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.
Chicago, Ill. — National Industrial Automation Show (NIAS), part of National Manufacturing Week (NMW), March 15-18, included the following announcements: Industrial Ethernet association forms In an effort to clear confusion surrounding use of Ethernet in industrial applications, Mike Justice, president of Synergetic Micro Systems (Downers Grove, Ill.) has formed the Industrial Ethernet Association. To start, the user and vendor trade group will use www.industrialethernet.com as a clearinghouse for technical information, including an Ethernet terminology white paper; online discussion forums and published standards also are planned on the website.
You have to install a new manufacturing data network. Before you call for a truck-load of twisted-pair copper wire, better check out all the applications. There may be areas where copper won't work.There are other choices. Fiber-optic technology is not new, but is becoming easier to use. Radio frequency is moving from warehouse data collection to sensors and networking.
Imagine the best automation, control, and instrumentation product.Out of thousands of products covered in Control Engineering during year 2000—in print, online, in electronic newsletters—our editors picked 40. The 14th annual Control Engineering Editors' Choice Award winners appear on the next few pages, with more information in the online version at www.
Control Engineering editors— in the 14th annual process—highlighted the best products of the year, based on technological advancement, impact on the market, and service to industry.Editors selected from among thousands of products mentioned in Control Engineering and Control Engineering Online during year 2000, in nine product categories: Control components; Human-machine interface...