Consider machine integration in the design phase
Development of new connection methods has changed the rules.
Machine integration design decisions affect all parts of a machine, including power distribution, safety, I/O, system communication and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). These integration decisions also affect the machine-build efforts and…
What you need to know about VPN and cellular options for remote monitoring
5 trends changing industry
Automotive parts supplier launches IIoT initiative
Fog computing in an industrial context
IS systems: Assess classes and zones of ignition
An intrinsically safe design starts with a clear understanding of the area hazards before connecting all devices together.
An intrinsically safe (IS) control system is designed to reduce the possibility of ignition from components and circuits when used in an explosive or flammable atmosphere. IEC 60079, NEC articles 500-506 and ATEX Directive 2014/34/EU are but a few…
Washdown-ready distributed I/O
Discovery of the missing IO-Link
Trends in I/O in for an expanding machine environment
How to decide between PNP and NPN
How to fix ignorant engineers
Tweeting a few well-thought-out opinions may help.
While talking politics, I told my wife I was going to write a story about fixing ignorant engineers. She says, "Good luck with that; it's not possible." As an engineer, that kind of hurts; she can say what she wants, but perhaps she has lived with…
A new twist on thermal printers enables labeling and marking possibilities
ABB to divest cable business to NKT Cables
Don't let poor wire and cable decisions slow down your next project
The rise of the 3D Printing Machines
Bring machine data to you, no matter where you are.
Manufacturing plants can be located anywhere in the world. Providing technical support for machines located in these plants can be costly and unfeasible if a machine builder is sending engineering personnel for on-site support. Most machine builders…
It's time for the smart IoT
A machine learning education at Automation Fair
12 steps to Li-Fi implementation
A light-fidelity instrument communication network reduces hardwiring costs and mitigates security risks.
A plant’s communication system is an important part of its total capital expenditure on instrumentation. Conventional wiring systems involve cables and infrastructures, such as junction boxes, conduits, termination racks, cabinets, marshalling…
Various technologies in wireless sensors
Going mobile? Things you should know
How to make informed decisions on network choices
Filling systems with experience
Networking devices for harsh environments
Components are tested for temperature and vibration extremes at RuggedCom.
I’m a software guy, so, when I was invited to Siemens’ RuggedCom plant tour, I was intrigued, as well as excited to see what these guys were doing.
RuggedCom started as a Canadian innovation story in 2002. It grew quickly and found the eye of…
Leave the Barbie; take the data: the dark side of IoT
Why machine builders must monitor vibration and corrosion
Case Study: Variable data finishing system keeps pace with digital-printing technology
Sprint Variable Data Finishing System transforms variable print material to finished product at 1,500 ft/min.
Digital-printing technology has made huge gains in recent years, in terms of both speed and flexibility. As a result, manufacturers of printing finishing systems have faced challenges to match that growth with new innovation.
VITS International, a…
Case study: Make strawberries cool again
Mini-PLCs—more than just a smart relay
How to reduce the risk of component obsolescence
How to create PLCopen-compliant function blocks
Use distributed control to offload PLCs and PACs
Distributed controllers and smart I/O can optimize automation systems by performing specialized tasks.
When automation professionals hear the phrase “distributed control system” or its acronym DCS, they usually think about the huge, monolithic and expensive control systems often used in big process plants. Ironically, most distributed control…
Leverage Windows 10 IoT Enterprise with Rockwell's CompactLogix 5480 controller
IT invades controller programming
PLCs, PACs and IPCs ─ controller terminology explained
The more controls change, the more familiar they become
Zero-cabinet power supply
The Emparro67 hybrid power supplies are specially designed for applications outside the control cabinet, converting power next to the load.
Murrelektronik’s Emparro67 Hybrid is the next logical step toward a goal of decentralized installations, states Florian Holzmann, product manager, power supplies, business unit power, at Murrelektronik. "It’s not just a simple 10 A, single-phase…
The basics of power supplies in industrial machinery
How much effect will linear power supplies’ EMI have on machine controls?
Power Supplies Get Smarter
High-End Protection for Low Power
Romeo Engineering leverages PC-based control to improve manufacturing speed and accuracy
Engineering-and-design firm doubles production throughput and quadruples speed of CNC machine while cutting costs.
