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PLCs, PACs June 24, 2022

Modern machine control system design in 7 steps webcast preview

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

By Mark T. Hoske
PLCs, PACs June 3, 2022

Modern machine control system design in 7 steps

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

By Mark T. Hoske
PLCs, PACs May 16, 2022

7 tips every PLC programmer should know

A good programmable logic controller (PLC) programmer should keep the end user in mind when writing code and implement it that is best for the situation.

By Alex Kennedy
PLCs, PACs May 12, 2022

PLC transaction module bridges IT, OT for system integrator

Connecting the programmable logic controllers (PLC) that run the plant floor operations with the structured query language (SQL) databases can be challenging. An example involving an automation systems integrator is highlighted.

By Deane Horn
PLCs, PACs February 16, 2022

Key capabilities for today’s open automation controller

There are five key traits to consider when assessing controller platforms, according to a company with a Control Engineering Engineers’ Choice Award product.

By Dave Cameron
PLCs, PACs February 8, 2022

Product advice on easy, affordable modern control, IIoT implementation

Next-generation programmable logic controller (PLC) platforms inexpensively and securely deliver reliable and familiar functionality for basic automated control, combined with advanced features like Wi-Fi and data logging, and increased security measures for Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) applications, according to a company with a Control Engineering Engineers’ Choice Award product.

By Bill Dehner
PLCs, PACs February 3, 2022

Getting actionable data from an ICS

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

By Damon Purvis
PLCs, PACs January 11, 2022

Hot topics in Control Engineering for 2021

Think Again: PLC programming, AI and control system evolution, the Career and Salary Survey and HMI/SCADA design were among top articles posted on the Control Engineering website during 2021. Why? See also top 3 covers, top 10 articles posted prior to 2021.

By Mark T. Hoske
PLCs, PACs December 27, 2021

PLCs remain essential in modern automation

Programmable logic controllers (PLCs) often fill an essential role in automation by communicating, monitoring and controlling automated processes and will continue to do so in the IIoT era.

By Aaron Block
PLCs, PACs November 24, 2021

PLC object orientation guidelines published

PLCopen started an object-oriented programming (OOP) guidelines initiative in order to create a more homogeneous method.

By PLCopen
PLCs, PACs November 18, 2021

PLCs and other controllers in an IIoT world: More answers

How are programmable logic controllers (PLCs) and other controllers helping with Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) implementations? Find more answers below.

By L. John Shipley, PE, CAP
PLCs, PACs October 7, 2021

Virtualized programmable logic controllers

A paradigm shift toward industrial edge and cloud computing.

By David Lou, Ulrich Graf and Dr. Mitch Tseng
PLCs, PACs October 3, 2021

Using abstraction to reduce the machine integration efforts

Integrating a packaging machine can be a time-consuming process, but creating a higher abstraction level can help with specific functionalities and speed up the overall PLC and motion programming process. IEC 61131-3 standard and PLCopen Motion Control Function Blocks help.

By Eelco van der Wal
PLCs, PACs September 25, 2021

Know your PLC programming audience

Programmable logic controller (PLC) code should never be a bottleneck when troubleshooting and should be designed to address the needs and knowledge of as many engineers as possible.

By Mike Blenman
PLCs, PACs August 10, 2021

What IEC 61499 means for the PLC

The IEC 61499 international standard doesn’t signal the end for the programmable logic controller (PLC), but its impact, particularly in process control applications, will change how PLCs are used.

By Martyn Hilbers
PLCs, PACs July 6, 2021

Structuring with IEC 61131-3: 7 steps to success

The IEC 61131-3 standard includes powerful structuring tools and can help provide users an excellent way to break a control system down into manageable units for greater overall effectiveness.

By Eelco van der Wal
PLCs, PACs June 28, 2021

Top 5 Control Engineering articles June 21-27, 2021

Articles about PLC benefits, HMI and SCADA design, six calibration tips, process control systems and cybersecurity's past were Control Engineering’s five most clicked articles from June 21-27, 2021. Miss something? You can catch up here.

By Chris Vavra
PLCs, PACs June 16, 2021

The PLC remains stronger than ever

The programmable logic controller (PLC) has been declared dead many times, but it continues to thrive even in the Industry 4.0 era.

By David Humphrey
PLCs, PACs June 16, 2021

PLC coding practices document released

The Top 20 Secure PLC Coding Practices document aims to provide a list of coding practices for PLC programmers.

By International Society of Automation (ISA)
PLCs, PACs March 4, 2021

Three signs it might be time to upgrade a PLC

Programmable logic controllers (PLCs) are designed to last a long time, but even they have a shelf life. Three tips for knowing when to upgrade are highlighted as well as a cautionary tale.

By Brad Smith
PLCs, PACs February 1, 2021

Top 5 Control Engineering Articles Jan. 25-31, 2021

Articles about top 5 VFD parameter changes explained, free PLC programming software for education, replacing seven SCADA systems with one, and more were Control Engineering’s five most clicked articles from Jan. 25-31, 2021. Miss something? You can catch up here.

By Keagan Gay
PLCs, PACs February 1, 2021

PLC users can use cloud services without programming

Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), machine builders and others can access a no-code Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) cloud platform, providing easy-to-use data analysis tools, other functionality for bottom-line improvements

By Mark T. Hoske
PLCs, PACs January 26, 2021

Free PLC programming software for education

Available programmable logic controller (PLC) software that is free for users is crucial for users and students who can't currently access a lab. See table with a breakdown.

By Jon Breen
PLCs, PACs January 18, 2021

Top 5 Control Engineering Articles Jan. 11-17, 2021

Articles about programmable logic controllers (PLCs), top 5 VFD parameter changes explained, cybersecurity and the rise of IT-enable OT system, and more were Control Engineering’s five most clicked articles from Jan. 11-17, 2021. Miss something? You can catch up here.

By Keagan Gay
PLCs, PACs January 11, 2021

Top 5 Control Engineering Articles Jan. 4-10, 2021

Articles about PLCs power in industrial data integration, using IIoT for energy-efficient pump environments, replacing seven SCADA systems with one, and more were Control Engineering’s five most clicked articles from Jan. 4-10, 2021. Miss something? You can catch up here.

By Keagan Gay
PLCs, PACs January 5, 2021

PLCs power industrial data integration

Cover Story: Programmable logic controllers (PLCs) have recently gained capabilities formerly possible only with PCs, expanding their role to support seamless data integration with the enterprise.

By Damon Purvis
PLCs, PACs December 21, 2020

Top 5 Control Engineering Articles Dec. 14-20, 2020

Articles about migrating legacy PLC programs to modern PLC hardware, system integrators reducing maintenance costs, flowmeter testing and calibrating challenges, and more were Control Engineering’s five most clicked articles from Dec. 14-20 2020. Miss something? You can catch up here.

By Keagan Gay
PLCs, PACs December 12, 2020

Migrating legacy PLC programs to modern PLC hardware

Zero downtime is a requirement for many water/wastewater processes, often necessitating upgrading legacy automation by migrating existing code

By Raju Nair
PLCs, PACs October 18, 2020

The rise of the PAC

A programmable automation controller (PAC) is an open control platform that supports and integrates multiple automation disciplines, typically logic and motion control, but also other functions.

By David Humphrey
PLCs, PACs September 28, 2020

Top 5 Control Engineering articles Sept. 21-27, 2020

Articles about engineering leaders under 40, the younger workforce leading manufacturing, programmable logic controllers, and more were Control Engineering’s five most clicked articles from Sept. 21-27, 2020. Miss something? You can catch up here.

By Keagan Gay
PLCs, PACs August 4, 2020

Control Engineering hot topics, July 2020

Control Engineering's most clicked articles in July 2020 included stories about programmable logic controllers, re-entering the workplace after COVID-19, data management, ladder logic, and more. Miss something? You can catch up here.

By Keagan Gay
PLCs, PACs July 30, 2020

Which IEC 61131-3 Programming Language is best? Part 2

With many programmable logic controller (PLC) programming languages and standards from which to choose, select the best language for specific automation and controls applications. Part 2 focuses on function block diagram (FBD), continuous function chart (CFC) and structured text (ST).

By Gary L. Pratt, P.E.
PLCs, PACs July 13, 2020

Top 5 Control Engineering articles July 6-12, 2020

Articles about drawing electrical schematics, manufacturer management during COVID-19, process safety, and more were Control Engineering’s five most clicked articles from July 6-July 12, 2020. Miss something? You can catch up here.

By Keagan Gay
PLCs, PACs July 6, 2020

Top 5 Control Engineering articles June 29 to July 5, 2020

Articles about PLC's, COVID-19's effect on wastewater treatment facilities, automation and IIoT, and more were Control Engineering’s five most clicked articles from June 28-July 5, 2020. Miss something? You can catch up here.

By Keagan Gay
PLCs, PACs June 30, 2020

Moving toward self-assembly machine automation systems

Evolving PLC and PAC platforms, networking, and programming methods are leading to self-assembled machine automation systems, reducing risk and user integration efforts.

By Keith McNab
PLCs, PACs June 29, 2020

Which IEC 61131-3 programming language is best? Part 1

With so many programmable logic controller (PLC) programming languages and standards from which to choose, what is the right choice for automation and controls applications? Part 1 provides an overview and focuses on Ladder Diagram (LD) and Sequential Function Chart (SFC).

By Gary L. Pratt, P.E.
PLCs, PACs May 26, 2020

Protect PLCs and PACs from cybersecurity threats

Protecting programmable logic controllers (PLC) and programmable automation controllers (PAC) from security threats should begin even before an attack is detected.

By Steve Ward
PLCs, PACs May 8, 2020

Industrial controllers: past, present, future

Increasing technology integration, cross-pollination and connectivity have shaped the development of programmable logic controllers (PLCs), programmable automation controllers (PACs) and today’s edge controllers, indicating how to invest for the future.

By Josh Eastburn
PLCs, PACs May 5, 2020

Should I use an edge controller, PLC, or PAC?

Industrial automation end users are finding edge control technologies excel at familiar programmable logic controller (PLC) and programmable automation controller (PAC) applications while delivering future-proof computing and communication options.

By Darrell Halterman
PLCs, PACs May 4, 2020

Open-source benefits for industrial controllers

New controller options make it possible to add open-source features to industrial-grade automation. Think of industrial versions of Raspberry Pi or Arduino controllers.

By Bill Dehner
PLCs, PACs April 1, 2020

The Perfect PLC has been released!

Learn how the Perfect PLC from Breen Machine Automation Services will change the nature of programming forever for manufacturers.

By Jon Breen
PLCs, PACs January 7, 2020

Modern controllers ease upgrades

Legacy industrial automation systems must eventually be ripped and replaced or upgraded. See four challenges and five benefits of upgrades using modern controllers.

By Vibhoosh Gupta
PLCs, PACs January 6, 2020

Smart factory controllers bring security and connectivity

Powerful edge controllers are replacing PCs on the factory floor and going where PCs can’t, providing a variety of “apps” for every task.

By Josh Eastburn
PLCs, PACs January 3, 2020

Answers on factory controller upgrades

Nano programmable logic controllers (PLCs) can replace the function of existing equipment and provide Ethernet communication, remote monitoring, e-mail alerts, and integration with supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) and other systems.

By Adam Bainbridge
PLCs, PACs January 1, 2020

PLCs evolve with increased functions and efficiency

Programmable logic controller (PLC) technology continues to evolve, which may help market revenue bounce back after a sluggish 2019.

By IHS Markit
PLCs, PACs October 21, 2019

Top 5 Control Engineering articles October 14-20

Articles about PLC tag and address naming conventions, the Engineers' Choice Finalists, digital engineering practices, control engineering terms, and level instrumentation improvements were Control Engineering’s five most clicked articles from October 14-20. Miss something? You can catch up here.

By Chris Vavra
PLCs, PACs October 7, 2019

PLC tag and address naming conventions

Control programming tutorial: Learn about tag templates, common factory automation tag abbreviations, process control tag abbreviations, and five tag and address naming tips.

By Frank Lamb
PLCs, PACs September 16, 2019

China leads global PLC market according to report

Research finds mainland China in 2018 surpassed the United States to become the world’s largest sub-regional market for programmable logic controllers (PLCs), with estimated revenue of $1.7 billion in 2018, though the PLC market overall is slumping after reaching highs in 2017.

By Rita Liu
PLCs, PACs August 12, 2019

Top 5 Control Engineering articles August 5-11

Articles about controller options for industrial applications, machine safety, alarm management, robotic actuators, and industrial cybersecurity needs were Control Engineering’s five most clicked articles from August 5-11. Miss something? You can catch up here.

By Chris Vavra
PLCs, PACs August 1, 2019

Control Engineering hot topics, July 2019

Control Engineering's most clicked articles in July 2019 included stories about PLC programming languages, connecting a PLC to the internet, digitalization advantages, choosing the right enclosure, and more. Miss something? You can catch up here.

By Chris Vavra
PLCs, PACs July 30, 2019

Evaluate controller options for industrial applications

Choosing the best industrial controller requires evaluation of automation, communication and security needs.

By Benson Hougland
PLCs, PACs July 22, 2019

Top 5 Control Engineering articles July 15-21

Articles about PLC programming languages, digitalization advantages, alarm management tips, operationalizing cybersecurity, and CNC developments were Control Engineering’s five most clicked articles from July 15-21. Miss something? You can catch up here.

By Chris Vavra
PLCs, PACs July 8, 2019

Top 5 Control Engineering articles July 1-7

Articles about connecting a PLC, the Career and Salary Survey, June hot topics, choosing a transparent CIP system, and choosing the right HMI were Control Engineering’s five most clicked articles from July 1-7. Miss something? You can catch up here.

By Chris Vavra
PLCs, PACs July 8, 2019

Other PLC programming languages

Ladder logic is commonly used in the U.S. for programmable logic controllers (PLCs), but other languages are better suited for some programming applications. See sample PLC code in five languages.

By Frank Lamb
PLCs, PACs July 1, 2019

Benefits of connecting a PLC to the internet

Programmable logic controllers (PLCs) are now gaining information technology (IT) abilities to interact directly with the internet, creating new automation and information possibilities.

By Bill Dehner
PLCs, PACs April 1, 2019

groov EPIC Learning Center by Opto 22

Opto 22’s groov EPIC Learning Center is a hardware and software benchtop system for learning and development.

By Opto 22
PLCs, PACs January 10, 2019

Industrial controller selection: Look beyond the basics

Factory automation controllers: When specifying controllers for industrial automation applications, consider capabilities such as data handling, communications, and high-speed control.

By Winn Paulk
PLCs, PACs September 10, 2018

2018 Programmable Controllers Study

Five industrial controller findings

By Amanda Pelliccione
PLCs, PACs February 13, 2018

Product design: Incorporating commercial technologies into industrial controllers

Industrial controllers are using commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) technologies such as Ethernet, field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs), USB, and MicroSD cards to improve price/performance ratios, shrink form factors, and add new features.

By Jeff Payne, AutomationDirect
PLCs, PACs December 11, 2017

PLC software benefits for industrial manufacturers

Software-based programmable logic controllers (PLC) present numerous advantages over traditional hardware products and the addition of software systems enables greater productivity, detailed reporting for optimization and overall system flexibility.

By Robotic Industries Association (RIA)
PLCs, PACs December 7, 2017

Collect, optimize data

Use automation to collect pertinent operations data in the right format for worthwhile outcomes. See three data structure tips.

By Paul Figie, EZAutomation
PLCs, PACs April 15, 2017

Services for obsolete electronic components

Electronic control components have evolved on a massive scale over the last 20 years, but many systems are much older than that and are classified as obsolete, which leaves the company with a challenge for future options.

By Brian Park
PLCs, PACs October 13, 2016

EC: Sitrans FC430 Coriolis flowmeter

Process Control — Flowmeters, process sensors: The Sitrans FC430 Coriolis flow meter, with National Type Evaluation Program custody transfer approval, for volume and mass liquid flow, offers high accuracy with minimum pressure loss. This is a Control Engineering 2017 Engineers’ Choice Awards Winner.

PLCs, PACs October 13, 2016

EC: LP Series Encoder, heavy-duty rotary encoder

Machine & Embedded Control — Discrete sensors, machine vision: LP Series provides reliable, precise motion control feedback in a compact, low profile package using a magnetic sensing technology that allows for accurate position and speed sensing in harsh applications. This is a Control Engineering 2017 Engineers’ Choice Awards Winner.

PLCs, PACs October 13, 2016

EC: Click Ethernet Standard PLC

Machine & Embedded Control — PLCs, PACs, industrial PCs: Ethernet Basic PLC units and Ethernet Standard PLC units feature one built-in 10/100 Mbps Ethernet communications port for programming and Modbus TCP networking, plus one standard RS-232 serial communications port. This is a Control Engineering 2017 Engineers’ Choice Awards Finalist.

PLCs, PACs October 15, 2015

EC: Productivity2000

Machine & Embedded Control - PACs, PLCs: The Productivity2000 is a micro-modular rack-based PLC supporting up to 240 local I/O for discrete, analog and motion applications with a high-performance CPU equipped with five communications ports and 29 discrete and analog I/O modules. This is a Control Engineering 2016 Engineers’ Choice finalist.

PLCs, PACs May 20, 2014

Programming PLCs: Keep the documentation clear and simple

Poor programmable logic controller documentation and housekeeping can lead to unnecessary troubleshooting and downtime. Keep it simple in order to avoid the possible risks and confusion.

By Miguel Gutierrez
PLCs, PACs October 17, 2013

EC: 93PM Uninterruptible Power System

Power - Energy, power protection: With a compact footprint, efficiency up to 99%, flexible deployment options that support integrated thermal management solutions and simplified energy management features, the 93PM UPS is an integrated three-phase grey or white space UPS. This is a Control Engineering 2014 Engineers’ Choice finalist.

By Control Engineering
PLCs, PACs October 17, 2013

EC: PS6R Power Supplies

Power - Energy, power protection: PS6R power supplies preserve valuable panel space while at the same time providing much needed flexibility and safety to any application. This is a Control Engineering 2014 Engineers’ Choice finalist.

By Control Engineering
PLCs, PACs December 18, 2012

Asia-Pacific market for PLCs will exceed $3.6 billion in 2016

IMS Research predicts that the long-term opportunities for the Asia-Pacific market remain strong, especially in China and India.

By Source: IMS Research (acquired by IHS)
PLCs, PACs November 30, 2012

Asia-Pacific PLC market predicted to grow

Chinese domestic consumption is expected to continue the country's strong economic growth as China continues to become more and more urbanized outside the major cities.

By Source: IMS Research (acquired by IHS)http://www.controleng.com/typo3/clenear.gi
PLCs, PACs November 12, 2012

EC: Simatic S7 AS mEC RTX

Machine and Embedded Control - PACs: Simatic S7 AS mEC RTX is a modular embedded controller in S7-300 design with ready-to-use pre-installed Microsoft Windows operating system as a low-cost automation system. This is a Control Engineering 2013 Engineers' Choice finalist.

By Control Engineering
PLCs, PACs January 24, 2012

Understanding UML is an important part of your toolkit

Engineering and IT Insight: Control system development requires information exchange among many people and systems. Unified modeling language (UML) can help bring out inconsistencies, remove ambiguity, and provide a “standard” way to communicate project information.

By Dennis Brandl
PLCs, PACs December 29, 2011

How to choose the correct programming language

What kind of applications and operations best fit which of five IEC 61131-3 programming languages? Depending on what you’re doing, relay ladder logic could be wasting significant time and effort.

By Fred Habenschuss
PLCs, PACs November 13, 2011

PV manufacturing equipment revenues should fall 50%+ in 2012

IMS Research suggests boom for photovoltaic panel construction may be over as capacity has grown too fast and prices fall.

PLCs, PACs June 23, 2011

Software vulnerabilities diagnosed as communication weakness

Siemens' most recent firmware update for its S7-1200 programmable logic controller is said to eliminate vulnerabilities and to improve security.

PLCs, PACs March 31, 2011

Smart camera has 5 megapixel sensors

Matrox’s high-resolution smart camera accurately inspects large parts, packages via a 5 MP monochrome CCD sensor.

By SOURCE: Matrox
PLCs, PACs March 16, 2011

Addressable modules for conveyor protection switches

Safety switches, modules rapidly, efficiently help users identify alarms.

By SOURCE: Thermo Fisher Scientific
PLCs, PACs January 28, 2011

Compact pneumatic air cylinders

AutomationDirect adds to its NITRA pneumatic product line, featuring series of compact stainless steel cylinders

PLCs, PACs December 3, 2010

Smart power management system chip for automotive applications

The austriamicrosystems AS8650 smart power management System Basis Chip, combines a dc-dc converter and a high-speed transceiver on one chip.

PLCs, PACs April 1, 2010

Opto 22 introduces SNAP PAC redundancy option kit

Hardware and software let users build redundant PAC systems easily.

By Renee Robbins
PLCs, PACs April 1, 2010

PLC programming software now free

AutomationDirect cuts cost of its WinPLC programming software from $695.

By Renee Robbins
PLCs, PACs April 1, 2010

IndustrialNETworX.com targets system-on-a-chip capabilities

To lower the cost and time associated with network development, Hilscher has announced the launch of www.industrialNETworX.com, a new open-source, developer community. The “netX Community Platform” targets product managers, operators and developers of automation devices who use Hilscher’s netX, a processor used to communicate among dozens of industrial networks.

PLCs, PACs April 1, 2010

Model-based design tools write control software for industrial equipment

Approached by a wind turbine manufacturer about a year ago, engineers at Rockwell Automation were asked, “Can you get ControlLogix to run C code?” Meanwhile, Matlab and Simulink software from The MathWorks Inc. was generating C, C++, VHDL and Verilog code from models, which would be run on PC-based control systems.

PLCs, PACs April 1, 2010

Yokogawa DAQ, display station

Yokogawa DXAdvanced R4 is a highly capable and fully integrated data acquisition and display station with network connectivity. It incorporates universal input measurement; color data display modes, and secure on-board data logging into a compact system. This is a Control Engineering North American edition Product Exclusive for April 2010.

PLCs, PACs April 1, 2010

Visual Programming for Automation

Graphical programming methods have been around the manufacturing, automation, and instrumentation space for a long time. Software tools—ranging from National Instruments’ LabView to The MathWorks Simulink and including many proprietary PLC and DCS programming tools—are nothing like textual languages such as Cobol or C.

By Renee Robbins, Control Engineering
PLCs, PACs March 25, 2010

Exclusive: Industrial network development made easier

New developer community, www.industrialNETworX.com, aims to more quickly advance system-on-a-chip capabilities, integrate multiple industrial protocols, control, I/O, HMI and other functions in one netX ASIC.

By Mark T Hoske
PLCs, PACs March 24, 2010

Pentair Technical Products offers Hoffman brand Fusion G7 Global Wall-Mount Enclosures

Hoffman Fusion G7 Global Wall-Mount Enclosures from Pentair Technical Products have an advanced, scalable design with a host of internal component mounting provisions and options.

By Mark T Hoske
PLCs, PACs March 5, 2010

U.S. Pipe Marvel City mill: OEE automation project profile

Automated ductile iron pipe manufacturing operation advanced quality and lowered cost by applying FactoryTalk from Rockwell Automation, Microsoft SQL, and smart integration from Revere Control Systems Inc. and Stone Technologies Inc. Two goals for the Bessemer operation were to improve quality and lower costs, and both goals have been met through automated processes and improvements in technology. Here's how.

PLCs, PACs March 1, 2010

Tutorial on common motion control and I/O problems

Solutions to common motion control and I/O problems are addressed in new two-minute videos from Galil Motion Control. Designed for busy engineers, the videos are a technical resource to help engineers get a quick start on motion projects. Currently available videos show how to achieve smooth multi-axis motion through arbitrary points; demonstrate how to achieve precise temperature of a liquid...

PLCs, PACs March 1, 2010

Feedforward control

Here's how to augment feedback control with feedforward control.

By Vance VanDoren, Ph.D., P.E., Control Engineering
PLCs, PACs March 1, 2010

Emerson switched reluctance motor system

Emerson Motor Co. anounces the launch of a new commercial line of switched reluctance (SR) motors and controllers designed to provide North American industry with the benefit of this advanced motor technology in a wide range of applications. This is a March 2010 Control Engineering North American print edition Product Exclusive.

PLCs, PACs February 5, 2010

GE Energy standardizes on remote monitoring, diagnostics software

Proficy platform monitors more than 1,100 units in turbine fleet and provides real-time data.

By Renee Robbins
PLCs, PACs February 4, 2010

Omega Engineering Universal Remote I/O Modules

HE359 Series Universal Remote I/O Modules provide remote I/O for programmable logic controllers (PLCs). With remote I/O, the application is no longer dependent on controller choice.

PLCs, PACs February 4, 2010

National Instruments: 3 distributed I/O hardware platforms

National Instruments offers three distributed I/O hardware platforms, a Deterministic Ethernet Expansion Chassis, Ethernet/Serial Expansion Chassis, and Wireless and Ethernet Data Acquisition.

PLCs, PACs February 3, 2010

Applications, lifecycle are I/O concerns, Rockwell Automation says

Resolving application-related issues and total cost of ownership are among customers' I/O-related issues, says Rockwell Automation. Allen-Bradley 1762 I/O modules offer high density MicroLogix expansion.

By Mark T. Hoske
PLCs, PACs February 1, 2010

Temperature control unit offers heating and chilling in one package

Mokon Full Range system uses circulating water to control temperature for vessels and reactors.

By Peter Welander
PLCs, PACs February 1, 2010

Network Integration Winners, Engineers’ Choice Awards 2010

In network integration, Control Engineering gave 2010 Engineers' Choice Awards for data integration appliance, Ethernet hardware, I/O systems - wireless, network hardware, wireless I/O controllers, and wireless products - general.

PLCs, PACs February 1, 2010

From the core to the cutting edge

As difficult as 2009 was economically on a global basis, it’s been fascinating to watch how businesses and professionals are adapting to the structural changes that are reshaping the economic world in which we all live. Nowhere has this been more evolutionary than in engineering. I prefer the term “evolutionary” over “revolutionary” because the changes that have oc...

By David Greenfield, editorial director
PLCs, PACs February 1, 2010

Smart Compressors Drive Efficiencies

New HMI and control systems allow Quincy Compressor to enable networked compressors, desktop data portals, and other innovations.

By Edited by Renee Robbins
PLCs, PACs January 30, 2010

Alarm monitor records sequence of events

Web-based recorder from Ametek captures critical alarms with millisecond precision.

By Peter Welander
PLCs, PACs January 28, 2010

Bosch Sensortec claims a MEMS motion sensor leap, smallest BMA220 g-sensor in LGA housing

Triaxial digital sensor, 2 x 2 mm, reduces surface area 55% over current 3 x 3 LGA housings, automatically recognizes specific movements, needs no external microcontroller for signal analysis.

PLCs, PACs January 18, 2010

EtherCAT interface for RTD temperature sensors

I/O terminal from Beckhoff provides direct connection to sensor. Newest in growing line.

By Peter Welander
PLCs, PACs January 18, 2010

Turck offers Gen. 2 AS-interface (AS-i) safety gateways manufactured by Bihl+Wiedemann

The new gateways from Turck integrate AS-i safety monitors and slaves, allowing 2 Safety at Work networks and up to 16 release circuits to be monitored per gateway, with 1 power supply.

PLCs, PACs January 12, 2010

HMIs: Energy-saving industrial displays with 5.7-in. screens

Beckhoff Automation has introduced new control panels and panel PCs with ultra compact 5.7-in. displays.

By Renee Robbins
PLCs, PACs January 1, 2010

Level sensors for critical, sanitary packaging lines

The Micropulse SF fill level sensor from Balluff provides continuous, absolute fill-level measurement in applications that require adherence to the strictest standards of sanitation and cleanliness. To achieve sanitary manufacturing facility requirements, Balluff says these sensors are made from stainless steel and meet international hygiene standards and food industry requirements, including 3...

PLCs, PACs January 1, 2010

RTOS kernel built for safety

Wittenstein High Integrity Systems announces the availability of SafeRTOS for ST-Micro’s STM32 Cortex-M3 family of embedded devices. The small footprint SafeRTOS kernel uses less than 10k flash and a few hundred bytes of RAM and has certification packs tailored to IEC 61508 SIL3, FDA510(k) Class III, and EN62304.

PLCs, PACs January 1, 2010

Control system endurance

A common discussion across manufacturing industries is: How long should a control system last. The right answer to this question is: As long as you need it to.

By Mark Taft, ABB
PLCs, PACs January 1, 2010

Field instrumentation device communicator adds valve diagnostics

Emerson has released its 475 Field Communicator 3.2, which includes the new ValveLink Mobile application. The company says this allows users to access predictive diagnostics from Fisher Fieldvue digital valve controllers in the field and transfer the results to AMS Suite predictive maintenance application, for in-depth analysis and documentation.

PLCs, PACs January 1, 2010

Redundant PLC controls heart-mapping machine

Getting the Magnetecs catheter guidance system into human clinical trials fast depended on choosing capable partners, and selecting a control platform with easily implemented hot back up capability.

PLCs, PACs December 23, 2009

Wireless: No doubts about IEEE 802.11n advantages, say Rockwell Automation, Cisco

IEEE 802.11n wireless protocol offers industrial automation networking applications better performance for control, said Rockwell Automation and Cisco at Automation Fair. Graphs are provided on protocol performance.

By Mark T. Hoske
PLCs, PACs December 2, 2009

Powering remote and wireless devices with solar panels

Banner offers stand-alone powering solutions designed for wireless instrumentation applications. Deploying them appropriately requires understanding a few basic solar power concepts.

By Peter Welander
PLCs, PACs December 1, 2009

Modernize your old DCS with a new HMI

In these times of extending the life of older assets and doing more with less, Simatic PCS 7/Open OS HMI from Siemens Industry is said to enable process plant managers to extend the life of their current distributed control system (DCS) while upgrading to the functions of a modern human machine interface (HMI).

PLCs, PACs December 1, 2009

New generation of PAC

The Industrial Automation Group of Advantech has introduced a new generation of programmable automation controller (PAC), the APAX-5000 series, which integrates control, information processing, and networking in one system with a unique dual controller architecture: two standalone CPU modules work together and are responsible for different tasks.

PLCs, PACs December 1, 2009

Turnkey High-pressure Simulation System

Extreme pressure under the earth affects drilling tools and electronics, so manufacturers of drilling equipment need to test prior to field use to prevent costly accidents. To verify, it is helpful to simulate deep well conditions and subject new tool designs to pressure levels found under the earth's crust. See photos.

PLCs, PACs December 1, 2009

Opto 22 to offer N-Tron network switches, wireless access points

Opto 22, developer and manufacturer of the Opto 22 Snap PAC System family of programmable automation controllers, I/O, and accessories, has agreed to sell N-Tron Corp.'s line of industrial Ethernet network switches and wireless access points. N-Tron switches are positioned as being rugged, durable, and industrially-hardened, encased in coated steel enclosures specially designed to reduce noise.

PLCs, PACs December 1, 2009

Wireless Monitoring of Rainforest Carbon Flux

Deep in the Costa Rican rainforest, researchers at the La Selva Biological Station are studying the exchange of CO2 between the atmosphere and dense plant life. This carbon flux study hopes to deepen understanding of the effects of greenhouse gasses on the environment. It has already resulted in the development of a new wireless sensor system that collects a variety of environmental measurement...

By William Kaiser, Ph.D., and Philip Rundel, Ph.D. UCLA
PLCs, PACs November 1, 2009

Bluetooth-enabled barcode scanners boost warehouse productivity

Bluetooth technology has given users a new level of freedom in the way they operate computing and communications devices. Being able to talk on a cell phone—and keep both hands on the steering wheel—while driving is a prime example. Now that same level of freedom is being given to warehouse workers, thanks to the introduction of a Bluetooth-enabled bar code scanner by LXE, a manufac...

By Jim Fulcher, Contributing Editor
PLCs, PACs October 22, 2009

Coating pilot plant uses Vishay Systems web tension controls

Western Michigan University to upgrade coating pilot plant line with Vishay web tension measurement and control technology for greater stability in varying temperatures.

PLCs, PACs October 8, 2009

Dennis Brandl: How to fold an IT project

Manufacturing IT projects contain more than just software. Knowing how to salvage manufacturing IT project components is key for intellectual capital preservation.

PLCs, PACs October 1, 2009

Single Point Machine Vision

Multi-camera vision appliances are embedded solutions designed primarily to satisfy inspection needs, and in today’s market they have become rather sophisticated. They generally provide ease-of-use, performance, and flexibility required to meet the diverse requirements of industrial applications, while accommodating the needs and limited experience of end users.

By Michael Babb, Control Engineering Europe
PLCs, PACs October 1, 2009

DNA-level machine design

Today’s machine designers integrate engineering strategies inherent in human genetic designs. Latest theories on DNA-level adaptations in organisms align with how mechatronic designs in machinery increase productivity, agility, and the survival of manufacturing. Symbiogenesissays genetic adaptations can result from a DNA-level merging of two interdependent organisms.

By Mark T. Hoske, editor-in-chief
PLCs, PACs September 9, 2009

Danfoss micro drive: Control ac motors up to 30 HP

Compact VLT micro drives now available with more power, M5 frame size.

By Renee Robbins
PLCs, PACs September 1, 2009

Ultra slim profile type 4 light curtain

Safeguard small machines with a new type 4 light curtain, the Panasonic Electric Works Corporation of America SF4C Series with slim 13 mm profile. This product expands on the SUNX brand safety product line from Panasonic Electric Works to offer a solution for small machines without sacrificing productivity. This is a Control Engineering North American print edition Product Exclusive.

By Staff
PLCs, PACs September 1, 2009

How and when to fold an IT project

Many manufacturing IT projects do not finish, not necessarily because they failed, but because of changing requirements, changing business conditions, company mergers, or changes in products and processes. It's important to know when to fold a project, but it is equally important to know what to do when you fold a project.

By Dennis Brandl
PLCs, PACs August 27, 2009

Beckhoff Automation XFC EtherCAT Box: IP67-rated I/O modules

To improve performance of I/O systems installed in wet, dusty and otherwise harsh locations, Beckhoff Automation introduced the new EP1258 EtherCAT Box I/O device.

PLCs, PACs August 25, 2009

Carlo Gavazzi long range diffuse photoelectric sensor has background suppression

Carlo Gavazzi launches a new long range diffuse photoelectric sensor with background suppression technology. The Carlo Gavazzi PD112 will detect black objects at distances up to 2 meters, and white and gray objects at up to 2.5 m.

