably safe to say that process automation has been applied in some way or another to every industry.

By Dick Johnson, Control Engineering
PID, APC November 1, 1998

Control engineers are back in charge

Who makes the automation decisions in your company? Is it the plant manager, the control engineer, the process engineer, or the manufacturing engineer? Or is it the MIS department, the IT department, or even the ceo?A growing number of automation suppliers are telling us that more automation decisions are being made in the board room, at the highest levels of the company.

By Jane S. Gerold, Editorial Director
PID, APC November 1, 1998

Valve Survey Says, ‘Cost Less Important than Support’

Contestants on the show Family Feud won points and eventually prize money for correctly matching their answer to audience survey responses. The valve survey recently conducted by Control Engineering is less animated, but financial rewards for properly selecting, applying, using, and maintaining valves can be much greater than won on Family Feud.

By Staff
PID, APC November 1, 1998

Vision systems revealed

Automated vision systems are over 10 years old, but engineers are tapping recent technology advances find new applications. Often used with robots to find parts and orient tools, vision systems are also found where high-speed, accurate inspections are required along with data collection and networking.

By Gary A. Mintchell, Senior Editor
PID, APC November 1, 1998

PLC suppliers unbundle I/O and software

The global programmable logic controller (PLC) market will grow slightly during the next five years, according to a recent report, "PLC Worldwide Outlook," by Automation Research Corp. (ARC). Primary revenue growth will continue to come from unbundled I/O device and software sales, which have so far kept PLC suppliers out of the red as hardware revenues decline at a...

By Staff
PID, APC October 1, 1998

Objects Make Software Behave Like Hardware

Objects—grouped-together packets of code—continue to improve control and human-machine interface (HMI) software for users. Using compatible objects:Objects also can replicate the look and feel of control systems hardware and appeal to control engineers with an affinity for icons.While objects have been used for years, widespread use of Microsoft (Redmond, Wa.

By Mark T. Hoske, CONTROL ENGINEERING
PID, APC October 1, 1998

Pressure Regulators Simplicity May Suffice

Pressure regulators are very simple control devices, taking necessary operating energy from the process. In contrast, control valves require transmitters, controllers, and external energy sources.Value engineering strives to implement simple solutions that meet requirements. The simplicity of pressure regulators is reason enough to consider them.

By Dave Harrold, CONTROL ENGINEERING
PID, APC October 1, 1998

Optimizing Processes with On-Line Infrared Monitoring

No matter what process variable to be measured, the ultimate purpose of implementing on-line process analysis is to improve performance and increase plant profitability. Real-time analytical information generated about a process with these systems can be used to improve yield, better manage process performance, and limit off-spec losses.

By Bruce McIntosh, Analect Instruments
PID, APC September 1, 1998

Color sensor helps Lego get heads on straight

New toys almost always pose new automation challenges. This time it was transparent and translucent miniature figure heads.Denmark-based Lego Systems Inc. produces about 31 million miniature figures per year, from plastic molding to decorating and assembly. In the process department at Lego's U.

By Staff
PID, APC September 1, 1998

Flow Switch Features Easy Setup

Accurate setup is perhaps the most time consuming and tedious aspect of an instrument technician's job. Calibration requires that settings be checked against known conditions so that readings are meaningful to the process.In the case of an component like a flow switch, determining setpoints requires a technician to know limiting flow rates and pick devices accordingly.

By Dick Johnson, Control Engineering
PID, APC September 1, 1998

New touchscreenflat-panel displays

Metheun, Mass.— MicroTouch Systems Inc. has expanded its touchscreen desktop and chassis display lines with the introduction of four new flat-panel models. Space savings, lower power consumption, higher color resolution and brightness, and rapidly declining LCD prices are featured. A flat-panel display saves as much as 75% of the space taken up by a CRT monitor with (equal screen size.

By Staff
PID, APC September 1, 1998

Study predicts infrared analyzer growth

Intensifying global competition is driving manufacturers to lower production costs, and many are seeking analyzers able to provide rapid, near real-time results with little operator oversight. Consequently, one technique with these abilities, process infrared systems (PIRSs), is likely to grow dramatically over the next several years, according to the "Worldwide Proc...