Any application, any time: Fort Worth, Texas-based engineering firm Romeo Engineering (REI) takes flexibility in manufacturing beyond the next level, developing and building sophisticated manufacturing equipment. With applications ranging from…
Trends helping to simplify machine control
Decades have fine-tuned control software functions and capabilities
Interrupted manufacturing in the age of PCs and software
Is machine learning smart enough to help industry?
Case Study: Harry Major Machine modern gantry improves plant uptime, recovery time
Absolute Machine Tools acquires distributor Machine Tool Technology-21
Top 10 most-read articles of 2015
Mazak debuts new technologies for CNC control, remote connectivity
How will greater software capabilities and more powerful CPUs affect IPCs and EOI?
Eight experts give insight into what machine builders need to know when better hardware and software are introduced to industrial PCs and electronic OI.
Our panel of eight industry experts weigh in on how hardware and software advancements are driving the future of industrial PCs.
How has the convergence between industrial PCs and electronic OI been impacted by the rush for greater software…
How to address the need for higher speeds and increased modularity in IPC-in-cabinet design
How to prepare for the IPC and enclosure transformation
Space engineers needed: Nat Geo documents our mission to 'Mars'
Infographic: If You Use Stepper Motors Are They Open or Closed Loop? (2014)
February 2014 Survey Results Show 53% of Respondents Use Closed-Loop Stepper Motors
An electronic survey of Control Design readers was conducted in February 2014 in order to identify usage and application trends in motion, drives and motor technology among the industrial machine builders that comprise Control Design's readership.
47% of respondents who use stepper motors use open-loop steppers; 53% use closed-loop.
Read all survey results.
Which enclosure fits my needs?
How to decide when to standardize with a variety of cabinet conditions.
A Control Design reader asks: I'm a recent college graduate and controls engineer at a system integrator who specializes in remote monitoring and process skid design, so I'm constantly selecting control enclosures for a variety of applications from…
Stop EMI from ruining your day and your system performance
Safety relay or safety-rated PLC?
Safety Applications Become More Complex When More Than Three Inputs Must Be Monitored and Controlled
Machine and robot builders often need safety-rated monitoring and control, which can be accomplished with safety-rated relays or PLCs. "Many applications could use either a safety relay or PLC, but the choice depends on four main considerations: complexity, flexibility, availability and footprint," says George Schuster, senior industry specialist for the automotive team at Rockwell Automation.
SEE ALSO: Safety Relays or Better Diagnostics?
Safety applications become complex when more than about three inputs must be monitored and controlled, or when communication over a digital network is required. "Safety relays are hardwired to perform simple diagnostics and logic, and work well when the amount of safety points in the application…
Relays: Out with the old?
Simulation technology center slated for University of Cincinnati
Siemens provides PLM software and pledges up to $1 million to establish center.
Siemens and the University of Cincinnati have announced a partnership to establish a simulation and modeling center enabled with Siemens product lifecycle management (PLM) software.
Housed on UC’s main campus in its College of Engineering and Applied Science (CEAS), the Siemens PLM Simulation Technology Center will be a hub for developing and applying new methodologies and technologies in engineering education and research, according to Siemens.
Through a pledge from Siemens of up to $1 million, as well as Siemens’ staff support and additional PLM software, the partnership will provide experiential learning opportunities for students in UC’s CEAS.
“As manufacturing companies worldwide move closer to Industry 4.0, it is more…
IML announces next round of projects targeted toward small, medium manufacturers
How design software impacts development time, predictive modeling and thermal management
NIST Project to Give Design Software New Digital Threads
ECAD: Simple or Complex?
Control panel design starts with the basics
How does the investment in software training compare to the returns?
Autodesk, Siemens sign agreement to increase software interoperability
Engineers are smarter than doctors
A recent medical issue highlights how doctors' poor listening skills, bad data, questionable problem solving methods and ignoring the facts leads to incorrect diagnosis.
I woke up one morning, and something was out of whack with me physically. My body didn't want to move. Something was wrong, and the main symptoms were joint pain, stiffness and weakness. Alone in a hotel, 1,800 miles from home, it took me 30 minutes…
Mouser Electronics, Grant Imahara launch International Space Station Design Challenge
The real impact of robotics and automation advancements
How do I make precision-motion machinery IIoT-ready?