PLCs, PACs August 13, 2009

Motion control: Powerful, compact stepper drive

The AMCI 4.0 Amp microstepping drive can drive 4-, 6-, or 8-lead step motors in NEMA sizes 23-42.

By Renee Robbins
PLCs, PACs August 13, 2009

xTuple 3.3 ERP, has better EDI, 100 other enhancments

xTuple 3.3 ERP improves support for email integration and electronic document interchange (EDI), consolidates all customer information on one workbench screen, and has numerous usability requests in accounting and other areas.

PLCs, PACs July 30, 2009

Protecting Industrial Networks against Evolved Cyber Threats: Air Liquide

 A defense-in-depth security strategy protects Air Liquide against hackers. The head of its U.S. Operations Control Center explains.

PLCs, PACs July 13, 2009

Wireless: Opto 22 supports global standards in products

Opto 22 says support for IEEE 802.11a, b, and g increases wireless design flexibility.

By Mark T. Hoske
PLCs, PACs July 13, 2009

Wago offers free add-on instructions for Allen-Bradley RS-Logix 5000

Wago Corp. is offering "free" Add-On Instructions for Allen-Bradley RS-Logix 5000, allowing Allen-Bradley PLC users to easily implement control logic that supports the functionality of Wago-IO-System distributed I/O modules.

PLCs, PACs July 7, 2009

Smart Grid: Digi announces ZigBee Smart Energy development products

Digi International has introduced a Smart Energy product family, including what the company says is the industry's first ZigBee Smart Energy ready modules and certified Energy Service Portal (ESP) gateways built on these modules.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs July 1, 2009

High-speed, high-definition industrial image processing

Previously impossible inspections now can be performed with the Keyence CV-5000 vision system, which provides ultra high-speed image processing for any production line. The (11x) high-speed 5 megapixel camera transfers ultra high-definition images (2,432 x 2,050 pixels) in 61.2 ms (16.3 times/sec)—11 times faster than previous models.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs June 3, 2009

Device integrates gas flow control functions with mass flowmeter

Simplifies basic flow control installations and helps network multiple instruments.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs June 1, 2009

Solution for mixing industrial, standard-office Ethernet

Mixing industrial Ethernet and standard office Ethernet on the same cable has its risks. With no sense of priority, an industrial telegram, which may be critical for operating some machine, might be delayed, sitting in some switch’s store-and-forward buffer waiting for an IT telegram to pass through.

By Michael Babb, Control Engineering Europe
PLCs, PACs May 7, 2009

10 tips for successful system integration in a recession

Living with problems? A well planned drive and control system upgrade can eliminate a world of hurt. Here is how.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs May 1, 2009

RISC single board computer, many I/O choices

Delivering RISC computing power, the 7.5 x 5.0-in. SBC-R9 single board computer from Sealevel is based on an Atmel AT91SAM9263 MCU with 32-bit ARM instruction set and embedded software environment. Standard I/O includes Ethernet, serial, USB, CAN Bus, digital, and analog interfaces. Available with up to 256 MB RAM and 256 MB Flash, the unit has an on-board video controller for directly driving...

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs May 1, 2009

Advancing Technology: Energy-efficient microchips

Energy savings at the micro-scale can be substantial when spread over a vast number of chips, albeit less evident than in larger-scale products. Controllers using such chips can be embedded in myriad applications, leading to the question, “What’s better than a good microprocessor?” The answer of late seems to be an energy efficient one.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs April 30, 2009

RWE npower plc to build UK’s largest combined cycle power plant

Five-unit turbine plant is designed to produce 2,000 MW, replacing old oil-fired plant in Wales. See photo.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs April 24, 2009

Report from Hannover: New SEW system designer packages, stainless steel gear motor

New SEW Eurodrive Variolution packages are aimed at system designers; KESA37 gear motor is targeted at food & beverage and pharmaceutical industries. See image, closeup. Link to other coverage from Hannover Fair 2009.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs April 23, 2009

Migration plan helps transition from legacy DCS platforms

Chemical company Arkema describes its migration to Rockwell Automation PlantPAx system. The program is said to give manufacturers a phased approach that eliminates many of the costs, risks, and complexities involved with migrating legacy DCSs, while providing...

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs April 21, 2009

Report from Hannover: Looking for an attendance bump at Hannover Fair

Day 2 at the 2009 Hannover Fair could be a pivotal one for this year’s event. Day 1 attendance, less than last year, was impressive by just about any other standard in the U.S. The economy remains a concern for this year’s event.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs April 20, 2009

Report from Hannover: Phoenix Contact shows new networking, safety relay, junction box

Phoenix Contact showcases new networking, safety relay, and junction box technologies at Hannover Fair 2009. Link to other Hannover coverage at www.controleng.com.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs April 20, 2009

After IBM ends bid, Oracle agrees to buy Sun for $7.4 billion

After IBM recently ended a bid to acquire Sun Microsystems, Oracle Corp. announced this morning a $7.4 billion agreement to purchase Sun, which offers Java, Solaris, and other software that helps connect manufacturing with the supply chain.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs April 9, 2009

New photoelectric sensor families include sub-miniature models

View Series of sensors from Eaton Corp. expands capabilities with new models in IntelliView and NanoView families.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs April 8, 2009

24 V dc power with Ethernet specification

Like a round peg in a square hole, end-users can face incompatibility when designing and deploying 24 V auxiliary power on the factory floor. In response, ODVA is creating a "Power with Ethernet" specification for ODVA's networks based on Common Industrial Protocol (CIP). The 24 V dc auxiliary power specification is expected this month. Link to separate Power over Ethernet Plus information.

By Mark T. Hoske, Control Engineering
PLCs, PACs April 7, 2009

RISC embedded computer: I/O, MS Windows CE 6.0

Sealevel Systems Relio R9 delivers RISC computing power in a compact, rugged package. Packed with a wealth of I/O features and using the latest embedded software environment, the system is based on the Atmel ARM926EJ-S processor with a 32-bit ARM instruction set for maximum performance, company says. This was a Control Engineering North American print edition Product Exclusive.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs April 1, 2009

Large tag count SCADA systems need proper planning

A lot of SCADA systems involving telemetry, especially in the water/wastewater industry, have a minimal amount of data coming from each site. A wastewater collection system with 100 sites, for example, might have only 1,000 to 2,000 tags. (These data points can be either an analog value like "level" or a digital value like "pump running.

By Steve Carson, MultiTrode
PLCs, PACs April 1, 2009

Redesigned SCADA programming software uses Windows technology

Control Microsystems announced TelePACE Studio, a redesigned programming environment for its SCADAPack controllers. The software adds additional functionality to the product's predecessor, TelePACE 3.x. A customizable workspace allows for program information and controller settings to be placed in any combination on the workspace canvas in viewing panes.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs March 31, 2009

RFID system has 2 channels, I/O connections

Turck Simple RFID (RFID-S) slice for the Turck BL20 modular I/O system does not require special software for integration into a PLC system, further simplifying use of RFID. See photo.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs March 31, 2009

Major biotech manufacturer expands R&D facilities

Shire Human Genetic Therapies selects a range of products from Honeywell Process Solutions.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs March 12, 2009

Sensor monitors conveyor belt speed

New compact, medium-resolution belt speed sensor from Siemens Energy & Automation .

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs March 5, 2009

Self-adjusting cut-and-strip wire tool, cable stripping tool

AutomationDirect tool features the widest wire stripping capacity of any tool of its type. See photos of this and other tools.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs March 4, 2009

Migration: IPS adds HART to its I/O modules

Plug-In HART capable I/O modules enable fast, easy migration to I/A Series DCS technology.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs March 2, 2009

Weed Instruments is now Ultra Electronics, Nuclear Sensors & Process Instrumentation

Weed Instrument Co., acquired by Ultra Electronics Holdings plc for $31.6 million in November 2008, is now known as Ultra Electronics, Nuclear Sensors & Process Instrumentation. Ultra says it has expertise in sensors and controls systems required for safe operation of modern nuclear reactors. See the rebranded website.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs March 1, 2009

Ethernet based instrumentation

From time to time we have looked at one of the great divides of industrial automation, that of extending Ethernet connectivity below the PLC barrier. While extending Ethernet to a PLC or DCS I/O block is very common, the idea of using it to connect to individual process or discrete sensing devices is relatively rare.

By Peter Welander, Control Engineering
PLCs, PACs February 26, 2009

CIP networks: 24 V dc power with Ethernet specification expected in April

End-users can face incompatibility when designing and deploying 24V auxiliary power on the factory floor. In response, ODVA, keeper of the Common Industrial Protocol (CIP) networks, is creating a 24 V dc "Power with Ethernet" specification to help power e-stops, I/O sources and devices, actuators, and controllers. Link to diagram, related stories.

By Mark T. Hoske
PLCs, PACs February 17, 2009

Energy Cost Reduction through Load Balancing & Load Shedding

In this white paper, Mikael Le Guern, Eurotherm Product Marketing Manager – Power Products, explains how predictive load management results in more effective motor performance through load balancing and load shedding strategies.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs February 11, 2009

ZipLink cables, connectors simplify wiring

Price reduction lowers cost. Users can eliminate the process of wiring PLC I/O modules and terminal blocks by using Ziplink cables and modules from AutomationDirect. Snap together cables speed assembly of systems.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs February 11, 2009

Compact sensors don’t skimp on range

Compact ultrasonic sensor from Turck fits in narrow spaces, like those found in packaging applications.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs February 10, 2009

Pass data between any combination of OPC DA servers and PLCs

Cyberlogic's OPC Crosslink software suite helps information flow.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs February 4, 2009

Emerson expands simulation capability of its Ovation control system

Scenario simulation portfolio adds Virtual Engineer capabilities in a single desktop unit.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs February 3, 2009

Internet network group grows 50%; interoperability test event planned in March

Texas Instruments, National Instruments, Landis+Gyr join others in promoting use of Internet Protocol (IP) for sensor-equipped smart objects.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs February 3, 2009

Kimberly-Clark recognized for glove innovation, packaging waste reduction

New gloves give users approximately 33% more storage space and allows them to reduce glove packaging waste by 45%.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs January 29, 2009

Contemporary control rooms: Motiva Norco

Motiva’s central control room consolidates five separate control rooms into one and provides greater efficiencies. Emerson Process Management helped Shell and Saudi Refining Inc.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs January 15, 2009

EU seals climate and energy package

The package is designed to cut EU greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by 2020 compared with 1990 levels, as pledged by European leaders at their spring summit in 2007.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs January 1, 2009

Analyzing Critical Flow Measurements

In November, we discussed the special needs of making custody transfer measurements in large-scale applications where product characteristics are complex and dynamic. In this installment, two applications are highlighted where end users have addressed requirements to monitor multiple product variables simultaneously, with reliability and precision.

By Jim Ralston and Scott Monton, ProSoft Technology
PLCs, PACs December 17, 2008

Connectivity: Embedded LAN module with minimum programming

Connect One released an embedded LAN module called Nano LANReach for quick and easy connections from an embedded device to 10/100BaseT LANs with minimal programming. It measures 2.5 x 3.5 cm with RJ45 connector.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs December 11, 2008

Rockwell unveils applications for enterprise connectivity, Web HMIs

Rockwell Automation releases VantagePoint Line Edition, FactoryTalk Viewpoint, and FactoryTalk Integrated Production and Performance Suite software. See photos and links.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs December 10, 2008

Emerson’s valve/actuator system improves temperature control

New system can accurately control the temperature of water, oils, steam, and other industrial fluids.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs December 10, 2008

Dual axis MEMS inclinometer sensor detects angular tilt

Turck dual axis inclinometer sensor for angular tilt detection.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs December 6, 2008

New 8- and 16-bit MRAM devices for industrial, aerospace

Everspin Technologies expands MRAM products line with byte-wide and small footprint BGA package options, good for most battery-backed SRAM and non-volatile RAM applications.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs December 5, 2008

PACMotion certified in compliance with PLCopen for motion control standard

GE Fanuc Intelligent Platforms has received certificates of compliance from PLCopen, the independent organization that focuses on the harmonization of control programming around IEC 61131-2. Standards-based programming leads to higher engineering efficiency and less training time.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs December 1, 2008

Sustainability advice, tips

Think Again: Smart process design and technology implementations go a long way to promoting sustainability and energy efficiency goals. Sustainability efforts involve many of the same things involved in effective manufacturing improvement and in waste reduction efforts, says Trevor Cusworth, director of Deloitte Consulting.

By Mark T. Hoske, editor in chief
PLCs, PACs December 1, 2008

Open-source Software Controlling Japan’s Top Particle Accelerator

It was about quarter past seven on the evening of October 7, 2008, when the winners of the Nobel Prize for Physics were announced by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. Researchers and engineers at Japan’s High Energy Accelerator Research Organization (KEK), a vast research facility 60 km northeast of Tokyo, celebrated the news, which included an award to one of their own.

By Shin Kai, Design News Japan
PLCs, PACs December 1, 2008

PAC for complex machines

The IndraLogic controller line has been expanded with the new IndraControl L65 PAC featuring unified programming software, scalable hardware, pre-developed functions, reusable code, large memory, and built-in connectivity to reduce engineering time for machine builders who work with complex machines.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs December 1, 2008

Wireless I/O stamps out press machine downtime

At the McCalla, AL, plant of Gestamp Automoción, a tier one automotive supplier based in Spain, everything is oversized. The floor is a vast concrete slab, bare but for two giant 2,000 metric ton transfer presses stretching into the air. To accommodate these beasts, the manufacturing plant ceilings are built so high that the lights above appear dim.

By Adrienne Lutovsky, ProSoft Technology
PLCs, PACs November 21, 2008

Embedding wireless: one chip, security platform

A single-chip TI MSP430 MCU and low power RF solution brings new functionality for advanced RF networking, energy harvesting, security, and metering. A major upgrade for the Platform for Secure Wireless Devices was just announced by Green Hills Software.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs November 13, 2008

HMIs: Rugged, instrument-grade-glass on projected capacitive touchscreens

Sensors resist cleaning fluid contamination and pointing device works with a gloved finger. 

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs November 13, 2008

Embedded: Precise Time Protocol enables new-generation Ethernet mobile networks

Imsys shows off its implementation of the IEEE 1588 protocol's synchronized time capabilites in its IM3240 integrated circuit.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs November 11, 2008

Linear motion: Novel design expands conveyor system flexibility

Movers wrap around the track so they can be oriented horizontally, vertically, or even upside down. The controller treats each carrier as a separate degree of freedom with absolute-encoder feedback. The drive, on the other hand, views each carrier as an N-pole motor, where N is the number of electromagnets in the complete track. See diagram and learn about Siemens and Jacobs Automation collaboration.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs November 1, 2008

Economics of Fault-Tolerant Fieldbus Wiring

It's ironic: Network cables in a safe and well-managed control room environment are almost always made redundant, whereas field cables exposed to the harsh and sometimes corrosive environment of a modern industrial plant have to fend for themselves. Of course, if those field cables carry simple point-to-point communications such as 4-20 mA, then redundancy isn't really a concern in general, and...

By Mike O'Neill, MooreHawke
PLCs, PACs November 1, 2008

More network diagnostic tools: eNetMeter

Molex Inc. added BradCommunications eNetMeter for DeviceNet to its line of diagnostic tools. The eNetMeter DN is a passive device that continuously monitors a DeviceNet network and sends information over Ethernet to a PLC or PC monitoring system. Information can be read directly by an EtherNet/IP master.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs November 1, 2008

4 signal conditioner channels, 1-in. footprint

With instrumentation, panel space equals money. The requirement for very narrow instruments is met with the new miniMoore family of multi-channel analog signal conditioners from Moore Industries. The miniMoore delivers up to four low-cost input/output (I/O) channels in a 1 in. (25.4 mm) footprint, which equates to 0.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs November 1, 2008

Wonderware focuses on front-line innovation

Built around the theme of “enabling innovation for real-time operational excellence,” Wonderware's 2008 WonderWorld conference, held in Las Vegas, Oct. 6-8, 2008, spotlighted the company's new technologies and a refined approach to positioning and developing its products. “Wonderware is focused on enabling the success of a wide range of production workers by delivering access...

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs October 22, 2008

Smart camera: Multispectral camera has 5 CCDs

Quest Innovations introduces “Condor” smart camera with 5 CCD channels, allowing parallel image acquisition. See photos.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs October 20, 2008

More Precision, Faster Setup for Die Grinding Machine

In the world of can manufacturing, the quality of the dies that shape each can directly impacts manufacturing quality and productivity. A die ground to ultra-precise tolerances will last longer and produce fewer tear offs, where the can literally rips or tears during forming. Addressing the demand for more precise, longer-lasting dies, Pride Engineering of Minneapolis, MN, developed the Model 3...

By Karl Rapp, Bosch Rexroth Corporation
PLCs, PACs October 13, 2008

SCADA system upgrades can benefit from new software, hardware

New software for supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) include a GE Fanuc Intelligent Platforms vertical solution pack for the water industry, Control Microsystems released the 2009 Edition of ClearSCADA, the newest version of its SCADA Host software with support for 64-bit operating systems (OS). Semaphore, introduced a 1-Wire interface for its T-Box line of SCADA system products, compatible with T-Box MS Modular System, when equipped with a 32-bit CPU.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs October 1, 2008

Don’t Rip Out Your Legacy Network

While use of industrial network standards such as Arcnet, DeviceNet, Modbus, Profibus, and others continues to grow, we should not try to decide between them or Ethernet, but embrace their coexistence. As long as existing networks are performing as desired, it may be difficult to justify converting all sensors, controls, actuators, and related I/O modules so they can be connected to Ethernet.

By Trevor L. Lang, HMS Industrial Networks
PLCs, PACs October 1, 2008

Uninterruptible power supply cuts manufacturer’s downtime

The modern manufacturing floor typically includes networked computers, PLCs, robots, and other power-sensitive microprocessor-based electronics that must operate reliably from utility power. At one major airline manufacturer, an unexpected power problem resulted in the scrapping of thousands of dollars worth of parts.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs September 30, 2008

I/O moves out, in: Local input/output connections will shift to distributed, remote, embedded

Local input/output (I/O) connections account for most interconnections with DCS, PC-based control systems, and PLC system applications. VDC Research Group expects more distributed, remote, and embedded  I/O connections.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs September 30, 2008

Anytime, anywhere: GE Fanuc supports MTConnect standard

GE Fanuc Intelligent Platforms now supports MTConnect, a new communication protocol to link machine tools from varying suppliers. In particular, GE recently focused on integration of GE Fanuc CNC systems into an MTConnect Network, linking multiple CNC controllers via the Internet to remote sites using CIMPLICITY HMI software. MTConnect is based on XML for widely recognized and accepted flexible representation when exchanging semi-structured, machine-readable data. Its protocol will be rolled out in three phases.“MTConnect will enable a host of third-party solution providers to develop software and hardware to make the entire manufacturing enterprise more productive,” says John Turner, a manager for GE Fanuc Intelligent Platforms’ CNC business.

By Manufacturing Business Technology Staff
PLCs, PACs September 23, 2008

Supplier satisfaction: Confusion surrounds innovation in IT services

A new survey from Pierre Audoin Consultants, polling IT services buyers, finds innovation the key factor in their choice of supplier.

By Manufacturing Business Technology Staff
PLCs, PACs September 23, 2008

4 advances in sensors: Keyence, Pepperl + Fuchs, Sick, Turck

New products in sensors include Turck’s economical magnetic-inductive sensors, wash-down sensor lines from Sick and Pepperl + Fuchs (P+F), plus a new no-error digital contact sensor series from Keyence. Key attributes include easy integration, certifications, multiple lens options, and 20-million cycle rating. Four photos follow.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs September 16, 2008

PLC/PAC product research released

Control Engineering has released the results of its 2008 survey of subscriber purchase and application of programmable logic controllers (PLCs) and programmable automation controllers (PACs). Highlights of the findings include....

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs September 9, 2008

UPS application: Aviation manufacturer cuts downtime, uses industrial uninterruptible power supply

An unexpected power problem at an aircraft manufacturer scrapped thousands of dollars in parts. A CNC engineer explains how a UPS (see photo) can influence manufacturing quality. (Also see tips for UPS selection, below.) A micro-controller had been plugged into....

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs August 29, 2008

Air travel: FAA to update air traffic control infrastructure

As part of a major overhaul of its air traffic control support infrastructure, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration contracted with EDSA Micro to provide a power analytics electrical power infrastructure protection system for mission-critical facilities nationwide.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs August 28, 2008

Wireless: Free software enhances remote keyless entry security

Freescale Semiconductor has developed a variable key security protocol software library designed to enhance the security of remote keyless entry systems for industrial and other applications.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs August 26, 2008

OPC: Easier software; IEC 61131-3 programming for unified architecture, training

OPC data integration tools: Softing TechInfo offers Easy Connect Suite; PLCopen is working on application specific information models for IEC 61131-3 programming languages within OPC Unified Architecture (UA); and OPC Foundation offers training on Sept. 4.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs August 18, 2008

Demystifying ZigBee and its Application

Wireless networks are becoming more ubiquitous and are implemented using a variety of protocols specifically designed for radio frequency systems. Some protocols that are in use are proprietary to individual vendors while others are industry standards, requiring varied amounts of system integration. There are differences between IEEE 802.15.4 and ZigBee, including....

By John Schwartz, Digi International
PLCs, PACs August 14, 2008

Research: HMI supervisory software use increases with service needs

Driven by increased end user and OEM needs for technical support, HMI software suppliers are adding services at an accelerated rate. Supervisory HMI software, which is used to support HMI software functionality such as configuration and alarm management, had the fastest growth of any HMI software type, according to new ARC research. The industry issues propelling the more than 9% market growth over the next five years include….

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs August 1, 2008

Packaging Automation Benchmark Study: Packagers speak out

Volume 2 of the Packaging Automation Benchmark Study, from Control Engineering, Packaging Digest, and Reed Research Group, focuses on packaging machine builders and the state of the market from their point of view. Comments and advice follow from survey respondents.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs August 1, 2008

ILS Technology: Equipment data finds its way into enterprise systems via automation appliance

A major North American automotive manufacturer was struggling with data extraction from its factory-floor equipment and moving it up into an enterprise system. It wanted to avoid the lengthy prospect of first having to deploy expensive SCADA or manufacturing execution system (MES) technology to act as a connectivity conduit.

By Frank O Smith
PLCs, PACs August 1, 2008

RTU logs data to USB devices

Control Microsystems (Kanata, Ontario Canada) has introduced what it says is the industry’s first use of USB storage devices for data logging in the demanding environments of SCADA applications. Walk-up SCADA uses removable USB storage devices such as flash memory sticks to enable Control Microsystems’ SCADAPack 300-Series controllers to provide configured and accessible data logs.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs August 1, 2008

Automated Olympics

The first two points of the Beijing Olympic Organizing Committee’s three concepts for the 2008 games, “Green Olympics, High-tech Olympics, and People’s Olympics,” depend heavily on the participation and effort of engineers and technicians. As such, automation, instrumentation, and control systems are an essential part of this year’s Olympics in Beijing.

By Liu Yiliu, Control Engineering China
PLCs, PACs July 22, 2008

MCAA: How to smooth product certification

Plans for streamlining product certification at six certification labs were among discussions at a Measurement, Control & Automation Association meeting. Topics included certification interchangeability, harmonized submission criteria, common processes for issue escalation, and one more you may not have considered....

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs July 21, 2008

Wireless: Data radio, radio enclosure unveiled separately

Wireless: Data radio and radio enclosure are introduced in separate CMI and Phoenix Contact announcements. See images of each.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs July 4, 2008

Operator Interface Terminals Product Research, July 2008

Research was undertaken to gain a better understanding of Control Engineering subscribers’ applications and needs regarding operator interface terminals. See full PDF report. Link to related article.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs July 4, 2008

Emerging economies drive PLC market growth

Strong economic growth in Asia and Eastern Europe has boosted the programmable logic controller (PLC) market in 2007, says ARC Advisory Group.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs July 1, 2008

Microcontrollers with Flash

The microcontrol unit (MCU) populates end-market products from automobiles to Smart Cards. The 16-bit and 32-bit+ MCUs are key products in high-end consumer products, automotive applications and industrial control hardware. MCUs’ broad application base and wide range of embedded memory and other technology contribute to their steady unit and revenue growth.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs July 1, 2008

Analyzing Closed-Loop Behavior with Convolution

The repeatable behavior of a linear process allows a process controller to predict the future effects of its current efforts. As described in “Process Controllers Predict the Future” (March 2008), a controller’s predictive abilities can be reduced to a mathematical formula by conducting the following experiment: 1) Stimulate the process in open-loop mode by forcing the control...

By Vance VanDoren, Ph.D., P.E. Control Engineering
PLCs, PACs July 1, 2008

DC-UPS with voltage multiplier circuit

The PULS UB10.241 24VDC-UPS offers a method of battery backup by incorporating a voltage multiplier circuit into the design which allows one 12 V battery to be used where two had been required in the past. The uninterruptible power supply (UPS), in a compact sturdy metal housing controller, is rated 10 A and effectively charges the battery and manages the output voltage to always keep an applic...

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs June 26, 2008

Book Review: ISA publishes new reference by U.S. patent attorney

Automation professionals, manufacturers, and business owners need to protect inventions, ideas, and services created within the workplace.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs June 26, 2008

Ethernet PLC: New models for Ethernet PLC family

Enhanced range of small PLCs for Ethernet TCP/IP

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs June 16, 2008

IEC 61508: First control valves certified SIL3

Emerson Process Management says it is the first control valve manufacturer to get independent third-party SIL 3 certification to IEC 61508 standards for several ranges of valves. Certification helps end-users and system integrators....

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs June 1, 2008

OPC for embedded applications

OPC interoperability has brought connectivity to many things; next efforts may include embedded controllers, human-machine interfaces (HMIs), and programmable logic controllers (PLCs), Thomas J. Burke, OPC Foundation president and executive director, told Control Engineering during a recent Make2Pack ISA88 Part 5 committee meeting.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs June 1, 2008

In pursuit of engineering, fieldbus

Inspiring others in technology I enjoyed reading your article in Control Engineering Vol.55 No.4 [April 2008, p. 39] titled “Help Students in the STEM game.” I just wanted to let you know that I enjoy science, technology, engineering and math [STEM] and, since I’m an electrical engineer in industry, I’m also trying to do my part by inspiring others to either: A) Stay in ...

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs May 8, 2008

Security: Yokogawa partners to add industrial firewall

Tofino security appliances accepted after rigorous testing

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs May 6, 2008

Easier implementation: Kits for cable testing, wireless products

There’s something appealing about a kit. The idea implies that what’s in the box will save time. Recent kits (see photos) help with cable testing and implementation of wireless products.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs May 5, 2008

Software: Better modeling, training for process control systems

MiMiC v3.0.0 from Mynah Technologies supports all open OPC process control system platforms, including those from HIMA, Emerson Process Management, Rockwell Automation, and Schneider Electric. It includes improved modeling and operator training functionality.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs May 1, 2008

Upgrade delivers spare parts

Golden Triangle Energy Cooperative (GTEC) in Craig, MO processes 20,000 bushels of corn into approximately 55,000 gallons of ethanol daily. Operations began in 2001 and, shortly after construction was complete and plant operations were stable, GTEC proactively sought to maximize the efficiency and uptime of its processes.

By Marvin Coker, Bachelor Controls Inc.
PLCs, PACs April 29, 2008

Interoperability: OPC for embedded applications

It’s all gelling. And it’s not only OPC. Working together and getting standards adopted will be particularly useful as distributed control systems, programmable automation systems, PLCs, embedded controllers, PCs and enterprise systems continue to expand into.... 

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs April 18, 2008

Hannover Fair: Industrial gateways

Hannover Fair (Hannover Messe), offers 10 flagship international trade fairs and 1,000 themed special presentations and forums, April 21-25, 2008. Industrial network gateways are among many automation-related technologies there.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs April 9, 2008

High-performance HMI with non-volatile alarm buffer

Siemens adds multiple interfaces, abundant memory to a Microsoft Windows CE 5.0 T standard package.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs April 9, 2008

Microbrewery illustrates PAC software uses, benefits

Opto22 whitepaper provides a quick tutorial.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs April 9, 2008

Pre-built tag databases, trend screens provide instant HMI functionality

Entire download-install-run process can occur in under 5 minutes for Watlow EZ and other controllers.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs April 8, 2008

Real interoperability? PLCopen revives TC6 – XML for better translation

PLCopen Technical Committee (TC6) - XML opened up the IEC 61131-3 programming language development environments by specifying the XML schema, which provides an open interface to other software tools; feedback on the effort is moving the unified digital factory closer to reality, say those involved. Who's involved?

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs April 3, 2008

System integration battlefield: Test set delivered to Lockheed Martin

Rocket launchers are tested faster and more easily thanks to a recently upgraded test system from a system integrator. How could this help your systems?

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs April 1, 2008

Flowmeters for low liquid flow rates

Bronkhorst High-Tech has released an option for its Liqui-Flow Series mass meters and controllers for low flow rates. The instruments are available in compact, rugged designs that are IP65 and ATEX approved for use in Category 3, Zone 2 hazardous areas. The products cover flow rates from 0.25 g/h to 1 kg/h and can be used in applications with pipeline pressures up to 100 bar (1500 psi).

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs April 1, 2008

HMIs: Siemens chooses Freescale’s MRAM technology

Maintains soft PLC process data without battery-backup.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs April 1, 2008

Laser safety scanner adapts to AGVs

When Weyerhaeuser identifies a safety measure that can be improved, the need is documented, and steps are taken to put better safety measures in place. Such a need arose within Weyerhaeuser's Containerboard Packaging business where corrugated paper transfers between work centers. The work centers employ automated transfer carts, or “auto carts,” which are automated guided vehicles...

By Technical staff, Concept Systems
PLCs, PACs March 27, 2008

Flashiest conference ever on Flash memory!

The 2008 Flash Memory Summit … will be bigger than ever! — Tom Coughlin, 2008 conference chairperson

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs March 27, 2008

Low-voltage workshops attract attendees at ABB Roadshow

Nearly 200 customers and prospects pouring into the venue also crowded the exhibits.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs March 14, 2008

HMI with remote Internet control

EZAutomation says it offers the first dedicated human machine interface (HMI) with remote Internet control by introducing Webserver/remote control to the EZSeries touch panels. This introduction shifts perception of PLC HMIs, since users previously had two choices for remote Internet control....

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs March 1, 2008

Digital factory interface: XML control logic standard accepted by AutomationML

The XML standard, an open and non-proprietary software interface for the interchange of industrial and process control programs, is progressing and gaining acceptance, according to a spokesperson for PLCopen, the organization that administers it. The AutomationML (Automation Markup Language) organization has accepted the format for the description of control.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs March 1, 2008

By the Numbers – 2008-03-01

2 policy databases from International Energy Agency (IEA) were updated in February on Renewable Energy and on Energy Efficiency. www.iea.org 3 to 6 drops of food die and a light colored beverage are the two ingredients could make many a March 17 a little greener. www.recipezaar.com/115415 11 kinds of “Obsolete” products with model numbers and suggested replacements make a particular...

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs March 1, 2008

Secure data recording

Eurotherm’s T2550 PAC, an affordable control unit that provides process efficiencies and protects against controller or communications failures, provides secure data recording with dual redundancy at point of measurement. Redundant logging records data to the internal flash memory. Data can be pushed, as secure tamper-resistant historical data files, to a remote file server, using File Tr...

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs February 20, 2008

MIL-SPEC NVRAM has magnetic personality

e2v Technologies plc introduced the EV2A16A magnetoresistive random access memory (MRAM), an extended-reliability version of a Freescale product.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs February 18, 2008

Program less, transfer more data with this appliance

Improve security and increase data flow among devices with easy setup.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs February 14, 2008

Colfax Corp. acquires Fairmount Automation

What does that mean for Fairmount's custom programmable automation controllers?

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs February 1, 2008

Market moves of Siemens, Rockwell quicken digital manufacturing drum beat

Industry watchers didn't have to wait long to see what market moves the Siemens Automation & Drives (A&D) acquisition of UGS in the spring might engender among leading competitors in the automation and the product life-cycle management (PLM) space. Dassault's Delmia division announcement in early December that it was partnering with Rockwell is being seen as a smart move for both compa...

By Frank O Smith, senior contributing editor
PLCs, PACs January 23, 2008

Fermilab responds to budget cuts: Time off without pay

Batavia, IL - Today, Jan. 23, Fermilab employees will receive written materials explaining the program of unpaid furloughs that will begin at the laboratory on Feb. 1. Tomorrow, Fermilab director, Pier Oddone, meets with employees of all divisions and sections to discuss and answer questions about the furlough. The federal lab uses automation, controls, and instrumentation.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs January 21, 2008

System on chip: Core Store sells intellectual property online

Campbell, CA -- IPextreme Inc., a company which brings intellectual property (IP) to system-on-chip designers, announced Jan. 21 that select intellectual property cores are available for purchase through its new online marketplace, the Core Store. Visitors view available IP cores and pricing and follow simple steps during checkout to complete a standard license agreement. Delivery to the customer’s desktop is through IPextreme’s XPack delivery portal.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs January 17, 2008

CE TV: Opto 22: Optical Fiber case study, Lumenyte International

Opto 22: Optical Fiber case study, Lumenyte International Lumenyte International is a manufacturer of optical fibers and lighting systems for creative industrial and architectural applications. Creating plastic fibers consistently requires very sophisticated control of polymerizing and casting processes. Lumenyte depends on Opto 22 PAC systems to keep its operation at peak performance.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs January 17, 2008

Mixing networks: Transmit instrumentation data via wireless and Web

Sometimes it takes more than one technology to get instrumentation data to all the places it needs to go. One package offered recently illustrates this point and suggests ways networking methods can be combined to extend the reach of data. In this new example, MTS Systems’ sensors division has been working with OleumTech Corp .

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs January 14, 2008

Additions to the PIC24H 16-bit microcontroller family

Microchip Technology adds low pin count microcontrollers

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs January 8, 2008

Control room design: 140-inch pre-packaged LED screen

Control room designs now have a new option: a 140-inch-diagonal light-emitting diode (LED) monitor.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs January 4, 2008

OMAC: Open technologies, sharing best practices help integrate discrete, process manufacturing

Everett, WA — More open technologies should augment manufacturing efficiencies, according to efforts at a recent OMAC User Group meeting. "Bridging the Gap Between the Discrete & Process Industries" was the theme of the OMAC Integration Symposium, held here Nov. 28-29. Case studies, best practices, and future plans were among discussions.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs January 1, 2008

Managing MS Windows NT4

In a manufacturing environment, change to critical IT systems such as production controllers on the plant floor, enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, and directory or DNS systems can present considerable business risk. One special class of systems where any change, authorized or not, creates a high-risk proposition is legacy systems running the Microsoft Windows NT4 operating system.

