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Consider site tours to broaden understanding of automation and control applications and optimize implementations. See links for more information on the industrial tours.
Younger workers don’t learn the same way as older peers, which can make the knowledge transition difficult. Programs that leverage virtual reality (VR) and provide hands-on development are helping narrow the gap.
A sustainability program starts with building it into the culture and automation and control products. Sustainability needs to be reinforced through development and management.
Filling the skills gap in manufacturing requires participation. This is not someone else’s challenge to resolve. Here’s how you can help.
Advice from the 2023 Control Engineering Career and Salary Survey included answers to artificial intelligent questions suggested by ChatGPT. Human answers provided automation-related skills and technologies needed to advance in automation, controls and instrumentation.
Building people skills helps in critical areas such as engineering project management, engineering sales and engineering product marketing.
A “Women in Manufacturing” event is one way Jane Addams Resource Corp. helps increase the number of women in industrial careers; JARC offers free training and certifications in workplace safety, statistical process control, CNC operation, G-code programming, welding and other areas.
While developing stronger onboarding and new employee training programs can be a substantial investment, not doing so might cost companies even more.
mHUB's manufacturing center in Chicago is part of a larger effort to increase prototyping and testing facilities to encourage innovation.
Manufacturing faces a major labor shortage that isn't going away anytime soon, which is forcing companies to adopt automation to fill this gap.
The CAPITAL program is designed to address the anticipated two million worker shortage in manufacturing with more than $6 million in Federal funding provided.
Canada is chosen as the partner nation for the 2025 Hannover Messe show, which is the third time North America will be featured in a decade.
MIT Work of the Future Initiative co-directors Julie Shah and Ben Armstrong describe their vision of “positive-sum automation.”
China has been a dominant player in global manufacturing, especially in Asia, but India is starting to take forward strides, but their overall impact remains unclear.
The country’s largest packaging convention provides classroom, research lab, and career development opportunities for packaging systems and design students.
A system integrator takes advantage of training and certification programs demonstrate credibility while accessing continual learning and boosting online visibility for increased customer acquisition.
The future of automation, engineering and manufacturing relies on the younger workforce, and these 36 individuals are here to advance their industries now and for years to come.
The future of automation, engineering and manufacturing relies on the younger workforce, and these 36 individuals are here to advance their industries now and for years to come.
Millennials are realizing manufacturing’s potential as a career with the advent of smart technology; companies can leverage technology use to attract them.
The most-viewed content from the past week covered the Career and Salary Survey, Automate highlights, the need for diversity, HMI design and IT/OT convergence. Miss something? You can catch up here.
An engineer and researcher from Coventry University offers five tips for women looking to succeed in engineering or other STEM-related careers.
The most-viewed content from the past week covered the Career and Salary Survey, IIoT implementations, data pumps and COVID-19 controls. Miss something? You can catch up here.
University of Missouri's inaugural Fluid Dynamics Learning Opportunities Camp included tours of state-of-the-art heat transfer and fluid mechanics labs, presentations and introductions to student organizations.
Think Again: Fill the growing manufacturing skills gap with more automation, training, retention, benefits and amenities, according to the Control Engineering Career and Salary Survey, 2022, other research, related articles and a May 25 webcast, “Automation experts wanted: Hire, retain the best.”
Education and attitude were leading advice categories from respondents to the 2022 Control Engineering Career and Salary Survey research.
The most-viewed content from the past week covered hiring engineers, TSN, IIoT implementation, autonomous computer vision and future-proofing manufacturing. Miss something? You can catch up here.
Before getting started on a career in automation, it’s important to assess your goals as well as your interests, background, talents and more.
Finding the right engineers for a company starts with a focus on leadership, training and a focus on the future. Learn about automated training. See six tips for effective mentorship.
Jane Addams Resource Corp. (JARC) specializes in workforce development and supports healthy communities and economies by teaching low-income adults and workers the skills they need to earn a living wage.
Manufacturing operations are constantly changing, and engineers can stay ahead of the curve by volunteering and learning as much as possible.
Engineering Leaders Under 40 winner Michael Horth offers advice for young engineers on how to succeed and thrive in the workforce.
A survey by Sikich finds more than two-thirds of manufacturers remain optimistic about their business prospects despite supply chain and talent challenges.
Programmers, operators and maintenance professionals can maximize results with a computer numerical control (CNC) to become indispensable on the shopfloor and maximize their return on investment (ROI).
The SEMI Foundation partners with Foothill College, Ignited Education, and Krause Center for Innovation to develop microelectronics career training program.
A North Carolina State University study finds that one key to promoting STEM education is making classrooms feel more inclusive.
Focusing on people’s combined skills allows an employee to hire the right person for the job who can start immediately and be effective.
Expectations for the workforce are constantly changing and it can be challenging to keep them engaged. Three tips on engaging, training and securing a more remote workforce are highlighted.
Phased rollouts of new technology allow greater control of how digital solutions are implemented and applied by employees
The pandemic and worsening manufacturing worker shortage has created opportunities for manufacturers to increase automation to improve plant and workforce productivity. Tools to enhance factory operations (factoryops) will drive faster, better decision-making to improve production and empower talent.
Inductive Automation’s University Engagement Program helps improve student skills, assist educational institutions and enhance the talent pool for employers.
Balancing people and technology to optimize plant operations.
Actively working to develop team members for a long-term career with a company is paramount
The Delaware Department of Education (DDOE), DuPont and Discovery Education announced a partnership that will increase STEM instructional resources, as well as other career and technical education programs.
Extended reality (XR) can open new doors for students and teachers, particularly as learning has gone virtual due to COVID-19 and flexibility is needed.
Process manufacturers, especially those in the food and beverage industry, are facing a skills gap crunch due to the pandemic. While some companies are trying to get workers back and engaged, more are turning to automation to keep operations running.
The Department of Energy (DOE) celebrates Manufacturing Day with several initiatives designed to enhance career and workforce development programs for young engineers.
Manufacturing is digging out from the impact of COVID-19, but its recovery is being hampered by a labor shortage in many major markets.
Manufacturers investing in automation efficiencies with robotics, industrial internet, digitalization and artificial intelligence and other technologies also need to develop the current and future workforce to realize its potential.
Hiring engineers is hard. Five reasons why and five tips on how to improve hiring engineers are highlighted.
Building a digital knowledge infrastructure helps younger workers learn the specific ins and outs of a company's process from more experienced workers, giving them an advantage as they start their career.
Engineering fields are facing a major skills gap that isn’t going away. Engineers do more than make things; they provide the backbone for a state and country’s economy. Learn how a university is changing the message.
Don’t give up at hiring a diverse team for robotics and engineering companies. Get better at it. These seven tips can inspire a more diverse engineering workforce.
Devising a workforce development plan to close the knowledge gaps will set everyone up for success and make the Industry 4.0 journey a successful one.
Control Engineering's most clicked articles in May 2021 included stories on the Career and Salary Survey, winning engineering candidates, IIoT automation, safety instruments and more. Miss something? You can catch up here.
Articles about retaining engineering employees, the Career and Salary Survey, security by design, secure network deployment and IIoT automation were Control Engineering’s five most clicked articles from May 24-30, 2021. Miss something? You can catch up here.
Articles about the Career and Salary Survey, IIoT automation, retaining engineering employees, PLC-controlled robots and ac induction motor advice were Control Engineering’s five most clicked articles from May 17-23, 2021. Miss something? You can catch up here.
Respondents to the 2021 Control Engineering Career and Salary Survey research provided related advice, and education was the most-offered of six topics.
Hiring and retention of engineering and technology-minded talent: Industrial automation companies think creatively about attracting skilled workers. Resiliency matters during a pandemic. See related advice.
Focus on and build healthier relationships within a workplace team
People are individuals and it is a leader’s responsibility to consider each candidate on an individual basis and to cultivate each employee according to his/her needs.
Remotely accessing machines and other manufacturing assets has become necessary for many in the industry but doing it safely and securely poses a range of new and serious issues.
Articles about workplace distancing due to COVID-19, the 2020 career and salary, industrial controllers, IIoT, and more were Control Engineering’s five most clicked articles from June 8-14, 2020. Miss something? You can catch up here.
Engineering employee reviews, when done right, give the manager and the employee a chance to build and strengthen a relationship and carve a path for future success. Incorporate these six tips to improve the review process for engineering employees and those around them.
WPI's robotics program, geared for middle and high school students, integrates the fields of robotics, engineering and manufacturing to better prepare them for potential manufacturing careers.
The October issue of AppliedAutomation focuses on workforce development through universities and colleges and battery safety.
Collaborative programs benefit employers, colleges, and students.
Companies looking to protect their top engineering talent from rivals should look to improve training, benefits and wages to make employees happier and more productive.
Control Engineering's most clicked articles in August 2019 included stories about managing an engineering career, digitizing reality, evaluating controller options, intelligent decisions with the cloud, and more. Miss something? You can catch up here.
A researcher from Rice University will examine the hurdles women face in STEM careers by examining their everyday work experiences in the profession.
A personal board of directors is a broader version of a mentorship with many people assisting your engineering career journey from a variety of viewpoints. See four ways to begin.
Tech college flexibility helps engineers, skilled workers continue education.
Articles about managing an engineering career, PLCs on the internet, controller options for industrial applications, HMI safety, and computer integration were Control Engineering’s five most clicked articles from July 29 to August 4. Miss something? You can catch up here.
Omron donated a design and robotics laboratory to the University of Houston, which consists of workstations and equipment designed to give students the opportunity to prepare for real-world engineering challenges.
Engineers are getting paid more, although fewer expect to get increases in 2019; top factors for determining job satisfaction are feeling of accomplishment, technical challenge, and financial compensation.
Think Again: The 2019 Control Engineering Career and Salary Survey includes questions on topics of concern, such as outsourcing, workforce, process improvement, cybersecurity, automation, and threats.
Career update: Top areas of advice offer by respondents to the 2019 Career and salary survey from Control Engineering, CFE Media and Technology, are education, attitude, engineering tips, and communications.
MESA International's on-demand course The Journey to Smart Manufacturing covers the fourth industrial revolution and what it will mean for manufacturers.
Lenze's Mechatronic Competence Campus (MCC) in Extertal, Germany, is a modern development and production facility for development, production, service and storage.
Lenze gave middle school students a tour of their Massachusetts headquarters to enable students to explore possible science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) career paths in manufacturing.
Report from Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute points to digital skills needed for the future.
The Automation Federation (AF) convened to perform the third critical review of the Automation Competency Model (ACM) since its inception in 2008.
Employees, managers, and companies face ever-increasing economic, business, job, and often personal pressures. This culture puts employees' work and personal lives at odds, but new evidence shows work and personal realms may be able to cooperate for mutual benefit.A recent study, "Holding a Job, Having a Life: Strategies for Change," demonstrates how some companies and employees are using impro...
Speeds of over one gigabit per second and response times of a few milliseconds offer ten times the performance of existing infrastructures and opportunities for new wireless applications that can process massive amounts of data in real time, including robotics, augmented reality (AR), and edge computing.
An industrial engineer applies science, math, and engineering methods by solving problems and eliminating waste for a company.
Engineering education can help with motors, drives, and lightning control in industrial and commercial applications in retrofit and with new designs. See five misconceptions in applying motor controls.
Siemens and Festo Didactic teamed up to create the Siemens Mechatronic Systems Certification Program (SMSCP), which is designed to help students, instructors, and learning institutions address the skills gap in the manufacturing industry.
Career Update 2018: Engineers are getting paid more and a greater percentage expect to get increases in 2018, but the technical challenge and a general feeling of accomplishment remains the highest factors for job satisfaction.
Control Engineering career and salary survey advice is offered by those taking the 2018 survey and education and workplace strategies were the biggest topics, followed by engineering tips.
Florida International University (FIU) reached a cooperative agreement with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to help build national relationships that advance outreach in the cybersecurity education, training, and workforce development communities.
Women in STEM: Bringing more women into the artificial intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT) industries can help reduce some of the ingrained bias in developing these technologies and concepts.
Key steps to improving critical thinking include analyze, interpret, present, and evaluate
The LSU College of Engineering celebrated the grand opening of the Patrick F. Taylor Hall, which measures more than 400,000 sq ft and is the largest academic building in Louisiana and one of the largest freestanding engineering academic buildings in the United States.
Improving plant efficiencies starts with bridging the gap between workforce generations. Generation X can help connect traditional industrial applications with digital manufacturing. See three benefits of mobility on the plant floor and implementation advice.
AVL donated $1 million worth of emissions testing instrumentation and software to develop the mobility laboratory of the future at the University of California-Riverside (UCR) Bourns College of Engineering Center for Environmental Research and Technology (CE-CERT).
Students on the College of DuPage (CoD) Robotics Team in suburban Chicago are gaining crucial hands-on experience preparing for prestigious national robotics competitions this spring by designing, modifying, fabricating, and testing their robots.
MIT launched its task force on the Work of the Future, an Institute-wide effort to understand and shape the evolution of jobs during an age of innovation that addressing the social and human implications of technology and examines how people design, innovate, and take their ideas to market.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology's (MIT's) Intelligence Quest—MIT IQ—is designed encourage researchers to investigate the societal implications of their work and advance the science and engineering of human and machine intelligence.
Endress+Hauser announced it will provide free training to military veterans on process instrumentation, as part of the twelve-week Academy of Advanced Manufacturing (AAM) program.
CFE Media’s interviews of three representatives from the 2018 System Integrators of the Year focus on what makes a good customer, what needs to be done to address the skills gap, and what their customers are looking for.
CFE Edu has launched a course that dives into the basics of programmable logic controllers (PLCs) and analog signals for continuing education and training.
The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee announced a $1.7 million gift from Rockwell Automation to support a Connected Systems Institute (CSI) at UWM, which will focus on the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).
Harting and North Central College in Naperville, Ill., officially opened the Harting Electronics Lab in the college’s Dr. Myron Wentz Science Center, which is designed to introduce students to electronic methods and applications across all aspects of engineering.
Think Again: Control Engineering redesigned its print and digital edition for October, presenting trusted information in a fresh, yet familiar, format to help those with interests in automation, controls, and instrumentation do their jobs better.
Recruiting for skilled engineers for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) industries is on the rise, there is still a concern over the lack of women in the engineering sector and having strong female mentors could help reverse those challenges.
Think again about career relevancy: Control Engineering’s purpose is to help subscribers and others in our global audience to do their jobs better and accelerate their careers; CFE Media and CFE Technology help. (CFE stands for Content for Engineers.) See resources for automation, controls, and instrumentation.
Choosing the right enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions can be tricky with all the available options as well as possible pitfalls; it is important to understand and take into account the whole process.
Morgan State University received a three-year, $750,000 Intel HBCU grant from Intel Corporation to educate students in the engineering disciplines and prepare graduates to make immediate contributions to science-, technology-, engineering- and math- (STEM-) related fields.
Careers in automation aren’t at the top of recent graduates’ wish lists. And when they are, managers find that many candidates are lacking essential skills required of the job.
Preparation is crucial for an ERP project to combat the many risk factors.
A positive attitude is not always easy when working on a major project, but leaders who remain positive will help all workers rise to achieve success.
Think again, if you don’t think you’re biased. Even women engineers say they must guard against unintended biases. Other important points at the NIWeek Women’s Leadership Forum panel: share inspiration, be a mentor, and, as appropriate, call out bias.
ARC Advisory Group and SANS Institute have agreed to collaborate on cybersecurity education and will work to propagate cybersecurity solutions for emerging smart cities, transportation, and Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) initiatives.
Control Engineering salary and career survey research shows an average salary of $96,045 in 2017, up slightly from the 2016 results; job satisfaction continues among respondents. Life-long learning remains critically important. To get youth interested in engineering, more investments in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education and high-profile projects need to be made, respondents said.
Control Engineering career and salary survey advice is offered by those taking the survey. Education-related advice was the biggest topic for engineering advice, followed by workplace strategies and attitude.
With robotic safety, what you don’t know CAN hurt you. Get what you need to know about robotic safety, terms, and standards affecting robotic implementations. See knowledge and references below from a robotic safety class.
Think again: To develop a workforce for an automated future provide inspiration about automation, engage youth and teach the next generation and others about how rewarding automation careers can be, including robotics, said advanced technology professionals at Automate 2017 in April.
Companies can save money during tax season if they are involved in innovation, work on government buildings, or work overseas.
CFE Edu is an on-demand education platform designed to provide continuing education to engineers to advance their education and obtain continuing education units (CEUs).
CFE Media's ContactStream is a software as a service (SaaS) cloud-based delivery platform that provides engineering contacts who buy or specify products at all stages of the sales cycle.
The Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing (ARM) institute was created to empower American workers, create and sustain new jobs, and lower the barriers for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) along with new large companies to adopt robotics technologies.
Co-owning a business requires careful planning in the event a buy-out of one of the owners occurs.
An alternative view of how to conduct an organized, successful business valuation.
Part 8 of this 9-part series goes beyond financial performance and explores how a wide variety of key drivers impact business value.
U.S. manufacturing economy is strong and getting stronger, according to the “The Global 2017 Economic Outlook & Forecast” at the 2017 A3 Business Forum in January.
Scientists are using robots in multiple disciplines of cancer research such as screening, radiation therapy, biopsy, surgery, and many other crucial fields to help beat a disease that has touched and affected so many lives.
Executives worry that automation and the Internet of Things (IoT) won’t be accepted by workers, investors or the general public according to a report by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).
While there are many sources available for buying products, the local representative or vendor has some added benefits such as providing local technical support, education, and reduced shipping costs.
Robotic startup companies are clustering in Boston, Pittsburgh, and Silicon Valley and this has resulted in plenty of innovation and some out-of-the-box developments for robots in industries that wouldn't necessarily be thought of as the forefront for innovation.
Think Again: Control Engineering readers choose hot topics of 2016, and that online traffic points to key trends in Control Engineering in 2017. What can you learn from these top Control Engineering articles of 2016? New: See related articles of 2017 and top graphics of 2016.
Get tips on the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), what it means for manufacturing as a whole, and how system integrators can help in the process from CFE Media’s interviews of three representatives from the 2017 System Integrators of the Year. See video.
Part 6 examines ways to drive value to a business: Create a business strategy by learning the eight key ways to drive value in a system integration, automation, or engineering consulting business.
Educators, researchers, and robotics companies have collaborated to develop software that enables robots to work in new applications to help shrink the industrial manufacturing skills gap. As a result, more intelligent robotics software now is enabling greater robotics capabilities for the next generation of technology and manufacturing workers. See video.
An aging population and a slowly developing labor pool will produce a greater demand for robots, which may lead to a global shortage of robots as they become more common.
The System Integrators of the Year have distinguished themselves by combining technology with a customer-centric approach. See roundtable video discussion.
Interstates Control Systems is the 2017 System Integrator of the Year for the Large System Integrator Technology. President Jack Woelber shares some of the company's success stories and advice.
Ask Control Engineering: CFE Media New Products for Engineers Database serves up products to readers of Control Engineering and other CFE Media publications.
Part 5 examines ways to value a business: Several approaches may be used during the business valuation process. Understanding the process is a key step to obtaining a proper business value for a system integration firm or other engineering technology firm.
Think Again: Leaders in automation and control engineering need to focus their time, about four to one, on leadership, rather than management because of a long-standing bias toward managing. See tips, benefits, and examples showing why agile leadership tops traditional management.
Integrator update, Part 4: Take time to work on the business, not just in the business. Conducting business valuations and not taking any shortcuts is crucial to determining the real value of a system integration or other automation and controls business.
Engineers are being split into two groups: One that is threatened by future change and one that is excited by the possibilities that the future brings.
Part 3, Back to Basics: How should an automation or control system integration business be sold? Who are potential buyers? Looking at the business as an investment can help. See five ways to identify business buyers.
6th and 7th grade students showcased skills learned from the ChiS&E Summer Enrichment Program at the University of Illinois-Chicago (UIC).
University of Illinois-Chicago (UIC) Chancellor Michael Amiridis discussed the future of STEM education and addressed his support for the Chicago Pre-College Science and Engineering Program (ChiS&E) in an interview with CFE Media. See the interview video below.
Greenville Technical College (GTC) has opened the Gene Haas Center for Manufacturing Innovation (CMI) to bring more skilled workers into the manufacturing industry.
The Association For Manufacturing Technology (AMT) and SME have announced a major partnership for a series of regional co-branded trade shows focused on the manufacturing technology industry starting in 2017, which will encompass five events.
Control Engineering international: China is experiencing rapid virtual reality (VR) development, including industrial application. With the promotion of Industry 4.0 and Intelligent Manufacturing, greater attention will be given to VR technologies for industrial applications, according to Control Engineering China.
Part 2: Integrator update on creating business value with a focus on transferability. Would the system integration business, automation industry consultancy, original equipment manufacturer, or panel builder be attractive to a potential buyer? See two factors used to determine business value and five ways to create a transferable business.
Demand for jobs related to the Internet of Things (IoT) is growing and the lack of qualified people is forcing companies to turn to freelancers to fill the void.
Think again about back to school: Getting continuing education credits to maintain an engineering license (or as required by certain employers) can represent a time-management challenge, on top of everything else an engineer reads to keep up on technologies and trends. Here’s help with that, in 10 one-hour bites.
Integrator Update, Part 1: A system integration business, automation industry consultant, original equipment manufacturer or panel builder all need to consider the business itself as the most-valuable asset and manage that business as if it’s an investment.
Top 5 Control Engineering articles, July 25-31: High-performance HMIs, PID control, storyboarding and HMIs, more
Articles about high-performance HMIs, PID control and loop tuning, HMI migration and storyboarding, condition monitoring systems, and research for turning waste into a power source were Control Engineering’s five most clicked articles from July 25-31. Miss something? You can catch up here.
Vimal Kapur, president of Honeywell Process Solutions (HPS), said that understanding the new skill set joining the workforce is the top challenge facing the manufacturing industry moving forward and it is not going away.
Amatrol, a developer of technical learning systems, offers local students in Indiana a chance with a hands-on experience at its 2-week Robotics Engineering Summer Camp each year with the intent to promote careers in STEM.
The most powerful human emotion is regret, so don’t procrastinate in doing important things with your engineering teams; instead “pre-crastinate,” getting important, nonurgent things done early, according to Mike Lipkin, a motivational speaker with the Environics Research Group, at the 2016 Connect conference from Schneider Electric in May.
When planning a distributed control system (DCS) migration, some of the old can be retained, but don’t go too far. Training is critical to a smooth and safe transition.
Starting up a process unit is tricky, but with inadequate training on a complex system, the result can be disastrous, which was proven to be the case with a runaway chemical reaction in a recent incident.
The South Dakota School of Mines & Technology has been awarded $750,000 to develop an extreme biological system to turn solid waste into a power source to create an efficient alternative to the current processes using chemical fuel cells, such as hydrogen fuel cells, that require pure chemicals.
Too much work goes into project planning to forget about a deployment plan. The deployment plan should include safety requirements and be used by both your team and the customer to ensure project success.
A sociological study by MIT found that group dynamics of teamwork and internships deter many women from further pursuing a career in engineering.
The National Safety Council released survey results showing 33% of the employees surveyed believe safety takes a backseat to productivity at their organizations.
Automation is often looked at from a technical perspective, but an ethical and socioeconomic point of view is also important.
Students from the Chicago Tech Academy presented digital innovations at the SAP Manufacturing Industries Forum that are designed to help real-life problems and save lives. The presentations dealt with issues including workplace safety, gun safety, and medical assistance.
Top 5 Control Engineering articles, June 13-19: Salary and Career Survey, binary-coded decimals, tool calibration and robots, more
Articles about the 2016 Salary and Career Survey, binary-coded decimals and PLCs, tool calibration and industrial robots, high-performance HMIs, and engineering career advice were Control Engineering’s five most clicked articles from June 13-19. Miss something? You can catch up here.
For field projects, it’s good to bring a bag with tools that might come in handy for specific purposes or to prepare for any unforeseen challenges that sometimes come up.
Companies need to adapt to developments involving the Internet of Things (IoT), smart manufacturing, and the rise of a younger workforce. Doing that, however, will require many changes from a cultural standpoint.
There is a shortage of qualified technicians that will continue as the skills gap widens. Manufacturers should take advantage of the technicians currently employed and empower them with the technology to improve their efficiency.
Top 5 Control Engineering articles, May 9-15: Salary and career survey, ladder logic, neural network training, more
Articles about the 2016 Salary and Career Survey, ladder logic, neural network training, data acquisition and analysis, and managing automation upgrades were Control Engineering’s five most clicked articles from May 9-15. Miss something? You can catch up here.
The automation industry is facing a worker shortage, which stems from a variety of issues such as misperceptions and a lack of understanding of what a career in the industry looks like. Companies and individuals within the industry, however, are working on changing that with better name recognition, fun educational events, exciting technology applications, and opportunities.
Many subscribers taking the 2016 Control Engineering salary survey provided write-in advice about engineering careers; education, workplace strategies, and project management are among engineering tips and reminders.
Gaining a basic knowledge about a country's culture, language, and working with the on-site team are several ways to make an international project a success for everyone involved.
Big data analysis: Resource allocation budgets for manufacturers benefit from data about where product development occurs.
Engineering and IT insight for career succession planning: Manufacturing companies need to have more than one engineer who can bridge the gap between automation and information technology (IT) to keep things moving smoothly in case that one engineer departs.
The Australian arm of global defense and security company Saab has partnered with Microsoft to build a range of training, education and other complex 3-D holographic applications and are developing a proof-of-concept using a Lego model.
Taking notes, whether it's in a journal or on sticky notes, is a personal endeavor for many, but it provides some useful benefits. Digital programs exist to help engineers improve their workflow and efficiency.
Integrated marketing: Engineers welcome the technology side of integrating controls systems and may avoid taking the same methodical approach about marketing, which can be as integrated as the product lifecycle. Have a marketing plan; a modern, optimized website; high quality content; and track progress, to refine along the way.
Control Engineering International: While automation and robotics will replace some jobs to keep manufacturing competitive, they will create other positions in computers, mathematics, architecture, and engineering, according to Control Engineering China, citing World Economic Forum information. Is manufacturing ready for the transition?
To really move ahead of the pack in engineering, encourage disruptive thinking. A lot is gained by creating new markets; little is gained by promoting incremental improvements, noted Luke Williams, New York University (NYU) Stern School of Business, at the A3 Business Forum.
Engineering firms need to “inculturate” service excellence into their organizations by demonstrating important values through vision, involvement, and accountability, according to Dennis Snow, consultant and 20-year employee of Walt Disney Co. at the A3 Business Forum.
Peter Eelman, vice president of exhibitions and communications for AMT, discusses the importance of Hannover Messe to his organization and U.S. manufacturers as a whole, and looks back on his 30-year association with Hannover Messe.
The Association for Advancing Automation (A3) announced the keynote speakers for its annual A3 Business Forum, which will include topics ranging from robotics, economics, business transformation, and hiring and retaining top talent.
ASQ's 2016 Manufacturing Outlook Survey indicates that an increasing number of manufacturers are struggling to find qualified applications for open positions and that there is uncertainty about the economy's future; many companies are remaining proactive in hiring and expect wages to increase, however.
The International Society of Automation (ISA) named James Keaveney, a longtime veteran of the organization and a manager and director at Emerson Process Management, as its 2016 President.
Get tips on recruiting and retaining young talent to overcome the skilled worker shortage facing manufacturing and on present and future system-integration challenges from CFE Media’s interviews of three representatives from the 2016 System Integrators of the Year. See video.