By Staff
PID, APC September 1, 1998

PID Inc. becomes Sequencia Corp.

Recognized for development of OpenBatch and EnterpriseBatch, PID's expertise has evolved beyond plant floor activities. Changing the name to Sequencia Corp. helps communicate a strategy to provide vertically integrated solutions from plant floor batch processes to popular enterprise resource planning systems.

By Staff
PID, APC August 1, 1998

Looks may not be deceiving after all

Maybe I spent too many years working for a PLC vendor, or maybe I'm just skeptical. When it comes to a factory-floor control system, though, I'm more likely to be impressed by reliable, predictable behavior than by fancy screen displays.The people at Wonderware Corp. (Irvine, Calif.) have consistently delivered good graphical user interfaces for the application programmer as well as the e...

By Jay R. Jeffreys, P.E.
PID, APC July 1, 1998

New ‘Soft DCS’ Reaches the Market

PCSoft (Braintree, Mass.) set a goal to build an open distributed control system (DCS)—one that provides features and functions of a traditional DCS, utilizes a defacto-standard operating system, makes extensive use of open standards, and resides on a single hardware platform.WizDCS is the result of its efforts and indications are PCSoft has exceeded its goal.

By Dave Harrold, Control Engineering
PID, APC June 1, 1998

Variable torque drive controls energy cost

St. Louis, Mo. —Specifically developed for complex control applications involving centrifugal pumps and fans, the Unidrive variable torque controller (VTC) combines energy savings with quiet operation. Features hand/ off/auto operation, PID control, eight preset speeds, motor overload protection, spinning motor "catch," dynamic V/Hz, filter maintenance timer, lubrication maintenance time...

By Staff
PID, APC June 1, 1998

Graphical programming for analog control

If it's true that just any old picture is worth a thousand words, then a detailed picture of a regulatory control strategies must be worth quite a few words of machine code, right? That certainly seems to be part of the design intent behind the control system software development package known as Gello, available from RTP Corp.

By Jay R. Jeffreys, P.E.
PID, APC June 1, 1998

Merger mania shakes control field now, may stabilize it later

The bigger they are… the better they can serve their customers, compete globally, and maybe control their destinies. That's the reasoning behind a recent epidemic of mergers and acquisitions in and outside the control and automation fields.In one of the most significant mergers, Danaher Corp.

By Staff
PID, APC June 1, 1998

Ben & Jerry’s scoops with PID’s OpenBatch

Ice cream maker Ben & Jerry's recently installed the Rockwell OEM version of OpenBatch and RSBatch from PID Inc. (Phoenix, Ariz.) to enhance the existing PLC-based control system at its newest and biggest plant in St. Albans, Vt. The software controls the mix making process of Ben & Jerry's ingredients.

By Staff
PID, APC May 1, 1998

Extend DCS Life with In-Place Replacement

Older digital systems, even though fully depreciated, drain the enterprise cash flow because of high operation and maintenance (O&M) costs. Much of the true O&M cost is not reported because it involves removing spares from inventory that were valued at the purchase price, not at today's higher replacement cost.

By Lawrence Ricci, Hathaway Industrial Automation
PID, APC May 1, 1998

The Windows Principles

Like it or not, Microsoft and the Internet impact much of what we write about in the pages of Control Engineering. Whether it's software, networking, smart sensors—even training and support—issues involving one or both of these entities are sure to surface.Because of this, I was curious to hear what Microsoft founder and ceo, Bill Gates, would reveal during his keynote address...

By Jane S. Gerold, Editorial Director
PID, APC May 1, 1998

24-axis positioning stage

Santa Clara, Calif.— A 24-axis linear-motor driven positioning stage that provides independent motion along all 24 axes has been introduced by Northern Magnetics. This positioning stage provides rapid acceleration and deceleration for high-productivity applications. It features heavy-duty construction with lightweight moving parts for higher acceleration.

By Staff
PID, APC April 1, 1998

PC Advances, Mergers, Hardware Evolution Among Leading Industry Trends

Roy Slavin, chairman, president and ceo, Wonderware Corp.The on-going consolidation of smaller suppliers in various market segments is likely to continue into 1998. Yet, the industry as a whole will remain robust. Varying regional economic conditions will require major national suppliers to continue to actively grow their global business mix.