By Bob Vieraitis, Solidcore Systems
PLCs, PACs January 1, 2008

Change or be changed: Examples from the manufacturing and software industries

SAP says its latest business model is unique. The vendor is “evolving” its Enterprise Business Suite to service-oriented architecture (SOA), even as it introduces a new SOA-based “on-demand” system, Business ByDesign, for midsize companies. In the not-too-distant future, the consensus is that companies of all sizes will access their applications using the on-demand parad...

By Frank Smith, senior contributing editor
PLCs, PACs January 1, 2008

Viewpoint: Harvest live information from the plant floor without sacrificing productivity

When executive officers request live production data, they put production IT managers focused on plant-floor operations in a difficult predicament. To comply, these managers must add tasks to their systems to collect this information. Unfortunately, these additional duties can compromise productivity.

By Fred Yentz, SVP, COO, ILS Technology
PLCs, PACs January 1, 2008

Photoelectric sensor in metal housing

The OG-Cube photoelectric sensor from ifm efector inc. provides high optical performance in a compact metal housing. The sensor offers position detection in industrial applications such as conveying, packaging, material handling and automotive manufacturing. Its robust metal housing withstands harsh industrial conditions and is reportedly more durable than traditional plastic housings.

By Staff
PLCs, PACs December 27, 2007

Compact Drive: Powerful miniature motor drive

Technosoft introduced the IBL2401 compact intelligent minidrive based on the company’s MotionChip DSP Control Technology. The company says the drive measures only 58 x 44 x 16 mm and weighs just 60 grams while incorporating motion controller, drive and PLC functionalities. It controls brushless, step, dc or linear motors up to 25 W.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs December 27, 2007

Frameless motors: Ultra-thin ring motors get faster

The latest additions to Applimotion’s ULT Series direct drive frameless low profile motors contain special magnet configurations for high speed applications. The new motors have double insulation for high voltage applications.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs December 21, 2007

Western Power installs on-demand operational data system

Western Power, an electricity networks corporation in Western Australia distributing power along more than 88,000 miles of transmission lines, has implemented a real-time trending tool for monitoring asset performance against limits.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs December 13, 2007

Analysis: PLCs in the classroom and in the field

While visiting a plant recently, Thomas R. Kurfess, Ph.D., P.E., sat in on a discussion related to the future of programmable logic controllers (PLCs).

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs December 12, 2007

Rewarding Innovation: HART names StatoilHydro Plant of the Year

The StatoilHydro Ormen Lange natural gas processing plant in Aukra, Norway, has been selected by HART Communication Foundation (HCF) as recipient of the 2007 HART Plant of the Year Award.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs December 11, 2007

Digital manufacturing alliance: Rockwell and Dassault teaming on virtual design and production solutions 

Industrial automation, controls, and plant information solution provider Rockwell Automation and CAD/PLM vendor Dassault Systemes announced a strategic alliance to drive convergence of virtual design and production.

By Kevin Parker, Editorial Director
PLCs, PACs December 10, 2007

Ethernet bridge wirelessly extends industrial Ethernet

Digi International introduced the Multipoint XPress Ethernet Bridge (XEB) for wirelessly connecting multiple Ethernet devices in one network when Wi-Fi range is insufficient, when an Ethernet cable is impractical or too costly to install, or when industrial grade, highly resilient wireless connectivity is needed.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs December 1, 2007

Improving PLC Compatibility and Function Flexibility

When original equipment manufacturer (OEM), Weiler Engineering, Inc., upgraded the drive systems on its aseptic blow-fill-seal machines, a problem with its existing controller compatibility was limiting the functionality of its equipment. A one-on-one PLC-integration engineering solution not only provided the machine-operation interface Weiler Engineering needed, but also significantly expanded...

By Jim McMahon, Zebra Communications
PLCs, PACs December 1, 2007

PLCs for process heating applications

Turnkey PLC-based process heating control systems for applications such as drying, shrinking, pre-heating substrates and de-flashing plastic parts have been released by Malcom Company. The systems include PLCs that can be preconfigured for multiple heat zones, each with independently controlled heaters and/or blowers.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs December 1, 2007

When is a PLC like a typewriter?

The other day while visiting a plant, I sat in on an interesting discussion related to the future of programmable logic controllers (PLCs). The PLCs at this plant were aging and needed to be replaced and the conversation focused on what hardware would replace them. There were really three choices: new PLCs, hardened PCs, or programmable automation controllers (PACs).

By Thomas R. Kurfess
PLCs, PACs December 1, 2007

Fast control with industrial Ethernet

Beckhoff Automaton has introduced eXtreme Fast Control (XFC) technology, a combination of the company’s PC-based and industrial Ethernet technologies. The control solution is based on the company’s highly optimized control and communication architectures. Compared with current PC-based controllers, XFC offers performance improvements by a factor of 10 and enables cycle times of 100 ...

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs November 16, 2007

In print exclusives: Economical ac drives, smart cameras, 900 MHz wireless

November 2007 issue of Control Engineering included three exclusive product introductions, covering wireless, machine vision, and economical ac drives. Every issue has a “Product Exclusive” page. Print and digital subscriptions of Control Engineering are available.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs November 15, 2007

Hardware / software package for machine automation

Advantech’s new AMAX Series of machine automation solutions

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs November 12, 2007

Emerson connects asset alerts with SAP, MAXIMO solutions

Emerson Process Management says its AMS Suite Work Notification capability leverages the predictive intelligence in plant assets to prioritize alerts.

By Manufacturing Business Technology Staff
PLCs, PACs November 1, 2007

Loop powered serial I/O DPM

Otek’s new LPM series, a 4½ LCD digit process meter that is powered by the current loop (4-20 or 10-50 mA), has an optional loop powered backlight (red or green) and is RS-232/485/USB compatible. Only two wires are required (in series with the loop) to make the LPM work as a basic loop powered display.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs November 1, 2007

NEMA reaffirms several standards for industrial control systems

National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) reaffirmed, on Oct. 15, the following industrial control and system standards for certain controllers, control systems, test procedures, and motor control centers. The NEMA reaffirmed standards are: ICS 2, Part 9-2002 (R2007) AC Vacuum-Break Magnetic Controllers Rated 1500 Volts AC; ICS 5, Annex F-2002 (2007) Industrial Control and Systems: H...

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs November 1, 2007

Cyber Risk Assessment

A successful cyber security risk assessment begins with an approach that ultimately results in defense in depth security architecture. Completing a risk assessment can uncover cyber security vulnerabilities before they become disruptive to the real-time process control and supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) network.

By Todd Nicholson, Industrial Defender
PLCs, PACs November 1, 2007

Topologies for Wireless Instrumentation

Anyone who has been reading Control Engineering and similar publications for the last couple of years has seen a lot of discussion regarding wireless instrumentation and larger wireless plant integration. Like the “fieldbus wars,” wireless discussions can create more heat than light, but the potential for wireless capabilities is undeniable.

By Peter Welander, Control Engineering
PLCs, PACs November 1, 2007

Smart cameras: High performance, low cost

National Instruments announces the NI 1722 and NI 1742 Smart Cameras to provide engineers and scientists with high-performance systems at a low cost. The NI Smart Cameras are embedded devices that combine an industrial controller with an image sensor and integrate with NI vision software to offer image processing directly on the cameras, making them ideal for applications such as locating parts...

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs November 1, 2007

Rockwell Automation adds new data historian to FactoryTalk suite

Aimed at helping companies to take a data-centric approach to production process optimization, Rockwell Automation’s new FactoryTalk Historian Site Edition (SE) enables manufacturers to automatically identify, gather and configure high-speed detailed data from any control system or human-machine interface (HMI) software.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs November 1, 2007

Manufacturing milestone: U.S. packaging machinery shipments top $6 billion

Industry first: U.S. packaging machinery shipments top $6 billion for the first time, says the 2007 Packaging Machinery Manufacturers Institute Shipments & Outlook Study, the fifth consecutive year of increases, says PMMI ( www.pmmi.org ). For more information about various applications, see the “Packaging Automation + Controls” supplement in this issue; also at www.controleng.com and www.packagingdigest.com .

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs October 25, 2007

New headquarters: Aspen Technology moves to help employees

Burlington, MA—Aspen Technology Inc., a provider of software and services to the process industries, announced earlier this month that it is relocating its worldwide corporate headquarters from Cambridge, MA, to Burlington, MA, “to help the company meet its hiring and recruitment objectives.”

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs October 24, 2007

CC-Link IE: First, open, industrial Gigabit Ethernet protocol

CC-Link Partner Association (CLPA) announced a Gigabit industrial Ethernet (IE) protocol, CC-Link IE, allowing network communications at near backplane speeds. The organization calls it the first open standard, 1 Gigabit per second (1 Gbps) manufacturing network to be released globally.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs October 23, 2007

Standards: NEMA reaffirms several for industrial control systems

Rosslyn, VA—The National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) reaffirmed, on Oct. 15, certain industrial control and system standards for certain controllers, control systems, test procedures, and motor control centers.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs October 10, 2007

CE TV: Snap PAC

Motion Control, Data Acquisition Retrofit Opto 22 upgraded one of its factory test machines so all analog, digital, and motion control is handled by one Snap PAC system.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs October 3, 2007

Process control: Even rockets need regulation strategies

It only has to run for 8.5 minutes, but during that time the control system has to keep the space shuttle Endeavour’s booster rockets running properly to keep it flying true. The shuttle is equipped with three Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne main engines that use advanced health management system (AHMS) controllers to monitor overall performance during the short but critical firing period. The AHMS controllers monitor engine vibration and have the ability to detect real versus false signals.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs October 1, 2007

When will wireless be ready for control functions?

Today, wireless technology is fine for level measurements on a tank farm, vibration readings on a compressor and other low-criticality monitoring operations. But what will it take for companies to feel confident enough to recommend it for actual control functions? “Before users will become fully comfortable with the idea of using wireless technology for closed-loop process control, their...

By Peter Welander, Control Engineering
PLCs, PACs October 1, 2007

Steel Mill Cogeneration

Given the price of fossil fuels and growing awareness of the carbon footprint that many industries leave worldwide, more companies are turning to alternative energy sources, capturing heat that would normally be wasted or used in a low-efficiency application. A new power plant co-located with a steel mill in Brazil will provide 490 MW for consumption at the facility and on the local power grid ...

By Peter Welander, Control Engineering
PLCs, PACs September 27, 2007

Linear motion: Modular spindles make linear motion easier

Mechanical engineers often face the task of converting rotational movements into powerful linear movements. Maxon Motor says that associated development costs now can be cut dramatically by using modular spindle drives in the company’s modular system. The GP 22 S and GP 32 S gearheads can withstand high loads, and the special spindle intake means that customer-specific spindles can be assembled with ease.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs September 25, 2007

Engineering education: eManufacturing Lab at University of Cincinnati

The Industrial Automation Group of Advantech and the University of Cincinnati are creating the Advantech e-Manufacturing Lab to promote research, development, and educational programs for students and professionals. Students, from first-year students to doctoral students, in manufacturing courses will use the lab, with controllers, human machine interfaces, and I/O modules, as part of their coursework.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs September 13, 2007

Security: MUSIC Certification for Experion PKS C300

Honeywell’s Experion Process Knowledge System (PKS) C300 Process Controller has received the new Mu Security Industrial Control Certification (MUSIC).

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs September 11, 2007

Vibration sensors: Used on space shuttle engines

NASA's space shuttle Endeavour went into orbit last month with engines fitted with new controllers, Endevco Corp.’s model 7704M7 vibration sensors, which actively monitor engine health and performance.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs September 11, 2007

NIST tests wireless systems; ISA pursues standard

According to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), recent tests verify that heavy industrial plants are challenging environments for wireless systems. Partnering with the U.S. Council for Automotive Research (USCAR), NIST has addressed what it refers to as a “nebulous problem.” In other wireless news, ISA continues to pursue a multi-protocol standard.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs September 6, 2007

Networking company: Comtrol gets new ownership, board

Comtrol Corp., a device connectivity and industrial Ethernet company, announced a change in ownership and corporate governance for the organization in late August. Learn who’s in charge and why.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs September 6, 2007

Real-time integration: Ryvita’s Bakery Systems efficiency rises

Silchester Control Systems completed a large-scale real-time, historical business reporting system for a high-technology bakery, bringing data from sensors, through programmable controllers, into supervisory computers and out across the network as useful knowledge, reducing manual data entry by 90%. That was done with zero downtime and no loss of production, according to the system integrator involved.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs September 5, 2007

Safety systems: BASF integrates burner management into SIS

BASF has implemented a new burner management system (BMS) at one of its Ludwigshafen production units that allows control functions to be integrated with its larger safety system. The BMS from HIMA incorporates TÜV-approved function blocks which simplify system programming and make it easier for the company to convert other burner control systems in the future. BASF’s combustion engineering centre commissioned HIMA to install a safety-related automation system for the burner controller in a thermal exhaust cleaning plant. Plant operators wanted the regulation and control equipment in one compact, centralized system including safety related automation, to replace the conventional burner controller. HIMA designed four function blocks for burner controllers certified to SIL 3 and TÜV-approved to DIN EN 746-2, DIN EN 676 and DIN EN 12067-2.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs September 1, 2007

Fuzzy Neural Control Systems — Explained

While engineers in the controls community have been busy migrating from traditional electromechanical and analog electronic control technologies to digital mechatronic control systems incorporating computerized analysis and decision-making algorithms, novel computer technologies have appeared on the horizon that may change things even more.

By C.G. Masi, Control Engineering
PLCs, PACs September 1, 2007

Now: Safety I/O technology, flexible, modular

Beckhoff Automation now offers to North American markets TwinSafe safety I/O technology, which can bring safety at one-third the cost of more traditional alternatives, the company says. TwinSafe systems are created by using safety I/O terminals with standard Beckhoff I/O terminals and DIN rail mounted controllers.

By Staff
PLCs, PACs September 1, 2007

Plasticase Style H enclosures are stackable

Bud Industries introduces its first stackable plastic electronics enclosure, the Plasticase Style H, which features an interlocking design for no-slip stacking. Benefits include saving desktop or benchtop space. The design is suitable for housing components that must be mounted close together but not in the same enclosure because of electrical interference.

By Staff
PLCs, PACs August 28, 2007

UPS: Uninterruptible power system withstands harsh environments

Falcon Electric Inc., a manufacturer of uninterruptible power systems (UPS) and power conversion solutions, announces a new line of SSG Series industrial-grade UPS Plus models capable of withstanding elevated temperatures of up to 55 ºC (131 ºF).

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs August 23, 2007

Reduce operation noise and energy cost with torque current control and torque forward compensation

Noise in mechanical systems often arises from mechanical vibration due to an unbalance load. Such unwanted torque spikes arise from load-torque ripples on the motor shaft, and delays in motor-winding current commutation.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs August 14, 2007

Analysis: Control related enhancements top NI LabView 8.5 introduction

Acceleration of National Instruments’ move into the control-system development market was the most significant news at the company’s NIWeek 2007 user conference last week.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs August 13, 2007

Ethernet networks—already the standard for office settings—are moving into the plant

Rockwell Automation and Cisco Systems are collaborating on reference architectures and design guidelines aimed at deploying Ethernet-based production networks that can be integrated with the rest of the enterprise.

By Jim Fulcher, contributing editor
PLCs, PACs August 9, 2007

Automation software: Integrity 2.0 puts real-time data flow in one Web view

Integrity 2.0, the latest version of PAS’ automation configuration management package, provides one Web view to all users.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs August 1, 2007

Reinvent the industry, not accounting, says Invensys

The process of integrating control techniques with accounting measures to drive business was reiterated at the Foxboro Users Group Conference in Boston, July 16-18, 2007. Dr. Peter G. Martin, vice president and manager of performance management at Invensys Process Systems, presented a speech entitled, “Enable your Potential — Move from Process Control to Enterprise Control” at...

By Staff
PLCs, PACs August 1, 2007

Create a Wireless-to-Ethernet Bridge

In many factories, there is a need for multi-function-capable, portable, and versatile handheld devices. Such handhelds should be able to report sensor data, and process set points, run rates, schedules and other operation- critical information effectively, from throughout the plant. Further, these handhelds need to display real-time data collected from the plant.

By Brant Ivey, Microchip Technology Inc.
PLCs, PACs July 19, 2007

New design facility supports semiconductor industry

St. Louis—Los Gatos, CA, is the site of a new 6,000 square foot technology design center for Watlow, a designer and manufacturer of electric heaters, controllers, an

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs July 12, 2007

OPC-UA: Technology advisory council, first products announced

Scottsdale, Ariz.—The OPC Foundation recently announced the establishment of a Technical Advisory Council (TAC) and the first demonstration products and deliverable technology based on OPC’s Unified Architecture (OPC-UA) connectivity solution.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs July 9, 2007

Asia Pacific PLC market experiences strong growth

The worldwide market for programmable logic controllers (PLCs) is forecast to grow steadily, surpassing $9 billion by 2011.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs July 1, 2007

Recipe Management with ISA-S88

One of the issues challenging batch manufacturers is the need to manage recipe development effectively with less dependency on the process engineering staff. By combining open standards with batching software, this need can be effectively met. The first step in reducing this dependency is using the S88 Standard for Batch Execution developed by ISA.

By Michael Wood, Rockwell Automation
PLCs, PACs July 1, 2007

New options for managing processes solve business problems at the plant level

Honeywell Process Solutions has seen a year of solid growth, according to Mark Neas, the division's VP and general manager for the Americas. Fueling this growth is a series of products that give users new options for managing manufacturing processes. Chief among these products is a new version of Honeywell's flagship Experion Process Knowledge System, and a new line of controllers.

By Staff
PLCs, PACs July 1, 2007

Data logging: Trolley museum controls rectifiers remotely

The nonprofit Pennsylvania Trolley Museum (PTM) keeps historic trolley lines running with two 500 kW 600 Vdc trolley rectifiers at its East Site, a small booster at its West Site, and more than 100 volunteers. What PTM was missing, however, was a practical way to keep these sites—which are 3,500 ft apart—in constant communication.

By Staff
PLCs, PACs July 1, 2007

PLM platform merge makes digital manufacturing an operational reality

Automation giant Siemens made news in 2007 when it purchased UGS, a leading provider of product life-cycle management (PLM) software and tools, in a $3.5-billion deal. The company—now known as UGS PLM Software, a division of Siemens Automation & Drives—has 7,400 employees worldwide and more than 47,000 customers in 62 countries.

By Staff
PLCs, PACs July 1, 2007

RFID: Integrated, scalable tower system monitors badges

Siemens Energy & Automation Inc., in collaboration with URS/EG&G’s Systems Development & Engineering Services, formally unveiled what it calls the next generation of supply chain, radio frequency identification (RFID) technology. The RFID PathMinder is said to deliver the reliable, real-time, asset tracking required in manufacturing, supply chain logistics, and retail distribu...

By Staff
PLCs, PACs June 21, 2007

Load sensors: Capacitive load sensor features USB output

While not one of the big four process variables (pressure, flow, temperature, and level), load sensors can be very useful in process plants. For example, placing load sensors under the feet of a tank or reactor can provide one of the simplest and most accurate level measurement approaches there is. The new iLoad sensors from Loadstar provide a means of digital load and force measurement that incorporates integrated computing and communication via USB output. The iLoad digital sensor is reportedly the first capacitive load sensor with USB output, designed to plug directly into a PC, enabling users to measure loads, forces or weights without need for any additional signal conditioning, data acquisition, or special software.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs June 16, 2007

Design, maintenance, reliability make Ethernet hardware industrial

Ethernet hardware can be made suitable for industrial environments, explains Raj Rajani, product marketing manager, Ethernet infrastructure products, Siemens Energy & Automation . Here's how. Hardware design: The design of the hardware is key. It is important to have robust all-metal housings.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs June 14, 2007

Development: OPC Server with plug-in for logging PLC data to ODBC databases

Kepware Technologies announced today the release of its latest KEPServerEX OPC server suite.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs June 6, 2007

Virtual I/O: Cemex integrates plant floor devices with MYNAH

Cemex , the world’s largest producer of ready-mix concrete, has chosen MYNAH’s virtual I/O module (VIM) network gateway to integrate plant floor devices at its cement plants. VIMs allow users to optimize industrial Ethernet communications using Modbus TCP/IP or EtherNet/IP protocols. VIM helps Cemex with critical plant floor communications, including providing methods to control the timing and manner of communication with field devices and powerful diagnostic tools. So far, Cemex has installed more than 80 VIMs at various plants to integrate control level devices, primarily Modicon Quantum PLCs. MYNAH is better known for its process simulation products (MiMiC software) but its product scope extends beyond that into DeltaV PLC interfaces and serial I/O drivers. —Edited by Peter Welander, process industries editor, PWelander@cfemedia.com , Control Engineering Weekly News.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs June 1, 2007

Oracle takes on the plant floor

There is more to Oracle Corp.'s application strategy than big acquisitions, its future Fusion applications, and its stack of Fusion middleware. For manufacturers, that something extra is production execution. Oracle has offered higher-level production planning and resource management functionality for many years—even addressing flow manufacturing—but with Release 12 of its ERP sui...

By Roberto Michel, senior contributing editor
PLCs, PACs June 1, 2007

Ethernet down to device-level

Industrial Ethernet-based solutions are now established and gaining popularity for plant networking. Ethernet is preferred by many engineers for automation applications for the simple reason that it allows device manufactures to add previously impossible features. These features make working with Ethernet-based devices easy and convenient while providing plant personnel tools they need to incre...

By Helge Hornis, Ph.D., Pepperl+Fuchs
PLCs, PACs June 1, 2007

Sewing up pockets of automation

I am reading a fascinating book: Stumbling on Happiness, by Harvard psychologist Daniel Gilbert. In addition to enjoying Gilbert’s logical mind and witty writing, I am exploring new ideas about how the mind works, including the human tendency to “misconceive our tomorrows and misestimate our satisfactions.

By Renee Robbins, Editorial Director
PLCs, PACs June 1, 2007

By the Numbers – 2007-06-01

1 liter, three cylinder, 71 hp engine with a five-speed automated manual transmission will power DaimlerChrysler’s Smart Fortwo two-seater automobile, for sale in the U.S. in 2008. It’s on tour in more than 50 cities, May-November this year. Engineering continues on the U.S. version; over 40 mpg is expected.

By Staff
PLCs, PACs May 24, 2007

Motor drives: Compact and robust drive

The VLT Micro Drive includes a number of features that the manufacturer says provide real, tangible benefits to users in industrial appliance, water and HVAC applications, as well as to OEM machine builders.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs May 21, 2007

Ethernet-based DAQ interface

UEIModbus Cube from United Electronic Industries (UEI) is a compact, rugged, Ethernet based data acquisition and control interface that communicates with a host computer or PLC over Modbus TCP.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs May 14, 2007

Power resistors for harsh environments

CVW (wirewound) and CVF (film) Series vertical-mount power resistors from TT electronics¡¯ IRC Wire and Film Technologies Div. provide an extended resistance range for high volume and high temperature applications.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs May 10, 2007

Modernizing process control: HMI upgrades add security, S88 benefits

A new human machine interface (HMI) from Siemens Energy & Automation Inc . is intended to modernize existing Emerson Provox process control systems. Simatic PCS7 / PVX OS HMI, available for both batch and continuous applications, provides the benefits of redundant S88 batch management without changing the existing controller hardware and configuration.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs May 7, 2007

Control Software: LabView runs on Microsoft Vista

National Instruments (NI) released a new version of LabView for use with Microsoft Windows Vista.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs May 7, 2007

Super capacitance to 220 Farads

DLR series of super capacitors from Illinois Capacitor offers capacitance values to 220 Farads.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs May 1, 2007

I/O servers use Ethernet

Moxa’s new ioMirror E3000 peer-to-peer I/O server provides an easy way to connect input signals to remote outputs over an IP network. It transmits input signals over a network without requiring a PLC or PC as a controller. Signal mapping is handled automatically by ioMirror hardware. No ladder or C programming is required.

By Staff
PLCs, PACs May 1, 2007

Battery management: System features monitoring, communications

Columbus, OH— CellRX battery management system from Ametek Solidstate Controls (SCI) is compatible with virtually any industrial battery type and configuration, the company says, whether six or 275 cells. Both ac and dc UPS systems depend on battery power to support critical loads and keep processes running smoothly 24/7, says Ametek. Intended for power generation, petrochemical, chemical, offshore oil and gas, and other process control industry applications, the system reportedly lets users increase their battery system reliability by continuously monitoring such battery parameters as voltage, current, and temperature. The system is part of the company’s P3Solutions package designed to ensure battery systems are available when needed.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs May 1, 2007

Water Flows in Iraq

Last December, in Badaah, Iraq, David Watts was adding finishing touches to his PLC programming work in the Nasiriyah Water Treatment Plant—his home away from home for nearly eight weeks. How he got there and what he has done since include experiences beyond those of most system integrators. As the largest water treatment facility in southern Iraq, the Nasiriyah Plant will supply 10,000 c...

By Danetta Bramhall, ProSoft
PLCs, PACs May 1, 2007

Partnerships: Agreements focus on wireless sensing, CMOS technology

Hayward, CA and Unterpremstaetten, Austria —Two recent agreements are promoting the use of advanced technologies in industrial information handling and wireless networking applications. GE Sensing and Dust Networks have formed a technology partnership intended to build dynamic, flexible wireless sensing systems for a range of monitoring applications, the companies announced last week. The announcement comes as IBM and austiamicrosystems said they are signing a development agreement on an advanced HV CMOS (high-voltage, complementary metal oxide semiconductor) process technology for use in automotive and industrial applications, among others. GE Sensing says it will use Dust Networks’ embedded WSN products to provide customers with reliable, cost-effective wireless products to monitor and validate critical processes in a range of industries, including pharmaceutical, biotechnology, automotive, industrial, commercial, petrochemical, and power generation.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs April 23, 2007

Exclusive: Switch management to PLC

EtherNet/IP Profile switch from Hirschmann responds to the increasing application of Ethernet as a plant floor network.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs April 16, 2007

USB flash disk interface module

VDrive2 USB flash disk interface module from Future Technology Devices International Ltd. is based on its Vinculum integrated USB host controller integrated circuit (IC).

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs April 9, 2007

Fixed-mount barcode reader

DataMan 100 fixed-mount ID reader from Cognex Corp. is said to provide unmatched code-reading performance and simplicity in a package smaller than a flip-phone.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs April 5, 2007

Automation: Top 10 specialties among system integrators

Among more than 1,000 automation system integrators providing information about themselves for the 2007 Control Engineering Automation Integrator Guide, more than 63% say they consider programmable logic controllers (PLCs) and remote terminal units (RTUs) among their engineering specialties. Here are the top 10 areas of expertise: 63% PLCs and RTUs;55% human machine interface;52% instrumentation and data acquisition;51% automation;50% process control;46% systems engineer ing;45% motors and motion control;44% control panels;42% installation start-ups; and41% networking and communication. More than 40 engineering specialties rated 20% or higher among automation system integrators. The 2007 guide was published in December 2006. Control Engineering Automation Integrator Guide online provides a multiparameter search, allowing the user to specify up to 7 criteria, including engineering specialties.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs April 5, 2007

Industrial wireless: connectBlue expands, ships Bluetooth I/O kit

Bluetooth I/O Developers Kit from connectBlue offers 12 single-bit I/O points. More wireless options now are available to North American machine builders, original equipment manufacturers, end-users, and system integrators: Malmo, Sweden-based connectBlue AB has expanded with a Chicago-based business unit called connectBlue Inc . Among recent connectBlue product introductions is the Bluetooth I/O Developers Kit, which offers 12 single-bit I/O points, without signal conditioning. connectBlue was established in 2000 with a number of Eriksson ex-employees as an industrial wireless system integrator and consultant, according to Pelle Svensson, director of marketing and business development and president of the new U.S.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs April 1, 2007

CompactLogix 1768-L43 integrates motion, discrete control

Rockwell Automation Controlling up to four axes of motion, the CompactLogix 1768-L43 programmable automation controller (PAC) is ideal for material handling, packaging, metal forming, and other applications requiring speed, motion synchronization, and information-sharing capabilities in a small, modular footprint.

By Staff
PLCs, PACs April 1, 2007

750 Series Stepper module provides intelligent control

Wago Corp. Traditional stand-alone stepper motor controllers offer a fixed number of general purpose I/O connections (no more than 8 points) and have little or no fieldbus connectivity. Wago 750 Series SMC modules are integrated into the I/O node and are compatible with more than 200 digital, analog, and special-function (serial, counter, sub-networks, etc.

By Staff
PLCs, PACs April 1, 2007

Taking switch management to PLC

EtherNet/IP Profile switch from Hirschmann responds to the increasing application of Ethernet as a plant floor network. The fully SNMP and EtherNet/IP managed switches offer a broad set of standard features and are available in all Hirschmann Open Rail switches (RS20/30 and MS20/30). Switches in the field can be upgraded with a simple firmware update.

By Staff
PLCs, PACs April 1, 2007

Foreign investors take on China

Control Engineering China has monitored the rise of the Chinese manufacturing market since the magazine began in 2003. It has also seen parallel growth in the automation industry. According to Ma Xiu Hong, vice minister of the Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China, more than 570,000 companies from 200 countries have invested in China, and total capital has reached US$665 ...

By Aileen Jin, Control Engineering China
PLCs, PACs April 1, 2007

Instrumentation: K-Tek expands, buys non-contact ultrasonic line

K-Tek LLC acquired KAB Instruments and its line of non-contact ultrasonic level measurement equipment, a move that K-Tek says enhances its position as a leading manufacturer of state-of-the-art level instrumentation for process industries. South Africa-based KAB serves the mining, plastics, pulp and paper, and aggregates industries with a family of robust ultrasonic transducers, transmitters, a...

By Staff
PLCs, PACs April 1, 2007

SafetyNet for emergency process shutdown

MTL Open Systems Technologies SafetyNet, certified to SIL 2 (IEC 61508) by TÜV Rheinland, provides cost effective functional safety related solutions for emergency process shutdown and fire & gas applications. SafetyNet achieves its SIL 2 rating without requiring the use of redundant I/O or redundant controllers, which enables SafetyNet to provide a very cost effective SIL 2 solution.

By Staff
PLCs, PACs March 15, 2007

Advanced enterprise control: Plug-in technology upgrades legacy DCS

I/A Series migration cards from Foxboro Automation help upgrade legacy APACS ACM and ACM+ control systems more easily. A family of plug-in I/A Series migration cards from Foxboro Automation , a unit of Invensys Process Systems, is helping users of Moore APACS (Advanced Process Automation and Control Systems) more easily upgrade legacy APACS ACM and ACM+ control systems. Migrations to such advanced technology as the latest generation of I/A Series distributed control system (DCS) and Invensys' InFusion enterprise control system (ECS) technologies are now easier. The "plug in" migration approach accomplishes the DCS upgrade without having to replace existing field wiring, termination assemblies, system enclosures, or power supplies.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs March 15, 2007

In, out, and about HMI: Touch panel computers, LED drivers

Fanless touch panel computers from the eAutomation Group of Advantech now feature RoHS compliance. New products in the HMI marketplace include fanless, compact, touch panel computers from the eAutomation Group of Advantech and a family of LED drivers from Endicott Research Group (ERG) for high-bright LEDs used in LCD backlighting applications. TPC-66S 5.7-in. QVGA STN LCD and TPC-66T 5.6-in.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs March 15, 2007

New ASIG: 2nd source FOUNDATION fieldbus chip available

The Fieldbus Foundation announced availability of a new fieldbus ASIC for device developers incorporating FOUNDATION H1 (31.25 kbit/s) technology in field devices and controllers. Developed jointly by Softing and Aniotek Inc ., the UFC100-F1 (Unified Fieldbus Controller) is a fully pin- and software-compatible alternative to the Yamaha YTZ420 ('FIND1+') chip. Conformance, interoperability, and physical layer tests were performed to verify that the UFC100-F1 is a direct replacement for the YTZ420 ASIC. The advantages of the new chip include, but are not limited to, improved jitter tolerance and a larger first-in/first-out (FIFO) memory-resulting in fewer interruptions to the field device processor.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs March 12, 2007

Linux-based PAC

Ueipac series of programmable automation controllers (PAC) from United Electronic Industries targets unmanned vehicle controller, environmental controller, and hardware-in-the-loop simulator applications.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs March 7, 2007

Plant floor to enterprise: In search of effective vertical integration

One of the major announcements at the ARC Collaborative Manufacturing Strategies Forum last month was from Invensys and Wonderware about a partnership they have taken with SAP to produce two new vertical integration packages, Real Time Production Execution and Real Time Finance. (If you like acronyms, they're called SAP xMII certified PCAs.) What it means is that there are now two new applications meant to run in parallel, to bridge the space between plant floor and enterprise level. (Invensys has been spending a lot of time in that space lately with InFusion, and this is another way to span the gulf.) Real Time Production Execution provides manufacturing information and data appropriate for the COO, enterprise level managers, production management, plant resource planners, and operators.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs March 1, 2007

By the Numbers – 2007-03-01

18 inductees for the National Inventors Hall of Fame 2007 will be honored May 4 and 5 in Akron, OH. Inventors’ technologies include digital packet switching, magnetic resonance imaging, and the Ethernet. To read more about Robert Metcalfe’s original Ethernet sketch, search on the word napkin at www.

By Staff
PLCs, PACs February 13, 2007

Embedded: Smallest, most flexible, multichannel D-A converters

All silicon in the AD57xx family from Analog Devices is housed in a 24-lead TSSOP, and sample units are now available. Integrated features may resolve difficult board design and layout challenges in factory process control and instrumentation systems. Norwood, MA — Analog Devices Inc .

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs February 12, 2007

Intrinsically safe operator panels

Termex family of intrinsically safe text and graphic panels from Pepperl+Fuchs feature a monochrome LCD for cost effective PLC and computer-based operation.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs February 1, 2007

Memo to your attorney

Here’s a ghost-written memo to your attorney for this first column of 2007 about the legalities affecting the control engineering business. Now don't clip this out of this magazine; that would destroy the purpose. No, just re-type it, add your own two cents, and pretend it was from you. (All right, all right—for those of you concerned about intellectual property rights, the magazine...