Integrated lean project delivery (ILPD) eliminates project finger pointing and shares risks and rewards among all involved, eliminating layers of inefficiencies and competing priorities especially useful for automation and control system integration.
Albany, Ore.-based Concept Systems has built a reputation as a problem-solver for its customers in the aerospace, pulp and paper, building products, food and beverage, and metals industries as well as help integration customers get the most out of their project. See video discussion below.
For the tenth straight year, more than 30% of incoming graduates to the Lyle School of Engineering at SMU are women, which is well above the 20% average of American colleges and universities. The Lyle School is also involved in local and state-wide programs to attract younger students to engineering.
Early education, parenting, and industry support: More than 500 children and parents, mostly from African American and Latin American communities in the Chicago area, attended the 2015 ChiS&E orientation at the University of Illinois-Chicago. Experts from National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (NACME) and University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign College of Engineering offered advice about science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education. See three STEM tips for parents and for engineers.
MIT researchers have developed a way of doing machine learning that enables semantically related concepts to reinforce each other and improving image classification during training by giving the system partial credit when it only gets part of a semantic sequence correct.
Hardware - Handheld test, measurement, calibration: Steam trap testing, recording and evaluation system TRAPtest VKP 40 plus Ex for applications in potentially explosive areas for checking steam traps of all types and makes for steam loss and banking-up of condensate. This is a Control Engineering 2016 Engineers’ Choice finalist.
Back to Basics tutorial: Questions and answers follow related to the “Tips for automation system integration project management” webcast. Additional audience questions provide added advice and answers about automation system integration project management from experts in control system project management. See links below for a related story and the archived webcast.
The linear power supplies of the past are being replaced with today’s switching type that are smaller, lighter, and more cost effective, but require several additional considerations for their specification.
Every project requires clear scope and definition on what platform and software version will be used, but determining the most beneficial software version to use can easily be overlooked.
PayScale’s 2015-2016 college report indicates that of the top 15 majors based on early career pay, 13 are engineering-focused, and 24 are in the top 50. However, universities are still struggling to retain students who might be interested in an engineering or a STEM career.
In order for the whole project to be successful, each part of the project must be successful, and all the parts must work together. In that way, there really is only one team.
Ask Control Engineering blog offers advice links to resources to help with engineering career advice.
The two-part installment introduces safety instrumented systems (SIS) and outlines specific tips on designing, developing, and verifying SIS applications.
The two-part installment introduces safety instrumented systems (SIS) and outlines specific tips on designing, developing, and verifying SIS applications.
How many different clocks are connected to your control system, and what time do they all say?
A common occurrence is an alarm being driven by code that is no longer being utilized. A periodic review of alarm philosophy should be conducted by third-party or plant maintenance employees.
The challenge of gathering historical and real-time data is to provide that data back to the user in a way that provides insights. This can be accomplished by providing thought-out dashboards and reports to key operational personnel and managers.
Alarm rationalization is a step that should be taken to avoid the generation of unnecessary alarms. Otherwise the alarm may end up of the alarm list and stay there for a while.
CFE Media 5th anniversary: Representatives from the three 2015 System Integrators of the Year firms offer advice, looking 5 years ahead, in honor of CFE Media’s 5-year anniversary. These system integration experts share visions of where automation, controls, and instrumentation will be in 2020 and how to increase competitiveness along the way.
Polytron, among the three 2015 System Integrators of the Year, offers advice, looking 5 years ahead, in honor of CFE Media’s 5-year anniversary. Connectivity, network security, and predictive analytics will be among the changes in automation, controls, and instrumentation by 2020, adding competitiveness along the way.
Malisko Engineering, among the three 2015 System Integrators of the Year, offers advice, looking 5 years ahead, in honor of CFE Media’s 5-year anniversary. Where will automation, controls, and instrumentation be in 2020 and how should you increase competitiveness along the way?
When designing the UDF, there are some questions that need to be considered.
The Electronic Commerce Code Management Association (ECCMA) is holding an industry day focusing on standards in digital manufacturing with advice and tips on how to successfully use digital manufacturing.
Learn how to keep track of the massive programming efforts by using agile software development techniques.
No matter how long someone has been a part of the process automation industry; there is always something new to learn and new strategies to employ.
More than 500 people attended the Control System Integrators Association (CSIA) Executive Conference in Washington, D.C., U.S., as well as 60 system integrators, partners, and guests from 13 countries.
Think Again: Many subscribers taking the 2015 Control Engineering salary survey provided write-in advice about engineering careers. Keep learning and mentoring, learn effective project management and communications, including the benefits of automation and controls engineering, are among tips and reminders.
Engineering students from Rice University have created an energy-generating knee brace that generates power with every knee bend that is funneled into a battery; the plan is to extend this research to help power artificial hearts.
Dr. Timothy Killeen, president-elect for the University of Illinois, will deliver a speech at the ChiS&E parent orientation on April 25 in support of the organization's goal to promote STEM to the underrepresented communities in Chicago.
Germany's Industry 4.0 platform, which is comprised of government, business and trade union officials, has been expanded to focus on systems security, work and education training, and legal issues.
The Bosch Rexroth Advanced Manufacturing and Technology Center at the Olympic Community of Schools in Southwest Charlotte is designed to generate interest in high school students into possible STEM careers.
Technology is only a tool for project success. Proper training and access to data combined with the appropriate technologies is a power combination for achieving results.
Purdue University is expanding the Maurice J. Zucrow Laboratories, which are focused on aerospace research, and will include test cells to support laser-based measurements as well as additional space for faculty and students.
Economist Alan Beaulieu, president of ITR Economics, will open the conference held in Washington, D.C., and two new education workshops will be held in conjunction with the conference. The event is aimed at educating control system integrators and those who work with them or on integration projects.
Use these eight pillars of trust to engineer more output and higher retention, greater productivity and innovation, higher revenue and lower costs, less skepticism, and better market positioning, according to David Horsager, business strategist for Horsager Leadership Inc., at the 2015 A3 Business Forum. See video with more tips online.
The benefits of optimizing a human-machine interface (HMI) include increased worker safety, improved production, and reduced time needed to make critical decisions if the data presented on the screen is clear, concise, and easy to interpret in real-time.
Communication differences and workplace challenges have increased as more millennial generation talent integrate in traditional workplaces that have top-down organizational charts and unwritten rules about how things are done. Try to think more like a 3D networking grid with leaders in the middle, rather than a hierarchical chart, according to Seth Mattison, founder and chief movement officer for FutureSight Labs, and opening speaker at the 2015 A3 Business Forum.
Dr. James Duderstadt: Engaging parents in early math and science education helps cultivate future engineers
According to Dr. James Duderstadt, president emeritus and university professor of science and engineering at the University of Michigan, early education programs like DAPCEP and ChiS&E improve children's ability and willingness to pursue engineering careers.
CFE Media interviewed three representatives from the 2015 Integrators of the Year: Charlie Jager of Polytron, Paul Galeski of Maverick Engineering and Steve Malyszko of Malisko Engineering-to get their views on how end users can get the most out of their integrators, and what integrators need from end users.
Ask Control Engineering: How can software maturity levels help improve software related processes?
How to communicate effectively with management and accelerate your career: Engineers should know these 7 things about management today. Don’t wait for others to delegate the needed resources or complain that they haven’t. Leadership can be innate, earned, learned, or situational, but knowing these strategies and tactics and reviewing these examples can help you succeed. (See also: 7 things noncontrol people should know about control engineers.) Send a link to others, so they understand.
Did these 10 Control Engineering predictions or suggestions help optimize your processes in 2014? If not, why not? What’s in the way, and how can we help? We want to know. Online, link to a set of visions for the next 25 years.
Hands-on experience helps accelerate the PID learning curve.
1954 Industry Pulse: Engineers’ ability to think creatively should not be overlooked because it can allow them to come up with solutions to current challenges and problems, and be more efficient in their systematic process.
Automation Fair 2014 in Anaheim, Calif. features more than 160 exhibits and almost 100 technical sessions with 15,000 professional development hour (PDH) credits expected to be awarded.
Developments to watch: Manufacturing needs a wider view, well beyond next year. Do you have a vision of what things could look like 20 to 25 years from now? Do your competitors?
AIOE’s overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) calculator is a tool to help manufacturers identify opportunity for improvement and evaluate ROI on OEE initiatives.
Think Again: Youth, especially girls, need extra encouragement in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) topics. Are you doing your part to help girls fail in STEM? (“Did he really just say that?”) Let them know failure is OK on the way to a successful engineering career in manufacturing.
Critical members of a project team may not always show up on an organization's chart.
Software — Applications: Siemens SIMIT enables the real-time simulation for extensive engineering checkout and virtual commissioning of equipment, machines, and processes from the office, even when these assets are not available. This is a Control Engineering 2015 Engineers’ Choice finalist.
Korean-based Yujin Robot just announced a meal-transport robot designed to operate in elder care and other hospitality and health care facilities.
The Chicago Pre-College Science & Engineering Program (ChiS&E), an innovative STEM program serving grades K-5, held its first fundraiser at the University of Illinois-Chicago (UIC) on Sept. 11, 2014.
Thriving companies invest more in information technology, machinery, equipment, and research and development compared to companies holding their own or those in decline, according to Karen Kurek, partner, McGladrey LLP, citing “The 2014 McGladrey Monitor” report, at the Global Automation and Manufacturing Summit (GAMS), part of the Industrial Automation North America show at International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS).
3D Systems gives out 3D printers to K-12 schools and universities to help students learn design, prototype, and test their innovative ideas with latest design software and scanning technology.
Former NASA astronaut Wendy B. Lawrence spoke on the Smartforce Student Summit at IMTS 2014, pointing out the importance of exposing students to STEM career opportunities while they are still in school to help them map the future.
For a smarter, complicated, and data-driven manufacturing industry today, we need a more educated and skilled workforce that has problem-solving and critical thinking ability, according to Gregg Fleisher the Chief Academic Officer of National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI), speaking at IMTS Smartforce Student Summit at IMTS 2014.
Part 2 of 5: Maturity model advice helps organizations move from Level 0, paper-based systems and homegrown systems, to Level 1, focused data systems. Maturity models applied to processes and software help increase decision efficiency, because greater decision efficiency = lower costs = higher profits. See also Part 1 on how to understand the maturity model to better manage, integrate plant floor, enterprise systems.
Keynote speaker, Vince Bertram, speaks to Chicago students about opportunities in STEM careers and engineering.
The TECHFIT workshop is designed for increasing students’ interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and is offered at Purdue University and the College of Charleston.
Creating effective product safety labels can dramatically reduce accidents and improve safety communication while poorly designed product safety labels can increase the dangers and hazards for both the worker and the company, according to safety standards.
Consider thinking of operator training simulators as a long term investment, reducing maintenance costs and providing round-the-clock training for plant employees.
Festo Didactic, the education division of the Festo Group, has acquired Lab-Volt, a Canadian company that specializes in equipment and solutions in technical training and education sectors.
Intelligrated's I-Campus system offers instruction to satisfy the training requirements of personnel in manufacturing and distribution facilities.
Penn State University received a $750 million PLM software grant from Siemens to help Pennsylvania students get hands-on experience with technology used in manufacturing.
1955 Industry Pulse: Can Italy break into the American control market? It doesn’t seem likely, but isn’t impossible either.
Articles about things noncontrol people should know about control engineers, ASM-compliant HMIs, integrating HMIs with PLCs and PACs, career and salary survey analysis, and PID controllers were Control Engineering’s five most clicked articles from last week, June 16-22. Were you out last week? Miss something? You can catch up here.
Kid Grid, developed by Marbles Kids Museum and ABB, is a museum based in Raleigh, North Carolina, designed to educate children on energy education and safety as well as other STEM topics in interactive and fun ways.
Think Again: Understanding those interested in the control engineering profession is of great interest to people who interact with these professionals. The annual Verified Audit Circulation report is an extensive piece of research about Control Engineering subscribers. Recent top articles also focus on control engineers.
When choosing a system integrator, how much importance should you place on certifications? Both individuals and the corporation can earn them, but how much do they matter?
The first 12 manufacturing communities in the second phase of the Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership (IMCP), were designated by the Obama Administration. The effort is aims to spur investments and create jobs.
Members of Congress may soon get their feet wet in automatic control. Hint of this came more than two months ago when the Congressional Joint Economic Committee listed “automation” for future study by its economic stabilization subcommittee. And now the project seems almost a certainty.
Happy 60th, Control Engineering! Help us celebrate by looking at issues from 60, 30, and 15 years ago. Control Engineering magazine first published in September 1954. This monthly column in 2014 will review coverage in issues 60 (or 59), 30, and 15 years ago. While technologies have progressed since then, topics below (technicians abroad, foreign control suppliers, female engineers) remain relevant today.
North High School from North St. Paul, Minnesota, won the 2014 National Robotics League (NRL) Championships with their robot "Final Cut."
The standards march: where are they headed? Which will litigation reference? For compliance? As international standards (IEC and ISO) are increasing worldwide adoption they are cited in U.S. domestic machine safety standards from ANSI, NFPA, SEMI, ASTM, ASME, NEMA, etc. Are these standards adopting or referencing IEC or ISO requirements for compliance?
CFE Media's Apps for Engineers is an interactive directory of more than 170 engineering-related applications for Android and iOS, created by various companies. We've organized apps by category, company, and type. This month, gain access to our calculations category.
The National Robotics League (NRL) is holding its finals at Berea, Ohio, on May 16 and May 17 with 51 student teams from 33 schools in five states and Puerto Rico.
Were you out last week? Miss something? Here are Control Engineering’s five most-clicked articles from last week, May 5-11, including articles about things noncontrol people should know about control engineers, the ending of Microsoft Windows XP support, smart I/O systems v. fieldbus networks, and the engineering job market.
Control Engineering research: While slightly more is expected for salary and slightly less for bonuses in 2014 compared to 2013, concerns about shortages of skilled workers increased significantly, by seven percentage points since last year. In addition, the percentage of employees saying they worked 15 or more years and 30 or more years in their industries dropped by four percentage points each. Safety is significantly more important for bonuses. See more graphics and details online, with links to past research.
Of 880 taking the 2014 Control Engineering salary and career survey, 525 offered advice, some of which is offered here to help engineers better succeed in their careers.
Career Update: Demographic shifts and talent shortages put engineers in the driver’s seat. This advice will help maximize your personal potential as an engineering resource.
A recent Control Engineering webcast on wireless mobility covered infrastructure, hardware, software, and applications. The highlights follow.
CSIA Partner of the Year Award, Rising Star Award, and the Charlie Bergman Remember Me Award were presented April 25 at the 2014 CSIA Executive Conference in San Diego.
In March of 1955, the Control Engineering editors called for unity among different types of control engineers. In May of the same year, they doubled down, calling for inter-association cooperation.
Shape marketing efforts so engineers can appreciate and measure it, according to speakers at a CSIA Executive Conference session.
The National Tooling & Machining Association (NTMA) National Robotics League, which begins its fifth year, is a combat robotics league sponsored by local and national manufacturers with the intent of encouraging students into a manufacturing or STEM career. (What are you doing for Robotics Week?)
Technology Update: New visualization technologies offer opportunities for hands-free computer displays, potentially useful in manufacturing, control system programming, warehousing, process operations training, and maintenance applications.
Mott Community College in Michigan in Flint, Michigan, received a $55.8 million software grant from Siemens to to help educate students on product lifecycle management (PLM) software for potential manufacturing careers.
Author King is a registered patent agent and an electrical engineer. He says protecting your inventions is much easier than most engineers think. It’s mostly a matter of keeping comprehensive records—the kind you should keep anyway so that other engineers won’t have to repeat or duplicate your research. For those who loath writing, use a streamlined disclosure form. [Do your practices today differ for protecting patents? Add a comment.]
Before robots and computers, what nomenclature did we use? This March 1955 Control Engineering article argues against today’s word: automation.
60th Anniversary, CE History 60 – 30 – 15 years ago: Ticket printers, automation engineers, search engines
Happy 60th, Control Engineering! Help us celebrate by looking at issues from 60, 30, and 15 years ago. Control Engineering magazine first published in September 1954. This monthly column in 2014 will review coverage in issues 60 (or 59), 30, and 15 years ago. While technologies have progressed since then, topics below (ticket printers, automation engineers, and search engines) remain relevant today.
Cincinnati State University received a $66.8 million in-kind software grant from Siemens to help students learn and develop skills and techniques in product lifecycle management (PLM) software.
Engineers celebrate their profession with eWeek activities, many aimed at exciting youth about what engineering can do for them, and for the world.
Industry-leading executives from Siemens, BASF, Emerson, Dow Chemical, and Comau Body Welding tackled an industry-wide challenge: attracting future engineers.
Donovan Waller, head of automation and remote monitoring at Anglo American, delivered a presentation on the mining industry at the 2014 ARC Industry Forum in Orlando, Fla. He discussed challenges and solutions for catching the mining industry up to speed with similar global industries.
The USA Science and Engineering Festival, April 26 and 27, aims to excite youth about expanding the knowledge, use, and application of science and technology.
Happy 60th, Control Engineering! Help us celebrate by looking at issues from 60, 30, and 15 years ago. Control Engineering magazine first published in September 1954. This monthly column in 2014 will review coverage in issues 60 (or 59), 30, and 15 years ago. While technologies have progressed since then, topics below (mathematics, automation, and acquisitions) remain relevant today.
Data collecting and processing in automation industries was as much a challenge in 1955 as it is today. What lessons learned in 1955 can we apply to 2014?
The most-visited articles at www.controleng.com during January 2013 included: understanding pressure instrumentation, Schneider Electric’s acquisition of Invensys, Control Engineering predictions for 2014, using PID tuning to improve process efficiency, avoiding the worst control system ever, HMI display guidelines, 13 machine safety terms to know for functional safety compliance, and System Integrator of the Year, among other articles.
Analyze available data to help with booth design, plan far enough ahead, and use available organizational tools and advice from others, according to AMT and others involved with the 2014 IMTS trade show.
Automation System Integration Blog: Nobody wants to get a screaming phone call about “the worst control system ever.” Improve your control system in three easy steps.
The Electric Motor Education and Research Foundation (EMERF) named Texas A&M University as their 2013 grant recipient for their winning proposal to improve efficiency and power density in small electric motors.
Dear Control Engineering: How can we get more young engineers interested in applying for positions at our location?
Hiring and retention: Tips on hiring and retaining top engineering talent follow, including how technology can improve automation recruiting, retention, using a skills database to engage employees, internships, and filling the skills gap.
Hiring tips: Recruiting engineering talent is difficult. These tips can help recruit, hire, and retain engineering talent.
Award winning Control Engineering products, system integration, salary and career survey, PID and advanced control, cyber security, human machine interface of the future, optimization, sensing, motor sizing and efficiency, PLC programming, and motion control were among top 25 Control Engineering stories for 2013, based on online traffic. See the titles and description of each article below. Link online to each article, including 20 more most-read articles in 2013 that were posted prior to 2013.
According to the 2013 Manpower Talent Shortage Survey (by the Manpower Group), engineering is the second most difficult profile to fill, after skilled trades. Six tips provide help.
The most-visited articles at www.controleng.com during December 2013 included: building diversity in the engineering profession, System Integrator of the Year, tutorials on flowmeters and optimizers, project planning, data acquisition, control panel troubleshooting, automation tips, and more.
Engineers in the design professions and construction trades across the nation are seeing base salaries go up in 2014, according to a recent survey.
Siemens and CADENAS are providing students interested in a potential STEM career a product design productivity tool that is commonly used in the manufacturing industry.
The next generation of engineers, and the one after that, may be much different. Video: Visiting where kids are learning what engineering is about and loving every minute.
The most-visited articles at www.controleng.com during October 2013 included cyber security, Engineers’ Choice Awards, reasons high school students should choose engineering, Wonderware owner Invensys acquires Indusoft, PID math, robotics, and more. See links to each, below.
Automation System Integration Blog: Action-oriented details are critically important for effective engineering project management, for all team members, not just project managers. See bad and good examples.
Existing configuration tools and code libraries helped Detroit’s wastewater system reduce design and commissioning time.
Use current technologies to reduce training costs and improve what your students retain.
Shows, events, and conferences, through 2013, that may be applicable or of interest for Control Engineering readers include the following.
Automation System Integration Blog defines and explains how to avoid thrashing when managing an engineering project. Heed this advice and see the diagram example from Anthony Baker. Add your advice below.
NASA says to persist in telling youth about the personal, professional, and global benefits of engineering. Think Again: Message synchronization with the intended targets may have unexpected latency.
Control Engineering International: Explore new pattern of industrial talent training with new university and enterprise cooperation, said Control Engineering China.
Automation System Integration Blog tells how to avoid scope creep. See these points of advice and diagram from Anthony Baker to keep your next machine design, panel build, software design, or other engineering project on track. Add your advice below.
The most-visited articles at www.controleng.com during August 2013 included: HMIs of the future, safety and collaborative robotics, servo sizing, additive manufacturing (3D printing), IT vs. OT, panel building, HMI alarms, industrial networks and PLCs, lean automation, and virtual reality for CNC programming, among others.
A growing program in Chicago that builds interest in science and technology among African American and Latino seeks to duplicate the success of a mature pre-college math and science curriculum in Detroit. One engineer’s vision got both off the ground.
Changes improve look and feel, moving more content above the fold, providing easier access to information of interest to the audience at www.controleng.com.
Automation System Integration Blog: Need project management motivation to avoid lost money, upset customers, and loss of good employees? Learn these three things from Anthony Baker.
Automation System Integration Blog: To get the job finished, move projects, discussions, and work focus from qualitative to quantitative; from ‘generally what needs to get done’ to ‘how much and how long and at what pace.’ Learn from Anthony Baker.
Rising costs of labor are fueling an increase in adopting automation in manufacturing to lessen the hiring of permanent employees, according to Control Engineering China. Does this focus on machine automation include safety automation?
True mentoring, getting your feet wet, helps those around you and their projects succeed. Training might be only as effective as shouting instructions to a wayward canoe from the shore.
As business aspects of running a process plant become more important to operators, it helps to understand some simple accounting concepts.
Rockwell Automation touts the value of the “Connected Enterprise” at its RSTechED event, a user and partner conference designed to highlight discrete manufacturing and process control collaboration tools and technologies, in San Diego, June 9 to 14.
Think Again: Does that mean you are wearing a ball and chain, are juggling many things, or are having fun? See video summary of advice from Ted Garnett, president, Performance Resources Consulting, from the 2013 CSIA Executive Conference.
After the Space Shuttle program closed, launching systems get a new life with new customers, with new requirements for monitoring services. The tricky side of measuring helium and nitrogen use calls for sophisticated flowmeters.
The HART Communication Foundation's free one-day event for end users on June 27 is in Houston, Texas.
Manufacturing advocates say manufacturing drives innovation; more than 70% of manufacturing leaders are optimistic about their own company’s future; mechatronics graduates start at $50,000; liberal arts average $43,000 to start.
Robotic Industries Association (RIA) has announced its updated ANSI/RIA R15.06-2012 standard. This first update since 1999 (now harmonized with the international standard ISO 10218:2011) is a major step forward for users and manufacturers of robotics in the U.S.
Too many companies have lost their capacity to train inexperienced engineers. How can we hope to replace the practical knowledge lost to retirement?
Who is your customer? Can you explain in one sentence or less? What does that customer value most? Do you understand those things and are you providing that value?
This webcast will explain perceptions and challenges of cyber security and what this means for businesses and for workers in the future.
Automation System Integration blog advises not to hurry to check off the last thing on a project list before leaving the site, especially late on a Friday. (When you're in a hurry, if a device can be incompatible, it probably will be.)
Control System Integrators Association (CSIA) named a new chairman, directors, and award winners, at the CSIA annual executive conference. Piercarlo (PC) Romano was elected chairman of the CSIA board. Awards were given to Jeff Miller, Randall Powell, and MatrikonOPC.
Think Again: Science, technology, engineering, and math professions earn 26% more than average; manufacturing contributes more innovation to the economy and accounts for 60% of exports, with 9% of the employment.
In a manufacturing context, particularly process manufacturing, how do we handle this interface between operations and maintenance?
Automation System Integration blog advises that to advance your engineering career, apply these four tips: Choose a challenging area, understand the job, simplify where practical, and teach others.
The most-visited articles at www.controleng.com during March 2013 included the following topics: PID tuning evolution, salary and career survey 2013, remote I/O, model-based control, Statue of Liberty motion control, virtualization, robotic survival checklist, and cloud-based APC, among others.
Cutting through the hype and clutter, here are some things we can do here and now to ensure that we have the engineers we need tomorrow.
Average annual base salary was $92,918 among respondents to the 2013 Control Engineering salary and career survey, with 70% expecting an increase and average bonus of $10,486. Best skills to get ahead are engineering skills, project management skills, communication and presentation skills, and computer skills. Other career advice follows.
A brief history, starting with the earliest PID controllers to the most recent developments. There is more continuity than you might expect.
Siemens Industry Inc. announces New Orleans, La., as the host site for its 2013 Automation Summit, June 24-27, with a continued emphasis on the theme of “Community. Experiences. Productivity.” Registration is open.
Archive version is available: Experts discussing an overview of industrial wireless technologies, the need for a long-term strategy, and best practices for wireless system design in harsh real-world settings, with application examples presented by system integrators.
Hot technology jobs: computers, telecommunications, biotechnology, artificial intelligence, robotics
Next generation of innovative technology jobs will involve computers, telecommunications, biotechnology, artificial intelligence, and robotics, according to Dr. Michio Kaku, American theoretical physicist, best-selling author, TV host, and keynote speaker at the 2013 Robotics Industry Forum.
How to train the next-generation automation workforce: Employers need to provide advanced training; educators need to keep their training programs up-to-date to help next-generation automation professionals.
Process Training University from Endress+Hauser increased enrollment more than 50% in 2012, and a greater increase is expected for 2013. Companies are sending new hires as well as experienced engineers and technicians to available courses in record numbers; not all attendees are Endress+Hauser customers.
An American Society for Quality (ASQ) survey indicates that 46 percent of teens are afraid of taking risks or failing. The fear of failure, ASQ believes, may turn students away from a STEM career because of their awareness of a higher potential risk involved in those careers.
Human skills required include an understanding of the potential of automated technologies, how those technologies can be integrated, including with business and other systems, and skills in business analytics.
While IT networks already use virtualization extensively, its benefits are moving into industrial networks. Five diverse viewpoints on its advantages and implementation are offered.
The next-generation workforce: Are young automation and control engineers hard to find? If so, what can be done about it? What are they talking about at the LinkedIn Automation & Control Engineering Group, moderated by CFE Media’s Control Engineering magazine?
The Automated Imaging Association (AIA) is offering educational courses and exams for machine vision professionals to become certified.
Intelligrated opened the expansion to their Mason, Ohio, headquarters, which added 275 employees companywide. The facility now has a combined area of 262,000 square feet.
Heidenhain's microsite provides an overview of TNC controls and features tutorials and videos for fundamentals as well as interactive training.
ARC Advisory Group conference, Feb. 11-14, 2013, features manufacturing and engineering-related speakers, highlights new processes and technologies, and includes a keynote presentation from the director of the Mars Rover project for NASA.
The most-visited articles at www.controleng.com during December 2012 included the following topics: best products, fixing PID, mobile apps, System Integrator of the Year winners and prior winners, System Integrator Giants, feedback controllers, VFD selection, HART communication, level control, and lean manufacturing, among others.
Automation future: Technology advances challenge and enable industries worldwide, and five key factors influence the success of future and current engineers in this dynamically changing labor market.
