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PLC I/O devices have gone a long way from being wiring devices on a backplane. Once thought to be dinosaurs replaced by smart sensors and device networks, I/O devices are showing new life by offering users new ways to improve control of machines in a cost-effective manner. Several trends in the market are occurring simultaneously, but all have one direction—increased opportunities f...
Gary A. Mintchell, CONTROL ENGINEERING
March 1, 1998
What functionality and/or features are today's recorder users seeking? How are they applying recorders? Are paperless recorders replacing traditional paper recorders? Are ink recorders more popular than thermal recorders? Do people order more single-channel than multichannel recorders?To find out the answers to these and other questions, Control Engineering conducted original market res...
Staff
March 1, 1998
The industrial controls business in 1997 outdid even the volatile and booming stock market. Dancing around the 8,000 level, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) and other market indexes managed to recover on "Turnaround Tuesday" most of the losses suffered on "Meltdown Monday" in late October.
George J. Blickley, Consulting Editor
March 1, 1998
The BIAS '98 trade fair will stage a "first-time-ever" roundtable of process industry ceos to discuss challenges faced by instrument and control systems manufacturers, according to Antonio Rampini, BIAS' organizer. He said ABB Group, Elsag Bailey Process Automation, Honeywell, Siemens AG, and Yokogawa have confirmed their participation in the event.
Staff
March 1, 1998
More than year after buying 70% of AFE Holdings in late 1996, GE Fanuc Automation North America Inc. recently bought the remaining 30% of AFE.A manufacturer of operator interface (OI) and software products with subsidiaries in the U.K., U.S., and Canada, AFE's products are now sold under GE Fanuc's family of Cimplicity OI products.
Staff
March 1, 1998
To do more with less is not an easy challenge. Luckily, some timely assistance is exactly what engineers at Engelhard Corp. (Attapulgus, Ga.) received recently when they sought to replace outdated control systems and reduce overall costs at their petroleum catalysts production plant.Engelhard's staff was working to cut costs by $7 million per year, but also knew they had to replace the pl...
Staff
March 1, 1998
Kevin Jackson, Fisher-Rosemount's U.K. managing director, says his London-based company will have a "complete suite" of FOUNDATION Fieldbus products available in 1998, following "rigorous testing" in production processes. "We're looking forward to starting the real world business of introducing end users to the immense benefits of products on FOUNDATION Fieldbus pro...
Staff
March 1, 1998
Newport Beach, Calif.— Pacific Scientific Co.'s shareholders will vote March 27 on the proposed $460 million acquisition of the company by a wholly owned subsidiary of Danaher Corp. (Washington, D.C.). Shareholders on record as of Feb. 25 will be able to vote at the special meeting, which was called by Pacific Scientific's board of directors on Feb.
Staff
March 1, 1998
Charting the progress of statistical process and statistical quality control (SPC/SQC) shows a definite trend. It's straight up.However, the latest software promises to tame the charting beast. Vendors are integrating their wares more completely with supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems, targeting their products at audiences other than quality engineers, and opening pr...
Hank Hogan, Contributing Editor
March 1, 1998
Well, you asked for it. The 1998 edition of one of the world's largest manufacturing and technology shows is tanned, rested, and ready to go seamless.Evolving as a result of recent feedback from visitors and exhibitors requesting an even more streamlined and workable event, this year's National Industrial Automation Show (NIAS), and the three other shows that make up National Manufacturin...
Jim Montague, CONTROL ENGINEERING
February 1, 1998
When Washington Irving's Rip Van Winkle awoke from his 20-year nap, he found himself in a new country. When computer users wake up on Jan. 1, 2000, they may find themselves in the old century.Year 2000 poses a myriad of problems for computers and software applications that only recognize two-digit date codes (e.
Jane S. Gerold
February 1, 1998
In what's become an ongoing series of acquisitions, Total Control Products Inc. recently agreed to buy signal processing manufacturer SensorPulse Corp. (South Easton, Mass.).Total Control is paying for substantially all of SensorPulse's assets with 41,667 shares (about $500,000 worth) of Total Control stock, $1.
Staff
February 1, 1998
Despite the temptation, size alone is not the right descriptor for ac "microdrives"—those ultracompact variable-frequency drives (VFDs) that sprouted during the first-half of the 1990s. For quite a while, it seemed, each new model would be even more miniature than the one announced just a month or so earlier.