Equipment with multiple motion applications needs to have connectivity to the Industrial Internet of Things
A Control Design reader asks: I work for an OEM, and we are developing new equipment that requires multiple motion applications on one machine. This includes master-follower rollers, tension control, unwind, wind, variable speed conveyors, a…
Invite the drives to join the motor team
Apply motors and drives efficiently
Motion application drives stepper or servo selection
The basics of variable frequency drive installation
Why bother with energy efficiency?
Despite lack of interest, plants are becoming more efficient, and machine builders, system integrators and suppliers are helping them to get there.
Energy costs were low in 2016, which put the brakes on many energy-related projects. And it appears to have reduced interest in machine energy efficiency, as well. Machine builders supply what the end users demand. While energy efficiency may not be…
The reindustrialization of America
Pneumatic use is all about the fundamentals
Case Study: How this OEM controls in-line winders with pneumatics
How fast and accurate automation equipment produces a precise Swiss watch
Keys to specifying hydraulic power systems
How to be fluid with the component choices that create powerful pressure and flow.
When specifying a hydraulic power system, a careful analysis of the application is required before selecting the various equipment. An open-loop hydraulic power unit is used to supply fluid power to various hydraulic actuators such as cylinders,…
6 surprising capabilities of modern hydraulics
The Straight Skinny on Linear Motion
Webinar: Preparing for Ebola in the Water Sector
Hydroforming For Machine Builders Gets 21st-Century Makeover
Case Study: University builds nanofiber-producing machine for biomedical research
Engineering students and their professor built an electrospin machine to create a biocompatible aligned nanofiber mesh.
If you can’t buy it, you have to build it. This was the situation we encountered when we needed to grow vascular tissue for a bioengineering project at our university, and we found existing solutions not acceptable. In addition to our team, others…
The development of an open-air, cost-effective 3D printer platform
Encoders and resolvers—giving you a sense of where things are
As machine trends change, motion requirements stay unaffected
Is a stepper or servo best for torque optimization?
When Industrial Steppers Measure Up
How to tune PID loops
Once clean, dry air at the proper pressure is connected and safe, get control of the pneumatic cylinders, actuators and motors with proper valve selection and flow control.
Supplying clean, dry air is an important starting point to long and reliable valve operation in industrial machines and equipment. However, switching the air through the proper type of valve to control the cylinder, actuator or air motor is where is where fluid power is controlled.
Pneumatics are a great choice for many machine linear and rotary applications. Unless the machine requires accurate, programmable motion-positioning electric motors or the high-force capabilities of hydraulics, a pneumatic solution is often the best and most popular choice. Instead of electricity, design in some pneumatic air preparation hardware, tubing, valves, solenoids and flow controls, connect to the pneumatic cylinders, actuators and motors and get the…
November Showcase: Valves, Control Systems, Motors and More
New Wireless Application Boosts Safety at Harcros
Integrated axes crank up cold working
Speculating on Valve Futures
Where machine automation and design software is heading
See how others are focusing this broad subject into successful machines.
Working with machine automation and design software requires a broad range of knowledge. With project management, designers and programmers are often involved from the initial concept to completion. The design tools, teams, hardware and software…
PLCopen Software Construction Guidelines released
Programming standardization through IEC 61131
Commission machines with the swipe of a finger
Motion Control Association and Motor & Motion Association announce new merger
China is coming to Chicago, and it’s hungry for robots
The Automate conference will include 15 exhibitors from the Asian superpower, where there’s a voracious appetite for robotics and automation.
The number of industrial robots in Asia is increasing. No, exploding. The number of robots in operation grew by 70% from 2010 to 2015. Asia added 160,600 units in 2015 alone, setting a new record for the fourth straight year, according to the World…
Can we and are we really replacing the jobs that automation is taking?
Intelligent machine vision could be the next step of evolution for robots
How will we pay for goods produced by robots that have taken our jobs?
The keys to robot selection, safety and collaboration
Trends in sensors and vision
How to integrate RFID tags in any tracking application
How to troubleshoot and calibrate 4-20 mA
With an embedded vision chip, a camera puts intelligence at the edge and gives robots the ability to see, think and act, just like their human counterparts.