Control Engineering International: Successful launch of SpaceX Dragon spacecraft shocked and inspired China. Universal graphical system-level design platform software provided value for engineering development.
Demographic inevitabilities are going to cause huge changes in our workforces over the next few years. Are you ready?
Some current efforts are drawing interest. Time will tell if they pay off.
Increase protection from software vulnerabilities sooner while allowing more control of your industrial network maintenance.
Take some time to lose the blinders and look at something different. You can never learn too much.
FIRST Robotics helps attract students to manufacturing. Please mentor or contribute.
Implementing lean manufacturing requires participants to review job environment and satisfaction, motivate participation, demand leadership responsibility, develop new behavior patterns, and insist on lean methods and tools.
Software - Mobile apps for controls, automation, instrumentation: Eaton's Poweredge app provides ondemand access to Eaton's electrical solutions and expertise, making it easier and faster to search, select and locate solutions to improve reliability, efficiency and safety of electrical systems. This is a Control Engineering 2013 Engineers' Choice finalist.
Software - Applications: Honeywell's dynamic operator training simulator, UniSim Operations Suite, now offers an immersive, 3D operating environment to present production scenarios and train operators before they enter the control room. This is a Control Engineering 2013 Engineers' Choice finalist.
Changes in how younger people think are influencing how companies design products. Video: Peter Zornio explains elements of Emerson’s development direction.
Implementing process-focused automation talent development can have a significant impact on the future of manufacturing in the U.S.
A knowledge of Fieldbus and a willingness to educate or re-train workers looking to get into skilled automation could go a long way in developing long-term benefits for the manufacturing industry.
Rockwell Automation holds its 21st annual event in 2012 in Philadelphia on Nov. 7-8, with related technical sessions, hands-on labs, industry forums, and more than 100 exhibitors.
Forging cross-functional teams, executing and publicizing small successful projects will earn support for comprehensive energy-management programs.
A new strategy to bring greater intentionality to developing our next generation of workers.
Think Again: Why are 310,000 manufacturing technology jobs unfilled? If science, engineering, technology, and math (STEM) positions are too difficult for the U.S. workforce, others will take those high-paying careers in manufacturing, and the U.S. will decline.
Think Again: Productivity, resource management, energy efficiency, skilled workforce shortage—with many challenges, the cure remains smart applications of automation, controls, and instrumentation. See software usability poll results and advice.
Are you worried about operator competency? The Abnormal Situations Management Consortium says that of the $20 billion that industrial plants lose every year, 40% is attributable to human error. Focusing on the five proven methods will ensure best practice for your plant.
Seven Clemson University students modified a mobile drill press to retrofit a section of runway at Greenville Downtown Airport in South Carolina that halts overrun aircraft.
A major machine redesign and automation upgrade included an icon-based human-machine interface that eased training and simplified machine operation, according to CMD Corp., an original equipment manufacturer of bag pouch and film converting equipment.
NASA enters a new era in space exploration: NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) using Siemens software shows how modern software technology is being employed to enhance competitiveness in the aerospace industry. See images; link to videos.
Lt. Col. Rob “Waldo” Waldman, former combat decorated fighter pilot and businessman, told Siemens Summit 2012 attendees how it’s necessary to prepare for every mission, build courage to adapt to change and adversity, promote one team and one culture, and commit to excellence in business and in life.
An integrated software architecture can help bring a machine online 30% faster. Production engineers can use one control platform for multiple processes and reduce switchover time by 25%, according to Rockwell Automation executives at RSTechED 2012.
Sugar Ray Leonard offered advice for automation software users, system integrators, and engineers, as a guest keynote at the Rockwell Automation RSTechEd conference.
A student robotics team from Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) won the Revolutionary Aerospace Systems Concepts Academic Linkage (RASC-AL) Exploration Robo-Ops Competition for the second consecutive year.
If there were a state of Control Engineering, everything in that state would be top secret. Here’s why.
2012 Sensors Expo & Conference, June 6 and 7, at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, IL, offers engineers new technologies and training in sensors and sensors-related industries. The event has more than 150 exhibitors, more than 60 technical education sessions, and experts and innovators, with keynote addresses.
Those drafting the ANSI RIA R15.06/CSA Z434 standard are looking at functional safety requirements.
If you find yourself in a new leadership position and would like a little help, here are some very practical ideas.
If you find yourself in a new leadership position and would like a little help, here are some very practical ideas.
RSTechED provides an advanced education in manufacturing and production applications for users and managers in manufacturing, process, and machine builder industries. It's an interactive classroom-style environment, Rockwell Automation said.
Think Again: Engineers shouldn’t downplay their communication skills or abilities to be dynamic business leaders, said Michael Allosso, communication specialist, at the CSIA 2012 meeting. Living your best day can inspire those around you to do the same.
The leadership of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers has decided to begin administering live, face-to-face learning again to assure top-quality and consistent chemical engineering content across all delivery channels and platforms.
Do today's new hires have what it takes? Over the past 10 years machine safety has experienced probably the greatest transformation since the advent of machine control technology, which sets the stage for an organizational skills gap discussion. Are the skilled trades persons entering industry over the past ten years equipped to evaluate and trouble shoot 40-year-old control systems without any connection for plugging in a lap top computer?
Raj Batra, president, Industry Automation Division, Siemens Industry Inc., explains (in the 2:45 minute video) key concerns and opportunities for manufacturers today.
Engineering at 30 Frames: Are you prepared for one of the largest Industrial Technology fairs? Get ready and connected to the fair today.
Honeywell has received a $5 million contract to provide technology to five coal chemical sites owned by Pucheng Clean Energy Chemical Company Ltd (PCEC) in China.
Is changing my machine safety strategy necessary? What if your safety target has shifted? Have there been evolutional changes to industrial safety but your safety culture is mired in the past? Are there newer machine guarding solutions that are more cost effective? To stay on target consider updates to your safety culture and your machine guarding solutions practice.
Control System Integrators Association's annual executive conference, for CSIA members or anyone interested in control system integration, is April 25-28, in Scottsdale, Ariz.
Career Update: The 2012 Control Engineering salary and career survey showed enthusiasm for automation, controls, and instrumentation professions. Pay is up, and survey respondents encouraged those interested in engineering to continue learning. Strategies for workplace success follow.
Looking for a refresher engineering course to assist you with your daily tasks? Simply look online at universities across the country.
A team of seventh- and eighth-grade students from Infinity Charter School in Penbrook, Pa., won Phoenix Contact's Nanoline Contest and will demonstrate the project, a smart solar mobile charging station, at Hannover Messe in April.
Social media engineering topics include manufacturing trends: Is industry returning to the United States? What are they talking about when they say “Made in the USA”?
Engineering at 30 Frames: What did you do for Engineers Week? Learn about events and programs set on engaging more young engineers for a lifetime of learning.
Recruiters and staffing firms have shown an increased interest in hiring engineers with robotics skills. There has been a 44% growth in job postings in the field since January 2011.
In time for Engineers Week 2012 planning, here are ways to excite youth about engineering: Latching onto something familiar, use technology tools, and educate educators, says a supplier of electronics, desktop robotics, and educational kits.
The Robotic Industries Association (RIA) has had a busy start to 2012. The group has added its first woman chair, Catherine Morris, and has launched a blog site to assist students to find a career in the robotics field. RIA, along with AIA and MCA, renamed the Automation Technologies Council to the Association for Advancing Automation (A3).
Council on Competitiveness recommendations also suggests leveraging R&D, and promoting energy and efficiency initiatives.
ChemStaff will use process data monitoring software from Aware Technology to improve safety and reliability within nuclear industry.
Most-visited articles at www.controleng.com during October 2011 included how control engineers may not be following NFPA rules, Coriolis flowmeter market, getting parts for aging control systems, a control tutorial, PLC design trends, and surviving control system failure, among other articles.
Use control engineering to positively contribute to the business goals of the organization to improve job satisfaction.
Think Again: Improve the next step in your engineering career and make your current job more fulfilling.
This generation of manufacturing automation and controls leaders includes 19 young professionals excelling in control system design and teaching others about the fun in engineering, while resolving local and global challenges through smarter applications of automation and control technologies.
Educate our youth, be productive, invest in tools and training, show interest in those on your team, and engage in the political process, voting out those who do not compromise, advised General Colin Powell (Ret.) at Pack Expo Las Vegas 2011.
ABB Robotics Technology Days, Oct. 12 and 13 in Auburn Hills, Mich., will feature scores of robots giving 40 demonstrations. Humans also are expected to gather to learn and participate in various seminars about robotics.
Rockwell Automation's online support, Knowledgebase, is available in seven languages: English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Portguese and Chinese to help customers globally.
Multiple online learning events are available through CFE Media publications, including industrial Ethernet installation optimization, the Manufacturing/Automation Summit, webcast on pump and process efficiency, and fieldbus, among others. See more information and links to register, below.
Different motor names have evolved for the same motor technology, which can create confusion, even among engineers who work in motion control. A 4-minute Control Engineering tutorial video interview explains.
PMMI, organizer of Pack Expo Las Vegas 2011 is breaking records and expanding to "deliver the largest and most comprehensive packaging and processing trade show experience in North America this year."
Upcoming dates for the educational seminar on WirelessHART technology presented by the HART Communication Foundation include locations in California, Tennessee, Texas, and Denmark, August - October 2011.
IACET recertified the robotics company, allowing use of IACET protocols in education programs.
You don’t need to be faced with death in space to reach deeper, do more for humanity, inspire others, and be thankful for every moment. 7 lessons follow.
Gift establishes scholarships for Technology and Applied Sciences to honor John McFarland's 41 years of service.
The automation profession, despite its technological excitement and many career opportunities, suffers from a lack of awareness. Here's a cure. See model diagram.
The Control System Integrators Association (CSIA) recently announced new members and recertifications, 18 in all.
Designed for fast and easy system integration, ADI’s Circuits from the Lab reference circuits provides engineers with a range of time-saving resources, such as test data, schematics, BOM, PCB (Gerber) layout files, and software device drivers.
Digilent launched the Electronics Explorer Board (EE Board), which includes everything needed to build and test many analog and digital circuits on the desktop, without any other equipment, the company said.
A new project presents a problem, but also an opportunity to train and advance your people.
STMicroelectronics and McGill University collaborate to create new undergraduate course about sensor integration.
Students' display high technology robotic skills in two-day competition designed to help attract students to high-paying technical careers.
SparkFun Electronics’ 2011 autonomous vehicle event in Boulder offered DIY’s of all ages a chance to showcase and test their mobile robotics on the group and in the air.
Microchip sponsors VEX Robotics 2011 World Championship and other competitions in Arizona to assist interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs, to get more young people excited and interested in pursuing a career in engineering.
RSTechED 2011 - Inspire. Educate. Innovate. June 12-17, at Rosen Shingle Creek, Orlando, FL.
ABB Robotics and Fox Valley Technical College, in Appleton, Wis., united with the 2010 installation of ABB robots in FVTC robotic training facility; ABB continues plan to establish regional training.
Engineers Week offers a variety of programs created to generate interest for young students in engineering, science, and technology.
Heart dynamics are very complicated by nature, and it is widely known that accurate analytical models are difficult to develop for cardiac dynamics and different types of arrhythmias. In addition, real-time control technique is needed because of the fatal nature of cardiac arrhythmias. As a result, real-time model-independent control techniques are needed to control heart dynamics in the presence of cardiac arrhythmias.
Skilled workforce among leading engineering concerns.
ABB - VU partnership is touted as a model for industrial robotic and advanced manufacturing training, with opening of the $9 million the Indiana Center for Applied Technology at Vincennes University. The new robotic training lab features 29 ABB robots and related work cells, software and controllers, and will allow students to gain training in applications that include robotic welding and plasma cutting; picking, packing and palletizing; machine tending, material handling and product assembly; and advanced vision related programming. The first training class in the new lab is “IRC5 Basic Programming (US420)”, an introductory robotic programming course beginning at 9 a.m. Nov. 8, concluding at noon on Friday, Nov. 12. It is currently open for registration.
EverRun MX from Marathon Technologies ensures continuous uptime and application availability for systems that have to run 24/7 without interruption.
...comic relief from Control Engineering
While three-quarters of those practicing mechanical engineering are positive about their jobs, there's a need for more application-based education. Control Engineering salary survey respondents also expressed greater appreciation for the business value of good engineering.
Young people should learn the joy of manufacturing, say NBT, The Foundation of the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association, Intl. (FMA), and National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE).
V-Cone flowmeter from McCrometer fits well in crowded steam distribution and cogeneration systems.
Insight based on fundamentals is the key to innovative multidisciplinary problem solving
Control System Integrators Association (CSIA) recertified 2 members; 5 new associate members and 3 new partner members joined.
Invensys Operations Management announced availability of its SimSci-Esscor medium-fidelity simulation software, Dynsim Checkout. Part of the new Dynsim 4.5 software release, it can quickly identify, validate and resolve control and safety application design errors throughout the project life cycle.
Units are designed for use in corrosive environments, and are electrically isolated.
Recent news contained three positive signs for manufacturing: Better employment trends, encouragement for the viability of engineering as a profession, and a more positive in economic outlook.
Hydrogen has long been discussed as a high potential alternative energy source, but most discussions of it focus on its use in automobiles. As such, the discussion quickly gets bogged down in two areas: infrastructure issues (replacing the current gasoline delivery pipeline) and the energy inputs required to produce hydrogen for fuel.
Fisher passes the one-million-sold milestone for its Fieldvue controller. Diagnostic capabilities the key.
Conventional palletizing, while fast and cost-effective, would not work with Hershey's space restrictions and eight production lines. Working with Hershey packaging system engineers, FKI Logistex and Motoman Inc. created and commissioned a robotic palletizing system that adapts to changing needs.
Vision system prevents injection molding tool damage and improves part quality.
RFID tests prove tangible return on investment for airline baggage tracking; Odin tests show radio frequency identification accuracy at 99.9% vs. less than 90% for barcode.
Transplace, founded by 6 freight carriers, provides logistics and transportation managements services to manufacturers and others with a web-based platform.
One of the greatest hardware-related problems connected to an economic downturn is the decline of infrastructure. Our current recession has been an example of this, particularly in process plants, and the effects of the decline will persist long after business has begun picking up. Companies that are working on thin margins in the best of times find that a downturn forces them to reduce costs e...
A trend in major upstream oil & gas projects is the addition of an advanced operator training simulator (OTS). To fully realize the benefits from this technology, the OTS should be developed early enough to complete operator training before facility startup and to support process and operability studies. See diagrams, charts.
Against the unexpected backdrop of rising attendance at this year’s OpsManage conference in Anaheim, CA (November 3-5, 2009)—overall attendance is said to have increased 9% this year versus last—the major theme was the company’s focus on new business drivers in the manufacturing market.
Virtual realty training system and process simulation from Invensys will support creation of a virtual plant to analyze process, train operators.
SEISA Medical, manufacturer of medical devices, says information management augments product quality. Here's how.
Productivity has more than doubled in manufacturing in last 20 years, which is a boon for competitiveness, wages, and the rest of the economy.
Players of 3D games like Halo may one day get to find out what it's like to roam the scaffolding of an oil refinery putting out fires, literally and figuratively. Today, though, some industrial process engineers are experiencing game-like virtual reality simulators to get trained for their jobs. Invensys Operations Management announced the commercial availability of its new EyeSim virtual reali...
How do you optimize inventory across the value chain, or cope with long-lead time materials, or ensure spare parts availability? This year’s APICS show offered some fresh answers. Interestingly, the companies providing those solutions are from a variety of countries, which may be why even though the solutions are not newly introduced, many of us may not recognize these companies by name ...
Automation projects don't always go smoothly. Learn 10 signs of impending failure and 7 ways system integrators say you can stay on track.
Canada-based Bruce Power taps Invensys Operations Management to implement ECPM system across eight nuclear units. Operators seek new views into current and historical condition data.
Effective selection and placement of online gas analyzers can improve product quality and production efficiency at ammonia plants.
American Association of Exporters and Importers promotes holistic approach to trade, identification of risks, and harmonized use of electronically shared information.
According to a new study, many of today's most profitable manufacturers assign a higher importance to implementing people management practices than to increasing customer service orientation. These leading organizations are taking proactive steps to attract, retain and develop their employees and others can and should do the same.
PMMI U, the educational arm of Pack Expo organizer PMMI, introduced the first-ever PMMI U Student Design Contest, which pits teams from six PMMI partner schools against each other, searching for the best palletizing solution.
The ISA Standards & Practices Board (S&P) voted to approve the ISA-100.11a wireless standard “Wireless Systems for Industrial Automation: Process Control and Related Applications,” thereby making it an official ISA Standard. The approval of this major new industry standard by the ISA S&P Board certifies that ISA’s accredited procedures have been followed in the dev...
Control Engineering is everywhere! Our readers responded to our “Where in the World is Control Engineering” contest with some real creativity and a great sense of humor. The contest asked participants to submit a photo of them reading Control Engineering wherever they happened to be this past summer.
TechAmerica Foundation sees 1.9 percent job loss in first-half 2009, and at a slower rate than the U.S. private sector, based on U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics information.
Sinumerik 828D solution delivers energy efficiency, G code free programming, better shop communications.
The automation components went through strict safety inspections, including temperature and high voltage "stress tests," among others.
The X Prize Foundation, Google Inc., Lego Systems, National Instruments, and Wired's GeekDad announced "MoonBots: A Google Lunar X Prize Lego Mindstorms Challenge" at National Instruments' NIWeek 2009. The new contest will challenge small teams comprised of children and adults to design, program, and construct robots that perform simulated lunar missions similar to those required to win the $30...
To address current economic conditions, a growing number of manufacturers have adopted two goals: improve customer service and boost the revenue stream from service. The good news is that it is possible to work toward both goals simultaneously by deploying a field service solution that equips service technicians with mobile devices.
Sustainability is about more than merely protecting the environment and being more energy efficient.
Integration with Salesforce.com online sales tool adds ease and value to enterprise content management, Treeno Software says.
Since adopting workforce management software, Briggs & Stratton has reduced its workforce by 20 percent while also increasing throughput. "We estimate that's saved us about a million dollars," says John Guy, VP, Supply Chain and Distribution, Briggs & Stratton.
Century-old Kauai Coffee plant moves from mechanical into digital age installing GE Energy control platform, increasing output and reducing maintenance.
Role-based homepages, dynamic information, and more are trends.
Servigistics and Click Commerce's Service Network Solutions division, both recently acquired by private equity firm Marlin Equity Partners, have been merged. The new company will retain the Servigistics name and deliver a solution for managing all aspects of the post-sale service process.
NEMA’s Electroindustry Business Confidence Index (EBCI) for future North American conditions climbs to highest in nearly four years, NEMA reported in June. Several other sources gave positive economic signs for manufacturing.
B100 biodiesel derived from brown and black grease from wastewater treatment facilities.
Donations from automation vendors to universities are addressing the skills gap and fueling innovation.
Service oriented architecture (SOA)-everyone seems to be talking about, teaching, selling, or implementing it, but there is also a lot of confusion about what it really is. This article is a guide to understanding what it is, how it works, and how it applies to manufacturing-related applications.
Very few of the process control platforms operating today were installed with any cyber security protection built in. Most predate wide deployment of the Internet. Can these systems be protected against today's threats?
MOST INNOVATIVE PRODUCT BY A MANUFACTURER ¦ SECOND PLACE After receiving a painfully large water bill, Wally Berry began looking for a way to stop his toilets from leaking. Roughly four years later, Berry founded a company called Siphon Flush that now markets the first anti-leak toilet flapper. The product was formally introduced at the Water Smarts Innovation conference in Las Vegas in Oc...
Warehouse management and duty management sofware from RedPrairie helps Houston Bottling & Co-pack generate new business and extend services in bottling and co-packing Scotch whisky, RedPrairie says.
IBM survey shows that companies are collecting data infrequently, and not engaging enough with customers and suppliers to attain stated corporate goals.
Modular industrial enclosures save money over unibody systems for system integrators and end users when accounting for all costs, according to a Rittal whitepaper.
So you've dabbled in wireless or thought it might save time, effort, or dollars. This primer helps with technology selection
Manufacturers who want to see with their own eyes what's going on in remote locations can use the Onsight mobile collaboration solution from Librestream Technologies.
Device allows instruments to verbalize measurements, announce alarms, even in Spanish.
In the suburbs of Lansing, MI, far from the Pacific coast, there is a huge tank of salt water filled with many small creatures. Watching this tank, it is not uncommon to see a live shrimp flip into the air. But Andrew Wesolek just shrugs it off. He has seen startled shrimp before. “Yeah, they like to jump,” he notes.
End user companies look to standard for improved technical performance, increased vendor competition, and lower costs, says ISA about ISA100.11a, Wireless Systems for Industrial Automation: Process Control and Related Applications.
Several independent sources give separate positive indications for manufacturers, according to NEMA, Prime Advantage, and Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME). Links are provided for more information and related resources. See graph and table.
Sensors Expo: NASA covers space technologies; Honeywell talks about pervasive sensing networks and human-machine interactsions. The event is June 8-10, near Chicago.
Proposed national Battery Manufacturing R&D Center will help develop and deploy a domestic supply of advanced battery technologies aimed at reducing energy dependence and greenhouse gas emissions.
Consulting-Specifying Engineer Chief Editor Michael Ivanovich digs deeper into the $789 billion stimulus bill to see what is in it for engineers. Project links and resources follow.
The RightAnswers Unified Knowledge Suite offers users a “personalized,” knowledge-driven, self-service environment by capturing, combining, and enhancing an organization’s diverse knowledge, and then delivering it in a consistent and accessible format.
Group claims of lack of definition in Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act is costing manufacturers and retailers. Manufacturers suggest these fixes.
Service is a huge source of revenue as new product sales continue to stall in this down economy. That’s why MCA Solutions and Axeda are teaming up to ensure manufacturers can capture every dollar possible by combining remote service and spare parts planning technology to minimize inventory costs and streamline service across global networks.
Re: "Intrinsically safe or Explosion proof," Control Engineering North America edition, October 2008. As a regular user of both IS and EXD equipment for automotive spray applications (Class 1 Div. 1), it was nice to see an article about our forgotten needs. I would like to point out another important difference between IS and EXD other than costs: Maintenance.
Just as businesses in the manufacturing, retail, and other sectors are tightening their belts and looking for opportunities to optimize their operations, the electric power industry is taking a long, hard look at its operations. Like never before, utilities are keeping a close eye on the bottom line, looking for opportunities to boost profitability without sacrificing safety, reliability, and a...
4 points from U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics about machinery manufacturing: 1) High productivity growth is expected to cause employment to decline, but many openings will result from the need to replace workers who retire. 2) Production workers, who account for over half of all jobs in the industry, increasingly need training beyond high school.
Alarming developments: Manufacturers rethink quality management to keep risk out of new product intros
To combat global competition during the U.S. economic downturn, some manufacturers have been reevaluating their quality management strategies. The belief is consistently high product quality will be the key differentiator in achieving competitive advantage.
Customer spike: Procurement outsourcer sees 50-percent spend increase since start of economic crisis
Procurement outsourcing reportedly delivers five times more savings than other endeavors such as IT or HR outsourcing. ICG Commerce says it delivers savings by infusing sourcing specialists who bring deep category expertise and access to intelligence data.
BIND Biosciences launches first implementation phase as it develops new nanoparticle drug delivery platforms. Goal is shorter time to market. Link to related resources.
Recession wherefore: Flextronics to restructure for anticipated cash savings of $230M-$260M annually
Flextronics , a leading electronics manufacturing services (EMS) provider, says its newly reported restructuring plans are intended to rationalize the company's global manufacturing capacity and infrastructure as a result of current macroeconomic conditions and decline in demand from its OEM customers.The current global economic crisis and related decline in demand for its customers' products across all of the industries served has caused Flextronics OEM customers to reduce their manufacturing and supply chain outsourcing, ultimately impacting the company's capacity utilization levels.Flextronics's restructuring activities are intended to improve its operational efficiencies by reducing excess workforce and capacity. Additionally, the cost reductions and other activities will result in a further shift of manufacturing capacity to locations at the company with higher efficiencies and, in most instances, lower costs.The costs associated with these restructuring activities include employee severance, costs related to owned and leased facilities and equipment that is no longer in use and is to be disposed of, and other costs associated with the exit of certain contractual arrangements due to facility closures. The exact timing of these charges and cash outflows, as well as the estimated cost ranges by category type, has not been finalized.
With AlignSpace, Software AG says it is launching the largest social network for business process management (BPM) professionals. The network will be available as a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offering with functionality for social networking, collaborative process discovery and modeling, and a marketplace for system integrators, consultants, and application developers.
It is not my pleasure to talk about the economic crisis, especially referring to those Chinese OEM enterprises facing what some experts have called an “exporting Waterloo.” There are currently about 73,000 OEM companies in the mechanical equipment manufacturing industry in China, which employ 13.
In light of recent product recalls, manufacturers must be ready to respond quickly to supply chain issues to protect consumers as well as brand reputations. That’s why right now many food & beverage manufacturers are looking to expand their use of solutions that offer capabilities in product genealogy, lot tracking & tracing, and alert notification.
Will automotive industry decrease spending on wireless technologies because of recession? Frost & Sullivan Industrial Automation and Process Control group suggests wireless technologies can be a good investment across industries. See table, three key points, and links to more information.
Engineering-related numbers this month include $789 billion, 125 years, and some help with rules of thumb. Other numbers of interest to engineers: 3 steps to keeping resolutions and two 200th birthdays. Add your own at the bottom of this posting at www.controleng.com.
It’s getting easier to conduct such searches within enterprise systems as vendors add in more refined functionality. For one, Aras, a Microsoft enterprise open-source software solution provider, says new options allow access to cloud-based search services in Microsoft Live Search and GlobalSpec’s Web-based engineering part, product, and specification database.
You’ve heard the call, but it’s time for manufacturers to “do more with less.” Research out of Boston-based Aberdeen Group shows some companies doing just that. How? In a survey of more than 150 companies, the key strategy of the best-in-class is integrating desktop tools with enterprise applications to improve productivity.
Sky’s the limit: Cloud technology heightens affordability, reduces deployment of supply chain execution software
Regardless of size, distribution centers can more readily implement supply chain execution software at any number of locations with increased speed, low capital outlay, and without making additional investments in IT hardware by choosing to operate their systems via Internet cloud technology.
Sustainable management degree and certificate programs have seen a huge increase in students as demand for professionals with green skills grows.
CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, is home to the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), a particle accelerator used by physicists to study the fundamental building blocks of all things. LHC is the result of collaboration between 10,000+ scientists and engineers representing 500 academic institutes, laboratories, educational institutions and industrial companies worldwide.
Innovations in safety relays enable use of Siemens Modular Safety Systems (MSS) to improve system flexibility, functionality, and diagnostics, while reducing overall costs. With the new Sirius 3RK3 modular safety system, Siemens offers a safety solution that combines the functionality of a simple safety relay and a fail-safe programmable logic controller (PLC).
Honeywell announced the appointment of Norman “Norm” Gilsdorf as president of Honeywell Process Solutions. Gilsdorf was formerly vice president and general manager of the Process Solutions business in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA). He replaces Jack Bolick, who retired from Honeywell after 10 years of service, including six years as president of Honeywell Process Solutions.
When it was originally presented last year, President Obama's multi-point technology plan didn't mention anything about increasing e-commerce adoption. Steve Keifer, a VP of with B2B e-commerce solutions provider GXS, noticed. Now he's trying to cement the idea of Obama appointing an e-commerce czar... and he's having some success.