Frank J. Bartos, CONTROL ENGINEERING
February 1, 1998
While investors and economists were shaken by last October's market plunge and bounceback, and by Asia's ongoing economic struggles, U.S. Commerce Department data show that new orders for the aggregated "Measuring and Controlling Instruments" (SIC 382) group grew consistently stronger last year following a weak late 1996 and early 1997.
Daryl Delano, Cahners Economics
February 1, 1998
GroupIPC, an association of 40 Industry Pack (IP) and PCI Mezzanine Card (PMC) makers, distributors, and end-users seeking to increase awareness of mezzanine modules, is holding a joint pavilion and tutorials from Feb. 18-20 at Embedded Systems '98 in Sindelfingen, Germany.
Staff
February 1, 1998
With increases in most major market and industry groups, U.S. industrial production grew 0.5% in December, according to the Federal Reserve Board's recent "Industrial Production and Capacity Utilization" report. However, the report added that the overall gain was held back by a 2.
Staff
February 1, 1998
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.
Staff
February 1, 1998
You're relaxing at home on a Sunday afternoon, a favorite beverage in one hand, the remote control in the other. Suddenly, your pager goes off. You think to yourself, "Oh no, not another weekend afternoon spent chasing an emergency at the plant."You log into your home computer to read your e-mail.
Jane S. Gerold, CONTROL ENGINEERING
February 1, 1998
Year 2000 bug (aka Y2K or millennium bug) is touted as modern automation's biggest glitch. Financial impact is being bantered well into the high billions of dollars—all because two little numbers should have been four.In the late 60s and early 70s, computer systems were new and very costly.
Eugene C. Jacobsen, TAVA Technologies
February 1, 1998
Web processing encompasses a myriad of products and materials that are manufactured in flat sheets or rolls. Web process industries produce many products including textiles, paper, and plastic film. They can also perform any number of secondary operations on these base materials. Countertops, flooring, sandpaper, and food packaging materials such as potato chip bags, candy bar wrappers, a...
Brian Baldwin, Steve Harr, Rob Lowery, and Tod Madderra, ABB Industrial Systems
February 1, 1998
What functionality/features are today's programmable logic controller (PLC) users seeking? How are they applying PLCs? Is any other technology, such as personal computers, taking away market share from PLCs? Control Engineering wanted to know, so we asked a random sampling of 1,500 readers to participate in a survey about today's PLC.
Staff
February 1, 1998
U.S. business confidence in January 1998 was the highest since spring 1997, suggesting that manufacturers don't expect Asian financial problems to seriously impact the U.S. economy or their own business prospects this year. The Cahners Business Confidence Index for January 1998 showed strongest optimism among businesses with headquarters in the West and Northeast.
Staff
February 1, 1998
Authors : C. Michael Taylor director, GM Powertrain Manufacturing Engineering Controls Council Thomas J. Yager controls manager, manufacturing engineering - engines Raymond P.
C. Michael Taylor, et al.
January 31, 1998
Definition of OMAC Terms Illustration of the OMAC Concept Various Levels of Openness Other Factors Definition of OMAC Terms Definitions of key terms associated with the open, modular control systems described in the OMAC White paper are restated in the following table: Terms Definitions open allowing the integration of off-the-shelf hardware and software components into a 'de facto' standard environment modular permitting 'plug and play' of components scaleable enabling easy and efficient reconfiguration to meet specific application needs economical achieving low life cycle cost maintainable supporting robust plant floor operation (maximum uptime), expeditious repair (minimal downtime), and easy maintenance These definitions also accurately reflect the OMAC concept at GMPTG. Two important elements in the definition of 'open' are (1) the requirement of a 'de facto' standard environment, and (2) the availability of commercial control hardware and software components. GMPTG is not going to wait for an international standard for an open architecture control to be defined before it will start implementing OMAC systems.
C. Michael Taylor, et al.
January 30, 1998
GM Powertrain Organization GMPTG Math-Based Manufacturing Strategy GMPTG OMAC Implementation Strategies Why Are OMAC Systems Needed in GM Powertrain? GMPTG has always been known as a leader in advancing control technologies, notably for its involvement in the development of PLC's. GMPTG is once again leading the implementation of OMAC-based systems in its manufacturing facilities because it recognizes the need to have a new generation of manufacturing systems that are agile in order to produce products matching the demands of the fast changing market place. The OMAC effort has gained a great deal of recognition and momentum since the publishing of the OMAC White paper in August, 1994.
C. Michael Taylor, et al.
January 29, 1998