By Barbara Axelson, CONTROL ENGINEERING
PID, APC April 1, 1998

Riding the whirlwind of change and opportunity

Sometimes we need to be reminded of what we already know. Control and automation professionals have always been aware that technical training and on-site experience are the key to success. However, as manufacturing grows more technologically and financially chaotic, traditional knowhow may seem to be powerless in the face of today's upheaval.

By Jim Montague, News Editor
PID, APC April 1, 1998

CPU modules for PLCs

Irving, Tex.— Entrelec is now offering two compact, 45-mm wide, rail-mounted CPU modules for PLC systems. The S200 CPU creates a micro PLC for local applications when combined with the company's flexible I/O modules. The S250 CPU, when combined with one of Entrelec's fieldbus nodes, is used in remote locations where distributed intelligence is required to create a "smart node.

By Staff
PID, APC March 1, 1998

Model-Predictive Controller Solves Complex Problems

Model-predictive control is the latest trend in multivariable control technology. Model-predictive controllers (MPCs) use mathematical models to predict the future behavior of the processes they control, then adjust their control efforts to produce the desired results. MPCs are designed to steer multiple process variables towards their respective setpoints while keeping both process input...

By Vance J. VanDoren
PID, APC March 1, 1998

Handwriting on Wall for Hard Disks?

Flash memory technology is starting to catch up with industrial computer users, many of whom never liked the idea of using rotating magnetic discs on the factory floor. Flash memory chips—produced mainly by AMD and Intel—have increased storage densities so rapidly over the past months that it is now possible to offer 72 megabytes in a single 32-pin par...

By Staff
PID, APC March 1, 1998

Integrating Plant, ERP Systems

Phoenix, Ariz. —EnterpriseBatch software allows manufacturing organizations to integrate the disparate information in business and plant-floor systems, using corporate recipe and formula data as a natural focal point. Unlike previously available point-to-point solutions, the software is said to enable Global 5000 organizations that have multiple control and business systems to manage pro...

By Staff
PID, APC March 1, 1998

PCI Carrier Board

Wixom, Mich.— Acromag's new APC8620 PCI board interfaces up to five IndustryPack-type ANSI/VITA-4 modules to a PC. By installing analog, digital, and serial I/O modules on the APC8620 carrier card in any combination, users can efficiently develop custom I/O boards with high channel density. Users can also choose from more than 40 Acromag IP modules or hundreds available from third parties.

By Staff
PID, APC March 1, 1998

North America, Asia Lead AC Drive Surge

AC drive business worldwide continues to expand rapidly, driven by a burgeoning North American market and ongoing expansion in Asia, according to the new AC Drive Worldwide Outlook by Automation Research Corp. (ARC). The combined markets of Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMA) remain the largest regional segment, followed by Japan and North America.

By Staff
PID, APC March 1, 1998

Imaging Tools

Montreal, Quebec, Canada —ActiveMIL-Lite is a collection of ActiveX controls for building Microsoft Windows-based imaging applications using rapid application development (RAD) tools. These ActiveX controls for image capture, transfer, and display using Matrox frame grabbers and image processors gives developers access to the algorithms of the Matrox Imaging Library.

By Staff
PID, APC January 1, 1998

Process Variable Transmitters Keep Pace with Customers’ Needs

Traditionally, process variables are considered to be units of flow, level, pressure, or temperature, and the media measured include gases, liquids, slurries, powders, and solids (see table).Transmitters are devices that accept the output of sensors and transducers designed to detect process variables and produce an output which directly or proportionally alters as process variables change.

By Staff
PID, APC October 7, 1997

ISA TECH/97 Highlights From Anaheim, Calif., Day One

Keynote Speaker Caspar Weinberger Stresses Security for Global Growth In his keynote address to the ISA TECH/97 crowd, former defense secretary Caspar Weinberger stressed security issues as a key in the growth of the global economy. Using the example of how the recent examples of the devaluation of Mexico's currency and the recession in Japan and it's effects on other countries, he stressed that events in one country 'ripples through the world quickly.' He also emphasized that the US' role in global security is vital to fostering global growth. Mr.

By Control Engineering Staff