The new Mokon line of standard, custom, and pre-engineered power and process control panels and systems target the plastics, food processing, pharmaceutical, packaging and other industries.
Even as U.S. math scores are increasing, most children remain uninterested in engineering as a career and parents are not encouraging it. Here's how to help.
The new line of Eaton M22 pushbuttons establishes a new level of versatility, safety and reliability, the company says. The line includes pushbuttons, selector switches, pilot lights, mushroom operators and e-stops, as well as new and unique products such as palm switches, four-way buttons, buzzers and communicating devices.
Master Lock recently upgraded its information systems with an implementation of Oracle Enterprise Asset Management , or eAM. It did so with the help of Signum Group LLC , an EAM systems integration and asset reliability services company. Master Lock engaged Signum to help build a new maintenance system via deployment of an Oracle E-Business solution at its Milwaukee plant. Included in the upgrade was the incorporation of several other Oracle integrated modules including inventory, purchasing, maintenance parts, manufacturing, and labor reporting.
Team Frednet conceives 2-wheel robot to compete for Google Lunar X-Prize, a $30 million international competition to safely land a robot on the surface of the Moon, travel 500 meters over the lunar surface, and send images and data back to the Earth. The Ask Charlie Control Engineering blog analyzed the prototype robot's stability. Named Just Another Lunar Robot (JALURO), the prototype is one of two designs the team is developing to compete for the Google Lunar X-Prize.
Taiyo America enjoys a 50-percent share of the North American solder mask market and more than 40 percent of the global market, with customers ranging from garage-shop PCB fabricators to major original equipment manufacturers. Still, company management didn’t feel it was in complete control of its own business until it found the right ERP system.
ABB New Berlin modifies all office fluorescent fixtures – more than 927 units in all – with electronic ballasts and more economical T8 fluorescent bulbs, earning the company a $7,400 energy rebate from the local utility, and $12,000 in ongoing annual energy savings.
For the fifth consecutive season, manufacturer of plastic cable carriers, continuous-flex cables, plastic plain bearings and linear guide systems, igus, has joined FIRST as a gold supplier of its robotics competition. Link to robot designers, safe robotics.
Whether you’re building new IT infrastructure, coordinating remote employee teams, or delivering a new product line, project management and business analysis are the competencies for success—especially in today’s volatile economy. Here we present 10 ways to promote the essential skills development in change management, leadership, and other areas of project management and business analysis.
European Commission asked OSHA to consider Supplier’s Declaration of Conformity (SDoC) as an alternative to third-party certification of electrical products; NEMA prefers nationally recognized testing laboratories (NRTLs) product-approval process, saying anything less could decrease worker safety. Will your company comment to OSHA about this by Jan. 20?
Bosch Rexroth will acquire MSG Maschinen und Stahlbau GmbH, a developer and marketer of systems for cooling and lubrication technology, especially in machine tools.
Baumer safety pressure gauges for the oil industry have sensing elements of stainless steel or Monel, plus polypropylene or phenolic cases to protect against aggressive substances.
ISA has announced two training courses, Understanding and Tuning Control Loops (TC05), and Troubleshooting Instrumentation and Control Systems (TC10). In addition, Control Engineering offers online resources including: Loop Tuning Fundamentals.
In a new business book, author David N. Chalk shares six simple steps for what he says will prepare any management team of any size or type to adapt to evolving changes in the work environment. His method fosters commitment to results and innovation within the framework of "no surprises."
National Instruments has announced the release of a new instrument driver that gives the LabView graphical system design platform users the ability to interface with environmental monitoring sensors that communicate via SDI-12, a serial-based communication protocol optimized for battery-powered intelligent sensors.
Infor has added a capability for boosting energy efficiency to its enterprise asset management package. To prove that this new solution works, Infor connected its EAM system to two pumps that distribute cool air through the halls of the Venetian Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.
Developers of nonsafety critical systems also benefit from the type of rigorous standards employed within the aerospace and automotive industries. In addition to producing reliable software, costs can be contained and requirements met more easily by adhering to a software quality process.
Feed rates and material flow can be challenging with any automated line. Worthington Industries’ plant in Wisconsin worked through those challenges recently with the help of robotics, new controllers, and touchscreens, among other integrated technologies. The company, a global supplier of pressure cylinders, produces LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) cylinders used to hold fuel for gas barbec...
2009 System Integrator of the Year winner, JMP Engineering, explains goal setting and what’s different in system integration, now and in the future, in a 4 minute Control Engineering podcast that includes....
A white paper entitled Why Use Software Verification? is available for download from the Control Engineering Resource Center. The paper discusses the rigorous standards employed for mission-critical software in the aerospace and automotive industries and shows how the standards can be employed in general embedded-system software development.
NEMA offers electroindustry recommendations to President-elect Obama, such as modernized “smart” electrical grid for the country, and incentives for deployment of energy-efficient technologies and products.
Hit by the global economic slowdown, Adobe Systems announced plans to cut 600 jobs and lowered its revenue expectations for the fourth quarter.The job cuts will be made worldwide and account for about 8 percent of Adobe's total workforce, which stood at 7,623 at the end of September.The economic slowdown led to slower-than-expected sales of Adobe's new Creative Suite 4 software, which includes products like Photoshop and Dreamweaver, and went on sale during the fourth quarter in North America and Europe, the company said."The global economic crisis significantly impacted our revenue during the fourth quarter," Shantanu Narayen, Adobe's president and CEO, said in a statement.Adobe said it expects fourth-quarter revenue to be between (US) $912 million and $915 million, down from its earlier forecast of $925 million to $955 million. Profits will be higher than expected, however, at $0.59 to $0.60 per share before one-time charges, ahead of the consensus analyst estimate of $0.51, according to Thomson Reuters.Adobe joins a growing list of technology companies, including SAP, Intel and Sun Microsystems, that have been hurt by the economic downturn.
The Conference Board reports overall job demand down 264,000 in the last three months. Conditions expected to show further deterioration.
With manufacturers showing more interest in deploying wireless field devices, the need for a more robust, standards-based backbone transport link between remote gateways and central control systems and other platforms rises in importance. A new collaborative partnership between ISA and the Fieldbus Foundation will address the issue.
As the federal government transitions to a new administration, technology will emerge as a significant factor in implementing many policy priorities for President-Elect Obama. According to a recent report from Input (an organization focused on helping companies develop federal, state, and local government business and helps public sector organizations achieve specific objectives), the technolog...
Almost ten years ago, I was saddled with the task of overseeing startup of a pollution control system our company had provided for a lime producer. It involved measuring the temperature of flue gas which seemed simple enough. However, between my group, our system integrator, our parent company, the local operators, the customer’s engineering contractor, and the customer’s parent com...
Companies collaborate on IEEE802.15.4 wireless mesh network technology.
Oil and gas sector companies will get more opportuntities to integrate ABB products and services, after ABB agreed to acquire the business of Ber-Mac Electrical and Instrumentation Ltd. of Calgary, Canada.
Bosch Rexroth AG will acquire Interlit Joistgen GmbH of Cologne, Germany. The company develops and markets systems for cooling and lubrication technology, including machine tools used under the Interlit brand name.
Multichannel electronics distributor Newark is first to market Weidmuller's new electronic circuit protection devices, which feature remote reset capabilities that operate via the use of an electronic signal.
The 2008 Automation Fair “Manufacturing Perspectives” event focused on three aspects that Rockwell Automation sees impacting the immediate future of global manufacturing: IT/automation convergence, sustainable production, and the need for more engineering and technical talent.
Premium beverage company Foster’s Group recently rolled out RedPrairie ’s Warehouse Management System (WMS) to 14 sites in Australia and the U.S., gaining operational efficiencies and better visibility into its supply chain, and permitting more flexibility and better service to its customers.“Foster’s success in expanding its portfolio and global reach could only be sustained by investing in a scalable production and distribution network,” says Michael Brooks, chief supply officer, Fosters. “In 2003 we found that our current systems and processes did not have the flexibility or capacity to scale to the level they needed to meet the increasing demand for our diverse product lines. We needed to reconfigure and enhance our supply chain network by increasing service levels to our widespread customers.”In 2004, RedPrairie deployed its WMS Foster’s largest facility: the production and distribution operation at Yatala in Queensland.
The Miami Corporation , a leading national supplier of automotive, contract and marine upholstery and trim products for both OEM and aftermarket companies, is using Cutwater Business Intelligence (BI) solutions preconfigured for the company’s transaction system, Activant Prophet 21.“Our goal is to be the dominant provider of upholstery and trim products to the automotive, contract, and marine trades east of the Mississippi river,” says Dan Niehaus, VP, The Miami Corporation. “To do this, we must provide superior service while establishing a clear cost advantage for our customers.”The Miami Corporation has increased sales and support staff as well as its product offering to ensure that as the company grows, customer service improves. Being able to report on real-time information is critical to making sure corporate metrics are being met or exceeded across operations and customer service.“Cutwater BI allows any one of us to turn to our data—in real time—to get an answer to a question,” explains Niehaus.
Corporate partners are donating more than half a million dollars worth of equipment to speed ideas into production, via a UMass Lowell automated biomanufacturing plant.
RSM McGladrey just released a survey indicating that while industry executives of U.S. manufacturing and wholesale distribution companies believe information technology (IT) is of increasing importance to the security and health of their business operations, spending on risk management and disaster recovery systems may be cut due to the ailing economy.
As automation changes, educators need to maintain pace in the classroom to produce well-qualified graduates. To support this effort, Northern Illinois University (NIU) has unveiled the AutomationDirect Automation Laboratory in its Department of Technology. AutomationDirect’s donation of $100,000 over four years also makes it possible to name a term professorship.
OPC Foundation members representing process analytical technology (PAT) and laboratory industries are extending OPC UA capabilities to enable multi-vendor interoperability for analyzer devices. Progress has been made on the goals of a common method for data exchange, and a data model for process and laboratory analyzers.
With energy efficiency and renewable energy provisions included in the legislation, the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) praised the House of Representatives for passing the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, H.R. 1424, by a vote of 263-171. House passage followed action by the Senate on Oct.
Infor says a new capability in its enterprise asset management (EAM) package can be used to boost energy efficiency across operations. To prove this new capability works, Infor convinced management of the Venetian Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas—the site for Infor's annual user conference for the past three years—to agree to a systems demonstration that ultimately uncovered an inefficient pump that was quickly serviced to its optimum level.
Smart design, sizing, and application wisdom all help save energy when using pumps, says Hydraulic Institute, which advises pump users to....
California State University (CSU), Chico, used donated automation equipment from B&R Industrial Automation for hands-on, practical learning to better prepare students for real-life employment related to mechanical engineering program and industrial automation.
One of the major trends in the product life-cycle management (PLM) industry has been its expansion beyond engineering to users across the company and its extended enterprise. But an even broader expansion of PLM enables visibility of product data to others outside this corporate structure—even to consumers of the products.
Deadline is Nov. 15 to nominate an automation product newly available in North America between Jan. and Nov. 2008.
As automation changes, educators need to maintain pace in the classroom to produce well-qualified graduates to teach advanced hands-on concepts. Northern Illinois University (NIU) is opening a new AutomationDirect Automation Laboratory on its campus. See photos.
Banking on the importance of business networks as a growth accelerator across industries, SAP is investing in Crossgate AG , a provider of hosted B2B integration services, underscoring market demand for out-of-the-box business network enablement as companies transform their business networks to enable collaboration and direct interaction with partners.The importance of IT solutions that enable partner collaboration is supported by a recent Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) study sponsored by SAP, titled The collaboration advantage—customer-focused partnerships in a global market .Many companies are embracing collaboration both to reduce costs and to enhance revenue growth, with 69 percent of survey respondents agreeing that the adoption of new technologies has benefited their most important business relationships.Services such as those jointly provided by Crossgate and SAP can be key components in facilitating interaction and data sharing between business partners.In addition to the investment, SAP and Crossgate are expanding their joint service-oriented architecture (SOA) development. Currently, more than 40,000 companies exchange documents and data via the Crossgate Business-Ready Network, which includes services powered by the SAP NetWeaver platform.Crossgate’s growing customer base spans 10 vertical industries and includes such leading companies as Brown-Forman, Continental, Mahle, Neckermann, and Olivetti.“As a global company with 28 manufacturing operations in 13 countries and more than 100 business partners across the world, we needed to derive maximum value from our extensive business network to remain competitive,” says Christian Fischer, CIO Europe and Asia for high-tech components maker Nemak. “By eliminating legacy B2B systems and repositioning staff focusing on SAP core functionality, we migrated various in-house EDI converters to Crossgate’s B2B 360 Services, improving our overall auditing capability and ability to interface with our global business network.
When designing its global command and control network, General Motors executives' first priority was supporting production operations.
Seeking better insight to plant-floor performance, Premier Manufacturing Corp. instigated a system under which employees filled out production cards that administrative personnel then keyed into analysis systems. The logic was simple. “Manufacturers in America face stiff competition from overseas, so we have to get smarter about making ourselves more competitive,” explains Dave Barn...
4 advances in sensors from Keyence, Pepperl + Fuchs (P+F), Sick, and Turck include Turck's economical magnetic-inductive sensors, washdown sensor lines from Sick and P+F, plus a new no-error digital contact sensor series from Keyence. Key attributes include easy integration, certifications, multiple lens options, and 20-million-cycle rating.
Standard twisted pair cable for controller interconnection and "accessories, connectors, and track" were the most often purchased component categories, Control Engineering Product Research shows. See other trends, new products, link to research report.
Emerson Process Management announces it is first to ship WirelessHART products, and that BP has expanded Smart Wireless mesh use. The company presented wireless innovator awards at its user group meeting. IEC gave WirelessHART recognition on Sept. 19. See photos and ...
Enterprise compliance and quality management specialist Pilgrim Software is teaming up with Virtify , a vendor of Web-based software solutions for the life sciences industry, for a complete life-cycle management solution surrounding the regulatory submissions process. Pilgrim’s Regulatory Submissions solution sets up electronic submissions to speed manufacturers’ product approvals and time-to-market. The joint offering is based on applications built on Microsoft .NET and XML technology, including Pilgrim’s SmartDoc document management solution integrated with Virtify’s Virtx eCTD platform. The Regulatory Submissions solution provides all the elements needed for eCTD or non-eCTD electronic submissions (NEES), and will help organizations prepare for global mandates issued by regulatory agencies.
Company says requirements traceability tool suite updates programming standards, conformance.
There has been confusion in understanding the difference between mean time between failures (MTBF) and lifetime. A product might have an MTBF of 500,000 hours, but a lifetime expectancy of 20,000 hours. So why is there such a large discrepancy? Puls LP says the answer is easy if you understand...
Effective intellectual property (IP) commercialization can ensure a steady stream of royalty payments required to continue funding projects. Innovation International Americas says it has a full suite of IP commercialization services to help companies, research labs, and other organizations market, value, assess and acquire IP.
Atlanta-based research provider Hackett Group says globalization of key business processes in finance and other back-office areas is expected to continue to see strong growth over the next three years, with companies increasing their use of offshore resources by more than 50 percent.
Sarbanes-Oxley and HIPAA compliance are driving enterprise rights management (ERM) solutions adoption, according to security solutions supplier GigaTrust, which offers a new research report documenting the explosive growth of ERM.
If the challenge of finding engineers is so fierce, what can be done to fill the skills gap? ABB profiles employment opportunities, and IEEE developed a “Change the World Competition.” See images, links for more info, including how to...
In the last Execution Management Minute , we established that managers must focus on time efficiency rather than resource efficiency in projects. A natural question is, “How can we squeeze projects for time when it is difficult to meet even current timelines in projects?”After all, projects are riddled with uncertainties. Work usually takes longer than estimated; technical issues materialize; vendors don’t deliver on time; approvals get held up; resources are not available as promised.
Would it be useful to hear from a global pharmaceutical manufacturer about how its approach to using one manufacturing execution system, with ISA95 as a guide? Separately, ANSI is asking everyone to choose their favorite standards before a Sept. 19 deadline. Did you vote?
On average, it takes food & beverage companies 14 days to sense the need for a recall and 34 days to enact it. By that time, less than 40 percent of the affected product can be collected because the rest either has already been consumed or thrown out. Lawson Software executives argue that food & beverage manufacturers could cut their product recall expenses by deploying Lawson’s traceability solutions.
Aspen Technology Inc. is making adoption of sustainable process industry best practices easier than ever with Version 7.0 of its software. The company says it is responding to shrinking engineering resources at its customers' plants. Dow Chemical's director of engineering solutions says that ...
Recent reports the lack of skilled workers and the uninspiring slow growth of various indexes combine with a prediction of modest salary increases to paint a picture of mixed concerns for businesses related to automation controls and instrumentation. Links to originating organizations are provided.
Transplace is creating a compelling niche for itself as both a third-party logistics provider (3PL) and an on-demand transportation management software (TMS) vendor—a hybrid capable of delivering a custom mix of services depending on company needs. Qualifying itself as non-asset based, CEO Tom Sanderson explains, “We don't have trucks,” electing instead to focus on the human ...
In our last column, The time has come for the Operations Data Warehouse, we suggested that manufacturing operations organizations put on their IT hats—a timely tip given the airplay that the “convergence” term is currently enjoying. While it's largely vendor-speak at the moment, it captures the spirit of two market trends: one technology-related; the other, an...
In a move critical to the development and compliance testing of WirelessHART devices, the HART Communication Foundation, released the Wi-Analys Compliance Verification Receiver. The unit allows companies designing wirelessly enabled HART devices to test and analyze their radio transmissions. “The HART Wi-Analys compliance verification receiver is designed to capture all 802.
Even as supply chain mandates continue to push RFID into retail and warehousing, industrial applications continue to grow in number and reflect the diversity of available technologies. Why? Here are just a few reasons: Radio frequency identification (RFID) transports data wirelessly. RFID tags and readers can use information flowing in one direction or multiple directions, and they can be...
As part of a range of measures to safeguard the M48 Severn Suspension Bridge, authorities plan to install a full acoustic emission wire-break detection system for 1,673 meters of each suspension cable. See photo.
Device designed for high accuracy in difficult applications.
Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) wants nominations for its 2009 Innovations That Could Change the Way You Manufacture list. Five 2008 innovations were: direct digital manufacturing, ultracapacitors, self-assembling nanotechnology, intelligent device integration, and....
Manufacturers received some protections, says NEMA, in it’s recent praise for the new, stronger consumer product safety legislation passed by Congress.
Industrial exemption issues Nuts. The Industrial Exemption has been a sop to industry long enough [Legalities: Does PE licensing matter? June 2008]. I hear a lot of crying from so-called engineers who are afraid to take the exam. I knew, back when they were still around, some fantastic engineers who were not college graduates.
Data acquisition quality relies upon how closely the representation of reality matches what’s being measured. Drivers who are high insurance risks may explain that the only measurement that matters is the instant when a police radar gun measures their speed. Reality, however, may differ significantly depending on the point of measurement and how variable their driving process.
Recent industrial Ethernet developments include an open source real-time Ethernet protocol, a three-day industrial Ethernet technology seminar, and an advanced, IP67-rated industrial Ethernet switch. See photo.
RedPrairie , a specialist in optimizing warehouse and product distribution operations, has created a new employee self-service application toAs part of the RedPrairie Workforce Management solution, the enhanced employee self-service capability provides employees with the ability to confirm their work schedules, check hours worked, submit time-off requests, and receive other job-related information with a secure, easy-to-use Web portal interface. With this solution, employees also can access work schedules through a WAP-enabled (Wireless Application Protocol) device, such as a mobile phone or PDA.According to Jon Lawrence, a RedPrairie companyciency and effectiveness of communication between managers and employees. No longer will managers have to answer potentially disruptive phone calls to confirm an employee’s work schedule or worked hours.
Siemens Energy and Automation plans to “unleash the imagination” with its exiderdome traveling industrial automation expo followed by the 2008 Siemens Automation Summit. Photo update added. Includes schedule, related links.
CIMdata , a global Siemens PLM Software collaborative Product Definition management (cPDm) solution.The program review provides an overall description as well as CIMdata’s assessment of the Teamcenter Express program for the PLM market. Customer testimonials are included to establish the rationale for the selection of Teamcenter Express to support specific PLM requirements, what the solution is being used for, and what type of benefits the company is receiving.This review is an assessment of the entire Teamcenter Express effort, including development, marketing, and sales, and the product itself, Teamcenter Express Version 4.Teamcenter Express is the core product data management component of Siemens PLM Software’s Velocity Series—a set of preconfigured and relatively easy-to-deploy design, manufacturing, and data management solutions. It is intended to address the product design through manufacturing planning needs of small and medium-size companies in multiple industries.Peter Bilello, VP of CIMdata, says at midmarket solutions like Teamcenter Express focus on PLM issues that affect multiple industries including mechanical machinery and equipment, electromechanical, automotive products, consumer products, and others.
System helps software developers test large embedded systems faster and more thoroughly.
At age 50, Douglas Sharratt, president and founder of ProSoft Technology, died in a plane crash. A successor is named.
SimplyRFID is teaming up with Avery Dennison RFID , a leading UHF inlay manufacturer and RFID technology provider, to offer customers the AD-224 inlay. SimplyRFID develops supply chain logistics and is the creator of the On-Demand Complete Department of Defense (DoD) Shipping System, which facilitates compliance with DoD RFID shipping rules.In addition to providing DoD suppliers with thousands of RFID labels, SimplyRFID recently developed Nox, an asset-level tracking system for customers. Nox allows companies to track computers and documents with an RFID solution integrated with video, and has been deployed to prevent and help prosecute theft, misrouting, and trafficking; as well as locate evidence and important files.“Our customers require a powerful chip and inlay combination in a small label for latent tracking solutions we develop for them to deploy,” says Carl Brown, president, SimplyRFID.
Applications that demand self-contained power supplies are growing with the wider deployment of remote and wireless devices. Many alternative sources of energy are emerging, and batteries still represent a reliable and inexpensive method. Battery types have characteristics suited for specific applications.
In the U.K., an overwhelming nine out of 10 large companies are using some form of virtual collaboration technology to enhance the quality of their communications—both within and beyond the business. Of these businesses, nearly two-thirds have incorporated an element of video and/or Web collaboration, in addition to their established audio conferencing capability.So finds a survey of U.K. manufacturing and service businesses undertaken by tech research specialist Vanson Bourne on behalf of unified collaboration and communications services provider Genesys Conferencing .Key findings:• 90 percent of businesses employing 1,000+ staff have adopted a conferencing/collaboration tool as part of their communications strategy.
Trubiquity , a provider of business process automation software, has acquired the assets and business operations of Mosaic Software in a contracted signed July 1, 2008.Based in Meckenheim, Germany, Mosaic offers commercial electronic data interchange (EDI) software products for customers in the retail, manufacturing, and finance market, including an EDI-trade portal (Web and classic EDI) for customers; and installed EDI software and consulting services for business-process optimization.Mosaic Software product offerings allow organizations to connect and collaborate across a variety of industries and business functions. Trubiquity's current EDI capabilities came as a direct result of its acquisitions of European-based Secorex , and U.S.-based Trinary Systems .The ongoing operations of Mosaic Software will continue uninterrupted under the name Trubiquity Systems. Says Rolf Mugrauer, CEO of Mosaic Software, "We look forward to teaming with Trubiquity and combining the EDI capabilities of both organizations.
RFID solutions supplier Lowry Computer Products is pairing up with OATSystems for turnkey asset tracking and work-in-process solutions for the industrial manufacturing sectors, including automotive, aerospace, and consumer packaged goods companies.OATSystems, a division of Checkpoint Systems , will be able to offer complementary merchandise protection and inventory management applications. Lowry customers will benefit from the flexible RFID solution framework, which has seen successful deployment across several industries—leading to what OATSystems reports as significant ROI.Delivered through Lowry’s RFID certified Professional Services Division, OATSystems capabilities will enable businesses to improve local processes such as shipping & receiving, asset tracking, and work-in-process while delivering increased supply chain visibility across multiple and remote sites.The flexibility of the solution architecture, unique to OATSystems, enables businesses to deploy RFID business logic using a lightweight and low-cost infrastructure, while maintaining centralized systems management and control capabilities.Says Michael Lowry, CEO, Lowry Computer Products, “OATSystems has the RFID industry’s most scalable solution, as well as the most innovative approaches to providing enterprisewide RFID capabilities. We are excited about leveraging this robust and comprehensive solution set for our ongoing integration projects.”.
Security of a widely used radio frequency identification chip has been broken by European researchers: separately, university researchers teach RFID in a $1.2 million manufacturing laboratory.
Online options may help with engineering-related skill sets useful for automation, controls, and instrumentation for those in the workforce, in college, and those younger developing an interest. Opportunities from Ohio State University, Tooling U, SolidWorks Robotics University, and ISA…
Retirements are fueling skilled labor shortage in manufacturing, survey says. U.S. Congress hears about the need to retain high-technology students and professionals, the U.S. Army invests $3.5 million in disadvantaged engineering students.
It seems odd to say that software for swarm robotics has been debugged naturally for 120 million years, but that information and 24 robots smaller than a toaster helped James McLurkin, MIT roboticist, explain three globally important things engineers should do. (Included are links to more photos, videos.) These are....
Those of you that are familiar with Manufacturing Insights research themes will recognize the SHOMI (pronounced 'show me') acronym, which is shorthand for the most influence technology vendors in the manufacturing industry: SAP, HP, Oracle, Microsoft, and IBM. These vendors are providing products to optimize operations through technologies like virtualization, Web service based integration, collaborative decision making, and business network automation.This is the fifth installment of a of five part series covering each of the vendors. This installment will cover IBM .
U.S. Display Consortium gives Signal Technologies $280,000 to further commercialize nanotechnology-based coatings for organic light emitting diodes and other applications. It should help resolve....
Bye-bye Baby Boomers: Companies expect workforce shortfall to cost an average of $52M; $100M for largest manufacturers
A new survey shows Baby Boomer retirement coupled with a lost generation of factory workers is creating a perfect storm, aggravating a costly skilled labor shortage for U.S. manufacturers.
Located in Pune, India, Tata Motors manufactures a range of passenger and commercial vehicles including SUVs, small trucks, and hatchbacks. Producing 400,000 vehicles per year, the company reported sales of $4.5 billion U.S. in 2005. With manufacturing facilities in India, Spain, and Korea, Tata Motors has established a solid brand image and is recognized for its ability to produce high-quality...
Uncovering the benefits of Software-as-a-Service, or SaaS, requires understanding the terms and technologies involved so everyone can ask the right questions. Corporate IT, discrete manufacturing, and continuous process operations all have unique considerations when it comes to deciding when and how to adopt SaaS applications, or move into the service-based world.
Siemens Energy & Automation Inc. has announced details surrounding the U.S. leg of the company’s “exiderdome” world tour. exiderdome, a traveling technology expo and learning laboratory, will begin its tour of the U.S. in Chicago on July 21. Alternatively called “The World of Automation,” exiderdome’s nearly 10,000 square feet of total space is designed t...
The final day of the 2008 FIRST Robotics Competition (FIRST stands for For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) in Atlanta’s Georgia Dome featured last-minute adjusting, expert coaching, teams celebrating and lamenting, and crowds roaring. Mental agility was on display, as future scientists, engineers, mathematicians, and software programmers competed for honors at a wor...
OATSystems is collaborating with Cisco Systems to integrate Cisco’s just announced Context-aware Mobility Solution with its own OATindustrial RFID applications, including its Asset Tracking and Work-in-Process solutions. The combination should enable OAT customers to seamlessly run their mission-critical RFID applications over the Cisco Unified Wireless Network today and virtually any wireless network in the future.
