Industrial IT & Networks, Part 1

Industrial IT is an area where we are seeing increased interest from our customer base. This as control systems and their supporting networks become ever more sophisticated, more critical to plant operations, and more integrated into higher level business systems to aid in business optimization and critical decision making. Because of this growing interest and…

FEED Plus: Assuring Good Migration Projects

There are many reasons legacy control systems migration projects go bad. These include incomplete or inaccurate drawings, the wrong team, lack of guidance, poor methodology, poor communications, and lack of teamwork. A FEED (front-end engineering & design) study is the starting point for preventing and avoiding these issues.  The FEED Plus study takes this process…

Cellular vs. Radio

by Guest Blogger Brandon Moseley As industry, cities, and businesses grow, it is a necessary evil to change nature to accommodate these expansions. Unfortunately, nature cannot always be forced to cooperate with man. Sometimes, man has to work around what already exists. Trees may not always be able to be cut down. Mountains and caverns…

VFDs: an Overview

by Guest Blogger Jeremy Ruppert (photo courtesy of ABB/Google) There are many ways to make a system more efficient, but this post will address ways a variable frequency drive can improve a customer’s pump performance, lower costs, and extend the life of the equipment. Though initially not the cheapest option, a VFD can save the end-user…

Design-Build in the Control System Environment

Design-build is a project delivery system that can shorten project schedules by up to 30%. It is a comprehensive process that includes planning, design, and construction needed to execute a particular project. In the traditional usage, it may incorporate architecture, engineering, and contracting disciplines. In the industrial automation and controls environment (our world), design-build is more narrowly described…

Legacy Control System Migration Part II

legacy-II-600 In Part I of our series, we discussed the definition of legacy controls migration and the reasons it has become a critical issue in many plants. This segment will address other issues related to implementing such a migration strategy. Developing a Migration Plan: Complete vs. Partial Although an immediate full migration would be the most effective remedy…

How Ethernet Improves Communications

Fiber optical Throughout most of the history of personal computers, serial ports have been the most basic way to transfer data. Serial communication is a standard, accessible way to communicate with a large variety of devices including modems, mice, and most importantly (from a control engineer’s viewpoint) programmable logic controllers (PLCs). During this period, and extending into…