By Mark Voigtmann
PLCs, PACs January 29, 2007

Microprocessor-based temperature control

Microprocessor-based Carel uC22 controllers are now integrated into Mokon’s dual circuit portable chillers and single-circuit central chillers, and Carel pC03 controllers are integrated into the company’s dual circuit central chillers.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs January 24, 2007

New Invensys Process Systems president: Paulett Eberhart takes the reins

Foxboro, MA —Following an extensive executive search, Invensys plc has named Paulett Eberhart CEO and president of its Invensys Process Systems division. Ken Brown, who has been Acting President since June 28, 2006, returns to his former position as general manager of the division’s Measurements & Instruments business unit. Paulett Eberhart, formerly with EDS, a global technology services company, takes the helm at Invensys Process Systems. Eberhart was most recently with EDS, a global technology services company, which she joined in 1978.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs January 23, 2007

Rugged notebook: Hot-swap batteries run computer forever

Dewetron rugged DA-130 series notebook computer with hot-swapping batteries also can be used as a data acquisition platform. Charlestown, RI — Dewetron Inc .'s DA-130 series of rugged notebook computers runs continuously on hot-swap batteries, has a full-length PCI slot to accommodate the needed PCI card, and can be upgraded by replacing the standard mini-ITX mainboard. The briefcase-like PC-based notebooks, like the DA-138, include the company's SideHand intelligent battery power system.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs January 22, 2007

PACs for Industrial Control, the Future of Control by National Instruments

OverviewWith a number of vendors producing Programmable Automation Controllers that combine the functionality of a PC andreliability of a PLC, PACs today are increasingly being incorporated into control systems. This white paper explores theorigins of the PAC, how PACs differ from PLCs and PCs, and the future direction of industrial control with PACs.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs January 12, 2007

Industrial Ethernet Product Research (December 2006)

Research was undertaken to gain a better understanding of Control Engineering subscribers’ applications and needs regarding industrial Ethernet.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs January 11, 2007

Panel advances: LCDs, LEDs, components for harsh environments

Termex family of intrinsically safe text-graphic panels from Pepperl+Fuchs is intended to provide reliable operation in hazardous locations. VarTech Systems' Model VT084PX flat panel display with a 12-V dc power source and optional 24-V dc and 90-264-V ac universal power supply is designed for extreme applications. Several HMI-related products making their way to market this month are designed for severe applications and environments.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs January 11, 2007

Vehicle control: Programming software adds JI939 support

Network communication with J1939 connectivity is now part of EZ Ladder PC-based programming software from Divelbiss Corp. The J1939 protocol, from the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), is the open standard for networking and communication in the commercial vehicle sector. The software, which features ladder diagram and function block programming, is incorporated in the company's PLC on chip-based products that are CAN-networking enabled. The addition of J1939 connectivity at the chip and module level provides users with previously unavailable off-the-shelf solutions to control problems, and lets OEMs embed intelligence and communication in their product lines quickly and cost effectively.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs January 11, 2007

Promat 2007: Controls testing, emulation software for automated material handling systems

Whether you're an industrial engineer who needs working conveyor layouts to develop flow ideas within your project team, or a system integrator who needs to produce realistic conveyor system models quickly, Demo3D Controls Testing software can create an animated model. The software is designed to reduce automated material handling system (AMHS) commissioning costs by allowing PLC programmers to test the logical operation of their systems before the AMHS is built. Demo3D, from Reading, England-based Emulate3D Ltd., is scheduled to make its debut at Promat in Chicago on Jan.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs January 11, 2007

Industrial Ethernet: Donation helps train future engineers

Advantech's eAutomation Group has donated three lab setups of ADAM Industrial Ethernet hardware with ADAMView software to the University of Dayton with the aim of cultivating future talent. The products to be used are the company's ADAM-6017 analog input/digital output module, ADAM-6052 digital I/O module, ADAM-6520 Ethernet switch, ADAM-6060 digital I/O, and ADAMView data acquisition software. The ADAM-6017 is an 8-channel analog input and 2 digital output module. The ADAM-6052 provides 16 digital I/O channels.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs January 9, 2007

Expansion room: Small, portable, rugged computer

A rugged portable computer from Acme Portable Machines Inc. has internal space for application-specific customizing, an Intel T2500 2 GHz Core Duo processor, and minimum of 512 MB memory (expandable to 2 GB). Azusa, CA — Acme Portable Machines Inc .

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs December 25, 2006

Batteries in six terminal types

Line of sealed lead-acid batteries from GC Electronics offers more than 75 models with outputs of 4-, 6-, 12-, and 24-V in capacities ranging from 1.2 to 230 Amp-hours.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs December 21, 2006

What do you get when you cross a PC and PLC?

PACs—a hybrid of personal computers (PCs) and programmable logic controllers (PLCs)—can be considered an evolutionary step in the development of control options for industrial automation and other applications. PACs can include the same traits and handle the same functions. PLC hardware architecture… Vendor-specific software (firmware)Deterministic multi-tasking real-time operating systemIndustrial design PC hardware architecture… Software (user-created)General use (“open”) operating systemCan have an industrial design PCs, PLCs, and PACs each have… Central processing unitI/O communication bus for internal data exchangeOperating memoryProgram/data memoryI/O modulesCommunication interface Read more from Control Engineering December “Back to Basics” column entitled, “ Programmable automation controllers (PACs) .” Watch for continuing coverage at www.controleng.com, in email newsletters and in print editions. —Mark T. Hoske, Control Engineering editor in chief, with information from Krzysztof Pietrusewicz, Control Engineering Poland , Institute of Control Engineering, Szczecin University of Technology.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs December 1, 2006

Mobile System Stops Contamination

Olli Lamminen, a Finnish expatriate who has been around motor vehicles all his life, knows the dirt, so to speak, on the U.S. trucking industry. Whether it is hauling coal from a mine, debris from a construction site, or refuse to a landfill, trucks are the lifeblood of business in America. Those are also dirty businesses—a fact that aroused the entrepreneur in Lamminen.

By Tom Noble
PLCs, PACs December 1, 2006

Watlow expands in China; Singapore cites global manufacturing trends, Asian nation trade agreement

Watlow's expansion in China and news from Singapore about additional investments in Asia highlight manufacturing growth in that region. Reflecting its effort to better serve customers that currently have a presence in China, Watlow has opened a new manufacturing plant in that country. The new Shanghai facility, which celebrated its grand opening Oct.

By Staff
PLCs, PACs November 27, 2006

Display messages in mobile machines

PDM 360 smart HMI with graphic display from ifm efector is intended for system messages in mobile machines.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs November 17, 2006

Feedback: Criteria for PLC vs. DCS evaluation

I read your article about the Eli Lilly engineer’s (Mike Alward) comparison of PLC versus DCS. [ Control Engineering Weekly News email newsletter, Oct. 31, 2006; “ Automation Fair: Pharma engineer rates PLC system over DCS .”] What were the 19 criteria used to compare? This is so I can understand the viewpoint of giving a 77-73 lead to the PLC.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs November 14, 2006

Global growth: Watlow expands in China; Singapore cites Asia trends

Watlow celebrates the opening of a new manufacturing facility last month in Shanghai, China, part of the company's effort to serve customers in Asia more effectively. St. Louis, MO, Shanghai, China, and Baltimore, MD — Watlow 's expansion in China and news from Singapore about additional investments in Asia highlight manufacturing growth in that region.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs November 9, 2006

Embracing automation: Advantech holds partner conference, supports ETX 3.0 upgrade

"PC-based, open architecture is a trend worth watching in automation" was the message of the 2006 Advantech eAutomation Group world partner conference, held in Düsseldorf, Germany Sept. 28-30, 2006. The theme of the event was, "Embrace the Open eAutomation World with Advantech." Founded in 1983 and based in Taiwan, Advantech Co.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs November 7, 2006

Serial to Ethernet: Device routers for harsh applications

Magnum DX 40 and DX 800 serial device routers from GarrettCom Inc. are said to offer resiliency and security in networking applications. They are intended for the power industry and harsh industrial environments.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs November 1, 2006

PLC market expected to hit $10 billion by 2010

Demand for the Programmable Logic Controller (PLC), a key automation component in the discrete, hybrid, and process industries, will grow robustly, says ARC Advisory Group. The worldwide PLC market is expected to grow at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.1% over the next five years. The PLC market was nearly $7.

By Staff
PLCs, PACs November 1, 2006

Decide and communicate

Programmable logic controllers (PLCs) dominate among available manufacturing computing hardware, and Ethernet physical media is becoming the primary way to communicate those decisions, suggests recent Control Engineering research. Decide: If anyone thought PLCs are being removed in large numbers and replaced with programmable automation controllers (PACs), they should think again.

By Mark T. Hoske, Editor-in-Chief
PLCs, PACs October 31, 2006

Automation Fair: Pharma engineer rates PLC system over DCS

Baltimore, MD —An Eli Lilly engineer gave a slight advantage to a programmable logic controller (PLC-based) system compared to a distributed control system (DCS) in a presentation made at a recent media event. The PLC versus DCS analysis was part of 'Manufacturing Perspectives,' Rockwell Automation 's educational forum held the day before its Automation Fair , which took place last week. Some 90 journalists, half from outside the United States, including editors from Control Engineering , Control Engineering Asia , Control Engineering China , and Control Engineering Poland , attended the day-long program. The PLC versus DCS comparison showed 19 criteria and included uncensored advice for Rockwell Automation about additional improvements for its FactoryTalk and Logix systems.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs October 4, 2006

Industrial RFID partners go from tags to systems

KeyTone Technologies and Escort Memory Systems partnered to expand the breadth of radio frequency identification (RFID) technologies to industry. KeyTone provides the Work-In-Process (W.I.P) Solution to help enterprises extend manufacturing capabilities by benchmarking production and increasing throughput and yields. Those products use RFID technology from Escort Memory Systems for tags, readers, and connectivity. The companies operate in many sectors including complex automation applications, such as automotive, electronics, and pharmaceutical.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs October 1, 2006

Single-chip MCUs support low-cost data acquisition

In many manufacturing environments, it is desirable to have a data acquisition (DAQ) system to monitor the network remotely for troubleshooting or control purposes. To facilitate this, many manufacturing applications tend to rely on a proprietary interface and protocol to provide a status or diagnostics port to deliver the information.

By Nate Smith
PLCs, PACs October 1, 2006

Boiler tuning, flue gas analysis

Btu 2000+ hand-held boiler tuning unit and flue gas analyzer from E Instruments is a multifunctional unit for servicing and maintenance of boilers, heaters, and other industrial applications. Device features magnetic rubber shell for hands-free use and remote PLC communication capabilities. It analyzes up to two gases: O2, CO, and calculates CO2, and it has a differential pipe pressure leak det...

By Staff
PLCs, PACs October 1, 2006

Seek answers in new ways

If my press release inbox is any indication, this fall promises lots of new choices for adding to a control engineer’s toolbox. It’s the midst of the fall trade show season, which means many opportunities to kick the tires on new products and quiz the makers of existing products about upgrade details.

By Renee Robbins, Editorial Director
PLCs, PACs September 25, 2006

SoC for network connectivity

Hilscher North America’s netX system-on-chip (SoC) is designed for industrial control products that require built-in network connectivity.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs September 21, 2006

Download new HART communication DTM software free

The FDT/DTM concept simplifies communication between instruments and larger plant control systems. MTL Open Systems Technologies has released its new generic communications device type manager (DTM) which will reportedly enable their MTL4840 HART connection system, MTL8000 Process I/O, and MOST controllers to pass HART data to any instrument maintenance software (IMS) packages using the FDT/DTM concept. Designed for maintenance engineers who want to use on-line HART data, the DTM software uses the latest FDT (field device tool) Group specification v1.2. Users running the IMS package on a PC can download the software free. The FDT/DTM concept was developed by the FDT Group with members from many leading companies in the process automation industry.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs September 21, 2006

Compact hand-held humidity sensor

The Humiport 05 package from E+ E Elektronik is compact, but allows for one-hand operation and has an easy-reading display. Humidity sensor offers precise measurement of relative humidity, temperature, and more, in a compact package with one-hand operation. The new Humiport 05 from E+ E Elektronik offers easy handling and large display for field use. Not much bigger than a cell phone, the Humiport 05 reportedly can measure and display relative humidity, absolute humidity, temperature, and dew point across a temperature range from–20 to 50 °C (-4 to 122 °F) using either scale.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs September 18, 2006

Coprocessor chip adds WiFi connectivity

Connect One’s iChipSec CO711AG secure Internet protocol (IP) coprocessor chip adds encrypted WiFi connectivity to machine-to-machine applications.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs September 7, 2006

Enclosures ease embedded computer integration

Micro/sys enclosures house and protect custom equipment. Ideal for development kits, proof-of-concept boxes, or OEM applications, equipment enclosures from Micro/sys meet the needs of embedded-system integrators. Micro/sys provides a variety of enclosures with maximum adaptability to house laboratory setups, NEMA-rated equipment, rackmount systems, and benchtop controllers.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs September 7, 2006

Quarter-brick dc/dc converter

C&D Technologies' QUS40-096 provides high power in a small package. C&D Technologies introduced a new isolated dc/dc converter that provides a cost and space saving solution for Intermediate Bus Architecture applications in computer and telecommunications equipment. The QUS40-096 has an unregulated output, and a fixed conversion ratio of 5:1 that is maintained between the input and output voltages. The module is housed in a compact, industry standard, quarter-brick footprint package.Operating from a typical input voltage of 48 V dc, the QUS40-096 has an output voltage set-point of 9.6 V dc.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs September 1, 2006

Advanced coal-fired power plant uses digital network

Drax Power Station, reported to be the U.K.'s largest, cleanest, and most-efficient coal-fired power plant is installing FOUNDATION fieldbus-based Rosemount temperature transmitters and interface units on one of its units, says owner Drax Power Ltd. The system transmits data from more than 500 temperature monitoring points on one selected boiler and turbine pair.

By Staff
PLCs, PACs September 1, 2006

Vision sensor sees shapes, colors, includes LCD

ZFV-C Smart Sensor from Omron Electronics is said to offer sensing capabilities close to human vision. New color sensing abilities allow the device to “see” images invisible to monochromatic sensors and make it more reliable for inspecting complex targets. Integrated color filters enable sensing of selected colors as needed to obtain a better image.

By Staff
PLCs, PACs September 1, 2006

Investments, slower growth likely for industrial controls

National Electrical Manufacturers Association's (NEMA) primary industrial controls index dropped slightly from first-quarter 2006 to the second quarter, suggesting the rate of growth is slowing, compared to faster growth over the last two years. The industrial controls index increased 6.5% over the same period a year ago and has risen 11 consecutive quarters on a year-over-year basis.

By Staff
PLCs, PACs August 21, 2006

Investments, slower growth imminent for industrial controls

National Electrical Manufacturers Association’s (NEMA) primary industrial controls index dropped slightly from first-quarter 2006 to the second quarter, suggesting rate of growth is slowing, compared to faster growth over the last two years. The industrial controls index increased 6.5% over the same period a year ago and has risen 11 consecutive quarters on a year-over-year basis. The organization suggests that to maintain productivity, businesses may have to invest in new facilities, machinery, and equipment. The broader market index, the primary industrial controls and adjustable speed drive index was higher in the second quarter and reached the highest level in its five years of existence.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs August 2, 2006

Redundancy Design Strategy of Control System Based on Component’s Fault Model*

Redundancy technology is one of the most efficient methods to improve the reliability of fault-tolerant control systems. However, unreasonable redundancy may degrade the reliability. Based on the characteristic of process control system, component’s fault model of typical device was analyzed in redundancy system.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs August 1, 2006

Online supplier search casts wide net, narrows search

Sourcing the right components for a project and finding the right suppliers can be a major challenge in any project. Years of Control Engineering printed Buyer's Guides have helped subscribers accomplish that. This year, we're saving trees (except for this page) and pointing to the online resource, www.

By Mark T. Hoske
PLCs, PACs July 31, 2006

Motor protection circuit breakers

Series 330 motor protection circuit breakers provide overload and short circuit protection for motor control applications.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs July 31, 2006

Ethernet communication module

DirectLogic DL405 PLC can be inserted into any I/O slot of any local DL405 base—including expansion bases when using the DL450 CPU and –1 bases—to implement master/slave Ethernet communication at 10 or 100 Mbit data rates.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs July 24, 2006

Exclusive: Ethernet I/O blocks process 96 signal

ES2113 is the first model to be released in Acromag’s EtherStax line of rugged, high-density Ethernet I/O blocks for distributed I/O and SCADA applications.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs July 12, 2006

High-tech controls needed for next generation nuclear plant

By July 14, 2006, U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) wants expressions of interest from prospective industry teams interested in participating in the development and conceptual design for the Next Generation Nuclear Plant (NGNP), a very high temperature gas-cooled nuclear reactor prototype able to produce process heat, electricity and/or hydrogen. The very high temperature reactor is based on research and development activities supported by DOE’s Generation IV nuclear energy systems initiative, and likely will include leading-edge control engineering automation technologies including controllers, instrumentation, networks, and software. “Proceeding with a request for expressions of interest is an important first step in bringing industry into the development of the NGNP,” says Dennis Spurgeon, DOE assistant secretary for nuclear energy in a DOE statement.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs July 10, 2006

Power management software for Linux

Personal Solution Pac 3.0 software for Linux is a UPS power management system based on open source code.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs July 3, 2006

Low-profile motors

LARC Series motors achieve custom arc shapes and zero cogging in an extremely low profile package.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs July 1, 2006

Exclusive: Stackable Ethernet I/O blocks

ES2113 is the first model to be released in Acromag's EtherStax line of rugged, high-density Ethernet I/O blocks for distributed I/O and SCADA applications. Device processes 96 channels of discrete input or output signals with Modbus TCP/IP communication to a host controller. It uses the company's i2o technology for peer-to-peer communication between I/O units.

By Staff
PLCs, PACs June 26, 2006

Power wirewound resistors

PW and PWR Series of power wirewound resistors features high-temperature ceramic shells in power ratings to 60 W. Resistors are available in axial and radial lead configurations.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs June 22, 2006

Sensors Expo 2006: Current transducers tolerate noisy environments

Series 3 “next generation” current transducers from Raztec Ltd. feature a Hall Effect sensor assembly mechanically combined with a toroid of high-performance magnetic material in a compact design. Series 3 current transducers from Raztec Ltd.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs June 1, 2006

Winemaking Gets Integrated

Yalumba is Australia's oldest family-owned winery and one of the country's largest wine exporters. Its Angaston winery was founded in 1849 in South Australia's Barossa Valley. In recent years, demand for Yalumba wines has grown to exceed the processing capacity of the company's Angaston facility, so Yalumba established its "Moppa" wine processing plant.

By Staff
PLCs, PACs June 1, 2006

Serial-to-Ethernet Connectivity

A leading beverage producer wanted to track and improve its production output by displaying up-to-the-minute production information on the factory floor. This capability was required to make the data accessible to production managers and workers, and to track actual performance against goals. Data from all production stages needed to be collected and displayed on electronic displays throughout ...

By Staff
PLCs, PACs May 15, 2006

Automation systems for Cameco’s world-scale uranium milling operation

Cameco Corp. , said to be the world’s leading uranium producer, has selected Invensys Process Systems to implement a Foxboro automation system at one of the company’s northern Saskatchewan, Canada, facilities. A control system upgrade at the Rabbit Lake processing mill, the longest-operating uranium milling operation in Canada, will use I/A Series automation in the acid plant and powerhouse.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs May 15, 2006

HMI integrates control, display, networking

NSJ Series HMI controller integrates two of the company’s products—NS HMI and CJ1 PLC—into one, eliminating the need for and cost of separate devices and the wiring and labor to connect them.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs May 10, 2006

Project: Baton Rouge Wastewater Pump Station SCADA System (May 10, 2006)

We have a new project engineer on board that we are working to get up to speed on this project. Fortunately, he has considerable experience in this area, and expectations are he will be up to speed in short order. We are working toward incorporating write access (the ability to override booster station automatic control from the SCADA system) and approval-meeting-requested changes into the initial station to prove these prior to replicating to the 12 other booster stations.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs May 2, 2006

Rotary encoder for harsh environments

Newbury Park, CA—MR314 ZapFree high-resolution hollow shaft fiber-optic rotary encoder from Micronor Inc. is intended for harsh and hazardous environments.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs May 1, 2006

Project: Baton Rouge Wastewater Pump Station SCADA System (April 25th, 2006)

April 25, 2006 There are many things that can occur to disrupt a long-term project. One of them is personnel changes. During preceding years, the primary consultant lost its lead engineer and the end user lost its chief engineer.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs May 1, 2006

Bristol Babcock acquired by Emerson

Emerson Inc. has acquired Bristol Babcock from Loughborough, U.K.-based FKI plc for $121 million. Bristol Babcock has a worldwide presence in the supply and commissioning of products, services, and engineered systems to the oil, gas, process control, power, water, and wastewater industries.

By Staff
PLCs, PACs May 1, 2006

Manufacturing informatics—What you need to know

Applying information technology in manufacturing is becoming a vital part of many control and automation engineer's jobs, but it is often difficult to communicate the multiple skills required to manage. Other engineering areas can be more easily described: instrument engineering, control engineering, or electrical engineering.

By Dennis Brandl, BR&L Consulting
PLCs, PACs May 1, 2006

Building Bridges to the Enterprise

A convergence of business pressures is creating a perfect storm of circumstances set to alter the role and function of control engineering in the plant. Control engineering's historic charter, to ensure the safe and efficient operation of the plant, has kept it an island unto itself for years. Automation equipment and systems—and the data they generated—were primarily for use by aut...

By Frank O Smith for Control Engineering
PLCs, PACs April 10, 2006

Gateway automatically forwards data

AS-i/Profibus gateway in stainless steel supplements the AS-i standard with diagnosis and maintenance functions, such as detection of duplicate addresses and integration of the earth-fault and EMC detectors.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs April 4, 2006

Resource Center Homepage Wildcard Center 1

Searchable Databases Career Data searchable by industry, region, expertise, qualifications. Personalize your career information inquiries with factors like approximate gross income, years on the job, degree and location. Customer searchable by vendor, product and industry. Gauge Control Engineering readers' satisfaction with specific vendors and products. Research Automation Research Monthly Product Focus Control Engineering will post a new research study focusing on a product bought by our subscribers.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs April 4, 2006

Modular control system with multi-function platform

The sigmaPAC distributed control system with fieldbus modularity from Ascon Corp. is said to provide machine control that replaces PLCs. Batavia, IL —Modularity and flexibility are the top-billed features of the new control system from Ascon Corp .

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs April 1, 2006

A&C shares up nicely, 4Q05

The Control Engineering share price index notched an impressive performance during 4Q, up 6% on average. Even more impressive has been the continuation of gains so far in 2006—up 12% more through mid-February. This portfolio of Automation/Control components companies handily outpaced the S&P500, which gained about 5% during the past 4.

By Mark Koznarek
PLCs, PACs March 31, 2006

SIL 2 safety architecture receives TÜV certification

MTL Open System Technologies (Most), part of the MTL Instruments Group, announced certification of the SafetyNet Functional Safety System by TÜV Rheinland for use in SIL 2 safety functions. SafetyNet meets the safety needs of burner management (BMS) and emergency shut-down (ESD) applications. It reportedly provides a SIL-2 level solution for BMS or ESD applications without requiring redundant I/O or redundant controllers. Nevertheless, redundant controllers can always be added to the system to provide greater system availability at a later date. SafetyNet is built on the same control platform as the Most process automation system, enabling addressing of process control and functional safety needs with the same control platform.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs March 29, 2006

Project: Baton Rouge Wastewater Pump Station SCADA System (March 28, 2006)

Still no word on PLC and local HMI vendor selection. We think they have decided but haven't made it public yet. Still no word on scheduling a graphics review meeting to confirm acceptance of the SCADA screens and layout for the first booster station. This is required before we proceed with cutover of the remaining 12 stations. Still no word on a Phase II contractor notice to proceed.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs March 20, 2006

Dual thermocouple, RTD calibrator

CL543 dual thermocouple and RTD calibrator provides direct temperature calibration to such instruments as transmitters, recorders, controllers, alarms, and data acquisition and computer systems.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs March 13, 2006

Microcontroller offers speed, economy

PIC18F45J10 family of 8-bit microcontrollers are said to be among the world’s fastest to provide 32 KB of flash program memory in 28-pin packages.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs March 10, 2006

Control Engineering Online Update for March 10, 2006

March 10, 2006 Highlights Sponsored by Phoenix Contact PLC programming tools have evolved greatly over the last 20 years. However, a great majority of PLC implementations have not. The reason: management is constantly faced with the dilemma that only certain technicians know how the program was written and are therefore the only individuals qualified to troubleshoot and/or modify it.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs March 7, 2006

Rugged display terminals simplify operator tasks

Operator panel, one of five new offerings from SEW-Eurodrive, features direct communication with a drive and built-in recipe controls. Lyman, SC —Five new operator terminals from SEW-Eurodrive are said to offer simplicity of operation and versatile control functionality for power transmission applications. Rugged displays are designed to help operators easily access, diagnose, and optimize production processes.These high-quality visualization and control tools, the company reports, make it easy for operators to determine whether highly automated processes that require synchronous operation are being performed with accuracy.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs March 1, 2006

Enclose as Needed

To enclose or not to enclose, that is the question. So perhaps the decision isn't a Shakespearean epic, but it could be a tragedy nonetheless if you pay to enclose when you don't have to, or don't enclose and shorten the life of what you're installing... or that of the nearby operator. Greater options for distributed controls bring greater responsibilities for protecting assets where they're lo...

By Mark T. Hoske
PLCs, PACs March 1, 2006

By the Numbers – 2006-03-01

12,000 standards are available in the 70+ volume Annual Book of ASTM Standards, in print and CD-ROM; volumes also can be purchased individually or as a section. Volume 14.03 is "Temperature Measurement," 714 pages, available in July 2006. www.ihs.com $3.7 billion in aggregate auto-industry spending on purchase incentives in December 2005 was estimated to decrease to $2.

By Staff
PLCs, PACs February 23, 2006

Comment on proposed benchmark for testing PLCs by June 30, 2006

This PLC is fast. That PLC is faster. This other model is the world’s fastest.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs February 21, 2006

Project: Baton Rouge Wastewater Pump Station SCADA System (February 21,2006)

February 21, 2006 Monitoring of bandwidth usage during the past week indicates our current polling scheme is not very data efficient. We need to stay within 2 megabytes per month data usage per site or data transmission charges will soar vs. the allocated budget.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs February 16, 2006

Project: Baton Rouge Wastewater Pump Station SCADA System (February 16, 2006)

February 16, 2006 Only the very patient should pursue municipal work. When will our project get back on schedule? When can we venture to accurately re-schedule? If you look back, you will see that on September 6th, 2005 we first reported that the City of Baton Rouge had decided it needed to rebid the contract that supplied the PLC and HMI hardware to be used at the remote pump stations in this SCADA project. Despite the lack of feedback from the primary consultant, we are moving forward with amending the project schedule under the assumption that a new PLC and HMI hardware vendor can be selected and contracted with by the end of April. A complete budgetary review is also being performed. It is suspected that the continuing delays together with price increases over the past year are having a negative impact on the job profitability, due to no fault of our own.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs February 14, 2006

Controls index drop no indication of slowdown in growth

Rosslyn, VA —A drop in the industrial controls business index does not signal an end to the market’s recent growth, the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) reports. The drop, NEMA believes, reflects seasonal weakness in fourth quarter sales, not any major loss in momentum in the industrial controls field. The organization’s primary industrial controls index fell 2.3% between the Q3 and Q4 2005. Sales of industrial control products and systems in Q4 2005 rose 7.2% over Q4 2004.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs February 9, 2006

Embedded company ‘briefs’: More tools, expansion

Recent newsworthy announcements from companies in the embedded-control sector include Microchip Technology ’s shipment of its 400,00thdevelopment tool to customers and Infineon Technologies ’ official opening of its newest development center in Romania. Provider of microcontroller and analog semiconductors, Microchip Technology Inc., recently announced the shipment of its 400,000thdevelopment tool—claiming that few semiconductor companies match its total number of tools installed in the field. Microchip considers the milestone to demonstrate industry acceptance of its products. Said to be easy-to-use, these development tools permit engineers to design with Microchip’s 8- and 16-bit PIC microcontrollers, 16-bit dsPIC digital signal controllers, analog/interface devices, and EEPROM memory products. Microchip says that using the same supplier for silicon and design tool eliminates design incompatibilities and maximizes technical support.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs February 6, 2006

New orders, production expanding with growing employment and slowing deliveries increasing prices

Tempe, AZ —Economic activity in manufacturing grew in January for the 32nd consecutive month, while the overall economy grew for the 51st consecutive month, say the nation’s supply executives in the latest ISM Report On Business. Both new orders and production remain relatively strong, and the panel of respondents is generally upbeat about their business. It appears that the sector has recovered from the disruptions and dislocations caused by the Gulf Coast hurricanes.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs February 1, 2006

More efficient batch-process control

Dynea UK Ltd. (Mold, Flintshire), a leading producer of industrial adhesives, has purchased ABB's System 800xA Extended Automation to update its existing system for its urea-formaldehyde (UF) resins and adhesives process. The overall process control system, including the phenol-formaldehyde (PF) segment, has over 1,000 I/O signals, with operator access via four operato...

By Staff
PLCs, PACs January 31, 2006

Real-time networking for automation applications

Small-footprint version of Real-Time Innovations’ NDDS middleware satisfies a wide range of real-time communication requirements for industrial automation applications. Santa Clara, CA —Small-footprint version of Real-Time Innovations ’ NDDS middleware is designed for low-cost, memory-constrained applications. New implementation of NDDS requires less than 100 kB of memory and is currently deployed in a line of programmable logic controllers (PLCs).Standard version of RTI’s NDDS is used in high-end PLCs.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs January 26, 2006

Feedback: Ladder logic programming prevails for good reasons

Paul Schmidt, electrical engineer, United Conveyor Corp ., offers the following observations about the recent Control Engineering “ Product Research ” article on PLCs (December 2005, p. 51). “Ladder programming endures in the controls industry for good reasons, at least for PLC applications. While ladder originally was marketed as being a format designed to appeal to electricians familiar with traditional relay logic, this is only part of the story.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs January 18, 2006

Information day for all things CAN

Erlangen, Germany —CAN in Automation has scheduled “ CiA Information Days ” in Chicago, IL, on March 17; Nuremberg, Germany, on March 23; and Milan, Italy, on June 1. CiA staff will address several topics, including: Market research on application-specific markets, such as automotive and other vehicle, embedded networking, industrial automation, and others; CiA marketing activities, services and publication strategies for Europe, North America, and the Far East; CANopen conformance testing and certification; Publications such as the CAN Newsletter and product guides; Technology trends for CAN with: controllers, transceivers, higher-layer protocols, and heterogeneous network systems; CiA specification activities, including J1939-based specifications; CANopen device profiles; CANopen application profiles, and gateway technologies; and CAN-related international standardization activities—including lower- and higher-layer protocols, standardization of device, interface, and application profiles. — Richard Phelps , senior editor, Control Engineering.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs January 11, 2006

Project: Biopharmaceutical filtration automation (January 11, 2006)

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

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs January 10, 2006

Pack Expo celebrates 50th anniversary

Arlington, VA— Pack Expo celebrates its 50thanniversary in 2006 by focusing its annual fall exhibition and conference on the next 50 years. Continued advances in automating coding, filling, labeling, closing, and case packing packages and the production of packages at the point of filling are among future industry trends expected to be discussed and displayed. The Packaging Machinery Manufacturers Institute (PMMI) event, to be held Oct.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs January 5, 2006

Data Acquisition Product Research (January 2006)

Research was undertaken to gain a better understanding of Control Engineering subscribers’applications and needs regarding Data acquisition hardware or software.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs January 5, 2006

CIM Automation, Siemens partner

M.C. Dean Inc .'s CIM Automation Systems Group, with over 17 years in automation, has been named to the Siemens Solutions Partner Program. CIM specializes in hardware- and software-based industrial-control solutions, including programmable logic controllers, supervisory control and data acquisition systems, coordinated drive and motion systems, and human-machine interfaces. Siemens Solutions Partner Program is the third industry certification garnered by CIM in recent years.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs January 1, 2006

Flash MCUs target motor control

Z8 Encore! FMC16100 Series by ZiLog Inc.ZiLog Inc.'s new generation of microcontroller (MCU)-based systems target sensorless-brushless-dc, ac induction, and switched-reluctance motor applications. Named Z8 Encore! MC Series, the new 8-bit chips are based on extensive research into customer requirements, according to ZiLog.

By Staff
PLCs, PACs January 1, 2006

Automate complex procedures, optimize yield

Experion PKS R300 includes a redesign of Honeywell's automation-and-control platform hardware and new, embedded cyber-security technology. The company says the product unifies assets, process, and people to improve business agility. This proven, open, yet secure technology is built to scale, and helps manage everything from optimized yield to reduced maintenance costs.

By Staff
PLCs, PACs January 1, 2006

Device servers for Ethernet retrofits

Because the majority of today's industrial equipment requires hardware replacement to enable Ethernet connectivity, and typically only top-of-the-line new products offer the newest TCP/IP technology (costing much more than the non-Ethernet equivalent), most industrial users have not switched to Ethernet for their industrial devices.

By Jason Sprayberry
PLCs, PACs January 1, 2006

PLC programming and batch configuration

RSLogix-5000 v 15 programming-software expands programming and batch configuration functionality, while improving information integration. Key features include PhaseManager, an S88 batch configuration tool designed to ease configuration and improve productivity and quality; RSLogix Architect, a navigation tool to help improve system configuration, organization, and management; and the ability t...

By Staff
PLCs, PACs January 1, 2006

Fanless, rack-mount flat PC

ThinkIO-P modular rack-mount flat PC fits into any control cabinet on the market. Completely enclosed, fanless unit, shown recently at SPS/IPC/Drives in Germany, can be equipped with processors ranging from a 600-MHz Intel Mobile Celeron—with 64 KB L1/0KB L2 cache—to a 1.4-GHz Intel Pentium M.

By Staff
PLCs, PACs January 1, 2006

How safe? You decide

Newer safety standards offer more flexibility. Does that make your figurative cup half empty or half full? Rather than following exact safe-design instructions, you can evaluate risks, assess probability of failures, see how they match, and determine the needed design-safety level for your machine or manufacturing process.