An anonymous donation by a private supporter has helped take some of the budget pressure off America’s premier high-energy physics facility, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, but more help is needed.
Cisco Systems and RFID specialist OATSystems announce a solutions partnership that will reduce the time to deploy RFID solutions by integrating flexible, standards-based applications more tightly with existing business processes.
IEEE recognized Paul Backes, Eric T. Baumgartner and Larry Matthies with its 2008 Robotics and Automation Award for contributions to robotics technologies used in the successful Mars Exploration Rover
Virtual test and development platform for satellite ground systems said to reduce need for multi-million dollar test hardware and accelerate software development.
A hundredth of a second is, quite literally, faster than the blink of an eye. Yet in the high-octane world of drag racing, it can be the difference between winning and losing. Gaining an advantage in drag racing boils down to one overriding strategy: shaving as much off your car’s race time as possible. Rugged pressure sensing helps by....
Two-thirds of CIOs believe strategic use of IT is critical to a business’s ability to innovate, according to a recent survey by Capgemini Consulting. But the same survey also revealed that only 25 percent of CIOs feel their IT function is actually driving business innovation. So why aren’t more IT departments supporting business innovation effectively?
OPC Unified Architecture (UA) is the OPC Foundation's next generation, unified technology for secure, reliable, and interoperable transport of data, and several companies aim to hasten its implementation, including Softing, Iconics, and Kepware Technologies, by....
Enhanced business performance for power generation companies is the goal of an April 29 agreement between SmartSignal Corp. and General Physics (GP).
A sampling of more than a dozen recent industrial Ethernet hardware introductions follow, along with other Ethernet information. A May 2008 Product Research article looks at Ethernet protocols.
Wall Street is agitated about a possible recession, but small and midsized manufacturers apparently do not share this consternation according to results of a new survey conducted by Chicago-based Prime Advantage, a manufacturers’ buying group. The “Group Outlook Survey” of Prime Advantage’s members— business owners, vice presidents of procurement and purchasing di...
FKI Logistex expanded its system integration services. Previously, the company provided design, installation, and start-up services for custom automation projects, primarily from having to support their material handling products in the field.
Professional affiliations in the Control Engineering Automation Integrator Guide are as follows.
Most industrial applications require more than a standard Bluetooth wireless solution concerning robustness, optimized performance and enhanced reliability. The technology should configure for a specific application by optimizing throughput, latency, power consumption, range, or a combination.
Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) and its Southeast Michigan chapters will host "A Passion for Manufacturing: 2008 SME Annual Meeting & Interactive 'Unconference,'" May 31-June 3 in Detroit; skills gap, retirements, and North American competitiveness are among topics.
This year's edition of “the world’s largest industrial fair” opened its five-day run to technology professionals on April 21 under the banner of “Get New Technology First.” Ten shows make up the Fair in 2008 including factory automation and process control.
Since 1999, the London-based World Trade Group has been sponsoring conferences that give forward-thinking manufacturing and supply chain executives a chance to share knowledge and network with like-minded peers. Its next event, scheduled May 13-15 in Düsseldorf, Germany, is the 10th Annual European Supply Chain and Logistics Summit.
Data management specialist Liaison Technologies reports an agreement to merge with Anilinker Oy, a European integration services provider that has been linking B2B trading partners across Europe since 1991.
Attendees find out how the company is investing in education, people and technology.
David Greenfield, editorial director of Control Engineering from 2003 through 2005, has returned to Control Engineering as editorial director.
Hoffman offers the new Type 4X Stainless Steel Wall-Mount Enclosure with white polyester powder finish to reduce solar radiation for lower cost cooling.
Intensive hands-on training program for continuing education toward CPIPSM certification.
At the height of the Cold War, President Kennedy announced a bold and aggressive program designed to highlight American ingenuity and bravery. The “Space Race” led to the creation of new technologies that are still in use today, launched entirely new industries and motivated an entire nation to “dream big” and transform science fiction into science fact.
Today you can find volumes of information from any place in the world within seconds using Internet search engines. Students use this capability to find more information in minutes than previous generations could discover in weeks. As these students enter manufacturing companies as employees, they bring an expectation of the same search capability for corporate information.
Holistic approach to managing complex engineering projects developed for 'nontraditional students.'
Information and communication As with virtually every vertical segment in the manufacturing space today, packaging professionals are challenged to reduce costs, improve efficiencies and gain a competitive edge. This may seem to be a somewhat daunting task in light of other economic forces bearing down on the business – increased raw material costs, increased transportation expenses and ...
Having just completed an acquisition that doubled the company's size, Cohoes, N.Y.-based Mohawk Fine Papers needed to rationalize a diverse collection of enterprise applications, a manufacturing network that doubled to six sites, and a distribution network that quadrupled to four warehouses. “With a larger network comes more pressure on us to do effective advanced planning and forecasting...
Because mechatronics involves motion, video can be the best medium for learning about mechatronics solutions. Control Engineering’s educational video portal, CEtv, is the place to find videos from users, designers and automation suppliers. Now there are a range of new mechantronics videos. Thought-controlled wheelchair.
Packaging professionals play a unique role in today’s production ecosystem. In addition to wrestling with “traditional” issues of reducing costs and optimizing production, packagers must also contend with rapid-fire changes brought on by the ebb-and-flow of consumer tastes. The following is an overview of the survey audience, the challenges and opportunities they face, and ...
Automation has a voice on Capitol Hill, says The Automation Federation. The federation’s board of directors will meet in April for its third annual strategic planning session to review accomplishments, developments, and plans of the umbrella group. Members of constituent groups – WBF, OMAC, WINA, and ISA – have focused on the key issue of workforce development.
Machine tools and manufacturing efficiency will be among topics covered at WESTEC 2008.
Recession? Recession! We don’t need no stinking recession.
Compensate humidity problems to obtain reliable and repeatable measurements by understanding properties and definitions.
The needs of the fashion industry, when it comes to product life-cycle management (PLM), are different from those of other discrete manufacturers. But as systems evolve for fashion life-cycle management, it may be that these fashionistas—obsessed as they are with visual images—have something to teach other kinds of goods makers.
A lot of learning about life sciences and automation efficiency will be going on in late March as two major industry shows converge in one city.
Kontron AG made final its acquisition of Thales Computers SA.
Unmanaged, managed, custom industrial Ethernet switches meet many rugged needs.
Precise motion control tolerances could eliminate several barriers to production.
With more than 20 varietals in its portfolio, the Clos du Bois winery in California is known for producing sophisticated wines that offer complexity and aging potential. But consumer demands, increasing competition and thinning margins forced Clos du Bois to look for ways to cut costs and increase production.
Each year, as we assemble our Global Supplement, it’s fascinating to see what trends and technologies are affecting manufacturers in other parts of the world. Each nation wrestles with its own unique challenges, be they governmental, regulatory or economic. However, for all of the differences, there are some remarkable similarities.
Parsec Automation Corp., a supplier of real-time performance management solutions, has released a new application that can create electronic records and signatures for all changes made to the production-related data. The solution—called AUDITTrak—will ensure a company’s compliance with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) 21 CFR Part 11.
Sensor developer InProx Technology Corp. agreed with NASA to develop advanced position sensors for space flight, turbine engine controls, and automotive engine applications.
Crossgate AG, which offers business-to-business (B2B) integration and EDI services, is seeing strong response to its recently announced B2B 360 Services for use with SAP solutions, including the Business Ready Network solution for which 16 end users already are reaping the benefits.
Upcoming shows include the Siemens 2008 Automation Summit, Adept Global Conference 2008 on robotics, and another covering machine vision.
Kinaxis Inc., a supplier of software that enables companies to respond quickly to daily changes inside the Sales and Operations Planning (S&OP) horizon, has announced a new solution specifically to address issues related to demand management.
The proposed fiscal 2009 budget unveiled last week would restore funding for most physical science programs hurt by the inability for the U.S. legislative and executive branches to agree on a federal budget.
Plano, TX — Optoelectronics manufacturer Texas Advanced Optoelectronic Solutions (TAOS) has boosted three engineers into higher-level positions.
Norwalk, CT — ABB appointed new leadership for power and low-voltage drives areas of its North American businesses, effective Feb. 15.
Clawson, MI, and Newton, NC — Improved operational efficiency and reduced scrap were the result of high technology position sensors at a Michigan manufacturer. Learn about the sensing technology and application.
IEEE-USA will continue working to increase federal investment in research and bolster U.S. innovation and competitiveness in 2008, said IEEE Life Fellow, and newly-appointed IEEE-USA president, Dr. Russell Lefevre. “Our overarching goal is to keep the United States the most technologically advanced nation on earth.
It seems as though everything we do today is designed to help us do more, and go faster than we have in the past. That’s certainly the challenge facing manufacturers, with plant managers constantly seeking ways to make their production lines faster and more efficient. U.S. automakers are changing manufacturing strategies to address changes in customer preference, new emerging markets, a...
3 non-Ford employees and Ford executives were named to the “Transformation Advisory Council” to explore solutions to society’s sustainability challenges, says Bill Ford, executive chairman of Ford Motor Co. Initial “outside sustainability thought-leaders” include Amory Lovins, chairman and chief scientist of the Rocky Mountain Institute; Paul Hawken, environmental...
Today, many global manufacturing companies are turning to Brazil for low-cost manufacturing. And with good reason: it is a rich, diverse country with abundant natural resources and 200 million consumers providing ample market opportunities. In addition, unlike some other possible low-cost locations, the infrastructure for manufacturing is in place.
The price volatility of energy influenced both Boston-based AMR Research and Chicago-based Grant Thornton to name energy costs among the top business threats and concerns in 2008. Once considered a fixed cost relegated to overhead, energy is today a precious commodity consumed in production environments, and one more factor that must be considered in optimizing manufacturing processes.
Reduced U.S. 2008 fiscal year federal funding (a $90 million cut for High Energy Physics) will slow research development and harm international relations, suggest Fermilab officials. The federal lab may have to cut 125 personnel and say “No” to some international partners. Among cuts are funding for research and development on the International Linear Collider (ILC) and the Super Co...
Too often, business executives are uncertain about the quality of their organization's data. It's an important issue today in part due to regulatory issues, as well as problems with the accuracy of data drawn from disparate sources, including spreadsheets. Errors and inconsistencies lead to mistakes and lost opportunities—failed deliveries, invoicing blunders, problems with global data s...
Compared to North America, European manufacturers are sometimes slow to see the merits of the wholesale outsourcing of their IT infrastructures. But specialty pump manufacturer Askoll Group has done just that—outsourcing to Hewlett-Packard the responsibility for server and desktop hardware provision, software integration, maintenance, operations, and even some of its IT consulting needs.
Endicott, NY — Endicott Interconnect Technologies Inc. introduced a controller board that functions as the intelligence of a powerful, advanced optical packet switch. The controller board for a 64×64 port, high-performance optical switch designed by IBM Zurich Research Lab, claimed to be one of the most complex designs ever developed, is a core component in the OSMOSIS (Optical Shared MemOry Supercomputer Interconnect System) research for computer systems.
Bosch Rexroth partnered with Farmers Branch, TX based industrial tool supplier Womack Machine Supply, and Texas A&M University to create the Bosch Rexroth-R.C. Womack Fluid Power Laboratory as a state-of-the-art facility showcasing eight new fluid-power trainers, including pneumatic and industrial hydraulic systems from Bosch Rexroth.
Washington, DC — U.S. House Committee on Science and Technology received recognition for designing and maintaining one of the best Congressional Committee Web sites on Capitol Hill. The Committee website received the Congressional Management Foundation (CMF), the group’s highest available recognition, the Golden Mouse Award, for Web site excellence in 2007 and 2006.
Santa Clara, CA — Agilent Technologies is doing a Webcast to explain how to simplify the debugging of low speed serial systems using a mixed signal oscilloscope (MSO). The Webcast will be Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2008, 10 a.m.-11a.m. PST.
Encouraging young women to pursue engineering careers has become a pressing issue in the pre-college engineering education community. To address the matter from a national scope, Junior Engineering Technical Society (JETS) has announced receipt of a $50,000 Innovation Generation Grant from Motorola Foundation to support a girl-focused initiative through a collaborative effort with the National ...
Editor’s note: Material for this article was compiled by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) as part of its Save Energy Now program. See the sidebar on p. 48 of this issue. As heavy consumers of steam and natural gas, ammonia plants are major energy users so any opportunity to reduce the gas bill can provide a critical boost to thin operating margins.
The figures for perceived vulnerability to corporate fraud within the manufacturing sector are generally about the same as the overall average, although in some instances they are slightly lower. Only in one area—procurement fraud—is vulnerability perceived to be higher than average (see graphic).
Solidware Technologies introduced a new release of its flagship product: SWaudit 2.0, a software project auditing platform that helps teams and management to “know their code.” The software interfaces to development and test tools to collect data from across projects in development and deploys its patent-pending Adaptive Analysis technology to identify failure-prone code.
Optima Central and Informance International are joining together to help customers in the region build and expand efficiencies in manufacturing.
Cognos is teaming with Nokia to offer a new set of choices for accessing business intelligence (BI) data. The alliance calls for the Cognos 8 Go! Mobile solution to be accessible via Nokia Eseries devices and Nseries multimedia computers.
Since the dawn of the industrial automation industry, there have been equipment vendors, individual consultants, and independent engineering firms of all kinds who are ready, willing, and able to help factory owners automate their facilities. For the last 15 years, Control Engineering has been cataloging automation engineering services available from all such sources in our annual Automation In...
A major U.S. dairy producer contacted Seiberling Associates, Inc. in December 2005 to replace the process and clean-in-place (CIP) control system for one of its facilities. The existing control system was an obsolete relay-based system that was installed when the plant was constructed in the 1960s. Although the system had served the plant well, it was becoming increasingly difficult to maintain...
All systems go: Baldwin Filters ensures its computer systems run as smoothly as its production equipment
Baldwin Filters, a Kearny, Neb.-based manufacturer of air, oil, fuel, and hydraulic filters primarily for industrial vehicles, is ramping up an OEE (Overall Equipment Effectiveness) program. It also is taking steps to ensure that the computer systems that support its plant operations are as finely tuned as its production equipment.
Using a spreadsheet for personal use is a lot different than managing one in a process involving a whole group. There are plenty of applications available to enable spreadsheet collaboration, but most require purchasing and learning new software. Most users prefer to use tools they already have, and Microsoft Excel remains the clear-cut spreadsheet of choice among desktop users.
Martin sees himself as a futurist, but one solidly grounded in the legacy of the past. He’s been engaged in peering over the horizon while simultaneously gazing back to the past for over 20 years. This provides him keen insight on developments at Wonderware, an Invensys business unit, regarding its recent release of InTouch 10.
Engineering organizations have long struggled with management, modification, and distribution of project documentation. With efficiency a priority, how does one get the right information to those who need it, when they need it—whether they are in the same department, at a different site, or working on a different but related project altogether? McLaren Software puts it all together with i...
Servo drives use pulse width modulation (PWM) switching power technology made to switch current on-and-off at frequencies at or above 20 KHz. These transitions create noise signatures at much higher frequencies, typically 10’s of MHz to 1 GHz. Drives and drive systems are, therefore, required to meet stringent requirements that comply with regulations imposed by U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
ThyssenKrupp Elevator Manufacturing France (TEF), one of the world’s leading elevator companies, has significantly boosted its online sales and overall revenues after adopting a new e-commerce software suite that contains a robust product configurator.
GE, whose corporate mantra is “Imagination at Work,” has given members of the Manufactured Housing Institute a lesson in developing innovative business processes.
Austin, TX—The U.S. Litigation Trends Survey from Fulbright & Jaworski L.L.P. found that 91% of manufacturing companies faced at least one new lawsuit last year, with more than half (56%) facing more than 20 new suits in the past year, more than any industry surveyed.
According to Carl Frappaolo, VP of market intelligence for AIIM, the Enterprise Content Management Association, “When you look at who’s performing business process management and who they report to, it’s all over the map.”
Erlangen, Germany—An increase of CiA members in the last two years from 417 to 517 indicates increasing acceptance of CAN networks in many markets and diversified application areas, according to organization. CAN in Automation (CiA) international users’ and manufacturers’ group supports all those interested in CAN (Controller Area Network).
Atlanta, GA and Moffett Field, CA—Siemens Energy & Automation and Apprion have announced the integration of the Siemens Scalance industrial 802.11 access point with the Apprion ION System. The companies will join together to deliver wireless applications with tight coupling of Scalance with the IONosphere industrial wireless application system. These applications enhance the mobility, productivity, security, and safety of industrial or manufacturing operations.
Business intelligence (BI) solutions supplier Teradata says a landmark study from Framingham, Mass.-based IDC puts business decision-making at a critical crossroads, with BI technology now an important component in differentiating between leading and average companies.
Little Neck, NY – After Harold Leviton’s death at age 90 in September, the Leviton Manufacturing Co. named new company leaders later that month. In October, “setting the tone for the company’s second century in business,” the company launched a major re-branding initiative that “reflects a shift towards a more progressive identity.”
Growing evidence confirms that information technology use in manufacturing operations is at an inflection point that AMR Research refers to as Manufacturing 2.0. The changing operations landscape was the subject of considerable discussion at the recent Manufacturing Enterprise Solutions Association (MESA) International Conference.
Rich Internet Applications (RIA) combine the flexibility and ease of use of an intelligent desktop application with the broad reach of traditional Web applications. RIAs allow users to create personalized, multimedia-rich applications. Users also can tap into RIAs to create interactive data dashboards, self-service applications, and online product configurators.
The news has been grim lately: toys containing lead-based paint; pet food laced with poison. When a recall occurs, time is of the essence. A manufacturer's bottom line—and image—depends on finding the tainted goods and returning them to the plant, pronto. Then it becomes a matter of cleaning up the supplier base.
Companies are more interdependent than ever. As a result, manufacturers must not only communicate instantly, but collaborate efficiently with customers, suppliers, distributors, outsourcing partners, and service providers. Fortunately, the options for e-business are much more robust than they were during the dot.
Wyeth Pharmaceuticals is transforming itself based on the need for operational excellence. The Collegeville, Pa.-based company views integrated systems and standard processes across its research and manufacturing facilities as a good way to drive down costs and improve quality. Already today, Wyeth makes use of what enterprise and execution systems have to offer.
Pasadena, CA—Alliance Spacesystems delivered the engineering development unit (EDU) of a robotic arm to demonstrate the “front end” of a possible future satellite that could conduct repairs or repositioning of military and commercial satellites in earth orbit.
Experts now agree on this basic truth: A company's responsiveness is vital to its success in today's volatile business environment.
Lake Forest, CA—Wonderware has added compact panels to its industrial computer line. The panels are the entry point to the company’s latest integrated and scalable HMI and SCADA software solutions that can manage a single machine, production line, complete plant, or a customer's automation and information enterprise.
A few pioneering companies have applied Lean to product development processes. The results are impressive, including product development cycle times routinely being slashed by 60 percent to 70 percent, and errors being caught at the concept stage—when they are least expensive to correct—rather than at the manufacturing stage.
SAP’s plan to acquire Business Objects is an indication that the German software giant is feeling pressure from Oracle, its chief rival in the enterprise software space.
Throughput Analyzer enables pinpointing constraints—areas such as activities or machines that are slowing production processes. Production managers can use that information to develop methods for eliminating the constraints, thus improving the plant’s ability to produce more goods within a given time frame.
Manufacturers with design and manufacturing facilities around the globe must ensure enterprisewide uniformity of practices. Now there are several ways to do that. For Molex—a Lisle-Ill.-based global supplier of electronic components tasked with maintaining consistency within its product development process—it involves Dyadem's FMEA-Pro7 (failure mode and effects analysis) software ...
Do you think your Western business practices work in any culture? My ongoing research into Asian culture proves that we are dead wrong in this belief, meaning that many Western companies are dead wrong in their approach to Asian business. There are three main things I learned in 2,000 hours of interviews: I ask my customers: What are the chances your Western ways are holding you back from being...
SYSPRO Factory Scheduling software offers three specific products to help factory managers advance Lean manufacturing practices by choosing the level of scheduling sophistication required.
Spotlighting longevity, durability, and impact on industry, Honeywell began celebrating the 75th anniversary of its Micro Switch technology last week. The company gathered employees, executives, and members of the media at its facility in Freeport, IL, for a day that included a historical review of sensors and switches and tours of its plants.
An on-demand document management system has streamlined every aspect of Quincy Compressor’s sales process—from delivering product literature to distributors to tracking sales leads, and responding to requests for quotes.
Lightning Pick Technologies, a provider of light-directed and advanced technology order fulfillment systems, and SPSI, a provider of tier one enterprise shipping and warehouse solutions, have joined forces. The partnership is meant to offer distributors a single source solution to implement light-directed order fulfillment strategies that require complete integration with the manifesting system. Material handling, software services, and radio frequency identification are among applications.
Triggered by recent high-profile consumer product recalls, outsourced manufacturing has been receiving its fair share of media attention. However, the impact of outsourcing on original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and the supply chain in general has been largely ignored… until now. Arena Solutions, a provider of the Arena PLM On-Demand product lifecycle management solution, recently teamed-up with Symphony Consulting to shed some light on outsourcing’s impact on mid-market OEMs
CAN in Automation (CiA), a nonprofit organization, has released the CiA 445 CANopen device profile for radio frequency identification (RFID) readers/writers to enable easy system integration of RFID readers into networks in factory automation, laboratory automation, medical systems, product and asset management, and identifications systems.
Allen, TX—Quickfilter Technologies Inc., a semiconductor company that develops mixed-signal ICs for programmable analog-to-digital processing, appointed Dr. Ed Staiano as its co-CEO and chairman of the board, effective August 1.
Many processes require that a volume of material inside a container be held at a uniform temperature. In many cases, this uniform temperature must also be selectable over a range and must accommodate multiple boundary conditions. Such systems include chemical reactors, heat treatment and sintering furnaces, curing ovens, heated enclosures for process instruments, fermentation vats, and material...
The conference starts the first day, and show floor opens on Sept. 25 for National Manufacturing Week, which runs through Sept. 27, 2007, at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, IL, near Chicago. Organizers say it is an event for engineering teams, executives, and practitioners responsible for the manufacturing process, including design, customer fulfillment, and business success.
St. Louis, MO—FKI Logistex, a provider of material handling solutions, opened its Technology and Education Center (TEC) in Cincinnati, OH, on July 17, 2007.
RedPrairie will develop educational programs as an affiliate member of the EPA's SmartWayTransport Partnership.
QAD Enterprise Applications 2007 (QAD 2007) Automotive Edition gives automotive suppliers the benefits of the QAD 2007 solution in an on-demand environment, including electronic data interchange (EDI) capabilities and completely managed service.
Mike Taubitz, global regulatory liaison at General Motors Corp., says companies no longer have a choice when it comes to lean manufacturing. Eliminating waste in terms of motion, idleness, materials and other aspects of production has become a necessity and leaning out a process a matter of business survival. “Companies that aren’t lean aren’t going to make it,” says Taubitz. “That’s reality.” As the same time, he notes, safety cannot be ignored.
The fastest growing segment of the automation market is services, according to a recent report from ARC Advisory Group.
Supply Chain Frontiers, a collaboration between Georgia Tech and its partners, seeks to develop a new supply chain management model.
Control Engineering2008 System Integrator of the Year Competition Application and Submission Guidelines Applicant’s name and title___________________________________________________________ E-mail_____________________________________________Phone________________________ Company name___________________________________________________________________ Web site________________________________________________________________________ Home office street address_________________________________________________________ President/CEO____________________________________________________________________ E-mail_____________________________________________ Phone________________________ Year founded____________ Annual revenue______________Number of employees___________ Principal industries served__________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________ For the purposes of this competition, a “system integrator” is a contract engineering firm or an engineering division of a larger company that can design and implement computerized control systems for industrial machinery, manufacturing lines, or other automated facilities that produce either a commodity or a finished product. Examples would include automation, control, and robotic system integrators as well as automated machine builders, multi-disciplinary engineering firms with instrumentation and automation divisions, and product vendors that also offer application engineering services. A system integrator may or may not provide the automation products required for a particular project but must be capable of integrating both the hardware and the software with the client’s existing facilities. Companies that provide individual elements of an automation project such as consulting, programming, electrical contracting, or panel construction are not considered “system integrators” unless they also offer the remaining services required for a complete turnkey installation. Three general criteria will be considered for the selection of the 2008 System Integrator of the Year: business skills, technical competence, and customer satisfaction.
By eliminating the need for fixed infrastructure and network connectivity, mobile workforces can be truly RFID.
Model-based instructions (MBIs) are shop floor work instructions generated from engineering 3D models of the aircraft for assembly tasks. MBIs, now being used in the largest known aircraft modernization program to date, give mechanics the same 3D visual images available to the designer. They are the culmination of years of efforts to get paper off the shop floor throughout the aerospace industry.
Contract manufacturing and logistics outsourcing are common to the automotive, high-tech, and manufacturing industries. These types of organizations also are long-time users of outsourced call center and CRM services. What's new is a concentrated effort to outsource back-office support operations—e.
ViewSonic gets clearer picture of business process management with Sterling Commerce integration suite
ViewSonic has won numerous industry awards for its visual display products, which include plasma and LCD screens and monitors. But the Walnut, Calif.-based company, which recently announced plans to go public, would have difficulty selling those innovative products without the strong relationships it maintains with a global network of distributors and retailers.
Empire Magnetics, a supplier of specialty motor products, motion control systems and support services, is often called on to develop custom motion control solutions for unique applications and environments where standard motion control components are simply unsuitable. One of Empire’s custom motor gearbox assemblies has even made its way into show business as an unnoticed yet essential co...
Applications that used to require at least two robots, lift stations, or other lifting equipment can now be completed with one Kuka KR 1000 Titan robot from Kuka Robotics. Recently earning a place as the world’s strongest robot in the Guinness Book of Records, the 6-axis robot is said to be the first in the world to have a payload capacity of 1000 kg with a reach of 3200 mm.
Rockwell Automation strengthens integrated architecture platform for the long haul in process industries
Rockwell Automation has long been known for its strength in discrete manufacturing control, but recently has increased its focus on the process industries as well. “We think Rockwell Automation is doing an effective job in the process market, and consider them a player in the space—just like ABB, Invensys, and others,” says Craig Resnick, research director for Dedham, Mass.
Says Frank O Smith in this month’s cover story: “One of the great gaps in manufacturing has always been between design and manufacturing, with design engineering developing the blueprints and figuratively throwing them over the wall to production.” But the gap between the shop floor and product lifecycle management (PLM) systems—which encompass multiple functions includi...
To create a winning sports team, one must have players with superior talent. Since one player in a complex sport cannot master all of the skills necessary, a group of players with complementary skills are necessary. In engineering, it increasingly requires a team made up of members from different countries, cultures, and languages.
A positive outlook for manufacturing is making itself known through the expansion plans of con
Here’s a challenge: Figure out a way to measure atmospheric accumulations of greenhouse gasses anywhere in the world. It’s not the kind of thing you have to do everyday, but when the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) wanted to find a way to do that task with a satellite, they approached ABB’s analytical devices unit to design the actual sensor to detect and measure greenhouse components. The GOSAT (Greenhouse gases Observing SATellite) is scheduled to be launched in 2008 by JAXA and will enable Japanese scientists to study and measure greenhouse gases in support of the Kyoto protocol. This will help them determine compliance with requirements for developed nations to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions between 2008 and 2012. The $10 million contract was awarded to ABB's Analytical Business Unit in Quebec in August 2005 by NEC Toshiba Space Systems, the primary mission instrument supplier to the GOSAT program.
