Already facing several choices when choosing a fieldbus network, engineers now have another—Ethernet. Yes, that's the same Ethernet IT uses to connect PCs to the enterprise and ultimately the Internet. Well, it is almost the same.In the face of all the other fieldbuses with vendor groups, big company support, technical committees, and compliance testing, why is anyone looking at Eth...
Dick Caro officially tendered his resignation Feb. 1 as convenor of the IEC SC65C/WG6 fieldbus committee. With the recent passage of the IEC ballot on the final draft of the IEC 61158 fieldbus standard, he fulfilled his agreement to finish work on WG6. Mr. Caro had led the subcommittee since 1993.
Weaving enterprise optimization from the plant floor to glass house and through the supply chain requires sorting through difficulties, weighing options, and eliminating confusion. Related solutions and user and vendor recommendations are included in AMR Research's (AMR, Boston, Mass.) Oct. '99 Report On Manufacturing titled "Variability: The Cure is Out There," written by AMR's research...
What's next? Let's get back to automation and controls now that we've survived Y2K. I admit I enjoyed watching the world throw a lot of time, talent, and money at a global challenge. It was supposed to be Yawn2K, and it was. Now let's apply our efforts to the next global problem to be solved.
Here We Go Again.
Control systems are in another evolutionary period. Usually this remark is taken to mean a technology leap in the controller. The complete system, however, is more than just the controller, and changes are occurring in every part of the system. As Control Engineering covers these changes during the year, it is useful to look at each product and subsystem in contex.
Regular users of Control Engineering Online have no doubt noticed by now a significant change in the look and feel of the web site. It has undergone the most significant redesign in its history to better serve the steadily growing number of people who visit www.controleng.com to keep up-to-date on happenings in the automation and control industries.
Can you hear it? It's the sound of several thousand fed up sensor and transducer manufacturers doing an end-run around the endless fieldbus squabbles. Many are beginning to use increasingly intelligent devices and common communications, which can access networks and function on the Internet to get jobs done.
You can talk about digital fieldbus and wireless Ethernet. But there's nothing like good old analog signal over a 4-20 mA loop for transmitting data between process and control equipment—though engineers are using some unusual tools to help them create ever smaller and more powerful analog peripheral boards and boxes.
Free mixing of hardware and software to solve control problems has advantages, but only when it works.Finding a single definition for the term "open system" is a thorny problem. In an open system, control engineers should be able to take appropriate control hardware (sensors, controllers, PCs, cabling, etc.