Engineering revisited

Not long after I came onboard as editorial director of Control Engineering, I wrote a column titled "Change engineers," which dealt with the increasing influence of corporate directives and information technologies on the engineering profession in the manufacturing industries. This has been a theme I've revisited several times since as more evidence to support the shift taking place in enginee...

02/01/2006


Not long after I came onboard as editorial director of Control Engineering , I wrote a column titled "Change engineers," which dealt with the increasing influence of corporate directives and information technologies on the engineering profession in the manufacturing industries. This has been a theme I've revisited several times since as more evidence to support the shift taking place in engineering came to my attention through third party research and interviews I've conducted with engineers, analysts, and industry thought leaders.

The resurgence of the manufacturing execution system (MES) sector in the past year, along with the high profile market positioning by automation vendors to demonstrate their ability to link their automation products with enterprise business systems, all served to support my belief that a dramatic change in engineering is taking place. Some higher profile positioning that took place in the past year includes: ABB's continued development of its IndustrialITautomation and control system that provides MES capabilities and enterprise system linkage; Honeywell's expansion of its Experion offering, which coordinates automation and engineering knowledge management with MES capabilities and linkage to the enterprise; Rockwell's renewed emphasis around its FactoryTalk MES offering and its purchase of Camstar for additional MES capabilities; Schneider's purchase of Citect to bring MES functionality to its product line-up; and Siemens joining its process automation and MES businesses, not to mention its partnership with SAP. Even the mid-size and smaller component-level vendors, such as Acromag, Wago, and Opto22, are positioning for enterprise connectivity through widespread incorporation of Ethernet into their product lines.

All of this activity led to the launch of a series of articles in 2006—Enterprise Integration and the Engineer—that begin with this month's cover story. The launching pad for this series was a significant Control Engineering subscriber survey conducted in the fall. Through this survey we wanted to find out about: integration of automation and enterprise systems in manufacturing, what factors are driving this integration, and how subscribers feel this activity is altering their jobs.

The next three articles in the series will cover: plant floor devices and applications most used in enterprise integrations; how decisions are made about automation-to-enterprise integration and who is making those decisions; and career advice from engineers who have been involved in these high-level integration projects.

We hope these articles will help you better understand how the future of engineering is being affected by technology deployments today.





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The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by Control Engineering subscribers. Vote now (if qualified)!
The System Integrator Giants program lists the top 100 system integrators among companies listed in CFE Media's Global System Integrator Database.
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering and Plant Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners in three categories.
This eGuide illustrates solutions, applications and benefits of machine vision systems.
Learn how to increase device reliability in harsh environments and decrease unplanned system downtime.
This eGuide contains a series of articles and videos that considers theoretical and practical; immediate needs and a look into the future.
HMI effectiveness; Distributed I/O; Engineers' Choice Award finalists; System Integrator advice; Inside Machines
Women in engineering; Engineering Leaders Under 40; PID benefits and drawbacks; Ladder logic; Cloud computing
Robotic integration and cloud connections; SCADA and cybersecurity; Motor efficiency standards; Open- and closed-loop control; Augmented reality
Programmable logic controllers (PLCs) represent the logic (decision) part of the control loop of sense, decide, and actuate. As we know, PLCs aren’t the only option for making decisions in a control loop, but they are likely why you’re here.
This digital report explains how motion control advances and solutions can help with machine control, automated control on assembly lines, integration of robotics and automation, and machine safety.
This article collection contains several articles on how advancements in vision system designs, computing power, algorithms, optics, and communications are making machine vision more cost effective than ever before.

Find and connect with the most suitable service provider for your unique application. Start searching the Global System Integrator Database Now!

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Cloud, mobility, and remote operations; SCADA and contextual mobility; Custom UPS empowering a secure pipeline
Infrastructure for natural gas expansion; Artificial lift methods; Disruptive technology and fugitive gas emissions
Automation Engineer; Wood Group
System Integrator; Cross Integrated Systems Group
Jose S. Vasquez, Jr.
Fire & Life Safety Engineer; Technip USA Inc.
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by Control Engineering subscribers. Vote now (if qualified)!
The System Integrator Giants program lists the top 100 system integrators among companies listed in CFE Media's Global System Integrator Database.
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering and Plant Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners in three categories.
This eGuide illustrates solutions, applications and benefits of machine vision systems.
Learn how to increase device reliability in harsh environments and decrease unplanned system downtime.
This eGuide contains a series of articles and videos that considers theoretical and practical; immediate needs and a look into the future.
HMI effectiveness; Distributed I/O; Engineers' Choice Award finalists; System Integrator advice; Inside Machines
Women in engineering; Engineering Leaders Under 40; PID benefits and drawbacks; Ladder logic; Cloud computing
Robotic integration and cloud connections; SCADA and cybersecurity; Motor efficiency standards; Open- and closed-loop control; Augmented reality
Programmable logic controllers (PLCs) represent the logic (decision) part of the control loop of sense, decide, and actuate. As we know, PLCs aren’t the only option for making decisions in a control loop, but they are likely why you’re here.
This digital report explains how motion control advances and solutions can help with machine control, automated control on assembly lines, integration of robotics and automation, and machine safety.
This article collection contains several articles on how advancements in vision system designs, computing power, algorithms, optics, and communications are making machine vision more cost effective than ever before.

Find and connect with the most suitable service provider for your unique application. Start searching the Global System Integrator Database Now!

Control room technology innovation; Practical approaches to corrosion protection; Pipeline regulator revises quality programs
Cloud, mobility, and remote operations; SCADA and contextual mobility; Custom UPS empowering a secure pipeline
Infrastructure for natural gas expansion; Artificial lift methods; Disruptive technology and fugitive gas emissions
Automation Engineer; Wood Group
System Integrator; Cross Integrated Systems Group
Jose S. Vasquez, Jr.
Fire & Life Safety Engineer; Technip USA Inc.
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
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