Designing equipment and control strategies for a unique one-time radioactive cleanup project took the best engineering collaboration and change management practices of three companies. Figuring out processes to mitigate the world’s single largest source of radon required creative thinking and adaptable equipment.
Disposable, membrane sampling probe from Groton Biosystems offers a non-binding inert surface that resists fouling, can be used with high solids or viscous samples, and are able to be used in any size vessel in both autoclave and steam-in-place applications. Ideal for cell culture and fermentation applications for the biopharmaceutical, industrial microbiology and biofuel markets, SampleProbe i...
Best known as a supplier of EDI infrastructure, Sterling Commerce has in the last several years assembled a portfolio of supply chain applications for multichannel supply chain execution and fulfillment, and is on the verge of making what it terms “major announcements” in this area over the course of this summer.
With greater convergence of engineering and information technologies, companies report higher efficiency, better business continuity, shorter project timelines, enhanced reliability, and improved disaster recovery ability. This is according to a Rockwell Automation white paper titled, “Come Together: IT-Controls Engineering Convergence Furthers Manufacturers’ Success.
El Segundo, CA—Raytheon Co. has developed the world's first computer whose architecture can adopt different forms depending on the application.
Bellevue, WA—If you want to see how other engineers have designed data acquisition and control systems that may closely model one you have in
In a move that brings key division management closer to numerous oil and gas, petrochemical and energy industry customer facilities, ABB announced it is relocating its global Process Automation division headquarters from Norwalk, CT, to Houston, TX, effective Aug. 1, 2007. Global division management will join more than 300 ABB employees already at the Houston facility.
During the International Robots & Vision Show in suburban Chicago, four visionaries were recognized for significantly advancing robot technology and systems in their respective fields. The Engelberger Robotics Awards recognize significant achievements in the areas of leadership, application, education, and technology development.
In a recent Product Research article on flowmeters , Control Engineering found that two technologies tied for first place among end users: turbine and magnetic. Turbine flowmeters represent an old style technology, but are still very popular in many applications and are available from a variety of manufacturers. In the right situations, they offer a useful combination of simplicity, accuracy, and economy. The technical concept of a turbine flowmeter is very simple: a turbine that is on a shaft coaxial with the pipe is placed in the liquid stream where passing process fluid strikes it.
Rosemont, IL —Speed and flexibility of robotics and sensors have increased in several key application areas, including welding, materials handling, and 3D machine vision, according to Motoman Inc . at the Robot & Vision Show , June 12-14 at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, Motoman booth 1423.
Nominations are open to submit applications for the Jeffrey A. Johnson Award for Excellence in the Advancement of Building Energy Codes and Performance. The award recognizes a leader or a team in the United States for sustained service in pursuit of energy efficiency goals.
A variety of industrially hardened Ethernet products and resources were introduced recently by Automation Direct, Beckhoff Automation, Cirronet, Cisco, Electro Standards Laboratories, Moxa Technologies, Rockwell Automation, Schneider Electric, and Tyco Electronics.
The Rockwell Automation Complete Automation on the Move show (CAOTM) celebrated a milestone in Las Vegas recently by marking its 100th show in the United States. The educational event, which features hands-on labs, technical sessions, partner exhibits, and a showcase of Rockwell Automation products and services, has attracted tens of thousands of automation professionals since its inception in ...
IBM and austriamicrosystems say they will enhance IBM’s 180-nm radio frequency (RF) CMOS process technology with austriamicrosystems’ proprietary high-voltage module. The HV module is currently in volume production as part of austriamicrosystems’ 350-nm high voltage CMOS process technology.
Invensys Process Systems is joining forces with the Rahal Letterman Racing (RLR) and Team Ethanol to raise awareness of ethanol and its use as a renewable energy resource.
The Society for Maintenance & Reliability Professionals (SMRP) established its first Canadian chapter—in Hamilton, Ontario.
Zurich, Switzerland— Support for engineering and science education got a boost recently when ABB , a leading power and automation technology group, announced it will create a foundation to provide scholarships for students in engineering and natural sciences. The ABB Jürgen Dormann Foundation for Engineering Education will begin awarding the grants to graduate students starting in 2008. It will provide funding of $16.6 million (20 million Swiss francs) for talented and needy students through an annual scholarship for a maximum of five years. The foundation is named after Jürgen Dormann, who retired as chairman at the company’s annual general meeting on May 3, in recognition of his contribution to the company.
Control programming may be easier with a new resource from ISA (the Instrumentation, Systems, and Automation Society), which offers automation and controls engineers a practical guide for component-based development of distributed embedded and control systems as proposed by IEC 61499. IEC 61499 is the newly adopted international standard for distributed control systems and follows on the IEC 61...
15th International Space Station (ISS) mission, six months in length, began with an April 9 docking. Spring experiments included algorithm testing and improvement for autonomous control and formation flying of three satellites operating simultaneously inside. Learn more about ISS or the bowling-ball sized Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites (SPHERES) at www.
New York, NY and Baltimore, MD —Better manufacturing through automation are among the themes at Interphex Pharmacuetical Manufacturing Conference and Exhibition show in New York April 24-26, and the WBF 2007 North American Conference, April 30-May 30, in Baltimore. Just ahead, educational opportunities abound; the last three weeks in June include at least seven industry shows. Exhibits, more than 100 sessions, and roundtables at Interphex , aim to "to help optimize every aspect of your operation, from process development and R&D through manufacturing and packaging." More than 1,000 suppliers (a record number) are expected on the exhibit floor. The event is co-located with PharmaMedDevice, showing the convergence of the medical device, pharmaceutical, and biologic industries. Sessions on ISA-88 and ISA-95 specifications at WBF 2007 North American Conference include practical details about how they can help lower operating costs and improve operations.
FieldView high-resolution mobile video system from Tandberg lets companies maximize workforce time by bring expertise to many locations instantly.
The ability to use a Microsoft Windows-based CAD system provides Toll Brothers with needed flexibility. New database scripts have contributed considerably to plant uptime. A manufacturer formerly dependent on its system integrator used the services of its controller vendor to take back control of its plants.
In the sleepy hour before breakfast, on the bus to sessions at the ABB Automation World user conference, I met the most delightful man. Tom Bassel of Graphic Equipment Corp., a maker of printing presses for packaging and other applications, was eager to get to the conference exhibit area and find out what was new.
Gather a group of engineers to consider new ways to improve automotive safety, navigation, and maintenance, and ideas speed around the room. Automation and wireless network technologies inside and outside vehicles can help with these applications, according to recent discussions at the IEEE Fox Valley Subsection meeting on the topic, “The Networked Car: Technology and Use Case Drivers,...
FieldView high-resolution mobile video system from Tandberg lets companies maximize workforce time by bringing expertise to many locations instantly. Wireless handheld device transmits detailed video streams to experts who communicate in real time with an onsite worker. System features built-in, two-way audio (VoIP) and one-way video transmission.
Rockwell Automation The new TUV-certified Allen-Bradley Kinetix 6000 Safety servo drive with GuardMotion from Rockwell Automation incorporates a safe-off functionality that allows users to restart machines faster and reduce downtime in the event of unplanned maintenance. The safe-off feature eliminates torque at the motor to shut down the machine and keeps the power supply on, allowing maintena...
Recently published research by Venture Development Corp. (VDC) indicates increasing adoption of Linux in embedded-system development projects. However, suppliers of branded commercial embedded Linux solutions will need to differentiate their Linux solutions from what is publicly available and demonstrate real value to maintain a premium for their products and support, according to Stephen Balacco, VDC director, embedded software practice.
Paul Grimme, senior vice president and general manager of Freescale Semiconductor's Transportation & Standard Products Group, told a gathering of industry analysts and business-to-business editors in Austin, TX that the group of private equity firms headed by The Blackstone Group that took Freescale private may still be on the lookout for semiconductor manufacturing companies to acquire. "In the past, many LBOs had the goal of cutting costs, breaking up the company into parts, and selling them for a profit as a way of unlocking value," said Grimme. "In Freescale's case, we are a strong, well-run operation that could serve as base or framework for adding on other companies. It could be a platform for participating in the consolidation of the industry.
FEBRUARY 22, 2005 TECH TIP OF THE WEEK: Picking the right programming language Which language should you choose for use with your programmable controller? Among the five languages defined in IEC 61131-3, ladder diagrams or ladder logic is generally the most widely applied in North America. Other languages have practical applications and should not be overlooked. The most appropriate choice depends on the programmer's skill, the programming task, the level and structure of the problem and control system, determining who needs to interact with the program, and, perhaps, how often it's modified. Since inception in 1992, PLCopen has helped promote and support programming standards, which allows, the association says, for less training, more logical organization, modularization, and use of modern software techniques.
Charlotte, NC —In a move said to tap into the automation and control technology strengths of both sides, KSE Protech bv and ObjectAutomation Corp . (OA) have joined forces to create what Object International, as the merged firms are now called, terms a "global automation solutions provider capable of driving worldwide growth, technology innovation, and customer satisfaction." The new company, which now employs more than 200, will focus its efforts into four major industry verticals: food and feed, energy and utilities, industrial manufacturing, and industrial services. "We have already commenced the task of forming global distributorships and OEM partnerships," said Martin F. Wieffering, former CEO of KSE Protech and now OA International's chief executive officer and chairman.
Educational opportunities include: RFID World in Dallas, March 26-28; Control System Integrators Association (CSIA) 2007 Executive Conference in Santa Fe, NM, April 26-28; and podcasts and Webcasts from Control Engineering . RFID World 2007 : This fifth annual show and conference about radio frequency identification technology and applications includes keynotes from Kevin Ashton, vice president of ThingMagic, and Robert Willett, chief executive officer of Best Buy International. RFID World will be March 26-28 at the Gaylord Texan Resort in Dallas, say show organizers CMP Technology. Another session, "Who Moved the RFID Cheese," includes analysts from ABI Research, Robert W.
Engineers Choice CompetitionNew Products for 2006: Process and Advanced Control Control Engineering — February 15, 2007The annual Control Engineering Engineers Choice Awards highlight significant new products from the previous year as selected by readers of Control Engineering print publications and electronic newsletters. The following new products are nominees for that competition. To be eligible, a new product must have been introduced to the U.S.
Software and security were among recent radio frequency identification (RFID) announcements from Siemens . Software from Siemens Automation & Drives (A&D) integrates RFID systems into business processes. Simatic RF-Manager manages read/write devices, collects and compresses RFID data for use with a merchandise information system to comply with the EPCglobal (Electronic Product Code) standard. That trade initiative is pushing RFID forward into the UHF (ultra high frequency) range, said to optimize the value-added chain, according to Siemens. Protection of wirelessly transmitted information from product pirates can only be ensured with an elaborate and costly local infrastructure, Siemens contends.
Better support for European customers is the goal of new engineering and sales offices for Lumex Inc ., a div. of Illinois Tool Works, opening in Neu Anspach, near Frankfurt am Main, Germany. The facility will be directed at those seeking to engineer Lumex opto-components and LED and LCD systems into their products.
Buyers of automation, control and instrumenation systems, in general, want their suppliers to offer the best combination of efficiency, reliability, and safety; they are not evaluating them on their manufacturing or supply chain expertise. In addition, when pressure for financial performance can result in flat or decreasing research and development (R&D) and capital budgets, suppliers who s...
A $19-million-dollar renovation and expansion project, beginning this year, will create one of the largest and most advanced flow control research facilities in the industry. Emerson Process Management will build the Fisher Technology Development Center to increase design and lab testing capabilities.
Just as car enthusiasts prefer to talk with and learn from owners of similar vehicles, automation and instrumentation engineers tend to gravitate toward others with the same hardware and software. While attendance at general manufacturing trade shows is flat to down, participation in vendor- or technology-specific users groups seems to be on the rise.
Dearborn, MI —Two grants to the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) announced recently by the Ford Motor Co . will support engineering scholarships and education programs. The awards, totaling $150,000, reinforce Ford’s commitment to the education of its future workforce.
Charlottesville, NC —Advancing education and research in discrete manufacturing control systems to help develop the engineering workforce of the future is the goal of a recent partnership between GE Fanuc Automation , a unit of GE Industrial, and Kettering University . Under the agreement, GE Fanuc will provide the university with manufacturing control components for installation by the school in its department of electrical and computer engineering (ECE) labs. Contributions include GE Fanuc's Assembly Application Suite (AAS) hardware and software products to simulate manufacturing environments. Kettering will integrate the hardware and software into its course curriculum and develop GE Fanuc-based continuing education offerings, including case studies and projects for discrete manufacturing industries.
Control Engineering announced winners of the magazine’s first-ever System Integrator of the Year competition in its Automation Integrator Guide, distributed with the December 2006 North American print edition. Industrial automation system integration firms were invited to submit essays describing their achievements in the areas of technical expertise, business skills, and customer satisfaction. A panel of nine industry experts chose three winners and 13 runners-up from the 47 entries. The winner among system integrators with annual revenues up to $10 million was Concept Systems Inc.
Marshalltown, IA —A multi-million-dollar renovation and expansion project is expected to culminate in one of the largest and most advanced flow control research facilities in the industry. The effort, launched by Emerson Process Management , will create the Fisher Technology Development Center. Construction is expected to begin later this year. The facility will be staffed by employees of Emerson's current R&D group, plus 15 more R&D engineers.
The Benham Companies, LLC is a solutions-based firm that provides a full range of services including Architecture & Engineering Design, Infrastructure, Environmental, Systems Engineering and Integration, Advanced Communication Systems, Performance Contracting, Project Consulting & Development, DesignBuild Project Delivery and a variety of specialized consulting services.
Optimation Industrial Services , a subsidiary of Optimation Technology Inc., signed an agreement to purchase the capital engineering, capitalized maintenance, and construction units of Kodak's Global Manufacturing Technology Organization . The companies describe Kodak as a major customer for Optimation, a designer of automated processes and machines systems for the manufacturing industries, which calls Kodak one of its most significant clients. The transaction, expected to be completed on or around Dec.
On Jan. 23, 2007, a 45-city educational effort begins, sponsored by a dozen companies and organizations offering machine-safety advice. The effort, running through Feb. 27, includes a 45-minute “big-screen” high-definition movie entitled, Safety: Uncover the Competitive Advantage. In the past, machine-safety standards required safety related signals to pass over separate cables from...
1869 was the year the Russian chemist Mendeleev noted that repeating patterns of behavior could be arranged in a sequence of elements, giving rise to the “Periodic Table.” See a copy of the original, part of the online periodic elements table from the Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Chemistry Division.
Environmentally sound manufacturing immediately was named among top priorities for the new chairman of the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA), S&C Electric president and CEO, John Estey. Environmental issues for responsible manufacturing, along with workforce education and U.S. manufacturing competitiveness, have been among important topics at S&C, a Chicago-based manu...
Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005 devastated the lives of people in the Gulf States and affected oil and gas production for the entire country. U.S. Interior Secretary Gail Norton reported, “Of the 4,000 platforms that the MMS (Minerals Management Service) administers, 3,050 platforms were in the path of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
Podcasts are not just for entertainment these days. Continuing education opportunities abound for engineers who find it easier to listen than read a book or attend a class. Recently available tutorials include information on outsourcing,, data collection and decision making, the National Engineering Design Challenge, and encryption technologies.
In the popular motion picture The Matrix, Agent Smith is a software object sent out to monitor and correct problems with humans that the Matrix relies on for electric power. In real life, software developer Macsea has developed a software product called Dexter that allows its customers to build and deploy machinery-health-monitoring software agents designed to automate the majority of data gath...
Outsourcing, in general, is the strategy of contracting with a third party to add significant value to your standard products. The primary reason companies outsource is the dictum, “Do what you do best, and leave everything else to the rest.” Put more succinctly by one of my management professors, David Bohm: “Stick to your knitting!” Outsourcing makes it possible to ass...
Open enrollment increased the field for the 2007 DARPA Urban Challenge to 89 teams. The “Track B” list drew 78 additions to the robotic vehicle race, which will be held Nov. 3, 2007, at an as-yet undisclosed location in the Western United States. The third Grand Challenge, sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, charges enthusiasts from around the world to develo...
SK Corporation, the energy and chemical affiliate of SK Group, Korea's largest oil refiner, has now implemented Integrity configuration management software at its huge Ulsan facility. Integrity helps manage and optimize automation assets using its ability to document, visualize and track configuration changes of equipment and instrumentation for an entire processing complex. PAS , developer of Integrity, says that the software provides a representation of the entire plant, documenting the configuration of each automation asset and how it relates to the larger process scheme. As a result, operators can analyze how a change of one element or a problem can affect the other assets nearby or potentially the whole process.
Volunteers are recognized as an integral and vital part of the way in which young people connect to the real world, and volunteering to promote science can be particularly rewarding. Volunteers are helping the biggest-ever FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Lego League (FLL) season with the unveiling of the 2006 Nano Quest Challenge.
Network-ready single-box DAPserver 200 system from Microstar Laboratories Inc. conditions, acquires, and logs signals from up to 32 strain gauges.
In what is no surprise to programmers, IT analyst firm Enterprise Management Associates estimates that determining the cause of a software glitch can take 50 to 80% of an IT staff's time, while only 15 to 20% of their time is spent repairing it. To address that discrepancy, IBM has announced new software that helps developers and solution providers build self-healing capabilities into their applications, features that could save programmers up to 80% of time previously spent resolving issues manually. Created through the collaboration of IBM research and development laboratories in India, Japan, Toronto, and the U.S., the software helps recognize warning signs to head off system crashes and performance bottlenecks. The software, based on open industry standards, helps developers capture and pinpoint the root cause of problems, allowing them to create a customized catalog of problem symptoms so they can be fixed based on historical knowledge.
Houston, TX —ISA Expo 2006 gets underway here next week, providing automation and control professionals a venue for dialogue, discussion, and discovery. The annual show and technical conference will give more than 15,000 professionals from around the globe that opportunity to interact, learn from industry experts, and test-drive best-in-class solutions from industry leaders and cutting-edge start ups. Offering exhibits and program sessions that showcase advanced technologies, ISA Expo strives to provide the tools you need to get ahead and stay ahead in today's marketplace. Features of this year's event include: Technical conference developed for industry professionals by industry professionals; Continuing education from a recognized leader in unbiased vendor neutral automation education; Keynote presentations delivered by industry leaders and open to all attendees; Daily forums, also open to all, that provide an opportunity to participate in discussions on timely automation topics; Automation standards briefings from ISA, OMAC, WBF, and other industry standards organizations (open to all); Automation connections that put attendees in touch with ISA authors (open to all); and Exhibition of more than 400 vendors, including specialty product pavilions on sensors, industrial communications, and environmental. Click here to visit the ISA Expo 2006 Web site.
Singapore —Increasing demand for recording media is driving continued expansion of manufacturing capabilities in Southeast Asia. Seagate Technology announced it will construct its third media plant in Singapore, responding to the growing need for disc drives and potentially creating 3,000 new jobs. The new facility will be built close to the company’s existing facilities at its Woodlands location.
Miami, FL —The American Welding Society (AWS) is launching a program to address what it says is a U.S. shortage of trained welders. The society has received initial funding for the effort in the form of a million dollar pledge from Miller Electric Mfg.
RC7 controller from Denso Robotics is fast, lightweight, and compact. Rosemont, IL and Long Beach, CA— Small assembly robots from Denso Robotics are now listed by Underwriters Laboratory (UL). The devices also use software that allows PC control for simplified interfacing with peripheral equipment.
A shift towards engineering specialization has prompted increased communication needs and led to more “collaborative” jobs. Why? Imminent retirement of baby boomers, a shortage a graduate engineers, and the changing role of the workforce are reasons, according to Jim Gagnard, SmartSignal president and CEO.
Goal: take a sensor, connect it to electronic instrumentation, and collect data, with automatic calibration of the sensor with the instrumentation. The problem: every sensor and every instrument differs. A sensor is a transducer that changes a mechanical or environmental parameter into an electrical signal.
21% reduction in North American production (168,000 units) for fourth-quarter 2006 is what Ford Motor Co. expects, as of Aug. 18; the year is expected to result in 9% less Ford production (1.134 million cars and 1.914 million trucks) than in 2005. www.ford.com 3 things U.S. policies have mortgaged: our fortunes, principles, and way of life, says Sen.
Ways to create finished parts or tools without cutting edges are moving closer to reality, thanks to the work of the rapid prototyping research team at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center. The effort is intended to help overcome the need to deliver specialized tools or replacement parts from Earth to astronauts in space, which delays science projects and adds costs.
Chicago, IL— An aging workforce, collaborative employees, energy supply and demand issues, and innovative technology were among the topics scrutinized under the umbrella of 'New Ideas for Peak Performance' at SmartSignal 's recent Summit 2006 conference. The third annual running of the two-day event, held at Chicago's Swissôtel last week, brought together some 250 executives and senior managers from many industries to exchange ideas and strategies. Opening the two-day gathering, Jim Gagnard, SmartSignal president and CEO, cited three key business: the imminent retirement of baby boomers, a shortage a graduate engineers, and the changing role of the workforce. Calling the collective factors 'a semi-perfect storm,' Gagnard noted a shift towards specialization has prompted increased communication needs and led to a rise of 'collaborative' jobs. 'We are seeing a new kind of employee,' said Gagnard, 'one who searches, monitors, coordinates, analyzes, and decides.' Collaborative employees interact with other employees, customers, and suppliers, and make complex decisions based on knowledge, judgment, experience, and instinct, he went on. Gagnard said that technology must complement collaborative employee skills and that technology priorities must attract and support a collaborative workforce.
Security is one of the major focuses at the HP Technology Forum , being held September 17-21 in Houston, TX. At the event, technology professionals can attend educational sessions, hands-on labs and receive training dedicated to security, along with expert interaction among other users and HP staff. Some key security sessions being covered at this year's conference include: Security in storage networks; Protect your data with HP-UX encrypted volume and file system; and Linux application security for the enterprise. Click here for a complete list of the security sessions being offered. Type the word security in the search field and in the drop down menu immediately below, change the word "title" to "abstract." — Renee Robbins , editorial director, Control Engineering.
Chicago, IL and Huntsville, AL— A national custom cabinetry manufacturer is deploying a document management system across its enterprise to share information through automated workflows and a secure information repository. Benedettini Cabinetry chose CNG-SAFE (shared access filing environment) from Cabinet NG because the system is able to scan, organize, and retain thousands of documents while enabling secure, automated document workflow. The companies announced the installation at the International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago last week. Benedettini had outgrown its entry-level imaging system and needed an electronic document management system that would support its growth into the distribution market.
Global market for RFID (radio frequency identification) transponders reached an estimated $750 million in 2005, according to Venture Development Corp .'s RFID Business Planning Service. The company anticipates the market to show a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of nearly 26% through 2010, with revenue shipments projected to exceed $2.3 billion within five years. VDC lists current and future global shipments of RFID tansponders segmented by distribution channel (millions of dollars) at:2005 Direct: 371.4 Indirect: 375.72010 Direct: 1091.1 Indirect: 1254.9 In 2005, the distribution of RFID transponder revenues was equally split between direct and indirect channels, with the greatest concentration of revenues being derived from direct-to-end-user (32%) and VAR/SI (36%) sales. Many vendors continue to employ direct-to-end-user strategies for system implementation.
Embedded developers enjoy more freedom in designing computing, networking, and communication systems, according to attendees and organizers of a recent technology gathering. “Design Freedom” was the theme that drew nearly 2,000 total attendees to the 2nd annual Freescale Technology Forum held in Orlando, FL, July 24-27.
Seattle — Microsoft Corp. and PASS , the Professional Association for SQL Server, will hold its 2006 Community Summit Nov. 14-17 at the Washington State Convention and Trade Center in Seattle, WA.
LG. Philips LCD , a maker of thin-film transistor liquid crystal display (TFT-LCD) technology, has been recognized by the European Union’s (EU) German accreditation organization as an internationally accredited RoHS testing laboratory. EU TÜV SÜD accreditation means that RoHS tests performed at LG.
While the new results were off the record pace of last year, a bio-fuel powered car took home the gold for the best fuel efficiency at the European Shell Eco-marathon on May 20-21. The ethanol-powered winning entry, built by engineering students from the Lycée La Joliverie (France), completed its laps with fuel consumption equivalent to 2,885 km/l (6,785.
In today's marketplace of spiking energy and fuel costs, demand for alternative fuels is at an all-time high. With the recent energy bill doubling production of ethanol by 2007 and consumer initiatives demanding more environmentally friendly fuel sources, ethanol producers are faced with unprecedented demand.
From the start, in 1985, the need for five-axis machining was apparent, says Rob Bujeaud, vice-president of manufacturing for Turbocam and its recently created high-production division, TAPS (Turbocam Automated Production Systems). Turbocam focuses its five-axis machining work on impellers, blades, blisks (bladed disks) and other mechanical components used in turbine engines, diesel engines, t...
Washington, DC— Increased funding for cyber-security research and development is needed because the U.S. information technology infrastructure is highly vulnerable to hackers, terrorists, organized crime syndicates, and natural disasters, says a recent position statement adopted by IEEE-USA . The organization, part of IEEE , the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc., seeks to advance public policy interests of IEEE members. “Because of society’s complete reliance on information technology and cyber networks, all the critical infrastructures and networks are interdependent and interconnected,” said the organization.
Houston, TX —A 2-day course covering seven steps for successful alarm management is now available from PAS . The hands-on workshop, to be offered at several locations in North America, is based on The Alarm Management Handbook published recently by PAS, and includes a series of computer-based exercises. Topics include developing an alarm philosophy, benchmarking against best practices, controlling and maintaining a system, and justifying alarm management projects. Methods discussed include how to: Proactively manage an alarm system; Resolve problems, such as nuisance and chattering alarms; and Reduce unplanned production time and shutdowns. Classes will be held in Houston, Chicago, Detroit, San Francisco, Philadelphia, and Dallas.
Global market for level sensors continues to grow, totaling $1.86 billion in 2004 and is expected to reach $2.83 billion by 2011, recent research by Frost & Sullivan indicates. “World Level Sensors Market” reveals the market grew at an annual rate of 4.1% in 2004 and has a projected growth rate of 7.9% in 2011. The compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for the market for 2004 to 2011 is 6.2%. Ultrasonic level sensors, followed by magnetostrictive sensors, account for the majority of revenues currently generated, says the report, adding that newer technologies such as radar, capacitance, and ultrasonic show increases.
The Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) hosted an open house recently Thursday, June 22, in its new AEM office is located in the former Allis-Chalmers tractor manufacturing plant in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin suburb of West Allis. The industrial renovation of the plant site has won awards for blending modern design with the character of the past such as exposed brick and other structural elements of the original facility. “We wanted to use this opportunity to share our enthusiasm for our work and workplace with our members as well as our industry, business and community associates and friends,” says Dennis Slater, AEM president. AEM provides business development programs worldwide for the off-road equipment manufacturing industry– construction, agriculture, forestry, mining and utility. Core services include global public policy, market information, trade shows and technical and safety services, as well as international market support, education and workforce development initiatives.
Quatech Inc. , a wholly owned subsidiary of DPac Technologies Corp., announced a joint effort with MTS Technologies Inc. to collaborate on wireless solutions that support Dedicated Short Range Communications (DSRC) standards.
National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) and Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (UL) each announced growth in Asia; NEMA also updated panel and switchboard standards. NEMA is organizing U.S.-led training and cooperation seminars for Chinese industry and government officials. NEMA will set up the series of workshops and provide on-site organization for the three-year, multi-sector seri...
