Top Control Engineering articles for 2013

Award winning Control Engineering products, system integration, salary and career survey, PID and advanced control, cyber security, human machine interface of the future, optimization, sensing, motor sizing and efficiency, PLC programming, and motion control were among top 25 Control Engineering stories for 2013, based on online traffic. See the titles and description of each article below. Link online to each article, including 20 more most-read articles in 2013 that were posted prior to 2013.


Leading Control Engineering articles in 2013 covered Control Engineering Engineers’ Choice Award related products, system integration, salary survey and career advice, PID and advanced control, cyber security measures, human machine interface of the future, process optimization, temperature sensing, motor sizing and efficiency, PLC programming cost savings, and motion control. These were among top 25 Control Engineering stories for 2013, based on online traffic. With this article online, link directly to each article, below.

A word about the tyranny of the calendar: Because articles posted later in 2013 have less chance of showing up in this ranking, we also have included the 20 most-read articles posted prior to 2013.

Articles help those involved with controls, automation, and instrumentation to be more useful and more valuable to those they serve.

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Top 25 articles read during 2013, among those posted during 2013 

1. Control Engineering Engineers’ Choice Awards

Review the finalists, winners, and honorable mentions from 2012; see the finalists for 2014. The 2014 winners will be announced in the February North American edition. Beyond seeing which products were voted as “Engineers’ Choice” winners, the collection of finalists provides some of the most-useful products to advance automation, control, and instrumentation productivity.

2. Evolving PID tuning rules – March 13

A brief history, starting with the earliest PID controllers to the most recent developments. There is more continuity than you might expect.

3. System Integrator Giants of 2013 – June

The 100 firms on the System Integrator Giants list represent the largest system integrators of 2013, among the companies listed in the Control Engineering Automation Integrator Guide. In the survey, system integrator revenue is defined as automation integration services minus the cost of all off-the-shelf products: hardware, software, and equipment. The system integrators who responded to this survey provided information about engineering specialties, industries served, products integrated, associations/affiliations, and challenges from their industry.

4. Control Engineering salary and career survey, 2013 – March 25

Average annual base salary was $92,918 among respondents to the 2013 Control Engineering salary and career survey, with 70% expecting an increase and average bonus of $10,486. Best skills to get ahead are engineering skills, project management skills, communication and presentation skills, and computer skills. Other career advice follows.

5. PID math demystified, part 1 May 6

You’ve seen the equations, but have you thought about how those elements work together? Part 1: The basic concepts and proportional control.

6. PLC vs. PAC – Feb. 4

These technologies continue to evolve, making differences harder to distinguish. Here are some thoughts on what does what, and how to choose between a PLC and a PAC for your next application.

7. Fundamentals of lambda tuning – April 16

Understanding a particularly conservative PID controller design technique.

8. PID math demystified, part 2 – May 13

You’ve see the equations, but have you thought about how those elements work together? Part 2: Adding integral and derivative to the mix.

9. Cyber security experiment reveals threats to industrial systems – Oct. 4

A recent report shows how “honey pots” designed to look like municipal water utility networks attract many hackers. Security experts offer their analysis of the findings and suggest how they could influence your defensive strategies.

10. The HMI of the future will look very familiar – July 7

HMI/SCADA applications enable companies to benefit from commercial off-the-shelf technologies adapted for industrial automation to lower costs and improve operations. See video.

11. Optimizing strategy for boiler drum level control

This process sensing optimization article looks at strategies for making better measurements, specifically with level control. Avoid trips and maximize steam output by reviewing control equipment, strategy, and tuning.

12. Temperature sensors: Make the right choice, RTD vs. TC – June 25

When you need a temperature measurement, one of the most basic decisions is choosing which kind of sensor to deploy. The application should guide your decision.

13. How to size servo motors: Advanced inertia calculations – July 18

Inside Machines: To properly select the appropriate servo motor for a motion control application, find the inertia of the load being rotated. Applications where the center of rotation is on a different axis than the center of mass can lead to some challenging inertial calculations. 

14. How to lower PLC software costs – April 5

PLC vendors make much more profit from software licenses than they do selling hardware. Smart shopping can avoid some of those fees. Advice for lowering PLC licensing fees follows.

15. New approaches for remote I/O installations – Nov. 13

New modular I/O technologies increase your options for communication with field instrumentation and devices. These are particularly useful when longer distances are involved.

16. Motion control: Statue of Liberty rescue elevator – March 18

Application Update: At the Statue of Liberty, the new fast, efficient rescue elevator features a smooth ride to the top, ensured by a motor drive, to improve safety, emergency access, and evacuation for the crown jewel of U.S. statues and tourist destinations.

17. PID math demystified, part 3: More on derivative control – Oct. 21

Consider how a PD controller would work, without an integral function. Would you ever want to use that approach?

18. Transformer efficiency: Minimizing transformer losses – June 12

Matching a transformer to its anticipated load is a critical aspect of reducing energy consumption.

Traditional IT is moving more onto the plant floor. OT will have to accept a greater level of integration. Is that a problem or an opportunity? Courtesy: CFE Media19. IT vs. OT: Bridging the divide – Aug. 16

Traditional IT is moving more onto the plant floor. OT will have to accept a greater level of integration. Is that a problem or an opportunity?

20. Selecting the right SCADA technology – Oct. 11

Modern SCADA technologies offer choices that satisfy functionality and security requirements while improving performance for remote users. 

21. Understanding SIS industry standards – May 14

Process safety standards and practices are spreading from oil and gas and other energy-related industries to broader process industry applications. Here’s basic advice on how to make more sense of the numbers and acronyms.

22. Wonderware owner Invensys acquires InduSoft – Oct. 24

With the InduSoft acquisition, Invensys (currently with a recommended offer from Schneider Electric to be acquired) further expands human-machine interface (HMI) and supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) offerings for the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) sector. Invensys owns Wonderware HMI software, Foxboro, Triconex, SimSci-Esscor, and Avantis brands. Video: How InduSoft and Wonderware work together, added on Oct. 24.

Baxter on the job kitting parts at a plastics manufacturing facility. Courtesy: Rethink Robotics23. Safety and control in collaborative robotics – Aug. 6

Robotics technology is moving at the speed of light, and the standards process is struggling to keep up. New types of collaborative robots can be safely implemented: Do a risk assessment, work with experienced suppliers, and get involved with standards development.

24. Commercial tablets get industrial enclosures – March 25

Making tablets rugged: Industrial-grade environmental protection can help ruggedize and protect Apple iPad, Google Android, and other tablet computers.

25. Is 'ZigBee vs. Z-wave' the wrong battle? An analyst’s insight into up and coming smart home technologies - May 6

A new report from IMS Research projects the adoption 13 connectivity technologies in the home.

- See next page for the Top 20 articles read during 2013, among those posted prior to 2013

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