Of all the senses, vision has to be my favorite. The ability to see allows us to control and manipulate our environment. Heck, without vision, we wouldn’t even know what our environment looks like or be able to enjoy the visual splendor of the…
Photo Research merges with JADAK
N. American 2016 machine vision market contracts fall 11% in first quarter
New machine vision systems, components show off future of the market
Targeted Detection With Presence Sensing
Proximity Sensors Enable Object Detection to Determine What is Where
To be sure you hit a target, you have to see or somehow sense it. That truth lies behind the theory and practice of presence sensors, which are used to determine whether a box, bottle, piece of metal, or something else is there or not. Armed with…
Push, Pull, Show and Tell: Standalone Devices Play an Important Role in Operator Interfaces
Presence Sensors Travel into New Automation Applications
How sensing technologies bring human-like sensitivities to the machine interface
Presence Sensing: The Basics
Best practices for troubleshooting analog circuits to the PLC.
A Control Design reader writes: We have several temperature, pressure and flow sensors on a new medical-device cleaning skid that we are developing. These instruments are connected to a PLC as 4-20 mA inputs, and there is also a 4-20 mA output used…
Process variables and the art of calibrating instruments
Sensors: Automation for Nanopositioning Systems
Basic automation safety requires not-so-basic safety
There are very few machines where installing a safety system will not reduce the risk.
Your machine is going to need a safety system to protect the operator and equipment. How safe does it need to be; what safety sensors are needed; and what do the safety sensors connect to? In the distant past, it was just a start-stop circuit with a…
What I learned after nearly dying from electric shock
Motion Industries to acquire OBBCO Safety & Supply
How to make the right safety and sensing decisions
Our expert panel guides you through step-by-step considerations when it comes to presence sensing and machine guarding.
Safety and presence sensing are key considerations in machine design. This six-person panel of safety and sensor veterans addresses some of the important points that must be addressed.
From deciding between a mechanical guard or a light curtain or…
How machine vision systems and robots have influenced each other
The impact non-vision sensing and robotics have on each other
Applications that will benefit from collaborative robot innovations
Will the IIoT enable robots to modify engineering capacity?
IIC publishes the Industrial Internet Security Framework
The IISF emphasizes the importance of five IIoT characteristics – safety, reliability, resilience, security and privacy.
The Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) has published the Industrial Internet Security Framework (IISF), a common security framework that addresses security issues in IIoT systems. The IISF emphasizes the importance of five IIoT characteristics…
Cybersecurity means protecting assets from remote-access threats
How to close the PLC security gap
Phoenix Contact partners with exida for functional safety, cybersecurity services
DMDII announces 6 research awards in digital manufacturing disciplines
PLC and HMI upgrade to cooling system cuts labor costs by 60% and ensures fresher berries in the market
Perishable fresh vegetables and fruit, such as strawberries, must be sold within two days or less of harvesting to meet quality requirements. This perishable produce spoils even more quickly if not precooled immediately after harvest.
Why just an emergency stop button isn't enough
What control engineers need to look for in a display
Why text-based OI has its place on the machine
22 tips to ensure control panel maintainability
Some considerations for designers and builders of control panels that will help ensure the panels' maintainability.
One of our most popular articles on control panel design comes from a 2014 article by Don Fitchett, president of Business Industrial Network, an industrial training company, on considerations for designers and builders of control panels to help…
What’s the best way to measure, control and display?
Universal Panel Meter is configurable for measurement, display or control
Panel Meters Take on PLC Chores
Experts weigh in on best practices for control panel housings
Vendor-supplied or open-source HMI software?
Functionality needs could require an industrial PC-based system.
When an HMI project requires more functionality than that offered by self-contained touchscreen units, the next step is to use an industrial PC-based system. The PC can be a traditional keyboard and mouse if the environment allows, or an integrated…
A variety of improved options are provided by industrial PCs
How controls make for a better machine
Harsh environments call for more rugged components
Computer-controlled graphic interfaces may be the norm, but harsh environments often call for more rugged components.
The original human-machine interface (HMI) devices—buttons, selector switches, indicator lamps, buzzers and horns—are still widely used on equipment even if the main control interface is a computer-controlled graphical device. In some…
Do stack lights make the most sense for my assembly line?
Hillshire Brands operators improve visibility into production data with alarm management to cut waste
Manage Network Conflict: Provide Clarity on Which Applications Take Precedence
How do we tone down machine device chatter?
Consider the Need for Safety Switches
A Beacon for Wireless Signal Integrity
Smart Ethernet in New LDT for Automation Industries