By Mark T. Hoske, Editor-in-Chief
PLCs, PACs January 1, 2006

Dual synchronous step-down dc/dc converter

LTC3417 dual output, high-efficiency, 4-MHz synchronous buck regulator delivers up to 1.4 A of continuous output current from one channel and up to 800 mA from the second. Device uses constant frequency and current mode architecture and operates from an input voltage range of 2.25-5.5 V. It is suited for single cell Li-Ion, multi-cell alkaline, or NiMH applications and can generate two independ...

By Staff
PLCs, PACs December 8, 2005

One-billionth lead-free device shipped by Microchip Technology

All Microchip's packages are available now in the new matte-tin, Pb-free finish for samples and volume production. A leading provider of microcontroller and analog semiconductors, Microchip Technology Inc . recently announced shipment of its one-billionth lead-free device. This follows the conversion of the company’s chip product packaging to environmentally friendly lead (Pb)-free plating in 2004.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs December 5, 2005

Enhanced development environment

Proficy Machine Edition 5.50 enhanced engineering development environment for programming, configuration, and diagnostics of GE Fanuc controllers includes symbolic variable-based programming, a tool chest for reusable code, and a test edit mode for online troubleshooting.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs December 1, 2005

Kit speeds motion system design

MC73110 brushless motor control IC developer's kit (DK73110) features high-efficiency MOSFET amplifiers. Integrated board and software package lets designers build a high-performance stand-alone motor controller, amplifier, or intelligent drive for use in brushless motor control applications. DK73110 kit is an integrated intelligent amplifier that incorporates velocity loop, current loop, commu...

By Staff
PLCs, PACs November 29, 2005

Project: Baton Rouge Wastewater Pump Station SCADA System (November 29, 2005)

November 29, 2005 With a short work week last week, we focused on moving things along with Phase I of the project. We made a request to the primary engineering consultant to add a vendor to the Phase I RTU and HMI solicitation. In our September meeting, we agreed with the client and consultant that an Ethernet vs.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs November 29, 2005

SCADA software with embedded OPC

Telemecanique Vijeo Look SCADA software v2.6 from Schneider Electric permits retrieval of up to 5,000 variables in less than a minute. Palatine, IL — Telemecanique Vijeo Look SCADA software v2.6 from Schneider Electric works out-of-the-box with any Modicon PLC and can be configured to work with third-party PLCs. Real-time data acquisition is performed using OPC Factory Server v3.2, included with Vijeo Look software or available separately. Enhanced communications capabilities permit retrieval of up to 5,000 variables in less than a minute.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs November 21, 2005

Flow products for hazardous areas

Brooks Instrument’s Quantim Coriolis-family of low-flowmeters and controllers have a NEMA 4x/IP65 weatherproof package and are approved for service in Class 1, Div. 2 or Class 1, Div. 1 Groups C&D/Zone 1 explosion-proof environments.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs November 21, 2005

Plant-wide control for batch applications

RSLogix-5000 programming software includes PhaseManager feature for plant-wide control capabilities for batch applications.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs November 10, 2005

Green Hills’ industrial safety platform includes RTOS nearing SIL-3 certification

Integrity-61508's system architecture provides protected address space partitions, allowing developers to create and deploy applications with a mix of safety integrity levels on one microprocessor. At ISA Expo 2005 in Chicago in late October, Green Hills Software Inc. (GHS) introduced its "Platform for Industrial Safety"—a complete software development and deployment solution for safety-critical industrial devices.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs November 9, 2005

Project: Biopharmaceutical filtration automation (November 9, 2005)

November 9, 2005 Project Status Summary: 1. MF software design 100%2. MF software code complete 100%3.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs November 3, 2005

New chip: thinks for itself, share what it knows, fits into almost anything

Echelon Corp’s FT chip is the first implementation of its new, Pyxos, embedded-control networking platform. Designed to be built into the sensors and actuators embedded inside a machine, Pyxos FT chips extract information from the devices, relay control commands between devices, and make the machine's control network status available to remote service centers and applications. FT chips use twisted-pair wiring to send high-speed network data and power to sensors, actuators, devices, and even building materials into which they have been embedded. Sending power and data on two wires reduces installation complexity and lowers cost of the end product and installation.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs November 1, 2005

Live hacking into your process

It's real. I saw it. Believe. Hackers can remotely enter facilities via laptop, run pumps, and actuate valves without the knowledge of owners/operators. It can be done, through multiple firewalls, with active security measures and technologies in place. U.S. Department of Energy and Department of Homeland Security, working through Idaho National Labs (INL), demonstrated a gut-wrenching breach ...

By Mark T. Hoske, Editor-in-Chief
PLCs, PACs November 1, 2005

How may I help you?

How many times have you felt like answering or have actually answered your work phone with the phrase, "Hello, how may I help you?" If you design and implement systems, you may be surprised at the amount of time spent on service and support. The typical IT department spends more than 75% of its budget on service.

By Dennis Brandl, BR&L Consulting
PLCs, PACs October 24, 2005

Exclusive: PACs for machine, process control

Programmable automation controllers (PACs) fill an increasing need for devices that can perform continuous machine or process control while offering data acquisition capabilities, multiple communication options, and integration with enterprise applications and databases.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs October 11, 2005

Ametek completes deal to acquire instrumentation supplier

Paoli, PA — Ametek Inc. has acquired the Solartron Group from Roxboro Group PLC for approximately $75 million (EIG 2004 sales were approximately $667 million. Solartron is composed of “differentiated, niche-focused businesses that fit nicely with several of our current process and analytical instrument businesses,” said Frank S. Harmance, Ametek chairman and chief executive officer.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs October 6, 2005

Ethernet I/O module mixes analog, discrete

BusWorks 951EN Series Ethernet I/O modules Acromag ’s new, $695, 12-channel, remote-I/O modules feature analog inputs and outputs and bi-directional discrete I/O-channels. The 951EN and 952EN “Combo” Ethernet I/O modules channels include: four analog inputs, two analog outputs, and six discrete input/output, on a single inch-wide unit. This mix of I/O can reduce costs significantly by replacing the need to buy three I/O modules. The modules support Ethernet/IP and Modbus TCP/IP protocols, as well as Acromag’s own i2o technology.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs October 3, 2005

Operator terminals in five sizes

Compact PMIvisu diagnostic and operator terminals come in five screen sizes: 5.7, 6.5, 10.4, 12.0, and 15.0 in.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs October 1, 2005

What’s next in sensor technologies

Technical change-agents affecting sensors markets today include developments in smart sensors, sensor buses for distributed networks, semiconductor technology, and sensor miniaturization, in general. Because industrial sectors are constantly looking for cutting-edge high performance at a lower cost, smart sensors using microcontrollers are adding intelligence and functionality to various senso...

By Randy Ray
PLCs, PACs October 1, 2005

Networked design benefits conveyor OEM

Hard-wired connections for controls and I/O devices take more time to design, install, modify, and troubleshoot compared to using a device network. Switching to a networked design saved Shuttleworth Inc., an international conveyor and product handling equipment manufacturer, up to 8% in building and assembly.

By Lizanne Dathe
PLCs, PACs September 29, 2005

End-user Upturn Highlights 2005 MESA Conference

Orlando, FL —The largest end-user turnout in the event's history underscored MESA International's 2005 Plant2Enterprise conference, September 26-29. According to Kevin Roach, chairman of MESA International and president of Rockwell Software, this year's conference hosted 240 attendees, up from 138 in 2004. "Forty-three percent of this year's attendees are end-users," said Roach, "three times more than last year's show and the most ever at a MESA event." Roach contends that the sharp increase in end-user attendance over last year underscores an increased interest in manufacturing execution system technologies that link manufacturing shop floor operations to enterprise business systems. In addition to session tracks on "plant up" and "enterprise down" methods of integration, the 2005 MESA conference also featured presentations from Paul Martin, CIO, Rexam plc (one of the world's largest consumer package goods companies); Cheryl Bogenschutz, CIO, and David Klepak, chassis systems IT manager, ZF Lemforder Corp.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs September 13, 2005

September 13 Implementation Chronicles Update

The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina continues to impact wastewater SCADA project implementation. However, blogger Stan Prutz’s other Gulf Coast projects are still being completed. Travel between sites is no easy task, as Prutz describes: “Only a few restaurants were open—people were never so thankful for a McDonald's hamburger.” Though no natural disasters have affected the Cascade Controls biopharmaceutical filtration automation project, blogger John Sever writes about his use of PLC peer-to-peer modules—showing how a function normally associated with enterprise IT can be useful in automation. Biopharmaceutical filtration automation project: With no HMI hardware yet arrived, blogger John Sever and others from Cascade Controls continue to develop equipment module logic in parallel with the software design.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs September 12, 2005

Free Ethernet seminars, in application locations, start Sept. 20

A series of free U.S. Ethernet seminars—for automation industrial automation, process control, data acquisition, and remote monitoring applications—begins on Sept. 20.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs September 1, 2005

Pemex picks ABB’s System 800xA control, safety systems for marine terminal

Pemex Gas y Petroquímica Básica has selected ABB's System 800xA High Integrity to provide integrated control and safety for its Pajaritos marine terminal in Coatzacoalcos, Mexico. System 800xA will be used for process control and compressor interlock applications in the cryogenic terminal, which receives, liquefies, and transfers ammonia, propane, propane/butane ga...

By Staff
PLCs, PACs September 1, 2005

Input/output systems

Today's I/O systems can add intelligence, broader communications, and flexibility across multiple logic platforms, central or distributed. I/O modules, installation, retrofits, and associated labor can account for half of an automation project's total cost. "Designers can now mix-and-match some I/O modules across PLC, DCS, and PC control vendor product lines," explains Connie Chick, business ma...

By Mark T. Hoske, Control Engineering
PLCs, PACs August 25, 2005

Project: Biopharmaceutical filtration automation, August 25, 2005

The end user has ordered the HMI hardware, but the equipment has not yet arrived so graphic development is again delayed. As described in last week's entry, static displays were developed without the PLC controller to develop against. Once the HMI hardware is available, the HMI software will be set up to communicate with the PLC and the graphic displays will be checked out against the running logic. Again, to keep the project moving forward, we continue working on areas that would normally occur after the basic graphic development is complete.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs August 25, 2005

Relay builds in Web server

Wall-mount and DIN-rail mount sockets are available. Applications include industrial control, remote monitoring, and others. Xytronix Research & Design Inc. introduced WebRelay , an electromechanical relay with a built-in Web server.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs August 23, 2005

August 23 Implementation Chronicles update

Since last week’s update, one of the projects hit an unexpected snag, leaving the system integrators to improvise a creative long-distance solution; while the other system integration team spent time conducting site visits to explore an optimal set up for the data center that will serve as at the heart of its project.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs August 18, 2005

Micro-spectrometers designed for handheld and compact field-based instruments

Nanospec family of high-performance, compact micro-spectrometers from Headwall Photonics incorporate the company’s original holographic diffraction gratings and produce spectral data for field-based applications requiring high-resolution and high signal-to-noise characteristics for photometric accuracy.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs August 16, 2005

Emerson automates Shanghai petrochemical complex

Shanghai, China—Emerson Process Management reports it recently completed a digital automation project at Shanghai SECCO Petrochemical Co.’s $2.7-billion, 10-plant ethylene cracker complex.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs August 16, 2005

NI: MXI-Express, DAQ for PCI Express, ADI Blackfin tools, ADI simulation

Austin, TX --National Instruments kicked off its customer and technology conference, NIWeek 2005, with major product introductions on Aug 16. The 11th annual event runs through Aug. 18. In the announcements, NI:--says MXI-Express delivers PCI Express control of PXI MXI-Express with a 40% performance increase, and a 33% price reduction, compared to PCI remote control of PXI with MXI-4.--released what the company calls the industry’s first PC-based multifunction data acquisition (DAQ) devices for PCI Express.--and Analog Devices Inc.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs August 16, 2005

Parker Hannifin buying domnick hunter to expand filtration, separation business

Cleveland, OH; Durham, U.K.—Parker Hannifin Corp. and domnick hunter group plc have agreed that Parker will acquire all of domnick hunter’s outstanding shares for an undisclosed amount of cash.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs August 16, 2005

Project: Biopharmaceutical filtration automation, August 16, 2005

We expected to be working on the HMI this past week. Unfortunately, the workstations on which we were to develop have not arrived because the customer and skid builder are still working out the details of the hardware that will be used as workstations. While our San Francisco office is doing most of the development, our home office in Tinley Park, IL, has much more company owned hardware on which we can develop.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs August 11, 2005

‘Deep Impact’ spacecraft uses Express Logic’s RTOS, Green Hills Software’s IDE

More embedded control products are finding their way into harsh-environment space exploration projects.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs August 11, 2005

Plant-floor data access via the Web

EWeb toolkit from Rockwell Automation helps capture data from Logix-based controllers and monitor the information over the Web in a single-screen view using a standard Web browser.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs August 3, 2005

Foxboro automation system selected for uranium mine

Uranium producer Cameco Corp. has chosen Invensys Process Systems to implement a Foxboro automation system at its Cigar Lake Mine in Saskatchewan, Canada.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs August 2, 2005

Pemex picks ABB’s System 800xA control, safety systems for marine terminal

Wickliffe, OH—Pemex Gas y Petroquímica Básica has selected ABB’s System 800xA High Integrity to provide integrated control and safety for its Pajaritos marine terminal in Coatzacoalcos, Mexico.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs August 1, 2005

Invensys sells Lambda for $235 million

Invensys plc reports it's selling its Lambda businesses to Japan-based TDK Corp. for approximately $235 million in cash. Lambda includes operations in Europe and North America, as well as a 58.2% interest in Densei-Lambda KK, which is listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. Lambda manufactures power supplies and uninterruptible power supply systems, which are used in the supply...

By Staff
PLCs, PACs July 26, 2005

Honeywell’s aerospace division to cut 2,000 jobs

Morris Township, NJ—As part of a webcast announcing a 10% increase in its second-quarter sales, Honeywell International confirmed last week that it plans to eliminate about 2,000 jobs in its Phoenix, AZ-based aerospace division.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs July 20, 2005

Project: Biopharmaceutical filtration automation

July 20, 2005 The design process for this project follows a bottom up strategy from field devices to recipes in this order.1. I/O2. Control modules and interlocks3.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs July 14, 2005

FTF 2005: Quadros Systems supports latest ColdFire processors

At Freescale Technology Forum (FTF) in Orlando in late June 2005, Quadros Systems Inc., a leading supplier of configurable and scalable real-time operating systems (RTOSs), announced RTOS support for the latest addition to Freescale’s ColdFire product line: the MCF521x family of microcontrollers.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs July 14, 2005

Project: Biopharmaceutical filtration automation July 14, 2005

July 14, 2005 The project has begun. Sales presentations are ancient history, purchase orders issued, technical information exchanged, kickoff meetings are over, and schedules are set. In short, the honeymoon is over.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs July 11, 2005

Versatile general-purpose motor controls

Commander SK ac drive accommodates PLC functionality. Snap-in Solution Modules allow for interchangeable fieldbus communications and other functionality.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs July 7, 2005

Control components: names change, new products, removing lead

New names for Aromat and Advanced Power Conversion, new surge protection devices, and tips for removing lead from manufacturing processes are among recent items in the news.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs July 4, 2005

Enhanced platform, vertical hardware

Experion PKS R300 includes a redesign of Honeywell’s automation and control platform hardware and new embedded cyber-security technology.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs July 1, 2005

Centralized vs. distributed control

Assembly lines are familiar entities characterized by a modular structure. The structure consists of modules for the different manufacturing stages, such as pick-and-place units, robots, welding stations and, of course, a logistics unit that transports individual parts between modules and controls the supply of assembly parts.

By Josef Papenfort
PLCs, PACs June 20, 2005

Low cost packet processing

Promentum ATCA-7010 packet processing module is said to allow the highest bandwidth throughput available in a single AdvancedTCA slot, reducing the cost of packet processing solutions.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs June 7, 2005

Digi purchases Rabbit Semiconductor for $49 million

Minnetonka, MN—To combine complementary product lines and enhance its position in the device networking market, Digi International reports that it has acquired Rabbit Semiconductor Inc., previously known as Z-World Inc., for $49 million in cash.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs June 1, 2005

Temperature indicators for food processing equipment

+Series digital panel indicators for Partlow and West controller product lines include 1/16- and 1/8-DIN devices that are configurable via plug-in output boards. Modular approach helps curb process monitoring costs by enabling the user to buy only the outputs needed for the application, reducing stocking requirements.

By Staff
PLCs, PACs June 1, 2005

SIL 2 safety architecture designed for process control applications

Matrix SafetyNet SIL (safety integrity level) 2 safety system from MTL Open System Technologies (MOST) complies with IEC 61508.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs May 31, 2005

NI’s PACs replace PLCs for advanced centrifuge control

Austin, TX—Researchers at the University of Colorado at Boulder recently implemented National Instruments’ (NI) programmable automation controllers (PACs) and NI’s LabView graphical development environment to streamline experiments involving a 400 g-ton centrifuge.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs May 31, 2005

SPS Electric Automation America: Phoenix Contact planning new Steeplechase VLC

Harrisburg, PA—Phoenix Contact reports the newest version of its Steeplechase VLC will make PC-based control scalable by providing easy implementation of its new embedded controllers, as well as providing enhancements for project development and maintenance.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs May 24, 2005

FOUNDATION fieldbus H1, HSE, flexible FBs integrate butanediol plant

Lima, OH—The Fieldbus Foundation (FF) and International Specialty Products (ISP) demonstrated the full implementation of FF’s open, integrated FOUNDATION fieldbus architecture on May 19 at ISP’s 1, 4-butanediol (BDO) plant.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs May 16, 2005

PLC supports ladder diagram, function block programming

Enhanced Baby Bear PLC is based on PLC-on-a-Chip technology.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs May 9, 2005

Encoder for large motor feedback applications

HS45 large-bore hollow shaft encoder is intended for large motor feedback applications.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs May 5, 2005

Wago offers free industrial Ethernet control seminar

Wago Corp. will hold its second, free, three-day seminar on industrial Ethernet control on Oct. 10-12, 2005, at its headquarters in Germantown, WI.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs May 5, 2005

Power: dc supplies, UPS, dc/dc research

Recent developments in the power area include new dc output power supplies with variable ac input, new uninterruptible power supplies, and market research showing solid growth in dc/dc devices.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs May 2, 2005

Interface tool for .Net applications

.Net Application Program Interface (API) tool provides a set of classes that supports the development of Microsoft Windows-based .Net software applications for communicating to Galil controllers.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs May 1, 2005

Fanning the flames

With the main fires of the fieldbus wars largely extinguished following the formation last February of an international cooperative team consisting of the three main fieldbus organizations (Fieldbus Foundation, HART Communication Foundation, and Profibus User Organization) and the OPC Foundation to extend electronic device description language (EDDL) for communication from the device level to t...

By Dave Greenfield
PLCs, PACs May 1, 2005

Freescale offers first ZigBee-compliant platform

Freescale Semiconductor reports that manufacturers can now use ZigBee technology in sensing and monitoring applications with what it says is the world's first single-source, ZigBee-compliant platform. TUV Rheinland of North America, an independent testing and assessment service designated by the ZigBee Alliance, confirms that Freescale's platform conforms to the IEEE 802.

By Staff
PLCs, PACs April 27, 2005

Interphex 2005: Honeywell debuts vertically designed hardware, enhanced Experion platform

New York, NY—Honeywell introduced its Experion Process Knowledge System (PKS) R300 at a dinner following the first day of Interphex 2005, April 26-28, at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs April 4, 2005

Automation software enhancements

FactoryFloor 4.1 software is designed for use with Opto 22’s process automation controllers, especially with Snap Ethernet I/O and Snap Serial I/O products.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs April 1, 2005

Compact motor starters

SCXi compact motor starter series provides starting and stopping control and basic motor protection against such malfunctions as overload, phase sequence and imbalance, motor thermistor, excess start time, shorted SCR, and supply faults. It fills the gap between standard soft-start controllers that provide only a few user settings and high-end digital controllers offering more than 50 settings ...

By Staff
PLCs, PACs March 24, 2005

Oriental Motor: Compact, hollow-shaft rotary actuators

An unusually compact direct-drive rotary actuator with a large diameter hollow-shaft is the result of combining a stepper motor and a gear-coupled output in one novel package.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs March 21, 2005

Temperature, process controls

Platinum Series “M” line of temperature and process controls is designed for small 1/16 DIN, 48 x 48 mm space requirements.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs March 17, 2005

Sierra gas flow calibration system offers accuracy of ±0.15% of reading

CalTrak SL-800 primary standard gas flow calibrator is the second in Sierra Instruments’ CalTrak line.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs March 14, 2005

DSCs offer 100 MIPS, 64-x higher PWM resolution

Three newly announced digital signal controllers (DSCs) combine real-time performance of DSPs with integrated peripherals and microcontroller ease-of-use to address motor control, digital power supply, and intelligent sensing applications.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs March 14, 2005

PLC programming enhancements

PLC WorkShop for Siemens 505, Version 3.60, SP1 is the latest addition to the company’s 32-bit family of PLC programming products.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs March 1, 2005

Ultra-precision nanotechnology

Nanotechnology and its corresponding unit—the nanometer—are causing some major technical challenges for the controls community as they relate to ultra-precision systems. When I discussed this in my August 2004 column, I addressed accuracy, repeatability, and resolution and gave the "target shooting" example.

By Thomas R. Kurfess Georgia Institute of Technology
PLCs, PACs February 11, 2005

Control Engineering Online Update for February 11, 2005

February 11, 2005 Highlights Sponsored by ABB A step-by-step guide illustrating how IEC61131-3 programming can be used in PLCs to execute specific functions and re-used to create different routines for existing or future projects. Object-Based Programming in PLCs Object-based programming has become a common aspect of today's office automation software products. Anyone who has added a customization to a spreadsheet or a user interface to a database is familiar with the benefits of these re-usable, self-contained modules. The world of programmable logic controllers (PLCs), however, had been slow to react to user demand until the release of the IEC61131-3 programming standard and subsequent products. The IEC61131-3 standard attempts to bring order to the chaotic world of PLC program development by implementing a better definition of program and data table structure.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs February 3, 2005

Multi-protocol device server connects PLCs with serial equipment

DeviceMaster UP from Comtrol Corp. is reported to be the first device server designed to act as a "universal translator," enabling connectivity between any PLC and any serial device on the factory floor using Profinet, EtherNet/IP, or Modbus/TCP protocols.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs February 3, 2005

Cirronet’s 900-MHz antennas achieve +20-mile range

Cirronet Inc. has released 900-MHz, long-range versions of its SEM and HopNet products.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs February 1, 2005

Opto 22, Power Engineers develop Ethernet, DNP3-based RTU alternative

Temecula, CA—Opto 22 and Idaho-based Power Engineers have co-developed Snap DNP I/O, which they report is a low-cost remote telemetry unit (RTU) alternative for use with DNP3-based supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs February 1, 2005

GE Fanuc launches new Proficy Change Management software

Charlottesville, VA—GE Fanuc Automation Americas Inc. has launched its new Proficy Change Management Version 5.0 software, which it reports is a new version of its plant-wide, advanced automation management, and control software.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs February 1, 2005

Utility integrates control across 41 remote stations

Running, maintaining, and upgrading a sewer system is challenging enough when a municipality has unlimited project funding. However, when funding is tight and a manufacturer no longer supports installed control equipment or can provide a reasonably priced alternative, the job becomes far more difficult.

By Staff
PLCs, PACs February 1, 2005

Sarbanes-Oxley and manufacturing IT

Primarily focused on accounting and financial controls and reporting, the Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) Act of 2002 and recent actions by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission have imposed new requirements on auditors, corporate boards, and management. Public companies must have procedures and systems in place to disclose, in near real time, any significant events or circumstances that are necessa...

By Dennis Brandl, BR&L Consulting
PLCs, PACs January 17, 2005

EXCLUSIVE: Highly modular control system solves complex tasks

X20 compact block I/O system from Bernecker+Rainer Industrie-Elektronik (B&R Industrial Automation in the U.S.) is a highly modular control system that enables combining all components needed for an application’s requirements.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs January 10, 2005

Small form factor CAN microcontrollers

Four new 8-bit CAN (Controller Area Network) Flash PIC microcontrollers combine a small form factor with ECAN module and nanoWatt Technology power management to complete the seamless migration path of the company’s PIC18F CAN microcontroller portfolio.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs January 6, 2005

Data-Linc launches modems, wireless I/O extenders

Because many applications need industrial wireless performance at shorter ranges, Data-Linc has introduced its PlantLinc wireless solution, which reportedly offers wireless communications up to 4 miles with interference immunity.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs January 1, 2005

Vibration monitor predicts failures, sends alarms

ifm efector reports that its vibration monitor, efector Octavis, can detect rolling element bearing failures and shaft unbalance conditions on pumps, motors, compressors, fans, spindles, and other plant equipment. Permanent mounting allows it to continuously monitor a machine's operating condition by analyzing the device's vibration signature, and then predicting failures, and sending an alarm ...

By Staff
PLCs, PACs January 1, 2005

Light screens have fixed blanking, flexible cascading

EZ-Screen safety light screen from Banner Engineering requires no controller. A complete system has an emitter and receiver, and options include interface modules, mounting options, and enclosures. EZ-Screen pairs are available in 14-mm and 30-mm resolutions, in 2-, 3-, and 4-beam systems, and in 12 lengths from 150 mm to 1,800 mm.

By Staff
PLCs, PACs January 1, 2005

Wireless I/O accepts 4-20 mA, two digital signals

To eliminate cables between serial nodes and point-to-multipoint networks, Phoenix Contact and Omnex Control Systems recently developed and released their RAD-Data Series (DS). RAD-Data evolved after Phoenix used Omnex's Trusted wireless I/O and data radios to develop its Measurement Control Regulation-Radio Analog Digital (MCR-RAD) technology, which transmits small packets, usually 16-18 bits ...

By Staff
PLCs, PACs January 1, 2005

Products Exclusive

Highly modular control system solves complex tasks X20 compact block I/O system from B&R Industrial Automation Group provides a modular control system for complex tasks. X20 compact block I/O system from Bernecker+Rainer Industrie-Elektronik (B&R Industrial Automation in the U.S.) is a highly modular control system that enables combining all components needed for an application's requirements. X20 can be added to a standard fieldbus to expand an existing control system.

By Staff
PLCs, PACs January 1, 2005

Rockwell, Endress+Hauser jointly simplifying process device configurations

To deliver preferred device configuration based on existing and emerging industry standards, Rockwell Automation Inc. and Endress+Hauser (E+H) are working jointly to provide users with more convenient, standards-compliant methods for configuring many process instruments.

By Staff
PLCs, PACs January 1, 2005

PLC gets 100 Mb Ethernet I/O modules

AutomationDirect and Host Engineering offer a 100 Mb Ethernet I/O base controller module and 100 Mb Ethernet communication module for DirectLogic PLCs. AutomationDirect and Host collaborated on H2-EBC100 and H2-ECOM100 Ethernet modules, selecting field-programmable gate array (FPGA) technology as the foundation for both modules.

By Staff
PLCs, PACs December 7, 2004

PCI Bus, 1-8 axes by Galil

The DMC-18-10 and DMC-18x2 Series are PCI bus motion controllers designed for multi-axis applicaitons. For single axis PCI applications, Galil's DMC-1417 controller is recommended.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs December 2, 2004

Lonmark International defines open systems

To help achieve cost savings, open bidding environments, and increased system flexibility, Lonmark International has released its Lonmark Open System Definition which defines the key characteristics of device networks ranging in size from a few devices to entire enterprise applications.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs December 2, 2004

Alltrista inspects home canning lids with machine vision

Alltrista Consumer Products Co., Muncie, IN, manufactures two-piece home-canning closures under Ball, Kerr, Golden Harvest, Mason, and Bernardin brand names. A critical quality check is inspecting the plastisol seal on the lid that preserves the vacuum, which ensures safe home-canned foods. Side-by-side Omron F160 vision systems inspect two lines of lids in the space of one of the former systems. As an early machine-vision adopter, Alltrista was using late 1980’s/early 1990’s-era vision systems to inspect lid seals.

By Mark Hoske
PLCs, PACs November 16, 2004

Wonderware, Woodhead strengthen plant-floor connectivity with ArchestrA

Lake Forest, CA—Wonderware reports that it’s working Woodhead Industries Inc. to offer ArchestrA plant-floor connectivity technology with Woodhead's hardware and software communication products.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs November 15, 2004

Exclusive: Connectivity interface for PLC networks

DeltaV Virtual I/O Module network gateway provides native DeltaV connectivity to PLC networks using the Modbus TCP/IP or Ethernet/IP protocol.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs November 11, 2004

PackExpo 2004: Omron focuses on products, progress, partnerships

Chicago, IL — ''We’ve had a great first half and are optimistic about the second,'' Craig Bauer, COO and president of Omron Electronics LLC, told a press gathering recently. Speaking at PackExpo this week, the corporate executive expressed confidence in the future economy and cited the company’s exceptionally strong performance and double-digit growth thus far this year as a reason for enthusiasm and optimism.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs November 11, 2004

Automation Fair 2004: xCoupler modules demo new level of data connectivity

Simple, safe data communication among multiple plant-floor devices and various types of enterprise servers has never been more vital than today.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs November 11, 2004

NetSilicon: More NET+ARM processors for embedded networking

Recent expansion of NetSilicon Inc.’s NET+ARM microprocessor (MPU) family, based on the ARM9 core chip, now includes a "cost-effective" third member.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs November 8, 2004

Module embeds PC functions

ETX-P3T computer-on-module (COM) provides complete PC functionality in a component that plugs into an application-specific carrier board.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs October 21, 2004

China to become largest PLC market in the world

China will become the biggest PLC market in the world by 2007, a new IMS Research report predicts, surpassing Japan, Germany, and the USA.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs October 19, 2004

NIST’s process control forum helps networks prevent cyber attacks

Gaithersburg, MD—A 500-member forum of industry, government, and academic technical experts, led by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), has released a new draft set of cyber security requirements for industrial control systems.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs October 7, 2004

Agilent, VXI start LAN-based, modular platform standard for automated testing

To combine the best of rack-and-stack instrument and modular test capabilities in a compact, flexible package, Agilent Technologies Inc. and VXI Technology Inc. have introduced LXI, a LAN-based, modular, platform standard for automated test systems.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs October 4, 2004

Serial datalogger works with PLCs

LoggeR serial data logger interfaces directly to the serial port of a PLC.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs September 23, 2004

Agilent, VXI start LAN-based standard for automated test systems

Palo Alto, CA—To combine the best of rack-and-stack instrument and modular test capabilities in a compact, flexible package, Agilent Technologies Inc. and VXI Technology Inc. have introduced LXI, a LAN-based, modular, platform standard for automated test systems.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs September 7, 2004

Technology and Business: The Path Forward

Click here to read the original print article. An interview with Andrew McDonald—Unilever HPC-NA’s global automation and control technology manager—reveals insights about bringing the communities of engineering and management closer together at your facility. Andrew McDonald holds the position of global automation and control technology manager at Unilever Home and Personal Care North America (HPC-NA).

By Frank Bartos
PLCs, PACs September 1, 2004

The Path Forward: Link Technology and Business

Andrew McDonald is responsible for the management of Unilever's strategic program relating to process control and automation. A degreed electrical and electronic engineer, he is a Chartered Engineer and a member of the Institution of Electrical Engineers (U.K.). His career has included work with electrical and system integrators, control engineering roles on various waste management and decomm...

By Frank J. Bartos
PLCs, PACs September 1, 2004

Compact package diode array

GCDA15C-1 diode array provides cost-effective ESD (electrostatic discharge) protection in ADSL, RS-232, RS-422, and V.90 interfaces; high-speed data lines; WAN/LAN equipment; and wireless systems. Aimed at high-volume mainstream applications, product is rated for an operating voltage of 15 V and has a typical capacitance of 5 pF.

By Staff
PLCs, PACs August 30, 2004

Analog ultrasonic sensor

RPS-412A high-accuracy (±0.002 in. or 0.05% of range, whichever is greater, at 25 °C) analog ultrasonic sensor has a built-in temperature compensation target that monitors and compensates for air temperature 50 times a second.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs August 24, 2004

NIWeek 2004: R&D, new products, engineering education

Austin, TX—With new product introductions, including controllers, software, and high-speed data acquisition suitable for motion and vision applications, National Instruments (NI) continued its push to serve automation users at its recent 10th annual NIWeek event.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs August 19, 2004

HIMA introduces safety PLCs with fast cycle times

HIMatrix series of safety-related controllers from HIMA are said to be among the fastest for process automation.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs August 16, 2004

Optical fiber encoder cable

MR121 ZapFree encoder cable is designed to promote effective communication between motion sensors and controllers in environments with troublesome electromagnetic interference and over long distances.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs August 12, 2004

On-board FPGA enhances Ultimodule’s new embedded SoM

Ultimodule Inc. introduced in late July the newest member of its Smart Controller Module (SCM) family—UM-SCM240.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs August 1, 2004

Fluid Automation Systems added to IMI’s Norgren group

IMI plc reports that it's buying Fluid Automation Systems (FAS) and will add FAS to IMI's Norgren group. FAS specializes in miniature solenoid valves and customized solutions. Norgren supplies motion and fluid control solutions, and is the largest subsidiary in IMI's $2.8-billion international engineering group.

By Staff
PLCs, PACs August 1, 2004

Real-Time Manufacturing Database Architecture

In 1988, I lead a project team that developed one of the first manufacturing information systems to use a relational database. It recorded nylon spool production information for DuPont. The essential architecture was an Allen-Bradley PLC 2/30 talking to a DEC MicroVax cluster. Although we knew what data we needed, the hardware and software did not have the horsepower to log and report the detai...

By Walter J. Cholawsky , Program4 Engineering
PLCs, PACs August 1, 2004

50, 25, 10 Years Ago – 2004-08-01

This page offers a look back on a variety of interesting items from Control Engineering's past issues, highlighting content from 50, 25, and 10 years ago. March 1955 Tape-controlled machine out-embroiders Grandma Data-processing experts of the AIEE were recently invited to turn their attention to the feminine art of embroidering.