U.S. Department of Energy has contracted with FEI Co. for four Titan scanning/transmission electron microscopes (S/TEMs) developed as part of the Transmission Electron Aberration-Corrected Microscope (TEAM) project.
The largest computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) software vendors for 2005 and and a projection of 2006 leaders are in Version 15 of the NC Software Market Assessment Report, produced by CIMdata Inc. For 2005, CIMdata estimates that UGS was the market leader on the basis of revenue received ($123 million of CAM-related software and services revenues), resulting in a 14.6% market share.
The user-led board of the Emerson Global Users Exchange has announced that the 2006 conference will be held Oct. 2-6 at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center in Nashville, TN. This year’s conference will focus on educational and leadership sessions for all levels of process manufacturing professionals.
The Automation Federation has been created by an agreement among ISA (Instrumentation, Systems, and Automation Society) OMAC, and WBF. The three charter organizations plan to retain separate identities while working cooperatively to serve the industry. The federation expects to: The organization agreed on the scope of the managing director position and announce...
Panel designers and builders, machine builders, end-users, system integrators, equipment movers and installers, as well as inspectors are among those working with control panels differently as of April 25, 2006. That is when UL 508A Supplement SB took effect. Supplement SB from Underwriters Laboratories (UL) provides three methods that can be used to determine the short-c...
Integral dynamic braking precisely portions blocks of cheese weighing up to 85 kg (187 lb), dramatically cutting the time for the task and giving accurate and consistently repeatable results. Control and accuracy of moving the blocks is attributed to motor drives on the custom cheese-cutting machine from Northwood Food Machinery of Stoke-on-Trent in the U.
Austin, TX —Those seeking electrical and instrumentation systems in the floating, production, storage, and offloading (FPSO) segment may benefit from an alliance between Emerson Process Management and Wärtsilä Automation Norway. The alliance brings together process management knowledge and digital automation architecture of Emerson and the power and vessel automation systems expertise of Wärtsilä to deliver integrated systems using technologies of both. Engineering teams will develop turnkey solutions by collaborating from front-end engineering and design (FEED) through FPSO commissioning and operation. Delivered systems can include diesel and dual fuel engines, power distribution systems, electrical drives, motor control centers, and safety and automation systems including metering, valves, and instrumentation. The combined effort reportedly will deliver project efficiency, speed, and savings for FPSO builders.
Research Triangle Park, NC —Advancing the science and engineering of automation technologies and applications got a boost last week as the Automation Federation began the process to formally organize. Charter stakeholders, including representatives of OMAC , WBF , and ISA , met at the ISA President’s Spring Meeting in Orlando recently to sign incorporation documents, discuss initial strategic initiatives, and outline next steps. “We’re thrilled to officially start the formal incorporation [process],” said WBF chairman Maurice Wilkins. “Finally, the automation industry has a one-stop-shop for authoritative knowledge.
May 12, 2006 Highlights Sponsored byContemporary Controls Faced with stopping these huge blocks of cheese instantly to ensure accurate cutting, Northwood Food Machinery sought AC drives that could stop conveyor motors on target. Tippagral S.A. in Dijon, France, expects the solution to streamline operations and cut labor costs. Integral dynamic braking precisely portions cheese Precise conveyor position control is needed to put blocks of cheese in the right position for cutting.
San Francisco and San Leandro, CA — OSIsoft has released new RtWebParts to deliver greater client-side functionality in viewing and managing operational data, such as vertical trends, ad hoc SVG, direct export to Microsoft Excel, and support for XY plotting. The company announced the product set—which delivers flexibility for using, analyzing, and viewing real-time information within a browser-based environment—at its user conference held last week in San Francisco. Users can display real-time data through thin-client applications within a Web browser and manipulate the raw data to create a view that suits their needs. For example, an operator in a remote location can use RtWebParts to identify, diagnose, and mediate a problem, either by gathering information in a shared knowledge base or by working with a virtual team.
Because no magnetic switch technology best fits every application, Hermetic Switch Inc. and technology consulting firm TekMark Growth Partners recently analyzed four magnetic switch technologies, so designers can more readily match requirements to the strengths and limitations of available switches.
Tokyo, Japan—Omron Corp. will acquire Scientific Technologies Inc. for $94 million plus net cash and working capital adjustments under a definitive agreement between the two companies.
Fort Worth, TX — Allied Electronics , a subsidiary of Electrocomponents PLC, broke ground on its new 365,000 sq ft headquarters and distribution center here on March 30, which will replace nearby rented space. The catalog distributor's new facility "will help accommodate the company's growth, as it expects to create an additional 300 jobs over the next several years." "The beginning of our new facility is the result of several years of commitment by the Allied Team to make Allied Electronics the distributor of choice in America," says Lee Davidson, president of Allied Electronics. The facility and site provides room for growth, Davidson suggests.
Baltimore, MA—Davis Inotek Instruments LLC has signed a final purchase agreement with GE Consumer & Industrial to buy GE's Instrumentation Services unit.
Matrikon’s version 4.0 of ProcessGuard, its Microsoft Windows-based alarm-management software application, features interactive Web reports, multi-language sup-port, automated assessments that benchmark plant performance against ISA and EEMUA standards, and customized profiles so that each user can customize their reports layout.
Detroit, MI —In a move intended to help companies develop innovative nanotechnology products, the U.S. Department of Commerce is launching a state-of-the-art center for collaborative nanotechnology research at the department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Commerce Secretary Carlos M.
V2-LB and V2-RB high-performance trap stations are suited for use with the company’s VCCM condensate manifolds or other trap applications.
We've asked and you've told us about your applications and your solutions. You've told us what you make and buy. You've told us that you buy or specify products in an average of 13.5 product categories, and that you spend an average of $767,800 per year on products related to control, instrumentation, and automation systems.
ISA’s executive board has approved the establishment of the Automation Federation as an umbrella organization. It will allow associations and societies engaged in manufacturing and process automation activities to work more effectively in fulfilling their missions. It will coordinate the work of member organizations engaged in advancement of the science and engineering of automation technologies and applications.
London, Ontario — Activplant today appointed Ted Williams to the role of chief executive officer. Williams, who joins from Computer Associates (CA) and who was an eleven-year veteran of MRO Software, will lead the company’s strategic direction and business growth effective immediately. Williams succeeds Dennis Cocco, current CEO and president, who will assume the role of chief product strategist. The transition is part of a growth plan announced by Cocco in July 2005. “Activplant is poised for explosive growth, and Ted’s solid track record in creating strong market demand will help build on our current momentum and bring us to new levels of success,” said Cocco.
U.S. Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez praised American workers and stressed the strength of U.S. manufacturing during his National Manufacturing Week keynote address.
Colin Wu, president & CEO of China Business Sources, presented the first keynote address of National Manufacturing Week, 2006, “What’s Behind Chinese Competitiveness?” on Monday afternoon. Educated in the U.S. and China, Wu has advised multinationals, small and mid-size companies on Chinese alliances and acquisitions.
Eric Fraistat has been appointed director, life sciences for the Americas by Johnson Controls, Inc. He will lead the life sciences sales team in setting strategies in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical devices industry sectors. “I plan to pursue a customer-driven strategy that leverages the strength of the new Johnson Controls, which includes our York and Frick products,” said Fraistat. “No other company can offer the combination of equipment, controls, validation support and industry knowledge that Johnson Controls now brings to our customers.” Fraistat joined Johnson Controls when York was acquired in December of 2005.
'Excuse me, I'm not feeling well: slowing here, running hot there. A few non-critical errors are cropping up, and my cutting edge is getting dull. Don't push me past 93% capacity, if you're relying on me. At 85% though, I guarantee I can last another week before I call in sick. May I please e-mail the doctor now with a list of my needs?" Few human assets provide that kind of information.
Oak Brook, IL —Are your written proposals winning you customers and praise? Do you—or would you—enjoy talking to industry leaders about the changes taking place in automation? Would you like to be an important member of an industry-leading publication? Control Engineering seeks an energetic Elec.E./Chem. E./Mech. E./Civil E.
Lund, Sweden —Thirteen state-of-the-art processing lines are on their way to a refining and modification plant for vegetable and tropical oils in Ukraine. Sweden-based Alfa Laval , a manufacturer of heat transfer, centrifugal separation, and fluid handling systems, received the order for the equipment from the Ilyichevsk Oils & Fats Industrial Complex. Value of the lines is estimated at 110 million SEK (Swedish Krona), a little over $14 million U.S. The processing lines will be used for refining and modifying seeks oils and tropical oils.
Austin, TX —As part of its ongoing effort to provide manufacturing professionals with relevant educational information, Emerson Process Management now offers 11 user-friendly courses on the fundamentals of planning and implementing safety instrumented systems (SIS) at its PlantWeb University online learning-center. “Since its inception in 2002, PlantWeb University has provided practical, real-world information to over 20,000 industry users around the world,” says Jane Lansing, Emerson Process Management’s vice president of marketing. Courses include concise information on basic SIS concepts, design and installation, operation and maintenance, safety standard compliance, and new “smart” SIS technologies. “Choosing and implementing a safety instrumented system is an important but often intimidating task for users,” says Lansing.
To ensure that an accident is not waiting to happen the next time someone opens a valve or puts a steam line into service, there are nine methods for screening high-pressure (below 300 psig) piping systems typically encountered in industrial steam plants. These methods identify safety issues related to design and/or installation of pipe, valves, flanges, and components used in these piping sys...
U.S. has a diminishing capability to maintain competitive manufacturing leadership and parity, said James W. Bagley, chairman of Lam Research Corp., in a speech to San Jose State University's College of Engineering.. He focused on China, which now is becoming competitive in manufacturing technology, software, and engineering capability across the spectrum, physics, chemistry...
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...
Tampa, FL — The 27th Interphex Conference and Exhibition is claimed to be the worldwide pharmaceutical-manufacturing industry’s largest gathering of professionals and technology providers. At the conference, six pharmaceutical manufacturing sites—in Belgium, Ireland, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States—have been selected for recognition in the second annual Facility of the Year Award competition sponsored by ISPE, Interphex, and Pharmaceutical Processing magazine. Five of the companies—AstraZeneca, Baxter BioPharma Solutions, Daiichi Asubio Pharma Co., Ltd., Janssen Pharmaceutica, and Wyeth Pharmaceuticals—are the finalists.
Frankfurt am Main, Germany — Lurgi AG , a GEA Group subsidiary, will implement what it reports will be world’s largest biodiesel project at Piesteritz, in eastern Germany. The€64-million order was awarded by Neckermann-Renewables GmbH, a firm based in Würzburg. This is the latest in a series of biodiesel plant orders that Lurgi has won recently.
Norwalk, CT — Interphex 2006 pharmaceutical conference and exhibition is adding new pavilions to its upcoming show to address the increasing globalization of the biopharmaceutical industry and the expanding roles of contamination control and RFID. Corresponding educational opportunities will support the efforts. The show and conference are scheduled for March 21-23, 2006, at the Javits Convention Center in New York City. Approximately 950 pharmaceutical and biotechnical companies from around the world are expected to showcase their latest equipment, technologies, and services in the areas of pharma manufacturing, pharma sourcing and services, pharma IT, and pharma facilities.
Bethesda, MD —Four control systems and SCADA security courses are being offered for information security and process control personnel early this spring. Part of the 2006 Process Control and SCADA Security Summit, the classes are scheduled for Mar.1-3 in Orlando, FL. Sponsors include the U.S.
Dallas, TX — Texas Instruments (TI) has signed a definitive agreement to sell its Sensors & Controls business to affiliates of Bain Capital LLC , a global private-equity investment firm, for $3 billion cash. The deal does not include the radio frequency identification (RFID) systems operations. The Attleboro, MA-based group supplies engineered sensors and controls to the appliance, climate control, industrial, automotive, lighting, and aircraft markets. Its revenue exceeds $1 billion annually.
DataMan 7500 Series handheld direct-part-mark (DPM) readers read all printed and DPM codes for manufacturers implementing part traceability programs in the automotive, aerospace, electronics, healthcare, and defense industries.
January 13, 2006 Highlights Sponsored by Control Engineering Cost targets, an important component of design-to-cost strategies, are being defined earlier down to the individual-component level. As a result, companies need to meet cost targets at product launch and avoid expensive post-production cost-reduction phases. Cost Management for Discrete Part Manufacturing Today’s NPI (new product introduction) process is cross-functional, including internal functions and external suppliers or partners. Product and target costs are key components and central to daily decisions.
Since the first SCADA pump station has been up and stable for the past few weeks, we are ready to begin a public access period. Here are the instructions for accessing the site: In your Internet Explorer web browser type the URL 184.108.40.206 The first time the site is accessed a dialog box will appear asking for your permission to download a Microsoft ActiveX control named "Indusoft Symbol Control". You must allow the control to download to access the site.
Built-in wireless technology now comes with the ST50 Flowmeter from Fluid Components International. Designed for line sizes of 2-24 in. (51-610 mm), the device uses built-in, wireless infrared (IR) technology and a standard, low-cost PDA so field technicians can obtain measurements, make setting changes, and read troubleshooting codes without opening the instrument.
Canadian National Railway Co. (CN), Canada's largest railroad, will upgrade switchyard workstation displays with color graphic systems. The equipment, TessEm7000 from Newcon Data, will be used at CN's MacMillan yard in Concord, ON, north of Toronto. The system replaces the railway's older ABB Tesselator-based technology.
Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories Inc.’s new SEL-3022 wireless encrypting transceiver. Pullman, WA —Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories Inc. (SEL) introduced its new SEL-3022 wireless encrypting transceiver.
Schneider Electric developed the Sensor Competency Center (SCC) as a single U.S. source for technical and application support for the sensor industry. Based in Dayton, OH, SCC uses design, engineering and application expertise of Schneider Electric’s Hyde Park and Telemecanique sensor lines. With a staff of over 60, SCC covers sensors including inductive, capacitive, photoelectric and ultrasonic.
A variety of instrumentation events and information are available to help instrumentation and control professionals stay up-to-date and informed. They include conferences, resources, and support services. Here's a rundown of a few noteworthy items along with links to more information. Next-Generation Manufacturing Forum sponsored by ARC Advisory Group takes place Feb.
Washington, DC —America’s economy must accelerate innovation and the development and utilization of technology if it is to compete successfully, National Association of Manufacturers President John Engler told attendees at a National Summit on Competitiveness at the U.S. Commerce Department last week. Speaking to more than 55 corporate CEOs, university presidents, and scientists from across the country, he said, “Increasingly, U.S. companies are unable to find the skills and talent they need while some developing nations now turn out more engineers than we do each year.” Engler was referring to the 2005 Skills Gap Report recently released by NAM, the Manufacturing Institute, and Deloitte Consulting. “China and India are racing to climb the technology ladder,” he added.
Increasing the value delivered by your machines isn’t an option; it is often a matter of survival. Your customers are looking for you to continue optimizing your machine’s productivity while keeping the costs down.Recently, Control Engineering and ABB have teamed to produce a POWERFUL whitepaper entitled Increase the Value of your machines; Compete with Low Cost Imports . By downloading your copy of this valuable resource you will learn how to: Differentiate yourself and serve your customers more effectively Increase the value of your machines Set yourself apart from the competition with new capabilities In a crowded marketplace where the purchase of even customized equipment is frequently viewed as a commodity, machine builders need to produce equipment that offers unique benefits to the end user.New AC drive technology offers OEMs the advantages required to win.
Whitehouse Station, NJ —A restructuring plan at Merck & Co. Inc . is expected to eliminate 7,000 positions and result in the closing or selling of 5 of its 31 manufacturing facilities by the end of 2008.
Washington, D.C.—The vast majority of U.S. manufacturers are experiencing a serious shortage of qualified employees, which in turn is causing significant impact on business and the ability of the country as a whole to compete in a global economy. This is the key finding of the "2005 Skills Gap Survey" reported by the National Association of Manufacturers' Manufacturing Institute/Center fo...
In Control Engineering's June 2005 issue, the p. 80 "Back to Basics: System integrator alternatives" article listed the strengths of four system integration services options. As executive director of CSIA (Control and Information System Integrators Association), I obviously have a biased outlook on just what clients should seek in a system integrator.
There's no such thing as a perfect-world scenario for a technology investment decision. "Due diligence process is often rushed, plagued by unavailability of information, and conducted by people who have limited experience or, worse, have already decided that they love the technology," says Steve Andriole, senior consultant, with Cutter Consortium.
DP Technology, developer and supplier of computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) machine tool software expanded its Esprit CAM software with additional 3-axis, 5-axis, and high-speed machining capabilities. To do that, DP Technology acquired purchased Auton, “the leading developer and supplier of CAM software for mold and model-making within Italy.” The cash acquisition, amount not disclosed, “provides significant, immediate and long-term opportunities for Auton and Esprit customers, employees, reseller, and partners,” DP Technology says; the combined companies are to move forward with existing personnel and two products marketed under the Esprit name. The products will retain individual design, focus, and development teams while benefiting from the strength of one brand. Esprit, DP Technology’s flagship product, is said to be a powerful, high-performance, full-spectrum programming system for milling, turning, wire EDM, and multitasking machine tools.
St. Louis, MO —A national energy policy initiative, issues of safety and security, and global competitiveness were among topics on the docket this year at Automation Fair, held earlier this month in St. Louis.
There’s no such thing as a perfect-world scenario for a technology investment decision. “Due diligence process is often rushed, plagued by unavailability of information, and conducted by people who have limited experience or, worse, have already decided that they love the technology,” says Steve Andriole, senior consultant, with CutterConsortium. While the consortium focuses on information technology (IT), the following checklist of things to consider about technology investments also may have some applicability where manufacturing intersects with IT. These criteria are “more or less quantifiable,” allowing situational weighting to accommodate investment perspectives. Decisions about products and services should: Be on the right technology/market trends trajectory; Have the right infrastructure story; Sell clearly into budget cycles and budget lines; Have quantitative impact; Not require fundamental changes in how people behave or major changes in organizational or corporate culture; Whenever possible, represent end-to-end solutions; Have multiple default exits; Have clear horizontal and vertical strategies; Have high industry awareness / recognition; Come from companies that have the right technology development, marketing, and channel alliances and partnerships; Be politically correct; Incorporate serious people recruitment and retention strategies; Have compelling differentiation stories; Ensure company executives have wide and deep experience; and Come from companies with persuasive products/services packaging and communications. Andriole says, “These criteria frame due diligence processes.
aPriori , a provider of cost management software for the discrete manufacturing industry, has released version 3.7 of the aPriori cost management platform. By providing real-time, predictive costs assessment throughout the entire product development process, aPriori v3.7 allows designers, manufacturing engineers, purchasing professionals, cost managers and program/project management to make better decisions to reduce, avoid, and recover product costs, according to the company. The software, currently in use at a Fortune 100 manufacturer, is said to allow companies to reduce costs of goods sold by whole percentages by identifying quantifiable savings in material, tooling, labor and overhead while evaluating alternative designs, processes and sources. Version 3.7 features include:• Predictive real-time cost assessments to provide designers "what-if" cost trade-off analysis from component to product level within the MCAD environment;• Deterministic routings for lowest cost production down to the machine level allows manufacturing professionals to explore cost saving alternatives;• Time/cost models address the common manufacturing processes with customizable models to support unique customer-specific processes;• Advanced "should-cost" analysis incorporates cost estimates for in-house facilities and generic industry production plants to enable more efficient supplier selection and fact-based negotiations; and• Web-based interface offers managers on-demand production-level cost roll-ups linked directly to design, manufacturing, and sourcing. aPriori has also partnered with PTC, a provider of product lifecycle management software solutions. By integrating its cost management platform with PTC software, aPriori can provide manufacturing companies utilizing PTC solutions access to product cost information early in the product development process. —David Greenfield, editorial director, Control Engineering firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com.
Improve operations analysis with ISA 95 The ISA 95 standard defines interfaces between business functions and manufacturing operations functions to allow for improved communication of data between plant floor devices and front office business applications. A major component of ISA 95 is the specification and definition of an array of reports and key performance indicators (KPIs) used in manufacturing operations. These reports and KPIs, which are key products of manufacturing execution system (MES) applications, require real-time data collection from a wide range of systems. Part 3 of the ISA 95 standard defines the functions performed by MES, as well as other functions typically associated with shop floor operations: Production data collection; Production performance analysis; Production tracking; and Product definition. OSIsoft's Real-time Performance Management (RtPM™) Platform—an events-driven platform that delivers unified, role-based portal views of information across the enterprise for management, engineering, and operations—is designed to provide a best-in-class solution for data collection, product definition, reporting, and KPI generation.
Modbus-IDA and the Instrumentation Technology & Economy Institute (ITEI) announced the opening of ITEI's Modbus Conformance Test Laboratory in Beijing, China. As part of its expanding conformance test program, Modbus-IDA is contracting with organizations around the world to offer conformance testing and certification of Modbus devices.
The U.S. tech sector added nearly 190,000 jobs between January 2004 and June 2005, according to data generated by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and compiled by AeA, a high-tech U.S. trade association. The increase brings the total number of jobs in the sector to 5.72 million, a 3.
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center's (GSFC) Micro Pulse Lidar (MPL) technology and its MPL Network (MPLNET) received the 2005 Federal Laboratory Consortium (FLC) Mid-Atlantic Regional Excellence in Technology Transfer Award. [Lidar is a measurement technique; its name is an acronym for LIght Detection And Ranging.
SafeView,a three-year-old start-up, is the epitome of a virtual manufacturing enterprise. Its product designers and other engineers are scattered across the country, but all report to a manager located at the company's headquarters in Santa Clara, Calif. A Boise, Idaho-based contract manufacturer builds SafeView's products, which include security-scanning devices for airports and...
World laboratory analytical instrumentation market shows an increase of 4.4% from 2003 to $7.8 billion in 2004, according to recent research from Frost & Sullivan, with some segments expected to experience a high growth rate while other face a decline. The study examined three instrumentation areas: separation technologies, molecular analysis, and elemental analysis.
Developments are going forward on various fronts in robotics. Here's a recent sampling that includes robotic trends from a Frost & Sullivan study, robot training and education from The Technology Collaborative of Pennsylvania and from Kuka Robotics Corp ., and a nimble Japanese "sushi" robot from Suzumo Machinery Co. Ltd . Autonomy for robots, or the ability to "make more coherent decisions independently," is a key robotic trend, according to World Emerging Robotics Technology ," a study and service from Frost & Sullivan.
Three new mass spectrometers include Finnigan LXQ Linear Ion Trap mass spectrometer for high-throughput drug discovery and proteomics; Delta V Series Isotope Ratio mass spectrometer for earth sciences research; and DFS High Resolution Magnetic Sector mass spectrometer for high-precision environmental analysis.
Worldwide magnetic flowmeter market equaled $710 million in 2004, a market study from Flow Research shows. Global market for magnetic flowmeters, 3rdedition puts revenues from the sale of magnetic flowmeters at $910 million by 2009, increasing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.1%. Europe accounts for 41% of the 2004 revenue total; North American accounts for just over 21%.
From Outsourcing to HMI:How market changes provide new opportunities On a global basis, the manufacturing industry is undergoing a degree of change not seen since the turn of the 20th Century. The repercussions of this evolution are being felt from the macro level of international economics to the micro level—your job in your industry today. An interview with Tom Kopanski, Vice President and General Manager of Siemens Automation and Motion Division, provides insight into how he views the changes currently impacting the manufacturing industries—from outsourcing to HMI—and the opportunities these developments provide.
Johannesburg, South Africa —“Energy markets are about to experience a seismic shift,” Worldwatch Institute President Christopher Flavin told attendees at the 18th World Petroleum Congress . Speaking to 5,000 delegates at the event, Flavin said, “Global energy markets are at a tipping point, with new energy sources ready to begin replacing oil and other fossil fuels.” In a plenary speech to the delegates, including ExxonMobil President Tex Tillerson and Saudi Oil Minister Ali Al-Naimi, Flavin said, “The question for oil executives is whether you’re in the oil business or the energy business. Production of biofuels, wind power, and solar energy are all growing at rates of 20 to 30% per year, compared with growth rates of 2% for oil and gas.
Radwell International Inc. has just purchased a brand-new, $4.5-million, 70,000 square-foot building and doubled its size. It is customized with a full industrial repair lab and high-tech, inventory management system.
The process variable transmitter (PVT) is a simple device with a big role. The link between process sensors and the control room in nearly every continuous process/batch operation worldwide, these devices must send accurate signals to the control network, ensuring that product quality and flow are not compromised.
Chicago, IL —The U.S. tech sector added nearly 190,000 jobs between January 2004 and June 2005, according to data generated by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and compiled by AeA , a high-tech U.S.
Las Vegas —Special general session added to Conference at PACK EXPO at 12:45 p.m. today [Sept. 26, 2005].
Embedded Systems Conference (ESC) Boston completed its 14thedition on a positive note at that city’s Hynes Convention Center, Sept. 12-15. ESC enjoys the reputation of a leading educational forum for embedded systems professionals as well as a show-floor display of the latest technologies and tools from leading hardware and software companies.
A digital thermometer from Fluke Corp. joined the crew of the U.S. space shuttle Discovery to help demonstrate space-based repair of the thermal protection system (TPS) tiles during the shuttle’s recent “ Return to Flight ” voyage.
ProCalV5, version 5.4 calibration management software, manages device engineering records, schedules and tracks calibration activities, and provides electronic distribution of critical notifications, reminders, and alerts.
In a move that Freescale Semiconductors says will strengthen its communications processing capabilities, the company acquired assets of Seaway Networks Inc., a fabless semiconductor supplier of content processing technology and services for the data networking industry. Terms were not disclosed. Forty Seaway employees are joining Freescale through this acquisition. This team, representing the majority of the Seaway organization, will staff Freescale’s newly formed Ottawa Technology Center.
Two packaging automation standards groups (Make2Pack and OMAC Packaging Workgroup) will participate in Pack Expo Las Vegas 2005 and hold joint meetings to ensure efforts are complementary. OMAC Packaging Workgroup also will exhibit and feature technology demos. Make2Pack plans a business meeting and will offer a conference session. Space for the OMAC Packaging Workgroup (OPW, an ISA organization) is provided by show organizers, the Packaging Machinery Manufacturers Institute (PMMI), and will include information on OPW’s latest Connect-and-Pack initiatives and business advantages of open, modular architecture control in packaging.
September 1, 2005 In this issue: Kalki forms engineering delivery center Diamond and Suntron partner on OEM program Implementation Chronicles Weekly Update HART expects big benefits with enhanced EDDL specification Omni-directional wireless antennas support multiple protocols RF modems get Class 1, Div. 2 safety compliance Shows: assembly, robotics, networks, ISA, NMW Same-day delivery offered on configured NEMA products 1st IP65 single-phase switching power supply 5,000 W, 3U/5U plug-in dc/dc, ac/dc converters modules Guard switches, see them fully Fault indicators, voltage sensing products get SEL logo Sponsored by Phoenix Contact CLIPLINE Complete from Phoenix Contact Four connection technologies work together via our patented dual bridge system, which accepts the same push-in jumpers and accessories. Screw clamp, spring-cage, auto-spring and insulation displacement connectors provide the right connection technology for any application.
Outside of engineering, the spreadsheet has evolved nicely in its 25 years from an accounting tool to an application for anyone working with data, including business managers, bookkeepers, and statisticians. But spreadsheets do little to capture the wealth of engineering data critical to an organization's success.
