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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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Legacy Control Systems Migration, Part I

Dust One of the most serious issues currently facing plant/facility managers across all industries is that of legacy control system migration. What is this all about, and why is it such a serious issue? This post will be the first in a series and will address these specific questions. The term “legacy” was originally used…

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Stuxnet and You: The Importance of Cyber Security

45383368_secureflatscreenCR The Stuxnet computer worm was discovered in 2010. It targets Siemens PLCs (Programmable Logic Controllers) through Siemens Step7 software. Through a rootkit, Stuxnet can control VFDs (Variable Frequency Drives) attached to the PLC. Allegedly, it damaged or destroyed many Iranian centrifuges. More information about the Stuxnet infection process can be found at http://www.symantec.com/connect/blogs/exploring-stuxnet-s-plc-infection-process. Although it is not the first…

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CSIA Certification Received

Audit Passed for Fifth Time We passed our first CSIA audit in 2002, shortly after the Control System Integrators Association implemented its certification program. And we have passed every three-year audit since then (2005, 2008, 2011, 2014). As a testament to the ongoing improvements we make to our business, this year’s score was our highest…

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How the Water-Energy Nexus Affects Your Plant

The water-energy nexus continues to draw interest from our readers and attention in the media. This month, WaterWorld magazine gave it the importance of a cover story position. Why does it deserve such prominence, and what does it mean to your and your treatment plant? In simple language, the water-energy nexus represents recognition of the interdependence between…

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Smart Water Workshop

We are partnering with the Schneider Electric Water-Wastewater Competency Center to provide a one-day workshop entitled “Smart Water for Smart Cities” on Thursday, November 13, 2014, from 8:30 am to 3:30 pm. The workshop will address issues such as clean power, efficient energy usage, and safety within the water/wastewater treatment environment. The event will be hosted…

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Instrumentation Calibration

We recently surveyed more than 2,000 of our customers regarding control system issues that were important to them in their job performance, and 75 percent of respondents indicated interest in instrument calibration issues. Therefore, our first in a series of monthly posts will address this important, but often overlooked subject. First let’s understand what calibration…

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