By Staff
PLCs, PACs July 22, 2004

‘Environmentally sealed’ linear actuator stands up to harsh world

Designers and engineers looking for compact linear actuators suitable in medical, food processing, cleanroom, and related applications now have an added solution with Ultra Motion LLC’s recent launch of a new series of such devices offering washdown and autoclaving capability.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs July 20, 2004

Emerson buying Marconi’s power business

St. Louis, MO; Lorain, OH—Emerson has agreed to acquire the outside plant and power systems business of Marconi Corp. plc for $375 million in cash.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs July 9, 2004

Cypress buying CMOS image sensor manufacturer

San Jose, CA—Cypress Semiconductor Corp. recently agreed to acquire Belgium-based FillFactory NV, a leader in active-pixel, complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) image sensor technology, for $100 million in cash.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs July 8, 2004

Modest gains forecast for ruggedized computer market

Demand for ruggedized industrial computer systems in North America and Western Europe is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.4% between 2003 and 2006, a recent Venture Development Corp.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs July 2, 2004

Fluid Automation Systems acquired; added to IMI’s Norgren group

Littleton, CO—IMI plc reports that it’s buying Fluid Automation Systems (FAS) and will add FAS to IMI’s Norgren group

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs July 1, 2004

Nematron completes privatization; appoints new CEO

Nematron Corp. reports that it has completed its return to private ownership and initiated several plans to improve customer service and financial performance. Also, the managing director of the firm's international business group for the past seven years, David Hicks, has been appointed CEO and will review and improve Nematron's operations worldwide.

By Staff
PLCs, PACs June 29, 2004

Power over Ethernet becoming standard in many products

Natick, MA—Power over Ethernet (PoE) technology is fast becoming a standard feature in products ranging from wireless access points to RFID tag readers, according to recent research by Venture Development Corp. (VDC).

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs June 24, 2004

Entry-level SCARA robot widens applications

Historically, robots were not considered viable in entry-level applications because of high cost, difficulty in installation, and support complications.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs June 21, 2004

Ensure uptime, seamless operation

PACSystems High Availability solutions provide a scaleable synchronized hot-standby redundant control platform that consists of two independent controllers connected to a variety of I/O points and incorporates dedicated and redundant links.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs June 15, 2004

Sensors Expo 2004: DPAC’s wireless LAN module named “Best of Show”

Detroit, MI—DPAC Technologies won the “Best of Show” product award for its Airborne wireless LAN node module at the Sensors Expo and Conference 2004, June 7-10, at Cobo Center.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs May 31, 2004

Next-generation system I/O

BL67 system I/O combines flexibility of in-the-cabinet PLC I/O systems with modularity, ruggedness, and connectivity.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs May 18, 2004

Yokogawa, Environment One form alliance

Newnan, GA—Environment One Corp.’s Utility Systems Business (E/One USB) and Yokogawa Corp. of America have formed a distribution alliance based on each firm’s success in the power generation field.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs May 13, 2004

ESC 2004: CompactPCI CPU board from Adlink Technology

Adlink Technology Inc.’s newest CompactPCI 6U CPU board—designated cPCI-6840—combines Intel’s Pentium M (high-performance, low-power) processor with 855GME Chipset graphics memory controller hub and 63000ESB I/O controller hub (both from Intel).

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs May 13, 2004

Schering Plough upgrades biotechnology facility DCS

The Schering Plough biotechnology facility, located in Cork, Ireland, will upgrade its industrial control system with ABB’s Industrial IT Extended Automation System 800xA.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs May 1, 2004

50, 25, 10 Years Ago – 2004-05-01

This page offers a look back on a variety of interesting items from Control Engineering's past issues, highlighting content from 50, 25, and 10 years ago. January 1955 Robot Salesmen Book review of: "Automatic Selling," published by John Wiley & Sons. $5.00. Automatic retailing is a big field [$1.

By Staff
PLCs, PACs May 1, 2004

Rockwell Automation plans to close Eau Claire plant; cut 115 jobs

Rockwell Automation Inc. has announced that it will close its plant in Eau Claire, WI, within the next eight months. The closing will eliminate 115 jobs. The facility had been in operation since 1993. The company plans to relocate manufacturing of its small logic controllers (SLCs), PanelView human-machine interfaces (HMIs), and other small molded plastic products made at...

By Staff
PLCs, PACs April 27, 2004

Hannover Fair 2004: new Schneider firm to develop services, sell Dassault solutions

Paris, France—Schneider Electric and Dassault Systemes recently launched a partnership in which Schneider started a new firm, Dextus, to sell software from Dassault’s Delmia Solutions subsidiary.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs April 15, 2004

Schneider service smoothes move from legacy to new platforms

A new service from Schneider Electric lets critical process industries easily update legacy systems without expensive and time-consuming revalidation.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs April 15, 2004

Distributed, remote I/O users name compatibility top software need

Compatibility with other software and systems is the most desired software performance requirement among users of distributed and remote I/O buses and networks, a recent VDC Corp.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs April 8, 2004

GE Fanuc: low power, extended temperature SBC

Promising "high performance with low power consumption," GE Fanuc Automation Americas Inc., introduced a new 6U-style, single-slot VME single-board computer (SBC) at ElectronicaUSA.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs April 1, 2004

NI’s GPIB increases throughput with IEEE 488.1-2003 standard

National Instruments (NI) reports that its General Purpose Interface Bus (GPIB) products fully support the recently upgraded IEEE 488.1-2003 standard, and increase data transfer rates to speeds as high as 8 Mbps, up from 1 Mbps. NI’s GPIB products, including GPIB host controllers, such as the NI PCI-GPIB, and device-side products, such as TNT ASICs, are now compliant with the upgraded standard.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs March 25, 2004

PowerFlex variable-speed drives extend power range

Power range of Rockwell Automation’s PowerFlex family of variable-speed ac drives has again been widened.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs March 17, 2004

Interphex 2004: Emerson keeps shrinking Coriolis transmitters’ size, costs

New York, NY—Emerson Process Management reports that integrating Coriolis flowmeters into its PlantWeb digital plant architecture, programmable logic controller (PLC) systems, or distributed control systems (DCSs) is now easier and less expensive because Emerson just released its ultra-compact Micro Motion Model 1500 MVD Coriolis transmitter.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs March 17, 2004

Interphex 2004: GE Fanuc launches Change Management Solution software

New York NY—GE Fanuc Automation Americas Inc. reports its new Change Management Solution software helps users track changes and control versions of automation software and devices and equipment used on the factory floor to provide a framework for achieving 21 CFR Part 11 and GmP compliance.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs March 15, 2004

Interactive HMI software

MicroCommander v2 interactive HMI control and automation software enables embedded micro controllers and SBCs to use X10 to control devices over existing building wiring and power lines.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs March 15, 2004

Dual access control reader

Duprex (dual supervised reader extender) extends the distance between any two access control readers and controller.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs March 10, 2004

NMW 2004: photos from the show floor, events

Chicago, IL—Thousands of innovations from hundreds of exhibitors were featured at National Manufacturing Week 2004, but not everyone had time or ability to attend thus year’s show. Here’s brief look at some of the most interesting exhibits and other events.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs March 2, 2004

NI delivers motion control for Linux, VxWorks platforms

Austin, TX—National Instruments recently launched its new Motion Hardware Driver Development Kit. Engineers, who were once limited to developing motion control applications on the Windows platform, can use the kit to create embedded motion systems in varied platforms such as Linux, VxWorks and RTX.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs February 19, 2004

Instrumental to the workplace

A variety of instruments and controls are introduced into the market regularly. Among this month’s new offerings are a portable controller, paperless videographic recorder, and a line of non-contact, infrared thermometers.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs February 16, 2004

Web server module

Allen-Bradley 1756-EWEB module for ControlLogix controllers gives users convenient access to plant-floor information.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs February 12, 2004

Rockwell Automation forecasts PAC direction

Manufacturers can leverage programmable automation controllers (PACs), which combine the attributes of the PLC, PC, DCS and open control platforms, to access greater amounts of control system data from business systems.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs February 5, 2004

Control components: tiny ejector vacuum pump, circuit monitors, laser coder

New products among control components include the following: Piab P2010 multi-stage ejector pump; Schneider Electric PowerLogic Series 3000 and Series 4000 Circuit Monitors; and Weber Marking Systems New high-resolution laser coder.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs February 1, 2004

50, 25, 10 years ago – 2004-02-01

This page offers a look back on a variety of interesting items from Control Engineering's past issues, highlighting content from 50, 25, and 10 years ago. September 1954 Supermarket computer calculates correct change No longer does the supermarket clerk have to depend on mental or pencil-and-paper arithmetic to determine the amount of change due a customer.

By Staff
PLCs, PACs January 29, 2004

Microchip Technology Inc.: New MCUs for economical motor control

Microchip Technology Inc. recently announced a family of 8-bit Flash microcontrollers (MCUs) incorporating advanced motor control peripherals.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs January 20, 2004

Tektronix’s analysis package speeds design, validation of WLANs

Beaverton, OR—To deliver one solution able to handle all IEEE 802.11 variations, Tektronix Inc. has introduced a new software analysis package to speed design and validation of wireless local area network (WLAN) products complying with any of today's prevailing WLAN standards.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs January 1, 2004

Automation system links to networks

Yokogawa Electric Corp. says its Network-based Control System, Stardom, is its first rugged, autonomous, network-based control system, which combines FOUNDATION fieldbus H1 networking, secure Internet, communication technologies, and supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) software. Stardom's functionality fits between a distributed control system (DCS) and PLCs, though it isn't desi...

By Staff
PLCs, PACs December 30, 2003

Multivariable DSP improves Emerson’s transmitters

Boulder, CO—To improve process consistency and maximize uptime, Emerson Process Management has made its Micro Motion Series 3000 transmitters more powerful by adding Micro Motion’s patented MVD technology.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs December 19, 2003

Seven steps for reducing costs without outsourcing

Cleveland, OH—Outsourcing might be the one of the easiest ways to cut costs, but other means, such as investments in better maintenance or more effective automation, could be more effective, suggests Rebecca Morgan, president of Fulcrum ConsultingWorks Inc.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs November 14, 2003

Opto 22 confirms settlement with Schneider Electric; spent millions defending against patent litigation

Temecula, CA—Opto 22 confirmed Nov. 13 that it has settled the lawsuit brought against it more than two and a half years ago by Schneider Electric. Opto 22 stated that the U.S. patent process is broken, and that it chose not to continue spending millions of dollars defending itself against Schneider’s litigation.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs November 4, 2003

Control Engineering HMI, System Integration custom newsletter for November 2003

A custom advertising newsletter from Control Engineering & Contec Microelectronics| November 3, 2003 Japan's Largest DAQ ManufacturerCONTEC's comprehensive lineup of PCI and ISA, Digital and Analog I/O Boards coupled with LABVIEW Drivers, API Tools and Active X Software and Industrial Touch-Screen PCs make meeting project deadlines a piece of cake for engineers. Check out our latest additions to the PCI Boards family at: Click Here Control System Evolution The recent history of control technology can be seen in the transition from purely discrete devices to the use of programmable logic controllers and distributed control systems. Now, a new model—the distributed processor-based system-—has appeared on the horizon boasting the best features of earlier systems while providing new capabilities. Traditionally, manufacturers have used programmable logic controllers (PLCs) to automate simple, discrete applications and distributed control systems (DCSs) to automate large-scale process applications. Today, however, manufacturers must run complex processes employing tighter enterprise integration of control, production, and front office applications while offering customers the opportunity for greater product customization.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs November 1, 2003

ISA Expo 2003 Microsoft, Invensys form alliance for solutions

Microsoft Corp. and Invensys plc unveiled an alliance Oct. 21 that they say combines Invensys' strengths in process and manufacturing and its expertise in key industries with Microsoft's platform, technology and enterprise products. Organizers told visitors on the show floor at ISA Expo 2003 that the partnership will accelerate product development using Invensys' ArchestrA t...

By Staff
PLCs, PACs November 1, 2003

ODVA 2003: General Motors standardizes on EtherNet/IP

The Open DeviceNet Vendors Association (ODVA) announced Oct. 1 that General Motors Corp. has standardized on EtherNet/IP fieldbus protocol for its vehicle manufacturing operations. EtherNet/IP network will provide real-time communication between GM's machine controllers, robots and process control equipment, as well as provide information to higher-level business systems.

By Staff
PLCs, PACs October 21, 2003

ISA Expo 2003: RAE shows connectivity for wireless monitoring

Houston, TX—A new total connectivity solution for wireless industrial monitoring from RAE Systems Inc. (Sunnyvale, CA) includes AreaPort and AreaConnect, which provide seamless, wireless online monitoring of 4-20 mA sensors and industrial Ethernet data management for manufacturing environments

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs October 21, 2003

PackExpo 2003: Sick introduces new ultrasonic sensors

Las Vegas, NV—To provide multi-sheet detection capabilities, Sick Inc. (Minneapolis, MN) unveiled its new ultrasonic sensors on Oct. 12 at PackExpo 2003.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs October 16, 2003

Control system parts finder

According to ARC Advisory Group, worldwide there are $65 billion of installed distributed control systems (DCS), programmable logic controllers (PLCs), and other related entities, and much of it has “whiskers. ClassicAutomation is an innovative service that puts together control system buyers and sellers. Unlike eBay, most items are listed at a fixed price, but the site does provide for sellers to list an item for bidding.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs October 15, 2003

Autodesk incorporates VIA’s Wiring Diagram into AutoCAD

San Rafael, CA—Autodesk’s AutoCAD has incorporated and augmented VIA Development’s (Marion, IN) Wiring Diagram (WD) to create its newly released AutoCAD Electrical 2004, which Autodesk says is the “first fully integrated solution for designers of electrical control systems.”

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs October 13, 2003

Weight data collection

StatPak-PC is an integrated software suite designed for the real-time collection, viewing, and reporting of weight data generated by equipment such as in-motion checkweighers, static check scales, and fill-by-weight packaging machinery.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs October 9, 2003

Slower growth projected for distributed, remote I/O device market

Natick, MA—An expected increase in worldwide shipments of distributed and remote I/O devices is expected to slow to a 4.5% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) through 2005, rather than a 6.6% CAGR projected two year ago, according to a new study, 'Global Market Demand and User Requirements for Industrial Distributed/Remote I/O, Third Edition,' by Venture Development Corp. (VDC).

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs October 1, 2003

Adept introduces robots controlled from Allen-Bradley PLC

Adept Technology Inc. has introduced a new family of PLC-controlled robots that combine a selectively compliant articulated robot arm (SCARA) robot with a programmable logic controller (PLC) server. This solution simplified integration by allowing direct programming of the robot via a DF-1 serial connection from Rockwell Automation's Allen-Bradley PLCs, including its PLC-5, ...

By Staff
PLCs, PACs October 1, 2003

Securing New Horizons

We can't see the future, but we can improve the probability of our survival and success with a little foresight, preparation, and willingness to explore new solutions. One way to do this is to attend ISA Expo 2003, Oct. 21-23, at the Reliant Center in Houston, TX. Expected to feature more than 500 exhibitors and attract approximately 15,000 visitors, this year's three-day event is organized by ...

By Jim Montague, Control Engineering
PLCs, PACs October 1, 2003

Foxboro helps pulp mill switch over 1,000 I/O points in three hours

Invensys Foxboro reports that the world's leading producer of bleached eucalyptus pulp, Aracruz Celulose, recently set a new industry record by completing the physical switchover of more than 1,000 I/O points from a legacy Fisher-Provox control system to a modern I/A Series automation system in just three hours and seven minutes.

By Staff
PLCs, PACs October 1, 2003

Optical fiber gaining on copper

The advantages of fiber-optic wiring and networks are well known. Optical fiber can move more data faster over longer distances than copper wire. Fiber is non-conductive, so it isn't affected by electrical noise, lightning, electromagnetic interference (EMI), or radio frequency interference (RFI). It takes up less space, is unaffected by vibration, and doesn't corrode in the presence of galvani...

By Jim Montague, News Editor
PLCs, PACs September 30, 2003

Baan’s parent lays off 800 employees following acquisition

Chicago, IL—SSA Global Technologies Inc. confirmed Sept 25 that it is laying off 797 of 2,800 employees worldwide at its subsidiary, Baan Co., a longtime enterprise applications developer and manufacturer. The overall job cuts include approximately 200 of the 850 staffers at Baan’s Netherlands-based headquarters.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs September 16, 2003

Axeda, Wago developing integrated building automation solution

Mansfield, MA—To give users the ability to select bus systems and devices via open interfaces, Axeda Systems Inc. and Wago Kontakttechnik GmbH report that they're collaborating to provide a flexible, cost-effective alternative to existing proprietary building automation solutions.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs September 15, 2003

DAQ, monitoring system

SV180 data acquisition, monitoring, and management solution is the latest addition to the SmartView family.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs September 11, 2003

Visteon Chooses MathWorks Code Generation

The MathWorks announced that Visteon Corp., a global tier one automotive supplier, is deploying The MathWorks embedded code-generation technology. Jaguar also uses The MathWorks’ code-generation products.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs September 1, 2003

NEMA’S industrial control business indices rise

Recent reports showing improvement in the U.S. economy appear to be proving favorable for many industrial control manufacturers. For example, the National Electrical Manufacturers Association's (NEMA) Primary Industrial Control Index recently reported that sales activity increased by one-half a point in the second quarter of 2003 (2Q03), reaching an index value of 72.

By Staff
PLCs, PACs September 1, 2003

Factors affecting network bandwidth

Bandwidth is defined as the carrying capacity of a circuit. It's usually measured in bits per second for digital circuits, or in hertz for analog circuits. Though a hardwired network is also limited by the speed of its devices and microprocessors, a typical 4-20 mA signal over typical 18-gauge wire usually has about a 10-ms response time.

By Jim Montague
PLCs, PACs August 14, 2003

Real-time databases for process control

As process control systems continue to evolve, their software applications become more complex, and often require timely access to, and processing of, massive amounts of data.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs July 1, 2003

Server software

Control Technology's CTServer software provides a direct, Web-based link between the factory floor and enterprise systems, such as MRP (material requirements planning), CRM (customer relationship management), documentation, and quality analysis. Remote terminal units, such as those used for tank farms, water treatment, and environmental monitoring, may be used as CTServer clients, enabling user...

By Staff
PLCs, PACs July 1, 2003

Schneider settles patent infringement lawsuit against Opto 22

Schneider Electric reported May 29 that it has settled out of court its patent infringement lawsuit against Opto 22. "Schneider Automation, Square D, and Opto 22 announce the settlement of their patent lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, " said Schneider's lawyers, in what was reported to be a mutually agreed on statement.

By Staff
PLCs, PACs June 13, 2003

Foxboro launches 1-gigabit Switched Ethernet backbone for I/A Series

Foxboro, MA—To provide what it reports is the fastest communications infrastructure in the process control industry, the Foxboro Automation Systems unit of Invensys plc recently introduced a new 1-gigabit Switched Ethernet system backbone for its I/A Series A2 system.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs June 11, 2003

OPC Data eXchange spec, sample code released

Phoenix, AZ—OPC Foundation's long-awaited Data eXchange specification and sample code has been released.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs June 1, 2003

In Business – 2003-06-01 – 2003-06-01

To provide protection against noise and fault conditions, Texas Instruments Inc. (Dallas, TX) recently introduced what it reports are the world's first extended, common-mode RS-485 transceivers. TI's SN65HVD2X devices reportedly more than double Telecommunications Industry Alliance/Electronic Industries Alliance's (TIA/EIA) present RS-485 requirements.

By Staff
PLCs, PACs June 1, 2003

HMI for stand-alone or integrated OEM applications

Human machine interface (HMI) software used in original equipment manufacturer (OEM) applications needs to integrate readily with the control function, either through a hardwired relay-based system, a custom electronics system, or a dedicated programmable logic controller (PLC). Any of these control approaches can be linked to a light and pushbutton interface or a packaged electronic HMI system.

By Tracy J. Coates P.E.
PLCs, PACs April 1, 2003

Multifunction calibration bench

Marietta, GA —Beamex's MCS100 calibration bench system with expanded functionality now features the MC5-P calibration host module, offering multifunction calibration capability for pressure, temperature, and electrical signals—including frequency, pulses, and HART instruments. Several auxiliary calibration modules can be installed and internally linked to the MC5-P host module incl...

By Staff
PLCs, PACs April 1, 2003

Bottom up or top down?

So should you incorporate a bottom-up or top-down philosophy for information integration, as part of your open-systems strategy? Microsoft .Net strategies have been seen as a bottom-up approach, reaching from the plant floor into higher-level enterprise systems, sometimes through middleware, provided by IBM and others.

By Mark T. Hoske
PLCs, PACs April 1, 2003

GE Fanuc announces PACSystems

GE Fanuc Automation has introduced its new PACSystems family of controllers.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs March 12, 2003

Control Engineering Europe continues with April edition

Oak Brook, IL—Control Engineering, part of Reed Business Information, recently announced that it has renewed its dedication to Control Engineering Europe, in cooperation with IML Group plc (Kent, U.K.) and Michael Babb, Control Engineering Europe's editor.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs March 4, 2003

NMW 2003: ipd’s iLabel checks label placement, quality

Chicago, IL—ipd, the intelligent products division of Coreco Imaging, Inc. (Billerica, MA), in-troduced its latest machine vision appliance, iLabel, on March 4 at National Manufacturing Week (NMW) 2003.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs March 1, 2003

Hannover Fair 2003 expects many innovations

Unquestionably the largest trade show in the control, automation, and related industries, Hannover Fair is planning to continue this tradition in its 2003 edition, scheduled for April 7-12. [For more overall details on Hannover Fair 2003, read "Are You Going to Hannover Fair?" on page 55 of this issue.

By Staff
PLCs, PACs March 1, 2003

Wireless control system cuts generator farm start time

A new wireless remote control system is reducing the time it takes to start and parallel CMS Distributed Power LLC's peak-shaving generator farms from about 1 hour to 10 minutes. These savings dramatically reduce the labor required to operate the generator sets, which supply power during peak periods to the local electrical grid and a large automotive plant.

By Jim Montague
PLCs, PACs February 24, 2003

Help Wanted: Senior Editor, Control Engineering

Oak Brook, IL - Control Engineering is seeking a full-time senior editor for machine and embedded control, and human-machine interface coverage.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs February 20, 2003

Control Engineering HMI eNewsletter for February 2003

AutomationDirect AutomationDirect now offers EZTouch PLC touch panels with a built-in Data Highway Plus (DH+) interface, or Ethernet option cards for use with certain EZTouch panels. New Data Highway Plus versions of the EZTouch panels are available for 6, 8, 10, and 15-inch models in regular or slim bezel sizes. Prices for EZTouch panels with the DH+ card pre-installed start at $1,159 for the 6-inch monochrome version. Click here for more information on the EZTouch panels. Higher connections Rockwell Automation acquires Interwave Technology Mark your calendar for the National Industrial Automation Show 'Visualize your enterprise'' in the Web-enabled world And yet more on instant messaging Wonderware's Industrial Application Server and InTouch 8.0 Software Target FDA 21 CFR Part 11 More HMI/SCADA resources Check out the February Control Engineering, other resources Higher connections If you have a particular project in mind-with a deadline-sometimes it's easy to consider implementing human-machine interface as just another project element, when it really can serve as a point of connection to higher level-systems. Automation specialists with three end-user companies-Procter & Gamble, General Motors, and Cytec Specialty Chemicals-seek help from automation vendors to integrate plant-floor automation systems with higher level systems.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs February 1, 2003

Cross-Directional Control Aids Paper Making

Paper-making is a precision operation. Weight, moisture, and thickness of paper must be uniform from the start to the end of a roll and across the width of the sheet. A variety of control techniques have been developed to maintain the quality of the paper not only in the direction the sheet is moving but in the cross-direction as well.

By Vance VanDoren
PLCs, PACs February 1, 2003

ABB, BASF sign global partnership agreement

ABB and BASF AG agreed Jan. 6 that ABB will supply distributed control systems (DCSs) to BASF facilities worldwide. The agreement includes OperateIT distributed control systems, ControlIT controllers, and other controllers in the Melody and Freelance series. The agreement also includes engineering services, documentation, factory acceptance test (FAT) training, and...

By Staff
PLCs, PACs January 13, 2003

Control Engineering Machine Control eNewsletter for January 2003

National Instruments- Discover Industrial, Distributed I/O Solutions Create cost-effective I/O systems for a variety of industrial applications with easy-to-use, modular FieldPoint from National Instruments. FieldPoint delivers unmatched software integration and gives you the ability to choose a system based on a variety of open, standard networking technologies. With this FieldPoint brochure, learn how to build user-defined distributed I/O systems with three easy steps. For your FREE brochure call or visit ni.com/info and enter dyjn8p National Instruments: Tel: (800) 452-6914 | Fax: (512) 683-9300 | Email: info@ni.com CE editors pick the best of 2002 Leadership: are you a 'lifter'? Think before you code Micro-size bar code scanners Cool machine control products: modules, controller, computers, data transfer Check out January Control Engineering, other resources CE editors pick the best of 2002 Control Engineering editors gather annually to evaluate the new products of the year and choose the top ones.

By Gary Mintchell
PLCs, PACs January 1, 2003

Software aids machine-based HMI, motion, control

GE Fanuc Automation's (Charlottesville, VA) Cimplicity Machine Edition is designed for machine-based HMI, motion, and control applications. It enables fast, powerful object-oriented programming; a common user interface; drag-and-drop editing; and takes advantage of industry-standard technologies, such as XML, COM/DCOM, OPC, and ActiveX.

By Staff
PLCs, PACs January 1, 2003

Rockwell sues Schneider, Solaia, law firm over patent lawsuits

Rockwell Automation Inc. filed a lawsuit on Dec. 10 in the U.S. Circuit Court's eastern Wisconsin district that charges Schneider Automation (North Andover, MA), Solaia Technology LLC and the law firm of Niro, Scavone, Haller and Niro Ltd. (both of Chicago, IL) with conspiring in violation of antitrust laws to "shake down" Rockwell's users and customers with "baseless pate...

By Staff
PLCs, PACs December 23, 2002

Reliant Park Stadium scores with GE-controlled retractable roof

Houston, TX - When the National Football League's newest team, the Houston Texans, kicked off at Reliant Park earlier this fall, they began playing in the world's first retractable-roof NFL stadium.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs December 15, 2002

Single Source Approach Saves Millions

Since introducing its first printers in 1984, Hewlett-Packard (HP) has shipped 230 million of them, including 130 million inkjet printers and 60 million laser printers. The HP imaging business is currently shipping 30 million inkjet and 7 million laser printers a year, generating revenues of about $20 billion.

By Staff
PLCs, PACs December 2, 2002

ESC 2002: Xecom introduces embedded wireless communications system

Boston, MA - Xecom introduced its embedded wireless communications system with modem connectivity. The radio frequency-based system consists of the XE 900 Smart Transceiver (ST) and the XE 924 Base Access Point (BAP).

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs December 1, 2002

Depth of character

Characters need depth—some measures of diversity, quirkiness, and unpredictability—to move beyond being merely credible and able to fully engage an audience. Fiction becomes more lifelike when the plot twists, a character responds differently than we figured, and the outcome remains logical for other characters and for us to understand.

By Mark T. Hoske
PLCs, PACs November 20, 2002

Zontec unveils data access tools

Zontec recently introduced two new programming utilities, S2K DLL and S2K ActiveX DLL, said to ''open the door'' to accessing quality assurance information regardless of its data format or where the data is stored.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs November 20, 2002

Software helps boost plant productivity

ABB recently introduced OptimizeIT Real Time Production Intelligence (Real-TPI) software.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs November 18, 2002

3M Touch Systems and Zytronic PLC Announce Worldwide Touch-Screen Distribution Agreement

Methuen, MA - 3M Touch Systems Inc. announced a worldwide agreement to distribute a private-label version of projected capacitive touch screens produced by Zytronic PLC (Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England). This agreement expands 3M's offering of touch-screen technologies, while providing Zytronic with a worldwide sales team and distribution channel to promote its products.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs November 14, 2002

Increased size displays added

The iSeries meters and controllers now feature the new Big Display.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs November 14, 2002

Connectors tie, link, and hold networks together

Network connectors have several tough jobs. They must make positive connections to transmit data; keep out unfriendly substances; withstand their environments for long periods, and often hold cables together under mechanical stress.

By Ann Feitel, InterlinkBT, Minneapolis, MN
PLCs, PACs November 1, 2002

Draper helps automate International Space Station

Draper Laboratory announced Oct. 10 that productivity for crew and ground controllers will improve when its Timeliner automation software is used for the first time on board the International Space Station (ISS). The software was installed during the Space Shuttle Atlantis' current ISS Assembly Flight, 9A (STS-112), which launched on Oct.

By Staff
PLCs, PACs October 23, 2002

ISA 2002: OPC Foundation demonstrates OPC Data eXchange

Chicago, IL - OPC Foundation (Scottsdale, AZ) exhibited the first OPC Data eXchange (DX) interoperability demonstration of a working, multi-vendor system using products from 10 of its member companies, including Emerson Process Management, Hertzler Systems Inc., Indusoft, Intellution, Invensys, Kepware Technologies, Progea SRL, Rockwell Software, Siemens Energy & Automation and Wonderware.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs October 22, 2002

ISA 2002: Fieldbus Foundation growing by leaps and bounds

Chicago, IL--A recent study of FOUNDATION fieldbus installations by the Fieldbus Foundation (FF, Austin, TX) found there were 205,000 fieldbus devices and more than 4,000 fieldbus systems installed worldwide as of June 20, 2002.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs October 15, 2002

Control Engineering HMI eNewsletter for October 2002

AutomationDirect- AutomationDirect offers EZTouch PLC touch panels with a built-in Data Highway Plus (DH+) interface, or Ethernet option cards for use with certain EZTouch panels. Data Highway Plus versions of the EZTouch panels are available in color or monochrome 6-inch models, and 8 and 10-inch color regular or slim bezel models. EZTouch panels with the DH+ card pre-installed start at $1,159 for the 6-inch monochrome version.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs October 1, 2002

SFCs aid program development and maintenance

A graphic outline often helps a programmer organize thoughts; maintain an internal logic to program development; and troubleshoot problems during debug, run-off, and validation. Sequential function charts (SFCs) are defined in IEC 61131 as a program organizing method writing programs for logic controllers.

By Gary A. Mintchell
PLCs, PACs October 1, 2002

Citect, Toshiba plan open-automation solutions

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 integ...

By Staff
PLCs, PACs October 1, 2002

High thermal performance, low package resistance for MOSFETs

San Jose, C A—A family of 18 N-channel MOSFETs that combines the thermal performance of much larger devices with very low package resistance, is available in a standard SO-8 package outline (in sample and production quantities). Its so-called "bottomless" packaging, said to be unique by the manufacturer, allows the MOSFET's solderable backside to directly contact the PCB heat sink, reduc...

By Staff
PLCs, PACs October 1, 2002

Adept Technology buys MetaControls

San Jose, CA Adept Technology Inc. announced Sept.13 that it has completed its acquisition of a controlling interest in MetaControls Technologies Inc. (Morrisville, NC) in a common stock transaction. The acquisition extends Adept's product line to include subcompact motion controllers/motor drivers, and machine vision cameras that are networked via FireWire, the IEEE 1394 high-speed bus.

By Staff
PLCs, PACs September 23, 2002

Intermec introduces new RFID fixed readers

Everett, WA— Intermec Technologies Corp. introduced Sept. 17 an FCC Part 15-approved Intellitag fixed reader, ITRF, which provides four addressable antenna ports for flexible integration with existing wireless LANs.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs September 12, 2002

Control Engineering Software eNewsletter for September 2002

INTELLUTION -CONNECT THE CORNER OFFICE TO THE FACTORY FLOOR WITH INFOAGENT. infoAgent is Intellution's brand new web-based application for accessing, analyzing and visualizing production information - in a format that's meaningful to you - from virtually anywhere in the world. Improve productivity.

By Gary Mintchell
PLCs, PACs September 1, 2002

Honeywell is buying Invensys Sensor Systems for $415 million

Honeywell and Invensys plc announced Aug. 19 that Honeywell Automation and Control Solutions (ACS) has agreed to acquire Invensys Sensor Systems (Shelby, NC) for $415 million in cash, pending regulatory approval and other conditions. Honeywell says the move will strengthen its offerings in high-growth segments.

By Staff
PLCs, PACs September 1, 2002

Corrections – 2002-09-01

•In the "Transmitter Calibration Frequency Comparison" graphic in "Improvements to Pressure Sensing Instruments Enable New Practices," CE, July '02, p. 43, the vertical axis was incorrectly numbered. The "percent of span error" should have been displayed as 0-0.50%. Also, the credit line at the bottom of all four diagrams in this article on pages 42-44 should have read: "Courtesy: Rosemo...

By Staff
PLCs, PACs September 1, 2002

Let it snow! Integrator, GE Fanuc help maintain ski slopes

While Old Man Winter is relatively reliable in delivering snow, businesses like Snowshoe Mountain, a four-season resort in Snowshoe, WV, can't always depend on his timely delivery to sustain the slopes during the skiing season. Boasting the largest snowmaking arsenal in the region, with over 400 snow guns aimed at its Snowshoe and Silver Creek areas, Snowshoe Mountain is equipped with a 100%-co...

By Dick Johnson
PLCs, PACs August 30, 2002

Schneider, Stelex show how to comply with FDA’s record-keeping signature rules

Palatine, IL— Schneider Electric and Stelex-TVG Inc. (Bensalem, PA) released a joint white paper on Aug. 22 to help The white paper covers Schneider Electric's existing automation hardware and software product lines, which are used in pharmaceutical plants.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs August 30, 2002

Wonderware launches device integration software

Lake Forest, CA— Wonderware , a unit of Invensys plc (London, U.K.), announced Aug. 29 that it has launched its DAServer (DAS) device integration software. The first DAS product is the Allen-Bradley Control Information Protocol (ABCIP) data access server, which is the first in series of data access servers for Rockwell Automation's Allen-Bradley PLCs. Wonderware reports that unique to each DAServer is its data access server control client.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs August 2, 2002

PC-based material handling controls and communication solution

Cincinnati, O. - FKI Logistex Automation Division announces Boss PC-based control and communication solution developed exclusively for material handling applications.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs August 1, 2002

In search of the ultimate batch system

When statistical process control (SPC) is applied, it's usually because the producer wants to optimize the process, using existing equipment to produce as much product as efficiently as possible. On first blush, that would be justification enough for any production operation, continuous or batch, to apply SPC methods; but believe it or not, cost and quantity aren't the key business drivers amon...

