F or the second consecutive year, a robot designed by a team of students from Ecole de Technologie Superieure (ETS), a part of the University of Quebec, won the Society of Automotive Engineers ‘Walking Machine Decathlon’ competition in 1999. ‘We’re fortunate to have a great deal of expertise on our team-mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, computer science, and automated production engineering,’ says this year’s team leader, Michel Gendron, a third year mechanical engineering student. ‘It gives us a running start in the competition.’ Nonetheless, the team begins working together a full year before each year’s competition. Early in the cycle, team members may stop at the dedicated shop and work on the project once or twice a week.
As outsourcing increases in popularity, end-users have more choices than ever when implementing a project strategy. Do they use in-house staff, the professional consulting services of the vendor whose products they are using, or a local system integrator to complete the job? Deciding which strategy to implement requires careful analysis of the best scenarios for each.
Although automation and control systems continue to grow in scope and complexity, end users seem inclined to devote fewer in-house resources to developing and maintaining them. Many manufacturers have eliminated their staff engineering positions entirely, preferring to hire the help they need when they need it.
Many different companies contribute to a typical system integration project. The following list divides them into several broad categories and describes the general functions of each. These are by no means hard and fast job descriptions.
At Eli Lilly and Co. (Indianapolis, Ind.), a leader in the development and manufacture of pharmaceutical products, process automation has played a key role for over 20 years. So in 1994 when Lilly's management challenged the manufacturing units to cut unit operating costs by 25% over the next three years, process automation was an acknowledged key element in meeting the challenge.
They may or may not beat the Texas heat, but visitors and exhibitors at ISA Expo/98 will certainly find what they need to clobber competitors at this year's event.Billed by organizers as the biggest control and instrumentation show ever, ISA Expo/98 is the second alternate-year-format event for ISA, the international society for instrumentation and control (Research Triangle Park, N.
System integrators earn their keep by solving their clients automation problems. They provide the time, talents, and technology required to turn a plan into a completed project. But no matter how skilled they may be at designing, implementing, and testing industrial automation systems, integrators can do nothing of value until they know what their clients expect.
Functional specifications have two key purposes, to enhance the information presented on process and instrumentation drawings (P&IDs) in such a way as to meet user expectations, and to reduce the total installed cost of a process automation system.Failure to develop a comprehensive functional specification can make project management a very difficult assignment, can keep engineers on ...
Engineers seeking to advance incomes and responsibilities within the same company typically have had two options: advance in technical knowledge or become part of management. With management running leaner than in the past, these opportunities may be fewer, or more competitive, for engineers.A third option exists in many settings—project management.
The southern tip of California's Marin county is separated from the city of San Francisco by the most famous mile-long strip of steel and concrete in the world. Yet, within a 10-minute walk of the Golden Gate's Marin terminus begins a county-wide network of California Wildlife Service signs warning against mountain lion attacks.