Planners at ISA—The Instrumentation, Systems, and Automation Society—expect thousands of people to attend ISA Expo 2005, Oct. 25-27, in Chicago, along with professionals from more than 70 countries. The show offers keynote presentations from industry leaders, and educational and training sessions, forums, OMAC sessions, and R&D updates.
Lehigh Valley, PA— Air Products will build, own, and operate an 18-million standard cu ft/day hydrogen facility adjacent to the ExxonMobil Joliet (IL) refinery, under an agreement signed recently between the two companies. The facility, an integrated steam methane reformer and recovery system processing refinery offgas, is expected to be on-stream by May 2006. It will supply hydrogen and steam to ExxonMobil’s Joliet Refinery under a long-term pact. The hydrogen production facility will help the refinery produce lower-sulfur transportation fuels.
DevTest 1.5 features several new and enhanced tools to enable QA teams to streamline their testing processes and better measure and track performance of QA engineers.
SolidWorks’ Cosmos design analysis software is helping a marine research institute develop instrumentation that can withstand ocean depths of up to 13,000 ft (4,000 m).
Knoxville, TN—Online Development Inc. will exhibit its xCoupler enterprise transaction module at Rockwell Automation’s Allen-Bradley (A-B) Automation Fair, Nov. 16-17, at America's Center in St. Louis, MO.
St. Paul, MN–Colder Products Co. announced Aug.
Foxboro, MA—Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. recently selected Invensys Process Systems to provide Triconex safety and critical control systems and related services for Phase I of the $6.8-billion Horizon Oil Sands Project under construction in northern Alberta, Canada.
International Society for Pharmaceutical Engineering (ISPE) is offering a variety of conference and training opportunities for pharmaceutical manufacturing professionals. They include an international conference on regulations and a selection of courses focused on good automation manufacturing practices (GAMP).
I recently spent several weeks abroad studying micro-manufacturing in a U.S.-government-sponsored technology review. The goal was to assess and understand what is happening globally in micro-manufacturing. The final report is being generated; initial findings are online at http://wtec.org/micromfg/—a site hosted by the World Technology Evaluation Center.
A new surge in mergers and acquisitions seems to be underway this summer among many companies in or related to the control and automation field, according to an informal analysis of news items gathered by Control Engineering. This activity may be just another business cycle, or it also could be an indication that U.
A variety of recent introductions of I/O-related products include products from Acces I/O, Advantech, Beckhoff, Brentek, Kontron, Lumberg, Phoenix Contact, Rockwell Automation, and Wago.
High temperature superconducting (HTS) technology holds the promise to make electric motors optimally efficient. However, not everyone agrees about the superiority and expected cost-effectiveness of second-generation (2G) HTS wire used for the first demonstration of a 2-hp HTS motor.
The U.S Army has placed a half-million-dollar order for 40 digital pressure calibrators from GE Infrastructure Sensing.
A line of metrology wells from Hart Scientific, a division of Fluke Corp., provide calibration lab performance in a compact, easy-to-transport instrument suitable for laboratory and field environments.
Instrumentation valves, manifolds, and tube fittings will go to the Kashagan oil project in Kazakhstan under a framework agreement with Parker Instrumentation that emphasizes environmental protection.
A recent licensing agreement gives Methode Electronics Inc. the opportunity to use Immersion Corp.’s TouchSense haptics technology.
Rockwell Automation is working with IBM Health Care and Life Sciences to deliver manufacturing technology and expertise as part of the IBM Value-Driven Compliance Solutions framework.
InduKey, a German developer and manufacturer of keyboards and data input devices, has opened North American operations in Mechanicsburg, PA.
The first annual Freescale Technology Forum (FTF) combined previous Freescale Semiconductor developer events—such as Smart Networks Developer Forum and last year’s Embedded Connectivity Summit—with other technology expertise from Freescale and its partner companies into an informative four-day user event in Orlando, FL, June 20-23.
Palo Alto, CA—Novel treatment processes have revolutionized wastewater treatment in industrial and municipal markets, and revenues are projected to increase from $774.4 million in 2004 to more than $1.3 billion in 2011, according to a new study, “U.S. Wastewater Treatment Equipment Markets” by Frost & Sullivan.
Shipments of radio frequency (RF)/microwave wireless products for industrial monitoring and control applications to markets in North America will increase at a 39.6% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) from $154.1 million in 2004 to $419.3 million in 2007, according to new research by Venture Development Corp. (VDC).
Fairfield, CT—General Electric Co. reports that on July 5 it will reorganize its 11 businesses into six industry-focused ones, including GE Infrastructure, GE Industrial. GE Commercial Financial Services, NBC Universal, GE Healthcare, and GE Consumer Finance.
Oak Brook, IL—Control Engineering has further extended its reach by launching Control Engineering Russia in May 2005 with the first of six issues to an expected 10,000 subscribers.
Kevin Roach, vice president of software for Rockwell Automation and chairman of the Manufacturing Enterprise Solutions Association (MESA), is scheduled to deliver the opening keynote address at ISA Expo 2005.
A new monthly publication from Elsevier is focusing on the development of tiny, even invisible, computing devices.
Complete line of connectivity products meets harsh environmental demands of the food and beverage processing and packaging industries. Products use stainless steel hardware, PVC inserts, and cable jackets with over-molding. Rated at IP69K, each product is produced with smooth surfaces to avoid build-up of residue and bacteria, and can withstand the daily use of aggressive cleaning agents and hi...
A system integrator can specify, procure, and install the components of an automation system and make them work together with a client's production equipment. But independent integrators aren't the only available source of system integration services. Automation vendors have traditionally offered the engineering services required to integrate their own products into a client's plant.
Palo Alto, Pleasanton, CA—Agilent Technologies Inc. and privately held Scientific Software Inc. (SSI) report that Agilent will acquire SSI, which provides scientific information management solutions.
Machine vision systems relying on more open architectures are easier to incorporate into more applications, offer higher levels of performance, and are more economical to use, according to recent Control Engineering research, backed up with comments from those working with and developing the technologies.
Rosemont, IL—Lumberg Inc. reports that it’s exhibiting a complete line of connectivity products that meet the harsh environmental demands of the food and beverage processing and packaging industries this week at SPS Electric Automation America 2005, May 23-26, at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center near Chicago.
Lisle, IL—Molex Inc. plans to close several manufacturing facilities in the U.S. and Europe and lay off about 1,200 employees to reduce long-term costs and better optimize its plant utilization.
Pivotrol PTF-HP pressure powered condensate pump features full warranty coverage at 300 psi operation. Engineered for steam system condensate recovery in rapid-cycling process environments and elevated pressure and temperature conditions, the pump also reduces excessive maintenance and energy consumption, heat exchanger stall, waterhammer, and erratic steam system performance.
Quality OptiMiser analysis tool lets users harness data and make accurate quality decisions.
If some automation is good, then more will be better. That's how the nation's drug makers can increase product quality, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's recent process analytical technology (PAT) guidelines. It's also how automation and control technologies will help Interphex 2005 showcase a record-breaking 1,000 exhibitors in its 26th annual show, April 26-28, at New York'...
Labxpert laboratory labeling system labels vials, vial tops, slides, well plates, and other laboratory vessels quickly and easily. Unit features built-in lab applications including vial templates, one-touch time and date stamp, bar-coding capabilities, PC connection for downloading print jobs, 300 dpi print head, and 140 Greek and laboratory symbols.
Line of liquid level switches in PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene) for high-purity applications such as pharmaceutical products and food or beverage dispensers are also suitable where strict biosafety standards must be met. Chemically inert PTFE lets the switch withstand aggressive solvents, such as alcohols, esters, and ketones, as well as other corrosive acids and bases, oils, steam, and most ch...
Two ac motor drive manufacturers chose to introduce or demonstrate major expansion of their offerings during the running of the 15th National Manufacturing Week (NMW) of shows in Chicago (March 7-10, 2005).
Chicago, IL—To reduce exhibiting costs and increase visitor convenience, organizers report that National Manufacturing Week (NMW) 2006 will move to the recently renovated Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, IL.
Single sourcing of software tools is becoming more common across industries as inter- and intra-company supply chains become increasingly integrated in conjunction with various continuous process improvement programs.
More than 4,000 people are certified control system technicians as of the end of 2004, the Instrumentation, Systems, and Automation Society (ISA) reports. ISA’s CCST program promotes the professional development of instrumentation and controls technicians, providing recognition and documentation of their knowledge, experience, and education in measurement and control.
Research Triangle Park, NC—ISA, the Instrumentation, Systems, and Automation Society, reports that more than 4,000 technicians had achieved Certified Control Systems Technician (CCST) status by the end of 2004.
Virtual reality just isn't as good as real reality. E-mail, Internet, Power Point presentations, Webcasts, and video clips are nifty, but they still can't replace talking face-to-face with other engineers; examining new devices hands-on; or getting some useful answers in-person from experts at a seminar.
The new Airbus A380 Superjumbo, now under construction in Europe, is the largest commercial aircraft in the world. With 555-passenger capacity, and a wingspan in excess of 260 feet, building the giant double-decker calls for highly innovative assembly techniques. These include use of several wing-panel assembly machines that have linear encoder systems for positioning accuracy.
Austin, TX—National Instruments (NI) reports that it has donated $4 million worth of NI products and $1 million in cash to more than 100 universities in 25 countries for academic research and classroom projects that improve science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education.
New technology flowmeters really aren't very new. Many of these devices—defined by most as encompassing Coriolis, ultrasonic, electomagnetic, vortex, and occasionally multivariable and thermal types—have been around for years. They are new, however, in that they are distinguishable from even older, traditional mechanical flow technologies (such as positive displacement, Venturi, and...
While the outlook for manufacturing appears relatively bright, challenges loom. Investment in new technologies and new facilities is increasingly expensive, and the rapid rise of international competitors is forcing U.S. manufacturers to leverage processes to the fullest extent. In the pursuit of ever-increasing efficiencies, manufacturers may be overlooking existing opportunities within their ...
Wickliffe, OH—ABB has released a number of functional extensions to its IndustrialIT System 800xA for 2005, including a flexible and scalable safety instrumented system (SIS), manufacturing management for improvement of batch production, and real-time production intelligence for monitoring and improving overall equipment efficiency (OEE).
ISA, the Instrumentation, Systems, and Automation Society, greets the new year with a variety of information on its training classes, certification exams, and catalog resources.
Charlotte, NC; St. Cloud, MN—SPX Corp. recently sold its municipal water and municipal wastewater valve business to Granite Equity Partners and affiliates for $29.75 million.
Some people continue to do things the way they’ve always done them… just because that’s the way it has always been done. One example is continued use of terminal blocks with screw-clamp connections instead of spring-clamp termination.
Phoenix, AZ—Honeywell reports that it has acquired the intellectual property of Hysys modeling software and the Operator Training Simulation (OTS) business from Aspen Technology Inc. Honeywell also hired key members of Hysys’ development staff.
Asyst Technologies Inc. reports that it's laying off about 15% of its 500 employees as part of a restructuring of its ATI operations. The downsizing includes ATI's base business, but excludes its joint venture, Asyst Shinko Inc. The action is expected to save Asyst approximately $8-9 million per year, and "reflects the firm's continuing transition of its business model.
Have you stopped typing and writing "2004" yet? Not me. Despite that bit of subconscious denial, it is 2005 and time to re-examine goals, ambitions, and plans. (Better to think about "re-examining" things, rather than making New Year's resolutions. Same thing, but first one sounds much better.) Many people I know put some form of "get smarter" on their lists.
When selecting control valves, is the efficiency of the pressure parameter more important than valve trim fluid velocity? There's been some important debate on this point recently in the valve manufacturing community. Although the trim exit velocity needs to be considered in control valve selection, it does not describe the whole physical phenomena that occur inside a control valve.
Pivotrol pressure-powered condensate pump is engineered for dependable steam system condensate recovery in rapid-cycling process environments and under virtually all pressure and temperature conditions.
>U.S. Dept. of Energy’s (DOE) TEAM project has chosen FEI Co. as the R&D partner for building what is being called the world’s highest-resolution scanning/transmission electron microscope.
Airborne data acquisition and recording system from Heim Data Systems Inc. features adaptable signal interfacing and interchangeable media cartridges to provide a flexible avionics data acquisition and recording platform in a compact package.
Northbrook, IL—Woodhead Industries Inc. reports that it has expanded its Brad Harrison family by introducing its new Ultra-Lock connector system, a series of distribution boxes and cordsets based on a 'push-to-lock' operating principle.
Milwaukee, WI—Rockwell Automation Inc. reports that its board of directors has elected Keith Nosbusch to become board chairman, succeeding Don Davis, who will retire after 42 years with the company.
Machine vision and robot handling system investments at its Swiss foundry have allowed R. Nussbaum AG, a manufacturer of drinking water distribution systems, to achieve a range of benefits in a short time. The company's metal "core" production operation and intermediate batch storage process was a highly labor-intensive and costly procedure.
San Juan Capistrano, CA—Endevco reports that its parent company, Meggitt PLC, recently agreed to acquire Wilcoxon Research Inc.
>ISA’s most recent annual expo has been termed a success by its sponsors. Last month’s event in Houston drew 14,569 automation and control professionals from more than 70 countries and included an exhibit with 562 companies showcasing the latest technologies, products, and services, reports the Instrumentation, Systems, and Automation Society.
Two new products designed to promote precision control and handle extreme conditions were among those introduced to the process control market recently. They include an analog input terminal from Beckhoff Automation and high-pressure valves from Parker Instrumentation.
Recently, I've had the opportunity to speak with a number of people in the industry about where things look to be headed considering that, at press time, we had just entered the sixteenth consecutive month of growth in the manufacturing sector and some rumblings were beginning to be heard widely about dissatisfaction with the outsourcing process.
Chestnut Ridge, NY—LeCroy Corp. reports that it recently completed its acquisition of Computer Access Technology Corp. (CATC) for approximately $81 million in cash, following recent approval by CATC’s shareholders.
Enclosure line is designed to meet requirements of the IP69K rating.
Thermo Electron Corp. has announced findings from a market survey on LIMS (laboratory information management system) standardization and total cost of ownership (TCO), conducted on its behalf by IDC, a research and consulting firm.
Overall metrics for Embedded Systems Conference (ESC) Boston were positive after this "premier" East Coast embedded exhibition and educational forum completed its 13th edition at Boston’s Hynes Convention Center (Sept. 13-16, 2004).
Honeywell has announced a definitive agreement to acquire the intellectual property of the Hysys modeling software and the Operator Training Simulation (OTS) business from Aspen Technology Inc.
Vishay Intertechnology Inc. reports that it recently acquired RFWaves Ltd., an Israel-based, fabless IC design firm, for an undisclosed amount of cash and other considerations.
Houston, TX—ISA Expo 2004 returns to the Reliant Center this week, Oct. 5-7, following last year’s conference and exhibition, which was attended by more than 14,500 instrumentation and systems professionals.
To save $10-12 million per year, Newport Corp. plans to shutter two manufacturing facilities, consolidate product lines, operations and administrative functions, and layoff 75-100 employees, following its recent acquisition of Spectra-Physics in mid-July. Newport will make these changes over the next nine months.
In complex, sophisticated manufacturing environments where robots are increasingly deployed, it is imperative to know at every moment what your robots are doing now as well as what they've done in the past. Whether the process involves initialization and commissioning, operations, or repair and maintenance, abundant information must be gathered, analyzed, and available at a moment's notice.
Austin, TX—Riding the wave of a global economic upturn, the small motors market in North and South America is experiencing monumental growth, according to a recent study by IMS Research.
Products, services, and conferences will highlight ISA Expo 2004 as the annual conference and exhibition returns to Houston’s Reliant Center Oct. 5-7.
Pocatello, ID; Waterloo, Ontario, Canada—To give it added experience in hardware and product design and help it develop future, AMIS Holdings Inc. recently agreed to buy Dspfactory Ltd. for $42.35 million in cash and restricted stock
Wireless switches from Deak Technologies, E-T-A Circuit Breakers, and Samtec high-speed connectors are among recently introduced new products.
Irvine, CA—To save $10-12 million per year, Newport Corp. plans to shutter two manufacturing facilities, consolidate product lines, operations and administrative functions, and layoff 75-100 employees, following its recent acquisition of Spectera-Physics in mid-July.
The ZigBee Alliance reports that 19 new firms have joined the organization, bringing its total membership to more than 90 companies.
Cut to the chase? Long story short? Bottom line? OK, fine. ISA Expo 2004 will be more sharply focused than ever before on the direct benefits it can give users during its three-day run, Oct. 5-7, at the Reliant Center in Houston, TX. This fall's event will revolve around an estimated 500 exhibitors and more than 100 conference sessions in 10 tracks, which are is expected to attract more than th...
Established in 1999 following the merger of Petrochemia Plock SA and Centrala Produktow Naftowych SA, PKN Orlen has grown to become the largest distributor of fuels in Central Europe and Poland's largest refiner of crude oil. The company operates 1,900 gasoline stations in Poland and 500 in northern Germany.
Mansfield, MA; New York, NY—Verano and Betrusted have allied to offer what they call the first managed cybersecurity services for the industrial environment, from the plant-floor through IT.
Improvement of control systems (such as PLCs, DCS, HMIs, and peripheral systems: drives, analyzers, and gauging systems) involves two distinct types of activities. One set of activities can be performed off-line without disruption to production, while the other is done in-situ and requires shutting down the production equipment.
Natick, MA—Worldwide shipments of wireless Ethernet infrastructure components and network software for industrial applications is projected to grow at a 34.7% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) from $75.1 million in 2003 to $183.4 million in 2006, according to a recent report, 'Worldwide Industrial Markets for Wireless Ethernet Infrastructure Components and Network Software,' by Venture Development Corp.
Two technical conferences, a comprehensive products and services exhibit, and a continuing education and training program are among the highlights of ISA Expo 2004, slated for Houston this fall.
Lubrizol Corp. has formed an alliance with Emerson Process Management to further optimize Lubrizol plants around the globe with PlantWeb services and technologies.
>Rexnord Industries Inc., a global power-transmission products manufacturer, is using the Product Sight Lifecycle Environment (PSLE) SyncroSpec Pipeline module to reduce time needed to release design-to-order products in its FlatTop Chain Group from customer specification to manufacturing.
Chicago, IL—Danaher Industrial Controls Group recently released what it reports is the first multi-loop PID controller, Partlow-brand MLC 9000+ to offer system compatibility with all major fieldbus protocols.
Dedham, MA—China’s market for PLCs is expected to grow at a 14.1% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) over the next five years from $370 million in 2003 to nearly double that by 2008, according to a new study by ARC Advisory Group.
A recent article in the Chicago Tribune points out that Navistar International Corp. was able to save engine manufacturing time and costs by automating their factory. I'll accept that. I'll even take the NAM's word that "structural costs" cause a 22% competitive disadvantage for U.S.-based manufacturing companies.
Management: Manufacturing Process Management for Product and Process Traceability
Recently, Kuka Controls GmbH announced a "University Research Support Program" that offers normally licensed CeWin and VxWin real-time (RT) extension software programs free of charge to qualified educational institutions. Participation requirements include a suitable project (or teaching syllabus); a scientific, engineering, or computer sciences curriculum; and laboratory facilities with the proper equipment.
Irvine, CA—To create a leading photonics company with $400 million in annualized sales, Newport Corp. has agreed to purchase Thermo Electron Corp.’s Spectra-Physics for $300 mil-lion, subject to a post-closing net asset adjustment.
Temecula, CA—To help reduce installation costs, Opto 22 has introduced its new G4IDC5-SWNO and G4IDC5-SWNC self-powered digital input modules, which supply their own power to external dry contact switches and other simple contact sensors.
Caterpillar has purchased and plans to deploy Invention Machine Corporation’s Goldfire Innovator to its engineers and research and development staff.
Distribution Dynamics Inc. (DDI) recently agreed to sell its assets and operations to Anixter International Inc.
Ixia was recently awarded U.S. Patent No. 6,717,917 for its unique methodology for determining the latency of data packets sent across a network in real time.
San Antonio, TX—Projected growth in Eastern Europe’s developing electric drives market is being driven by improved customer acceptance, robust demand in key regions, technology advances, and more competitive prices, according to recent research by Frost & Sullivan.
Chicago, IL—Siemens Energy & Automation reports that its 14-railcar Exider Technology Train exhibit is now visiting its third continent and continuing to demonstrate that integrated automation can help manufacturing.
Minneapolis, MN—Skills certification and the power of unified voices were among key discussions at the “Manufacturing Tomorrow” meeting held here on April 5, 2004.
Oak Brook, IL—Though layoffs and plant closings have captured headlines lately, that's not the only news about U.S. manufacturing. Here's a smattering of recent good news, including plant openings and expansions.
QI Analyst ™ gives manufacturers the ability to use real-time data to monitor,predict and make on-line adjustments for production quality and consistency.
Since my arrival at Control Engineering, I've dedicated considerable column space to advocating the notion that engineers should notice all the talk surrounding the integration of plant-floor controls and automation to enterprise-level systems. For many engineers, this issue was put aside in the late 1990s after numerous failed attempts at such linkage.
Research Triangle Park, NC—Robert C. Renner has been named executive director of ISA—the Instrumentation, Systems and Automation Society. Lowell McCaw, ISA’s president, made the announcement following a special March 22 meeting of ISA’s board of directors.
Lake In The Hills, IL—Dr. Kenneth Ryan has been named as president of SERCOS N.A., which is the North American trade association for the SERCOS interface (Serial Realtime COmmunications System) for motion control.
Germantown, MD; Neckartenzlingen, Germany—To finish divesting its electronics business, Düsseldorf-based Rheinmetall AG recently sold Hirschmann Electronics GmbH & Co. KG to European private equity investor HgCapital for 115 million euros, including takeover of liabilities.
Beginning this month in North America, Invensys’ Wonderware will co-host a Plant Intelligence Conference with Microsoft.
Tokyo, Japan—Yokogawa Electric Corp. reports that it’s accelerating restructuring and integration of three major subsidiaries to help reach its goal of 50 billion yen in operating income by fiscal year 2005.
Constantemp heater destroys Legionella bacteria that can grow in hot water systems. Steam water heater, available in single and double wall, has a feedforward system that heats water to 200 °F and then blends fresh cold water to achieve set temperature. Device is accurate to ±3 °F. Heaters instantly deliver up to 120 gpm and never fail hot.
Clearwater, FL—The Joint Working Group of the Instrumentation Systems and Automation Society's (ISA) SP95 Committee, MIMOSA open systems alliance for operations and maintenance, and OPC Foundation (OPC) recently met to enable enabling practical interoperability with each other and with other enterprise systems.
Bundled solution for building automation systems is designed to help FDA-regulated industries meet 21 CFR Part 11 requirements to store signatures and records electronically.
A radio frequency tagging system for mobile tanks has meant improved traceability and increased efficiency for a food and dairy industry application.
National Manufacturing Week 2004, to be held Feb. 23-26 in Chicago, incorporates the National Industrial Automation Show and Conference. More than 30 automation sessions are on the agenda. Additionally, some eight conference sessions cover maintenance-related topics.
Tecnomatix Technologies Ltd. has entered an agreement with HP enabling both companies to jointly promote Tecnomatix's MPM (manufacturing process management) solutions to the global manufacturing community.
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Tempe, AZ—Three-Five Systems (TFS) Inc. recently agreed to manufacture, assemble and test a variety of Kontron America’s printed circuit board (PCB) products for multiple locations worldwide.
St. Louis, MO; Schaumburg, IL—Belden Inc. and Cable Design Technologies (CDT) announced Feb. 5 that their boards of directors have unanimously agreed to a merger of equals. The combined company will be called Belden CDT Inc. and will be headquartered in St. Louis.
Highlights Sponsored by Moxa Segway engineers employ technical computing software and modeling/simulation software to ensure Segway's Human Transporter would meet is lifecycle goals, reliability standards, and performance metrics. Segway Uses Software to Go from Innovation to Production The Segway Human Transporter (HT) is the first of its kind—the first self-balancing, electric-powered transportation machine. With the ability to emulate human balance, Segway HT uses the same space as a pedestrian, and can go wherever a person can walk. To move from concept to production, engineers at Segway LLC needed to overcome many engineering hurdles to produce a reliable, durable, and comfortable product that could be manufactured in quantity for a worldwide market. Due to the innovation of the product, Segway needed versatile software to solve unique engineering challenges and, ultimately, ensure that the Segway HT would meet its lifecycle goals, reliability standards, and performance metrics. At the core of the Segway HT's dynamic stabilization, or self-balancing technology, is its inertial balancing system, which was modeled and verified using Matlab (technical computing software) and Simulink (modeling/simulation software) from The Mathworks.
Nematron Corp. reports that its shareholders have overwhelmingly approved a plan to sell the company's assets to an undisclosed third party for $12.6 million, including an assumption of its liabilities. Following the affirmative vote at its Jan. 13 annual meeting, Nematron immediately sought to finalize the net asset purchase.
There’s a lot to "see" among developments in machine vision. Recent announcements include a new American Eltec frame grabber, free seminars from Cognex, a new camera configuration utility from Coreco Imaging, Dalsa-made CCD image sensor chips on Mars, Diagraph printers for scanners to read, ipd company’s easy-to-configure integrated machine vision system, online learning from Microscan, and a new Toshiba camera.
A custom advertising newsletter from Control Engineering & Contec Microelectronics| January 28, 2004 Japan's Largest DAQ ManufacturerCONTEC's comprehensive lineup of PCI and ISA, Digital and Analog I/O Boards coupled with LABVIEW Drivers, API Tools and Active X Software and Industrial Touch-Screen PCs make meeting project deadlines a piece of cake for engineers. Check out our latest additions to the PCI Boards family at: Click Here Products Reflect Data Acquisition Trends Contec Microelectronics' data acquisition products for USB and Ethernet fit well with industry expectations. In the January 2004 issue of Control Engineering , the Product Focus feature article concentrates on data acquisition systems and their ability to be used in wide-ranging applications. To compile the data on which the article is based, Control Engineering conducted a survey of its subscribers responsible for evaluating, specifying, recommending, installing, and/or purchasing data acquisition hardware and software. The survey yielded a range of interesting data points indicating clear trends in the purchase and use of data acquisition (DAQ) systems.
It’s not too early to think about electronicaUSA with the Embedded Systems Conference (an expansion of last year’s ESC)—to be held March 29 to April 1, 2004, at the Moscone Center in San Francisco.
National Instruments (NI) has acquired software developer Hyperception, which designs graphical development tools for digital signal processing (DSP). Hyperception's software uses a graphical system design methodology to generate embedded code for DSP chips, including Texas Instruments' (TI) C2000/ C3000/C5000/C6000 DSP families and Analog Devices' SHARC/Blackfin DSP families.
SampleManager PIMS 2003 integrates Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) and Process Information Management System (PIMS) for timely delivery of quality data for plant and enterprise-wide monitoring and analysis. The release supports integration with OSIsoft PI (Plant Information) System, Honeywell Uniformance PHD, and Yokogawa Exaquantum.
Waller, TX—Monsanto, a leading supplier of agricultural chemicals and products, recently tested Emerson Process Management’s FieldQ intelligent actuator on a demanding application at its Antwerp site, and reports the actuator has several advantages over other valve automation packages.
LTA series motorized micrometer replacement actuators combine high-resolution (50 nanometers) motion and long range of travel (50 mm) in a compact package.
Most enterprise users of rugged mobile computing solutions spent less on their applications than those using commercial grade devices, according to a recent study. The comprehensive survey conducted by VDC Corp., a technology market research and consulting firm, polled nearly 250 enterprise users