By Dave Harrold
PLCs, PACs August 1, 2002

Ethernet hardware switches, connectors, and parade of other products

Ethernet is picking up steam, speed and force. Enabled, durable components are multiplying. Reliability and security are improving. Costs are decreasing. True interoperability is gaining ground against proprietary pressures. Standards are being developed. And, yes it's true, some information technology (IT) staffers and plant-floor engineers are actually talking and cooperating on networking pr...

By Jim Montague, Control Engineering
PLCs, PACs July 29, 2002

PLCopen’s XML kick off meeting `successful’

Seligenstadt, Germany - PLCopen held its first meeting of the TC6 - XML Technical Committee to consider the XML sources that were donated to the organisation by Schneider Electric during Hannover Fair last April. The XML sources are a set of definitions for converting graphical PLC languages to XML format.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs July 2, 2002

Wonderware introduces IndustrialSQL Server 8.0 historian

Lake Forest, Calif.— Wonderware , a subsidiary of Invensys plc (London, U.K.), introduced on July 1 version 8.0 of its IndustrialSQL Server historian. Wonderware says IndustrialSQL Server 8.0 enhances its solutions for the industrial intelligence market, and includes a client toolset; desktop reporting and data mining tools, SPC analysis and web visualization. IndustrialSQL Server 8.0 is an off-the-shelf historian that captures detailed plant data in real-time; provides companies with better understanding of their manufacturing process; and enables them to make improvements in product consistency and productivity. Combined with Wonderware's analytical client applications, IndustrialSQL sets the foundation for companies trying to improve their industrial intelligence capabilities. An objective for companies working in FDA-audited environments is maximizing project lifecycles.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs June 19, 2002

Control Engineering Software eNewsletter for June 2002

In this issue: Who benefits most from software Simulation Software Symposium Disaster recovery Invensys manufacturing solutions Your comments from last month Instant Messaging Component historian for network support Fault tolerant software Control Engineering Online redesigns; DCS webcast Who benefits most from software Do you sometimes wonder who benefits most from large-scale software applications? Do they seem so complex that only a consultant or integrator can apply them? How is a manufacturer's support after the sale? Infoworld editor in chief, Michael Vizard, in his June 3 column online at https://www.infoworld.com/articles/op/xml/02/06/03/020603opnoise.xml says, 'Ask yourself one simple question: was this software written in a way that increases my job security and gets me home at a reasonable hour, or was it written in a way to enrich consultants at the expense of my organization?' Now don't get me wrong, I have nothing against integrators and consultants in general. After all, I was one once. Still, it is a valid question. I have the opportunity to talk technical people at most of the industrial software suppliers and see their latest efforts.

By Gary Mintchell
PLCs, PACs June 19, 2002

OPC DX: Specification to achieve candidate release status

Rockwell's PLC was left talking OPC DX to itself at Hannover. Cleveland, Ohio, USA - The OPC Foundation's DX Protocol is to make its long awaited transition to Candidate Release status at the end of June, and will be available for public review and comment, according to Tom Burke, President of the OPC Foundation. "It's been longer than we expected but it's better than we expected," he said. He added that the OPC DX interoperability demonstration previewed at Hannover Fair would run again at the ISA show in Chicago (21-24 October 2002) with the three instigating companies, Rockwell Automation, Siemens A&D, and Emerson Process Management again joined by Phoenix Contact. Up to 10 more companies are making plans to participate, he said. This promise must be compared with the disappointing demonstration at Hannover this spring.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs June 10, 2002

`Fastest lathe in the world’

Escomatic has a production capacity of 120 parts per minute. Zürich, Switzerland es around the world for mass production applications of small metal objects such as jewellery, dart tips, medical devices, and watch components. Esco offers four types of machine and accessories, three of which are equipped with GE Fanuc control systems. Two of these use CNC technology while the third, the Escomatic D2 Flex Speed, uses PLC technology. The PLC enables stepless speed control for curve shaft segments, with individual speed settings possible for up to 20 sections.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs June 4, 2002

Batch controller’s fieldbus interface increases flexibility

Milpitas, Calif. - A&D Weighing recently introduced its AD-4402, a high-speed controller that can be used as a standalone batching unit or as part of a large multi-function system.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs June 4, 2002

Control Engineering’s E-News Letter for Embedded Control – January 2001

In this issue: Leading the Revolution Peer to Peer Networking for project collaboration Retrofit CNCs for the Information Age Linux does manufacturing Siemens ports software to Linux CTO in your future? Poll Survey Leading the Revolution 'There is an ever-growing population of mediocre companies and an ever-diminishing population of truly great performers.' Sound familiar? I hope not. Gary Hamel makes this bold statement in Leading the Revolution (Harvard Business School Press, 2000). Control Engineering readers are typically innovators and should really like this book.

By Gary Mintchell
PLCs, PACs June 4, 2002

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

In this issue: Control Engineering January Expand your control horizons Lost jobs Programming Business leadership Cool products Control Engineering News Control Engineering January Check out the special report on controllers in January Control Engineering . This is the first of a two-part survey of the status of controllers in automation, and they have really changed over the last few years. Also in January, I have an introduction to XML and its related technologies. It was once cool to embed 'web pages' in a controller.

By Gary Mintchell
PLCs, PACs June 1, 2002

Schneider Automation seeks patent for using XML in a PLC

Schneider Automation applied for a patent on Feb. 7, 2002, for web function blocks in PLCs. So far, it's unclear if this action affects Schneider's recent donation to the PLCopen organization of its XML sources for converting graphical PLC languages to XML format [as reported on May 14 on the Daily News Desk at Control Engineering Online at www.

By Gary Mintchell
PLCs, PACs June 1, 2002

Invensys sells flow control business to Flowserve

Invensys plc and Flowserve Corp. announced May 3 that they recently completed the sale of Invensys' flow control business to Flowserve for $535 million. The acquisition creates the world's second largest valve company, according to Flowserve. Invensys will use revenue from the sale to reduce its debt.

By Staff
PLCs, PACs May 14, 2002

Schneider Electric makes XML sources available to PLCopen

Hannover, Germany - Clive Smith, representing Schneider Automation, presented to Eelco van der Wal, managing director of PLCopen, XML sources for converting graphical PLC languages to XML format along with the preliminary draft of a 49-page technical specification XML Formats for Graphical Languages that details their implementation.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs May 7, 2002

OPC DX: The show must go on

Hannover, Germany - The OPC Foundation's DX protocol, announced at the ISA conference in Houston in September 2001, didn't quite make its formal debut at Hannover as planned.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs May 1, 2002

Schneider Electric, attorney respond to OPC, patent, suits

Schneider Electric stated April 25 that its decision to auction and transfer its PLC-to-spreadsheet patent to Solaia Technology was "the right business decision to support our business and utilize our existing patents." Schneider added that it "expect[s] to benefit from the enforcement of this patent and our technology leadership in this area.

By Jim Montague, Gary A. Mintchell
PLCs, PACs May 1, 2002

Pump drive couples reliability, energy savings

Model PS 200 is a microprocessor-based variable speed drive, programmed specifically for centrifugal pumps up to 700 hp.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs April 25, 2002

ABB to deliver IndustrialIT for Reliance Industries

Hazira, India - The petrochemical division of Reliance Industries Limited, India chose ABB (Rochester N.Y.) on April 15, 2002 to supply IndustrialIT Open Control for its new polyester plant being built at its petrochemical complex in Hazira, Gujarat, India.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs April 23, 2002

Rockwell Automation expands Web capabilities for PLC-5

Mayfield Heights, O. - Users of the Allen-Bradley PLC-5 product line can now more easily view, access, and manage process data, as a result of new Web browser interface capabilities announced by Rockwell Automation.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs April 18, 2002

Max-Planck-Institute Selects Real-Time Publish-Subscribe Middleware for Plasma Control

Sunnyvale, Calif. - The Max-Planck-Institute for Plasma Physics (IPP) announced April 16 that it has selected the NDDS middleware from Real-Time Innovations to handle controller communications in the next generation real-time control system of the Tokamak nuclear fusion device ASDEX Upgrade.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs April 17, 2002

Solaia wins Schneider Electric patent auction

North Andover, Mass. - In a press release dated March 11, 2002, and just obtained by Control Engineering, Schneider Electric's Automation Business (SEAB) announced it has concluded negotiations with Solaia Technology LLP of Chicago Illinois, the winning bidder in the SEAB auction of a set of patents that cover spreadsheet access to PLCs.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs April 11, 2002

Honeywell launches Process Knowledge System-based architecture

Phoenix, Ariz. - Honeywell Industry Solutions introduced on April 8 its new Experion Process Knowledge System (PKS). The company says Experion PKS is a revolutionary approach to business, process and asset management that includes 30 years of Honeywell's industrial expertise into a unified, robust PKS architecture.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs April 2, 2002

Contemporary Controls to open factory in China

Downers Grove, Ill. - An automation company with firm Midwestern roots is about to take the strategic step to open a 16,000 sq. ft production plant in Suzhou, China, near Shanghai. Contemporary Controls considers the move crucial to stay ahead of competitors. The new manufacturing plant-a wholly owned foreign enterprise or "WOFE"-will open in June 2002.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs April 1, 2002

OPC Foundation counters infringement lawsuit filed against end-users

In a recent statement to its members, the OPC Foundation expressed disappointment that Solaia Technologies LLC (Chicago, Ill.) filed a patent infringement lawsuit last year against several customers of OPC members.Solaia filed its patent infringement lawsuit on Aug. 27, 2001, in the Northern District of Illinois in Chicago against Jefferson Smurfit Corp.

By Gary Mintchell
PLCs, PACs March 6, 2002

Roy-G-Biv, Oregon Micro Systems partner on integrated motion solution

Bingen, Wa.; Beaverton, Ore. - Roy-G-Biv (RGB) and Oregon Micro Systems (OMS) announced Mar. 5 that they've formed a partnership to provide OEMs, end-users and integrators with a low-cost solution for integrated motion control using RGB's suite of XMC motion software productivity products and OMS' motion controllers.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs March 4, 2002

National Instruments’ Motion Assistant accelerates motion control development

Austin, Tex. - National Instruments announced Feb. 26 that engineers and scientists can now use its Motion Assistant, a new development tool that automatically generates LabVIEW code and improves development productivity.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs March 1, 2002

Control Engineering’s parent company changes name

Control Engineering 's (Oak Brook, Ill.) parent company, Cahners Business Information (New York, N.Y.), changed its name Feb. 19 to Reed Business Information (RBI). The new name and logo strengthens the company's commitment to providing reliable news, critical information and innovative marketing solutions, and will more closely align Reed Business Information with i...

By Staff
PLCs, PACs March 1, 2002

Clock synchronization software for Rockwell PLCs

Nashville, Tenn. - WebDock's DataSync allows an easy method to synchronize the internal clocks of Rockwell programmable controllers through the RSLinx software package. The software is immediately available for delivery from the WebDock website and has a tiered pricing structure starting at (US)$600.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs February 27, 2002

Opto 22 systems automate Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport

Temecula, Calif. - Opto 22, a developer and manufacturer of I/O systems for data acquisition and control, has had its serial control hardware selected by Minnesota Control Company for a large-scale automation project involving several key plumbing-related systems installed at the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport (MSP).

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs February 26, 2002

Jungo’s driver development toolkits support USB 2.0

Sunnyvale, Calif. - Jungo Software Technologies Inc. announced support for USB 2.0 for Microsoft Windows 2000 and XP in version 5.4 of its driver development toolkits.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs February 4, 2002

Sprecher + Schuh introduces compact combination starter

Houston, Tex. - A "simple, compact alternative to traditional combination starters" is how Sprecher + Schuh refers to its newly introduced CX7 enclosed combination starter.

By Frank J. Bartos, executive editor
PLCs, PACs February 1, 2002

Ultra-small prox switch

Youngstown, O.— Series 9000 is an ultra-small, magnetic proximity switch designed for round, keyway applications. Series 9000 mounts on a variety of cylinders, with two types of sensing devices for determining the proximity of the piston inside the cylinder and relaying a signal back to a PLC or PC.

By Staff
PLCs, PACs February 1, 2002

Compact totalizer

Orangeburg, N.Y.— Aalborg's latest compact totalizer is designed primarily for flowmeters and mass flow controllers. It is also usable in conjunction with other instrumentation with 0-5 V dc or 0-10 V dc analog output signals. The totalizer integrates and accumulates up to seven digits of direct engineering units for the given gas and flow rate.

By Staff
PLCs, PACs February 1, 2002

Spec-Soft closes-in on developing a CASE tool

For years, process design engineers have dreamed of the ultimate control system development toolset. One that uses the same toolset to develop specifications and test plans, design and develop piping and instrument diagrams (P&IDs), and then with a click of a button, automatically turns all that information into control code and graphics for any control system.

By Dave Harrold
PLCs, PACs February 1, 2002

Fieldbus, field learning, and field information

Control Engineering readers don't like feeling lost in left field. In fact, keeping current with technologies ranks among your top priorities. Here's a chance to take advantage of multiple opportunities, here and now, with a fieldbus webcast, in-the-field learning, and field-based information in this issue.

By Mark T. Hoske
PLCs, PACs February 1, 2002

Measure filter performance

Oaks, Pa.— The C10/77 sensor is a laser-based particle monitoring system designed to provide a highly sensitive filter effluent measurement for potable water. The system counts and displays particles at 2, 3, 5, 7, 10, 15, 20, and 200 micron size. An LED display on the front of the counter allows operators to view the current counts in any size and to display differential counts fo...

By Staff
PLCs, PACs February 1, 2002

Moore Industries buys Powers Process Controls’ Instrument Division

Moore Industries announced Jan. 15 that is has bought the Instrument Division of Powers Process Controls (Skokie, Ill.). This transaction follows the October 2001 purchase of Powers Process Controls' other divisions by Watts Industries (North Andover, Mass.) from Craneco (Stamford, Conn.

By Staff
PLCs, PACs January 9, 2002

Rotork buying Jordan Controls

Rochester, N.Y. - Rotork Controls Inc. announced Jan. 8 that its parent company, Rotork plc (Bath, U.K.), is acquiring Jordan Controls (Milwaukee, Wis.) for $10.4 million in cash.

By Jim Montague, news editor
PLCs, PACs January 1, 2002

Tiny temperature measuring system

The AD7314 is a complete temperature monitoring system in an 8-lead micro-SOIC package.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs December 15, 2001

Get the Lead Out

Yuasa Inc. (Sumter, S.C.) is America's largest manufacturer of industrial motive power batteries and chargers, stationary batteries, and electric vehicle batteries. The company also manufactures motorcycle and small engine starting batteries. Function Control Systems Inc. (FCS, Greenville, S.C.

By Staff
PLCs, PACs December 11, 2001

Adept Technology releases graphical programming

San Jose, Calif. - Adept Technology released Adept DeskTop software, a PC software application to graphically program, control, and monitor Adept equipment using the V+ and MicroV+ programming languages.

By Gary A. Mintchell, senior editor
PLCs, PACs December 1, 2001

Mitsubishi Electric launches expanded 16-bit platform

To handle increasing migration from 8- to 16-bit microcontrollers (MCUs) and beyond, Mitsubishi Electric & Electronics USA's Electronic Device Group announced Nov. 5 two new MCU product lines that expand its standard 16-bit platform. M16C/10 and M32C/83 MCUs will use the same core, code and package configuration of its present M16C 16-bit MCU family.

By Staff
PLCs, PACs December 1, 2001

Calibrator measures, simulates t/c signal and currents

Michigan City, Ind. - Model CAL10 thermocouple calibrator is able to calibrate electronic process equipment such as controllers, transmitters, and recorders. Each calibrator is accompanied by a NIST certificate of traceability, ideal as a secondary standard for calibrating temperature equipment.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs December 1, 2001

Calibrator measures, simulates t/c signal

Michigan City, Ind.— Model CAL10 thermocouple calibrator is able to calibrate electronic process equipment, such as controllers, transmitters, and recorders. Each calibrator is accompanied by a NIST certificate of traceability, ideal as a secondary standard for calibrating temperature equipment.

By Staff
PLCs, PACs November 26, 2001

Eurotherm adds Profibus-DP to power products

Leesburg, Va.-Eurotherm/Barber-Coleman, a unit of Invensys Process Systems, recently added the Eurotherm Monitoring and Acquisition (EMA) volt and current meter with Profibus-DP communications to its line of single phase, two-leg three phase, and three-leg three phase SCR power controllers and solid state relay interfaces.

By Dave Harrold, senior editor
PLCs, PACs November 16, 2001

GE Industrial Systems buys Spirent plc’s Sensing Solutions

Plainville, Conn - GE Industrial Systems, a division of the General Electric Co., recently finalized its acquisition of the Sensing Solutions group of Spirent plc (London, U.K.).

By Dave Harrold, senior editor
PLCs, PACs October 19, 2001

Change in Leadership At Invensys Software Systems

Herndon, Va. (Business Wire) - Invensys plc, the global automation and controls group, announced October 8 that Bruce Henderson, division chief executive of the Invensys Software Systems Division, has left the company by mutual agreement.

By Gary A. Mintchell, senior editor
PLCs, PACs October 19, 2001

Adept Technology Completes Acquisition of CHAD Industries

San Jose, Calif. (Business Wire) - Adept Technology Inc., a manufacturer of flexible automation for the telecommunications, fiber optic, and semiconductor industries, announced October 9 that it has completed the acquisition of CHAD Industries, Inc., a design and manufacturing company specializing in precision assembly automation based in Orange, California.

By Gary A. Mintchell, senior editor
PLCs, PACs October 1, 2001

Attacks slow border crossings, just-in-time deliveries

Newton, Mass.-Increased security in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington is continuing to disrupt businesses that rely on the cost-saving strategy of just-in-time (JIT) delivery of materials and parts. Especially troublesome are deliveries from suppliers in Canada and Mexico, since U.

By Staff
PLCs, PACs October 1, 2001

Troubleshooting: A required skill for success

Time-measured exercises show that students can gain 80% average improvement in troubleshooting efficiency after a two-day course, according to Gary Cliett, president, IEC Simulations (Port Arthur, Tex.)

By Dave Harrold, senior editor
PLCs, PACs September 1, 2001

Find the Right Engineering Tools

Most control and automation project planning and design methodologies follow a top-down define-and-design philosophy that begins with an overview and then uses an iterative process to add details until a thorough understanding of the control and automation requirements have been developed. The deliverable of this iterative process is the functional specification.

By Dave Harrold, Control Engineering
PLCs, PACs September 1, 2001

Build VB OPC client applications without code

Santa Rosa, Calif. -Process visualization and data link ActiveX toolkits enable manufacturers and system integrators to build OPC client applications with Microsoft Visual Basic. Toolkits are designed to work with Allen-Bradley and ModBus communications, along with other Data Access 2.0 capable servers.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs September 1, 2001

Fiber-optic modems for automation, processing

Round Rock, Tex. - 'Next generation' EO-Tec 2000 Series Fiber Optic Modems consist of Ethernet modules, Optical Engines, Electrical Interfaces, Power Supplies, and Self-Healing Ring modules, intended for factory automation and process control. These lightweight, interchangeable modules are said to take less space and power than traditional units, and easily mount onto a DIN-Rail.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs August 1, 2001

Paper machine retrofit pioneers encoder-less drive operation

Encouraged by efficiencies gained following installation of ABB's (New Berlin, Wis.) 100-, 150- and 350-hp drives, motors and controls on its presses several years ago, engineering managers at Georgia-Pacific (G-P) Gypsum paper mill (San Leandro, Calif.) recently retrofitted the mill's finishing end too.

By Jim Montague
PLCs, PACs August 1, 2001

E-Manufacturing for Process Industries

This is the third in a series of articles on electronic- and collaborative-manufacturing. "E-manufacturing" appeared in the February issue, and "Control, MES Partner for C-manufacturing Solutions" appeared in the May issue.Harvard Business School's famous academician, professor Michael Porter crystallized the notion of competitive advantage when he said, "No company can earn above-average...

By Dave Harrold, Control Engineering
PLCs, PACs August 1, 2001

Concept V2.5 PLC software

North Andover, Mass. - Concept V2.5 programming software for PLCs can upload IEC pro-grams without having the original source code in the PC, IEC offline memory prediction, and im-proved hot standby capabilities. Concept V2.5 is compliant with IEC 61131-3, and provides a multi-language development program for control system programming.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs June 1, 2001

Tech Support is Standing By

KEY WORDS Process and advanced control Service Training Life-cycle planning Software and information integration Back in the "good old days," distributed control meant controllers were physically distributed throughout the plant or across the shop floor and the nearest thing to a control room was the break-room.

By Dave Harrold, Control Engineering
PLCs, PACs June 1, 2001

BP Chemicals using Emerson’s PlantWeb to automate plant

Lima, O.— To apply a "control in the field" concept using FOUNDATION fieldbus, BP Chemicals Inc. on May 8 commissioned Emerson Process Management's (Austin, Tex.) PlantWeb field-based automation architecture for its new $100-million chemical plant here. The new plant produces 1,4-butanediol (BDO), a chemical compound used in specialized fibers, plastics and adhesives.

By Staff
PLCs, PACs May 1, 2001

What’s Left to Say About Industrial Ethernet?

KEY WORDS Networks and communications Ethernet Device-level networks Fieldbus Everybody talks about the weather and industrial Ethernet, but nobody does anything about them. Well, not anymore. While Charles D. Warner and Mark Twain's famous quote still applies to meteorology, industrial Ethernet is moving from idea to reality on the plant-floor.

By Jim Montague, Control Engineering
PLCs, PACs May 1, 2001

I/O systems continue to incorporate new technology

Product lines are evolving with time partially because end-users are requesting features that would take them to the next level of functionality. Through a recent online survey conducted by Opto 22, the company was interested in knowing how customers used their I/O systems, and what advantages and capabilities were most important for various applications. Ben Hougland, director of technical marketing, Opto 22 (Temecula, Calif.) says, 'Based on a survey administered on the Opto 22 web site, we have discovered that our customers are using I/O as much more than a slave device to a PLC or PC. Intelligent functionality has migrated to increasingly lower levels, to the point where customers are now implementing I/O as standalone units.' Mr.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs May 1, 2001

Device networking 101: your first installation

Somewhere in the world each day, an engineer decides to use a device level network instead of point-to-point wiring. A survey taken at a DeviceNet workshop in Chicago showed the #1 reason for investigating networks was: 'They're sexy.' True, we all like to blaze new trails, but in the pragmatic world of manufacturing, there must be a sound justification. Q Why are you doing this? A Modularity-aids disassembly and re-assembly of the system; and allows easy replacement of failed components; Wiring simplification-reduces system assembly time and mistakes; Open architecture-maximizes choices and keeps prices competitive; Preventative maintenance-so devices can warn users before something goes wrong; Configurability-allows parameters to be set 'on the fly,' which adds functionality and saves time; More information-networked device may provide additional process data, which may also be important for sending data to the enterprise; and finally Cost savings-on huge installations, you will save money. However, most benefits are realized over time, not with the first installation.

By Paul Sink
PLCs, PACs April 1, 2001

DeltaV adds redundant H1 fieldbus

Austin, Tex. -Fisher-Rosemount recently announced the availability of redundant FOUNDATION fieldbus H1 technology in its PlantWeb architecture. A redundant pair of H1 cards, each with it's own power source and mounted in a standard DeltaV I/O carrier, ensures continued communications between DeltaV controllers and fieldbus segment devices.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs March 29, 2001

Contemporary Controls introduces network analyzers

Contemporary Controls

By Mark T. Hoske, editor-in-chief
PLCs, PACs March 13, 2001

Power supply offers compact design, increased current capability

Weidmuller, Inc. has expanded its connectPower family of power supplies, adding the CP-SNT 160 W switchmode power supply. The 6.5 A unit offers load-sharing capabilities and a compact design. With its slim design, the CP-SNT 160 W occupies 57 mm of DIN-rail space to facilitate its use in applications where space is limited.

By Antonia E. McBride, assistant editor
PLCs, PACs March 9, 2001

Applied Data Systems, Synergetic Micro Systems partner on platform products at NMW

Applied Data Systems

By Jim Montague, news editor
PLCs, PACs March 8, 2001

Micro PLC and operator panel combination expands functions

Unitronics Ltd.

By Frank J. Bartos, executive editor
PLCs, PACs March 7, 2001

Beckhoff offers real-time control

Minneapolis, Minn. -TwinCAT, for 'Total Windows Control and Automation Technology,' software is a real-time control package for PCs that includes I/O access for 11 fieldbuses and TCP/IP, programming tools, and HMI interfaces. Its software PLC complies with IEC 61131-3.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs March 7, 2001

Software diagnostics peer into motor control center’s soul

Milwaukee, Wis. -Consisting of innovative software, hardware, and communications integration, Allen-Bradley IntelliCenter includes dynamically configured screens showing real-time data, trending, component history, wiring diagrams, user manuals, and spare parts. It has plug-and-play setup and diagnostic and preventive failure information.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs February 1, 2001

Schneider Electric auctioning patents

Schneider Electric Automation began publicly auctioning on Jan. 10 its U. S. Patent No. 5,038,318, entitled "Device for Communicating Real-Time Data Between a Programmable Logic Controller and a Program Operating in a Central Controller," and foreign counterpart patents.

By Staff
PLCs, PACs February 1, 2001

Robust multimedia single-board computer

Greenville, S.C.—SBC-Multi offers a robust multimedia-processing package on an 850 MHz Intel Pentium III single-board platform. Up to 1 GB of SDRAM is available, as well as resistive touchscreen controller and 10/100baseT Ethernet interface. Two advanced hardware MPEG encoder circuits allow capture and compression of dual audio/video streams that can be saved to a hard drive via the on-bo...

By Staff
PLCs, PACs January 1, 2001

4Sight packs a punch

Dorval, Quebec, Canada—4Sight-II industrial computer integrates image processing, display, networking, and general-purpose I/O points. It can acquire images from most any source including IEEE-1394 cameras. Key PC technologies include embedded Intel Celeron or Pentium III processor and Matrox's G450 graphics controller.

By Staff
PLCs, PACs January 1, 2001

USB helps connect the enterprise

Universal Serial Bus (USB) is an open industry standard providing a simple and inexpensive way to connect up to 127 devices to a single computer port. With USB, many computer peripherals, such as keyboards, mice, digital cameras, digital scanners, bar-code readers, modems, and specialty printers can all run at the same time.

By Bill Kyle
PLCs, PACs December 15, 2000

Matrix Technologies Helps Amgen Help Others

Amgen Inc. recently expanded and modified its LakeCentre facility (Boulder, Colo.), using automation and controls to augment quick product changeovers.The purpose of the expansion was to change the original plant from a clinical manufacturing facility to a campaigned multi-product commercial production facility.

By Staff
PLCs, PACs December 1, 2000

Universal fieldbus interface reconfigures in software

Networks used for industrial communication have a variety of hardware for each. Minimizing communication hardware versions and reconfiguring only software for each network would lower costs.AG-E (Cincinnati, O.) has finished development of a single communication interface for major fieldbuses and Ethernet.

By Staff
PLCs, PACs December 1, 2000

Job services, career help

Where, oh, where can automation professionals go on the Internet to find a job, or find another team member? Most of the big online job boards just don't get that specific.Control Engineering Online now offers a job search function for those who wish to hire a new team member, find a new or better job, or just see what else is out there in automation and control.

By Laura Zurawski
PLCs, PACs November 1, 2000

Six new EtherNet/IP products added

Mayfield Heights, O.— Rockwell Automation introduced six products using the EtherNet/IP network protocol for use with Ethernet wiring. Allen-Bradley products, for the ControlLogix, ProcessLogix, PLC-5, and SLC500 controllers, are SLC 5/05 processor, PLC-5/40E controller, PLC-5 Ethernet/IP interface module, PLC-5/20E controller, PLC-5/80E controller, and the EtherNet/IP module for Control...

By Staff
PLCs, PACs October 1, 2000

Look Beyond the Certification!

What you don't ask about products claiming to meet specified SIL requirements could hurt you.

By Dave Harrold, CONTROL ENGINEERING
PLCs, PACs October 1, 2000

Suite programs multiple networks for digital positioner

Springville, Ut. -SoftTools Suites software combines features of field network hardware and multiple communications protocols with the performance of Logix digital positioners and Modbus controllers from Flowserve Flow Control Division. TechBridge configures up to eight server ports for any combination of HART, Modbus, or TCP/IP protocols.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs October 1, 2000

In Business – 2000-10-01

ABB Automation (Rochester, N.Y.) unveiled Sept. 25 a new seven-product software portfolio for process manufacturing, IndustrialIT, which also includes a new controller. These Microsoft-related products debuted during a webcast at the firm's studios in Redmond, Wa.

By Staff
PLCs, PACs October 1, 2000

GE Fanuc named global preferred supplier for Invensys

GE Fanuc Automation recently agreed to become a global preferred supplier of programmable logic controllers (PLCs) and I/O products to all divisions of Invensys plc (London). For example, customer applications requiring DCS and PLC solutions will be able to have the hardware, software, and services provided by Invensys, where Foxboro, SimSci, Esscor, Triconex, W...

By Staff
PLCs, PACs September 1, 2000

Schneider Electric Automation, Control.com partner

Schneider Electric's Automation Business and Control.com announced Aug. 3 a web services-based partnership focusing on technical and marketing collaboration. According to the companies, the partnership seeks to build a basis for "truly open control" in the future. Schneider's Automation Business has agreed to acquire a 19% stake in Control.

By Staff
PLCs, PACs September 1, 2000

Annunciator enables two-way communication

Carrollton, Tex.—Betalarm 4, a field configurable annunciator, offers a serial communications option that expands its applications range. It is said to provide a cost- effective solution anywhere alarms must be transmitted to or from a programmable logic controller, digital or distributed control system, industrial computer, SCADA system, or other intelligent device that uses the Modbus p...

By Staff
PLCs, PACs September 1, 2000

Low-cost graphic touchscreen display

Eatontown, N.J.—Starting as low as $595, MMI Series graphic display interfaces feature monochrome, grayscale, or full-color displays in sizes ranging from 5.7- to 10.4-in. The products are wired to PLCs through a single cable to the programming port. No special programs in the PLC are required for data communication.

By Staff
PLCs, PACs September 1, 2000

COTS technology automates the USS Truman aircraft carrier

Engineers from Control Corp. of America (Richmond, Va.) completed the first large-scale automation of a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier using commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) automation equipment. Automation provides state-of-the-art control for the management of jet fuel on the carrier. Using commercial equipment reduces the cost of construction, personnel requirements to operate the ship, an...

By Staff
PLCs, PACs August 1, 2000

Amplifier enhances motion controller

Mountain View, Calif.—Two versions of new Econo Series single-axis motion controllers integrate a PWM amplifier into one package for added convenience. DMC-1416-Brush handles a brush-type motor at up to 12 A (cont.), 60 V, while DMC-1416-Brushless powers a brushless motor at up to 6 A. Pricing is $995 and $1,095, respectively.

By Staff
PLCs, PACs July 1, 2000

Automated fuel handling prevents spills, aids efficiency

To lessen risk of spills or other accidents at deep water, marine front terminals and other fuel handling and storage sites, the SPAWAR (Space and Naval Warfare) Systems Center (SSC, Charleston, S.C.), a U.S. Navy corporation, recently began to automate and standardize its distribution and handling facilities.

By Ralph Shealy
PLCs, PACs July 1, 2000

Schneider Electric granted patent for web-enabled PLC

Schneider Electric secured a U.S. patent May 9 for its design of a programmable logic controller (PLC) that can link to the web using an Ethernet interface. This design couples an Ethernet interface module with a web server on a PLC. The interface translates Ethernet, TCP/IP, and HTTP protocols used on the Internet into data recognizable to a PLC.

By Staff
PLCs, PACs July 1, 2000

HMI touts higher level of integration

Alpharetta, Ga.—Simatic WinCC Version 5.0, 32-bit HMI (human-machine interface) software, integrates with Microsoft Windows NT V4.0 and combines standard features with advanced reporting, project cross-referencing, process diagnostics, multiple language support, and complete redundancy. It offers plant floor, database, and MES/ERP integration.

By Staff
PLCs, PACs July 1, 2000

Invensys moves to acquire Baan

Invensys plc and Baan Company N.V. announced May 31 that Invensys is offering $2.85 per share cash ("762 million) to acquire Baan. The boards of both companies are recommending the move. Planned restructuring of Baan and formation of a new Invensys software business were announced along with the offer.

By Staff
PLCs, PACs May 1, 2000

Embedded PLC software

Cincinnati, O.— KW Software offers expanded Microsoft Windows CE support for its full-featured PLC software engine, ProConOS, and added the Hitachi SH3/4 to its list of CE-supported CPUs. ProConOS is said to take full advantage of the SH 3/4's 32-bit RISC architecture to provide embedded developers with a plug-and-play, high-performance PLC that can stand alone or be integrated into othe...

By Staff
PLCs, PACs May 1, 2000

Water treatment plant upgrade saves with SCADA software

When the German government introduced new wastewater treatment regulations several years ago, engineers at the 25-year-old Düsseldorf South Water Treatment Facility faced a C 116-million upgrade project to satisfy the rules, called Abwasser Technische Verordnung (ATV).In 1994, plant engineers began implementing new secondary wastewater treatment processes, Belebungsbecken—a tra...

By Staff
PLCs, PACs April 1, 2000

Applying Hazardous Risk to Safety Integrity Levels

W hen people think of automation applied to industry, they think of increased productivity and profits. But when specialized systems are applied for the purpose of critical control, the goal is not solely one of protecting the bottom line. Instead, the goal is achieving the delicate balance between safety and productivity.

By Chuck Miller, critical control systems manager, GE Fanuc Automation
PLCs, PACs March 1, 2000

Steeplechase, Cutler-Hammer strengthen alliance

Steeplechase Software and Cutler-Hammer recently formed a stronger alliance, in which Cutler-Hammer will use Steeplechase's Visual Logic Controller (VLC) for its PC-based control solutions. For three years, Cutler-Hammer sold a brand-labeled version of VLC under the name "NetSolver.

By Staff
PLCs, PACs March 1, 2000

Real-time data messaging and displays aid detergent packing

Real-time data can't aid users if they can't see it. Based on this simple logic, engineers and technicians at Unilever Home and Personal Care (Cartersville, Ga.) recently developed a low-cost, flexible, real-time message display that presents status and efficiency of the plant's eight dry laundry detergent packing lines.

By Felix Perruci, Michael Smith
PLCs, PACs March 1, 2000

Microstepper for high volume apps

Rohnert Park, Calif.— OEMZL is a microstepper intended for OEM and high-volume applications. Available in either a drive or drive/controller version, it is said to provide a low-cost, user-friendly system that delivers high performance and reliability for single- or multiaxis applications. OEMZL4 is a package 4-amp (peak) microstepping drive, incorporating two proprietary damping techno...

By Staff
PLCs, PACs March 1, 2000

DC-powered digital weight indicators

Peabody, Mass.- Weigh GuardSeries models AN3060 and AN3070 digital weight indicators are now available with a dc-powered option. These 12-28 V dc-powered instruments are said to provide increased flexibility for a wide range of applications in dynamic weighing environments, such as chemical or garbage/waste material weighing in trucks or railcars. Both conform to a wide range of metrology, safety and EMC standards, including UL, CSA, and CE. The AN3060 is a low cost, high performance indicator executing 25 measurements/sec.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs February 1, 2000

Karnaugh maps aren’t for ladder logic

The "Technology Update" on Karnaugh Mapping aids industrial control," (Control Engineering, Jan. '00, p.9), suggests Karnaugh mapping can help PLC programmers reduce scan time so lower-cost PLCs can be used, eliminate "bugs" in ladder logic rungs, and reduce maintenance costs on old ladder logic.

By Staff
PLCs, PACs February 1, 2000

700 MHz on CompactPCI

Austin, Tex.—PXI-8170 Series controllers package Intel Pentium III processors running at 700 and 450 MHz in compact Eurocard 3U size. Controllers operate with all PXI and CompactPCI modules and are available with Microsoft Windows 98 or NT installed. Users can order these controllers with integrated AGP video, 64 MB of 100 MHz SDRAM (upgradable to 256 MB), standard floppy drive, ultra D...

By Staff
PLCs, PACs January 1, 2000

Know your standards

Any engineer knows the importance of understanding and adhering to industry and government standards. Without them, most businesses and manufacturers couldn't operate. It seems, though, that standards are updated or a new standard is created every day. Where is the best place to find out about and keep track of all the changes?The following web sites are good resources to bookmark and che...

By Laura Zurawski, Web Editor
PLCs, PACs January 1, 2000

Karnaugh mapping aids industrial control

Industrial PLC programmers face many problems. Among them: reducing scan time so lower cost PLCs can be used; eliminating "bugs" in ladder logic rungs; and reducing maintenance costs on old ladder logic.Karnaugh mapping can help with all these problems. Karnaugh mapping is a systematic and pictorial way of applying Boolean algebra to reduce complex digital problems.

By Lyle R. Hurst, ITT Technical Institute and Gary Mintchell, Senior Editor
PLCs, PACs January 1, 2000

DIN-rail mount CompactPCI

Cotuit, Mass.—Rail-Man packages CompactPCI embedded computers in DIN-rail mount assemblies. The compact, scratch- and corrosion-resistant unit features Pentium-class K6-2(E) and K6-3 CPUs operating at up to 450 MHz. The industry standard 3U-rack accepts a wide range of I/O cards with FireWire and 100 Mbps Ethernet network interfaces available.

By Staff
PLCs, PACs January 1, 2000

Fiber Optic card allows remote monitoring

B ehr Systems (Auburn Hills, Mich.) had to find a way to provide tight connection to the human-machine interface display located 2,000 feet from the controller on its paint line. The system includes custom software running on a VME single-board computer controlling paint amount and airflow with a VME-based Allen-Bradley PLC for automation control. Added memory in the system holds process data. HMI for the system is developed in Visual Basic running on Microsoft Windows NT.

By Gary A. Mintchell, CONTROL ENGINEERING
PLCs, PACs January 1, 2000

Automation Fair ’99

Rockwell Automation launches products, servicesLong Beach, Calif.—Keith Nosbusch, president of Rockwell Automation (Milwaukee, Wis.) Control Systems Operating Unit, welcomed a record 14,000 pre-registered attendees and 120 exhibiting partner companies to the eighth annual Rockwell Automation/Allen-Bradley Automation Fair '99 here on Dec.

By Staff
PLCs, PACs December 15, 1999

Airport System Moves Fuel and Data

The new Hong Kong Airport is located on the island of Chep Lap Kok—most of which was built through a massive land reclamation effort. The airport can handle 35 million passengers annually with an ultimate design capacity of 87 million.Like the airport itself, the aviation fuel supply system was built from scratch.

By Staff
PLCs, PACs December 1, 1999

Ultra-slim PLC

Schaumburg, Ill.— Omron's CPM2C micro PLC incorporates a range of communications options and advanced functionality into a compact unit. Can communicate with other devices via RS-232, host link, and no-protocol communications of standard serial devices. A combination RS-232C/peripheral port allows users to connect two devices simultaneously from one location.

By Staff
PLCs, PACs December 1, 1999

Create electrical schematics for less cost

Marion, Ind. -VIA Schematic Jr. includes three modules from the VIA Electrical Controls Design Software Suite to make the design software more affordable to.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs November 1, 1999

Getting your signals straight

If control software can be compared to human nerve impulses, then wire and cables are the nerve fibers they travel over. Wire and cable for networking and communication is responsible for taking data from field devices and transporting it to a processing device, such as a PC or PLC. The PC or PLC (brain) can then decide how it will act.

By Michael Drakulich, Assistant Editor
PLCs, PACs November 1, 1999

Dry-block calibrators

Everett, Wa. —Fluke 500 Series Dry-Block Calibrators for temperature probe calibration reportedly approach's the accuracy and stability of traditional oil-based baths costing more. State-of-the-art controllers, low mass heating elements, and precision thermoelectric cells provide the ability to maintain stability and uniformity without sacrificing response time.

By Staff
PLCs, PACs November 1, 1999

Top innovators announced in Philadelphia

Philadelphia, Pa .—Adaptive Resources (Pittsburgh, Pa.) received the 1999 ISA President's Award on Oct. 6 for the most innovative technology at ISA Tech/99's 22-exhibit Innovators Center. Adaptive Resources received top honors for its QuickStudy adaptive process control system software, which helps users understand and diagnose dynamic processes and automatically optimize process p...

By Staff
PLCs, PACs November 1, 1999

Software adds functionality

Huntsville, Ala.—VMIC's IOWorks PC-based control software has added new functions. The newest version, 2.51, adds support for VMIC's CompactPCI I/O and PCI I/O products, and an enhanced GUI for adding target controllers to an IOWorks workspace. The new version also supports control platforms based on Microsoft Windows NT with VenturCom's real-time extension, providing deterministic beha...

By Staff
PLCs, PACs October 1, 1999

Invensys picks automation ceo, forms sensor firm

Invensys plc appointed Bruce Henderson Sept. 9 as chief executive of its Intelligent Automation Division. He replaces George Sarney, who is retiring from Invensys to chair Bowthorpe plc.Mr. Henderson joined Invensys in 1995 as Robertshaw Controls' president and was chosen in 1997 to run the group's appliance controls business.

By Staff
PLCs, PACs October 1, 1999

Process automation market consolidates

Suppliers are continuing to move into new territories as the $7.7 billion process automation system (PAS) market consolidates, according to a recent study by the ARC Advisory Group. The report, "Worldwide Process Automation Systems Outlook: Market Analysis and Forecast through 2003," projects PAS market revenues through 2003 will decline in hardware; increase in proj...

By Staff
PLCs, PACs September 1, 1999

ISA Tech/99

ISA Tech/99 is expected to attract more than 500 exhibitors and 11,000 visitors, Oct. 5-7, at the Philadelphia Convention CenterOne good idea, one useful solution can mean the difference between survival and success or failure and liquidation in these technologically turbocharged times. It just depends who finds and implements crucial innovations first—you or your competitors.

By Jim Montague, CONTROL ENGINEERING
PLCs, PACs September 1, 1999

Defining determinism

While I appreciated your article—"PCs Are Gaining Control" (CE, Feb. '99, p. 62)—I disagree with your definition of determinism. A real-time system is a system in which the process governs the pace, not the controller. Real-time systems are of two kinds:The current combination of cyclic processing (IEC61131-3) on [cyclic] real-time kernels with cyclic busses provides determi...

By Staff
PLCs, PACs September 1, 1999

Distributed, remote I/O market to reach $2.8 billion by 2003

The total market for distributed and remote I/O devices used with distributed control systems (DCSs), PC-based control, and programmable logic control (PLC) is expected to grow 8.3% per year to $2.8 billion in 2003 from $1.9 billion in 1998, according to a recent report by Venture Development Corp.

By Staff
PLCs, PACs September 1, 1999

Schematic drawing for troubleshooting, repair

One area you did not address in the article, "Electrical Schematic Software Automates Wiring, Panel Design" (CE, Aug. '99, p. 47), is usefulness of the resulting schematic for troubleshooting. Every implementation of schematic drawing software seems to make designing and building the control equipment easier at the expense of troubleshooting and repair to the end-user.

By Staff
PLCs, PACs August 1, 1999

Bi-color right angle LED

Irvine, Calif. — According to Stanley Electric, its advanced Model 1211F Series sets a new standard for cost-effectiveness and manufacturing efficiency by offering two diodes in a single compact package. Bi-color capacity creates exceptional brightness for edge-lighting, while reducing component count and conserving valuable PCB space.

By Staff
PLCs, PACs August 1, 1999

Honeywell launches server architecture

Mae West was right. Too much of a good thing can be wonderful-especially if components are well coordinated. For instance, to allow multiple PlantScape DCS to work as one integrated system without duplicating engineering, Honeywell Industrial Automation and Control unveiled July 12 its PlantScape Distributed Server Architecture as part of its PlantScape Release 300.

By Staff
PLCs, PACs August 1, 1999

Setup and configuration aid

San Diego, Calif. — Hardy Instruments introduces Cockpit Configuration Assistant, a setup and configuration aid for its 2151 Series weight controllers. It includes application descriptions, wiring diagrams, and animations to help users correctly configure and wire the weighing system and automatically determines positive and negative values for each parameter entered into the application.

By Staff
PLCs, PACs July 1, 1999

Easy-to-use displays

Schaumburg, Ill. —NT2S two-line interfaces are designed for ease of use in OEM applications such as, packaging or filling machines, conveyor control, printing presses, and commercial washers. Interfaces are available as either message display or programmable models. Message displays need no programming receiving information directly from PLC registers.

By Staff
PLCs, PACs July 1, 1999

Invensys buys Marcam Solutions

London– Invensys plc agreed May 27 to purchase Marcam Solutions Inc. (Newton, Mass.) for about $60 million in cash or $7.50 per share. A software firm specializing in enterprise resource planning (ERP) and asset management applications, Marcam's 715 employees serve 1,400 customers in more than 40 countries.

By Staff
PLCs, PACs July 1, 1999

Motorola teams with Sun on wireless network

Schaumburg, Ill., and Palo Alto, Calif.– Motorola Inc. and Sun Microsystems Inc. signed a 10-year agreement June 9 that will allow Motorola to deliver Internet protocol-based, high-availability network servers, base station controllers, and base stations for wireless networks.The agreement combines wireless communications platforms from Motorola's Network Solutions Sector (NSS) and...

By Staff
PLCs, PACs July 1, 1999

Omron symposium debates PCs versus PLCs

Despite a few persistent drawbacks, personal computers (PCs) may be gaining on programmable logic controllers (PLCs) in manufacturing. This was one of the main topics discussed by users, integrators, and manufacturers during a June 16 symposium here at Omron Electronics. Users included Gary Shelton, electronic engineering supervisor, Hi Stat, an automotive parts man...

By Staff
PLCs, PACs July 1, 1999

HMI Software Powers Diagnostics

The telephone rings. It's midnight, and the plant maintenance foreman is on the line—Op 30 is down again. That's okay. Just boot up the laptop, log on to the company's network via the Internet, and find out what's wrong without leaving home. This vision of the future has come true.But why be awakened at all? What if the operator fixes the machine without calling an engineer because ...

By Gary A. Mintchell, CONTROL ENGINEERING
PLCs, PACs June 1, 1999

Software Tools Ease Network Setup and Use

Without appropriate industrial network software, the latest field-, device-, or sensor-level network is just a heap of cables, connectors, devices, and pile of protocol-filled paper. Depending on hardware, software, and protocol capabilities, industrial network software can help with network design, programming, configuration, run-time optimization, troubleshooting, diagnostics, and maint...

By Mark T. Hoske, CONTROL ENGINEERING
PLCs, PACs June 1, 1999

Siemens removes eye strain from ABS manufacturing

Components of various models of anti-lock braking systems (ABSs) look almost alike. The human eye can easily miss these subtle differences. Machine vision is a vital technology for removing eyestrain and assuring quality assemblies. MK20 is one of the highest volume ABS units at Continental/Teves (Morganton, N.C.) with over 10,000 units manufactured per day.

By Hans Gruhn, Sr. Manufacturing Engineer, Continental/Teves, Morganton, N.C.
PLCs, PACs June 1, 1999

LonWorks crosses all levels

LonWorks' network LonMark Interoperability Association (Palo Alto, Calif.; www.lonmark.org ) suggests LonWorks eliminates problems associated with programming multiple networks by reaching across sensor, device, and field levels of protocols. (For more information, also see Control Engineering , June `99 article, 'Software Tools Can Ease Network Setup and Use.'' ) Echelon's (Palo Alto, Calif.) LonWorks Network Services (LNS) is a network operating system that enables tools for installing, maintaining, monitoring, and controlling LonWork networks, using client-server structure. LNS handles directory management and routing.

By Mark T. Hoske, CONTROL ENGINEERING
PLCs, PACs June 1, 1999

Schneider Electric’s Automation Business acquires ProWorx software

As part of its "Customer One" strategy, Schneider Electric's Automation Business May 14 bought ProWorx Nxt programming software from Taylor Industrial Software, a division of Total Control Products (Melrose Park, Ill.). ProWorx will be part of Schneider's Modsoft products that provide a Microsoft Windows-based user interface to Quantum, Compact, and Momentum PLC...

By Staff
PLCs, PACs May 1, 1999

BinderBus seeks to spark distributed network revolution

For a decade, distributed device networks promised dramatically lower costs and more openness. However, technological limits kept market penetration slight and slowed growth, even though many device networks were eventually established.SerCoNet Ltd. (Netanya, Israel) says these constraints include buses that: sacrifice data-rate to allow longer distance; use master/slave communications an...

By Gary Mintchell, senior editor
PLCs, PACs May 1, 1999

Terminal blocks, connectors enhance flexibility

Terminal blocks and connectors exhibited at National Manufacturing Week included:

By Staff
PLCs, PACs April 1, 1999

Scanners Find the Code

Omron Electronics Many, if not most, manufacturing facilities incorporate bar coding on some level. Applications range from parts tracking and quality control to finished goods identification. The question is, are manufacturers using bar-code scanners best suited to the application? Just as there are many bar-code symbologies, different types of bar-code scanners are available. A bar-code scanner is composed of a light source and a light detector.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs April 1, 1999

S7-compatible PLCs

Murten, Switzerland— SAIA PCD xx7 Series controllers, from SAIA-Burgess Electronics, allows the PLC user to select the technology and price most suitable PLC for any application. The series, based on PCD1 and PCD2 controllers, have a high degree of modularity, including the PCD1 micro-PLC. The standard version, PCD2, has 132 kB.

By Staff
PLCs, PACs February 1, 1999

Wind tunnel controls provide consistent, reliable results

How do you get the wind to repeatedly perform in exactly the same way? Precise controls, of course. Used to evaluate aerodynamics, acoustics, and other performance characteristics of product designs and refinements, wind tunnels must exactly duplicate testing conditions to ensure test results are caused by design changes rather than testing errors.

By Staff
PLCs, PACs February 1, 1999

A-B PLC inventor, Dr. Odo Struger, dies

A true trailblazer in numerical control and programmable controllers, Dr. Odo J. Struger, 67, died Dec. 8, 1998, following a five-year battle with thyroid cancer. Often called the father of Allen-Bradley's programmable logic controller (PLC) and credited with creating that acronym, Dr.

By Staff
PLCs, PACs February 1, 1999

Universal signal conditioner modules

Sunnyvale, Calif.— ADAM-3000 Signal Conditioning Modules can process a wide range of sensor and transducer signals while protecting against ground loops, motor noise, and other types of electrical interference. Using optical isolation technology, ADAM-3000 modules provide input, output, and power isolation to 1000 V dc.

By Staff
PLCs, PACs February 1, 1999

DNA for Manufacturing Microsoft Creates Framework for Software Tools

Software vendors have used Microsoft (Redmond, Wa.) tools in myriad ways across many industries. Just as Microsoft used the OLE strategy across industries (OLE for process control, for design and modeling, for the insurance industry…), it now introduces a broader grouping of software technologies, called Microsoft Windows Distributed interNet Applications architecture, or DNA, with ...

By Mark T. Hoske, CONTROL ENGINEERING
PLCs, PACs January 1, 1999

Inexpensive micro PLC

Cumming, Ga. —PLCDirect now offers the least expensive micro PLC available with features typically found in more costly micro PLCs. The DL05 joins the DirectLogic family as the first and only $99 PLC in its class. According to the company, the DL05 is still one of the only micros in its class to offer a removable connector, allows users to their connections, and reduce downtime by allo...

By Staff
PLCs, PACs January 1, 1999

Alternative to PLC

Coquitlam, B.C., Canada —Tri-m Engineering's IR 104 combines 20 optically isolated inputs and 20-high capacity relay outputs on a single, PC/104-compliant module. According to the company, the IR 104 plugged together with a PC/104 compatible CPU offers an efficient, reliable, safe, and economic alternative to older PLC-based automation of industrial monitoring and control.

By Staff
PLCs, PACs January 1, 1999

Mergers prepare companies for global arena, software evolution

Anybody out there notmerging? Reasons for the latest flareup of merger mania are as plentiful as the actual deals, but studying these conglomerations reveals a few overarching motivations.Global competitive strength, one-stop-shopping for customers, wider and deeper distribution, better software development ability, economies of scale and worldwide partnering and problem-solving abiliti...

By Staff
PLCs, PACs December 1, 1998

32-channel analog input PLC module

Bellevue, Wa. —Four versions of analog input modules for Modicon Quantum PLCs are available: current only, voltage only, selectable current or voltage, and selectable current or voltage with time stamp data logging. Modules can be segregated into four groups of eight inputs. Features include over-voltage protection, over- and under-range detection, active band pass filtering, 16-bit reso...

By Staff
PLCs, PACs November 1, 1998

NT, PC, PLC data blend to improve lockset assembly

Human or electronic, happy marriages are based on good communications and input. One blissful partnership recently increased quality and flexibility at Kwikset Corp.'s lockset assembly plant (Waynesboro, Ga.).The company joined its 1960s-era manufacturing methods with Rockwell Software data acquisition software and three Allen-Bradley SoftLogix 5 controllers, both from Rockwell Automation...

By Staff
PLCs, PACs November 1, 1998

Allen-Bradley launches PC-based control package

While debate continues on whether "soft logic" control platforms will replace traditional PLCs, Allen-Bradley has released SoftLogix 5, which it claims is "the best solution for all situations." "SoftLogix 5 combines the best of the PLC and the PC," says Mark Daniels, A-B's U.

By Staff
PLCs, PACs November 1, 1998

ISA Expo/98

'Bus wars' expand to Ethernet; Sun touts Jini networkingHouston, Tex.— Shutting down Ethernet as a possible universal industry protocol, factions in the ongoing "bus wars" are creating competing Ethernet versions. Modbus and ControlNet now have different Ethernet application layers, while Fieldbus Foundation and Profibus organizations are working on versions of the same.

By Staff
PLCs, PACs October 1, 1998

Second-generation, self-repairing control system launched

If you want something done right…get your autonomous, self-repairing control system to do it. American Controls Corp. (ACC) recently shipped the second generation, Series 200, of its control system to a gas pipeline pumping station in La Chenaie, Quebec, near Montreal.

By Staff
PLCs, PACs October 1, 1998

PLC makers unbundle I/O systems, software

The global programmable logic controller (PLC) market will probably grow slightly over the next five years, according to a new report from Automation Research Corp. "Growth in the worldwide PLC business will average less than 3% annually for the next several years. In response, suppliers will increasingly target unbundled I/O modules and software for future growth in...

By Staff
PLCs, PACs October 1, 1998

Soft start motor control

York, Pa. —SSX Series soft start motor controllers are sized from 1/2 to 50 hp, have input from 208/230, 460, and 575 V ac, and feature controls for adjusting starting torque, ramp time, and dwell time. Acceleration is smooth under all load conditions. These units have overload protection when used with the torque control option.

By Staff
PLCs, PACs September 1, 1998

ABB completes Alfa Laval Automation purchase

ABB Industrial Systems announced Aug. 1 that it completed acquistion of the Automation Unit of Alfa Laval of Sweden for an undisclosed amount. The companies announced the deal June 17 (Control Engineering, July '98, p. 2). The move gives ABB additional solutions in supervisory control and data acquisition, distributed control systems, programmable logic controller...

By Staff
PLCs, PACs September 1, 1998

Two operator touch panels

Cumming, Ga.— Priced at only $599 (for monochrome) and $799 (for color), the DirectTouch panels have a powerful feature set that makes high-performance touch panels affordable for applications using smaller PLC systems. Both panels have a large 5.7 in. diagonal back-lit LCD with a high-resolution touch grid, and contain a MB of memory to store up to 1,000 screens.

By Staff
PLCs, PACs August 1, 1998

Moore changes name to stress solutions

To better convey its ability to provide comprehensive process automation solutions, Moore Products recently changed its name to Moore Process Automation Solutions. This expands the scope implied by Moore's name from a products supplier to a solutions provider."The APACS+ process automation system, including the QuadLog safety PLC and measurement and control instr...

By Staff
PLCs, PACs August 1, 1998

Phar Lap shows embedded Internet in action

Because it's good to try on software before adopting it, Phar Lap Software Inc. recently launch-ed its Embedded WebFarm, which lets engineers try Phar Lap's real-time operating system, Realtime ETS Kernel, on different x86 hardware platforms.Webfarm is located at www.webfarm.

By Staff
PLCs, PACs August 1, 1998

Encoder module

Clawson, Mich.— The Series 1746R PLC encoder module monitors machine/process position and delivers absolute position data at 12 bit (4,096 count) resolution to the SLC processor. Available in two versions; 1746R-1 is for single-axis applications and uses a single-turn resolver. Standard "Turns Counting" software allows a single-turn resolver to be used in multiturn applications.

By Staff
PLCs, PACs August 1, 1998

New Siebe division name reflects acquisitions

Siebe plc renamed its control systems division July 8 as Siebe Intelligent Automation (SIA). The new name recognizes the division's recent acquisitions of Wonderware (Irvine, Calif.), Simulation Sciences (Brea, Calif.), and U.K.-based Eurotherm. "These acquisitions make our division the only sensor-to-boardroom automation solutions provider," says Dr.

By Staff
PLCs, PACs July 1, 1998

Two-axis accelerometer on a chip

Norwood, Mass.— ADXL202 is a complete two-axis accelerometer with a digital output on a single monolithic IC chip, designed to interface with a number of low-cost microcontrollers available from many manufacturers. Outputs are duty cycle modulated signals whose cycles (ratio of pulse width to period) are proportional to the acceleration in each of the two sensitive axes.

By Staff
PLCs, PACs June 1, 1998

Technologies abound at Hannover Fair ’98

The second 50 years began well for the "world's largest industrial fair." Hannover Fair '98 drew 7,519 exhibitors and 320,000 visitors—both outstripping last year's results.Non-German exhibitors reached 44% of the total, and occupied 91,000 m² of display space (28.

By Staff
PLCs, PACs June 1, 1998

OMAC users group updates members

Open Modular Architecture Controller (OMAC) Users Group met on May 14 in conjunction with IAM '98 to update members on the status of the 11 working groups established in February. The groups are organizing and seeking participation from member companies to arrive at common interfaces, so end-users need not devote a lot of training when implementing new control systems.

By Staff
PLCs, PACs May 1, 1998

Electrical noise—what a racket

Every electrical circuit has noise in it. Noise becomes undesirable when the signal-to-noise ratio becomes low enough to adversely effect the operation of the electrical circuit.Electrical or electromechanical devices that cause fast or large changes in voltage or current are common sources of noise.

By William (Bill) L. Mostia, Jr., P.E., Amoco Corp.
PLCs, PACs May 1, 1998

Rugged embedded network I/O modules

Atascadero, Calif.— Selecting from 16 intelligent I/O module types, which can be stacked and interlocked, the user can locate I/O modules in environments of –40 to 85 °C, and as much as 5,000 feet from the controller. The pre-programmed firmware on each I/O module automatically handles communications to the RS-485 network and executes module specific input and output commands.

By Staff
PLCs, PACs May 1, 1998

NASA panel mulls down-to-earth control applications

Space technology continues to trickle down to industrial applications and add to control and automation's knowledge base, according to a NASA panel, "Space Technology and its Applications to Industry," during National Manufacturing Week, March 16-19, in Chicago.Earth orbit can benefit earth-bound manufacturing because zero-gravity allows production of higher purity/q...

By Staff
PLCs, PACs May 1, 1998

Philips sells automation businesses

Advent International, a Boston-based private investor with about $3 billion in assets and active interests in 30 countries, recently took over Philips Industrial Automation Systems (IAS) and nine other Philips subsidiaries in early 1998. The 10 companies are collectively organized for financial purposes into Panta Holding (Amersfoort, the Netherlands).

By Staff
PLCs, PACs April 1, 1998

PC-based batch system provides quick changeover

To produce 400 tons of animal feed per day, seven days a week, KFK A/S requires a batching system that allows it to flexibly manufacture a number of different product mixes. Since the recipes contain from four to 19 components with variable handling characteristics, fast changeover, or "fast edit" of recipes, was considered essential.

By Staff
PLCs, PACs April 1, 1998

Relay Ladder Logic

Ladder diagrams, or Relay Ladder Logic (RLL), are the primary programming language for programmable logic controllers (PLCs). Ladder logic programming is a graphical representation of the program designed to look like relay logic. This convention goes back to the early days of PLCs when electricians and technicians were trained in relay logic and expected to troubleshoot these new devices...

By Gary A. Mintchell, senior editor
PLCs, PACs April 1, 1998

32-bit client/server SPC software

Southfield, Mich.— WinSPC C/S is a 32 bit client/server statistical process control (SPC) package providing real-time feedback to manufacturing control systems based upon process statistical analysis. WinSPC C/S uses DDE, OLE automation, and OLE for Process Control (OPC) to communicate with the controllers.

By Staff
PLCs, PACs April 1, 1998

TI unveils new digital signal processor architecture

In an effort to chart a new course for embedded computing, Texas Instruments (TI) on March 23 introduced its new 100-MIPS digital signal processor (DSP) architecture, which company officials say makes microcontrollers (MCUs) obsolete.Called TMS320C2700, the new architecture is reported to unite in a single device the flexibility, ease-of-use, and cost efficiency of MC...

By Staff
PLCs, PACs March 1, 1998

Low-cost Annunciator

Natick, Mass. The PD128 PLC annunciator displays up to eight messages at once, features a built-in horn, and is powered directly from the PLC. The red, yellow, and green LEDs are field interchangable, and custom message labels are available at no extra cost. Housed in a convenient 1/8 DIN panel-mount NEMA 4 case, the PD128 requires no programming.

By Staff
PLCs, PACs March 1, 1998

Corrections – 1998-03-01

In the "Product Focus/Programmable Logic Controllers" article in the February 1998 issue of Control Engineering, two percentage figures were switched from the sections of the pie chart on p. 113 that they should have occupied. However, the data they contain were correct.In the same article, a table referred to on p.

By Staff
PLCs, PACs March 1, 1998

SBC Pentium Desktop

Greenville, S.C.— With all the functionality of the best MMX machines, the SBC-MaX from Computer Dynamics is a small form factor, single-board computer that is finding its way into many nondesktop applications, such as machine control, OEM products, and others requiring densely packed features.

By Staff
PLCs, PACs March 1, 1998

PLC-Compatible Smart Terminal

Van Nuys, Calif.— The new VIP-Plus Series of smart terminals has expanded I/O capability, including built-in software drivers for many PLC manufacturers, which makes interfacing with user host systems easier. Developed by Industrial Electronic Engineers, VIP-Plus allows I/O port configuration for PLC "ladder program" passthrough without any disconnect from the terminal.

By Staff
PLCs, PACs March 1, 1998

Pentium CPU on CompactPCI

Amaro (UD), Italy — ETH-0996 is a CompactPCI-PC/104 single board computer with Pentium processor. It does not require a CompactPCI bus backplane to operate; it can operate alone in many applications because of on-board integration of the most commonly needed peripheral devices, including solid-state disk, floppy disk interface, keyboard and mouse controller, serial I/O, eight digital I/...

By Staff
PLCs, PACs March 1, 1998

Small Enclosure Air Conditioners

Greensburg, Pa.— Ice Qube's thinner versions of its top mount and wall mount air conditioners are designed to complement increasing use of smaller electrical, electronic, and computer enclosures in manufacturing. The company's product line ranges from 1,500 to 12,000 BTU/hr, and all its systems feature 16 gauge welded steel, dent-resistant cabinet construction, efficient rotary compresso...

By Staff
PLCs, PACs March 1, 1998

How to Untangle Network Topologies

A topology, which is the pattern of interconnections among nodes, influences a network's cost and performance. While commercial networks move toward low cost solutions, industrial networks must concentrate on rugged, heavy-duty solutions for multiple environments.This is achieved by using stronger signal integrity and heavier shields in the physical media.

By Scott Holm-Hansen, InterlinkBT
PLCs, PACs February 1, 1998

AC Vector Drives, PLCs Help Roll Out Steel Carpet

If a company plans on churning out 500 feet of cold-rolled steel per minute and add various protective coatings to each mammoth roll, it's going to need a durable and highly accurate automation system.L-S II Electrogalvanizing Company (Columbus, O.), a joint venture of LTV Steel and Sumitomo Metal Industries, faced this dilemma when the company began operations in 1991.

By Staff
PLCs, PACs February 1, 1998

Year 2000: No Surprises

Software in your enterprise will start to reach into year 2000 and beyond well before the first day of business in the new millennium—Monday, Jan. 3. People at all levels in your operation are probably already assessing, converting, and testing. Ideally, by the time 2000 rolls around, there won't be any unpleasant surprises, especially on the plant floor.

By Staff
PLCs, PACs February 1, 1998

Rosemount Makes Patent Available to Foundation Fieldbus and HART

It always takes a little self-sacrifice and long-term vision to reach the promised land or invest in a worthwhile future.To help the process industry achieve its long-sought goal of an open, interoperable communication standard, Rosemount Inc. (Eden Prairie, Minn.) announced Jan. 9 that it's making available to FOUNDATION Fieldbus and HART Communication Foundation members a five-year, ro...

By Staff
PLCs, PACs January 24, 1998

Open, Modular Architecture Controls at GM Powertrain — Non-Technical Issues

Reliability of PC Hardware Integration of open control systems Liability of open control systems Support of open control system implementations Relationship between user and vendor Progression toward OMAC systems Globalization of the OMAC concept The OMAC concept has been presented to many control vendors, equipment builders, and end users, and the OMAC direction is being embraced by many companies. However, during the interactions with many companies about OMAC, many non-technical issues were raised concerning the feasibility of large-scale implementation of OMAC-based systems on the factory floor. Many similar concerns were voiced repeatedly, and perspectives from GM Powertrain are presented in this section to address these issues. Reliability of PC Hardware The GM Powertrain Windsor and Romulus plants have installed and are in the process of installing more than 500 PC based controllers.

By C. Michael Taylor, et al.
PLCs, PACs January 1, 1998

Fisher-Rosemount, Avenor Unveil Foundation Fieldbus Installation

Fisher-Rosemount recently contracted with Avenor Inc. (Montreal, Quebec, Canada), an international pulp and paper company, to install a Fieldbus Starter Kit in the kraft paper area at Avenor's 1,200 tpd mill in Gatineau, Quebec. The facility uses kraft pulp in newsprint production to achieve specific quality characteristics.

By Staff
PLCs, PACs October 9, 1997

ISA TECH/97 Highlights From Anaheim, Calif., Day Three

OPC on the ISA TECH/97 Floor OLE for Process Control (OPC) was demonstrated on the floor at ISA TECH/97. Based on Microsoft's component object model technology, OPC allows components in a networked system to share process data. The Microsoft and OPC booths demonstrated the interoperability of products from 16 foundation members. The booth demonstrations show real-time data flowing between hardware such as programmable logic controllers and distributed I/O from various manufacturers to human-machine interface and supervisory control and data acquisition software systems over Ethernet using TCP/IP.

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs May 1, 1997

Bode plots solve frequency domain problems

Every child who has ever held a spring upright knows that tugging on the top end causes the bottom end to start bouncing and that repeated tugging keeps those oscillations going. Some may notice that even though both ends always oscillate at the same frequency, the bottom end bounces higher at some frequencies than at others. Truly gifted children might even notice that the bottom end oscillates out of sync with the top end and lagsfurther and further behind as the frequency increases. Engineers know that many mechanical, electrical, and chemical processes with energy-storing components behave the same way.

By Vance J. VanDoren, consulting editor
PLCs, PACs February 1, 1997

PCs, Flowcharts, and SDS Speed Production at Silicon Graphics

Smart Distributed System

By Control Engineering Staff
PLCs, PACs January 1, 1970

Schneider sues Opto 22

Chicago, Ill.—Wherever two or more gathered during National Manufacturing Week 2001, March 5-8, their discussion involved patents. As reported in Control Engineering, Feb. '01, p. 32, Schneider Electric Automation (North Andover, Mass.) followed news about its minority investment in Entivity by announcing an open auction on the web for its patent, "Device for Communicating Real-time Dat...

By Gary Mintchell, senior editor, gmintchell@cahners.com
PLCs, PACs January 1, 1970

Three web server architectures aid plant-floor, enterprise integration

Driven by manufacturing's desire to connect the factory floor with the rest of the enterprise, web-enabled PLCs and Ethernet are giving users new ways to view and control factory data using embedded web servers. When selecting a web-enabled automation device, users can choose from three distinct system architectures.

By Richard Baker
PLCs, PACs January 1, 1970

Components provide network, Internet capabilities

Alpharetta, Ga. —Simatic Net series of control hardware, firmware, and cabling options complements this line of high-speed switches that integrate production floor and critical IT data at 100 Mbps. These industrial Ethernet components allow users to build a high-bandwidth network with Internet management capabilities and are optimized for connectivity with a native-socket, TCP/IP firmwa...

By Staff