Ethernet vs. fieldbus: the right network for the right application
Time-sensitive networking has pushed Ethernet, but fieldbus still account for more than half of industrial uses.
Industrial Ethernet continues to grow, but don’t count out fieldbus networks just yet. The upgrade from 4-20 mA analog signals to fieldbus had a significant impact on industry, but Ethernet networks are positioned to support time-sensitive…
IoT is not a fad
IT invades controller programming
The IoT starts with common and proper things
Cybersecurity means protecting assets from remote-access threats
How to decide between PNP and NPN
What signal level sensors and I/O modules should you standardize on?
A Control Design reader writes: My question arises due to machines we received at our manufacturing plant in Arizona from an OEM in Asia. All of the PLC 24 Vdc digital input modules were NPN (sourcing 24 V dc) and our plant’s standard is PNP…
On-machine vs. in-cabinet for automation components
How to troubleshoot and calibrate 4-20 mA
Stop EMI from ruining your day and your system performance
Smaller components, bigger EMC issues
ABB to divest cable business to NKT Cables
NKT Cables designs, manufactures and supplies power cables for low-, medium- and high-voltage solutions.
NKT Cables is acquiring ABB’s global high-voltage cable system business, with a total enterprise value of $934 million. According to ABB, the high-voltage cables business is part of its Power Grids division, which is currently undergoing a strategic review.
NKT Cables designs, manufactures and supplies power cables for low-, medium- and high-voltage solutions mainly in the Alternating Current (AC)-area. It has production facilities in Europe and China, as well as sales offices around the world.
“We are combining two strong cable portfolios rooted in a shared Nordic heritage that will be more competitive on a larger scale under NKT Cables’ ownership, while maintaining access to supply through a long-term strategic partnership,” said…
Don't let poor wire and cable decisions slow down your next project
The rise of the 3D Printing Machines
DHS cybersecurity director on avoiding security vulnerabilities when connecting to the IIoT
How do you protect controllers from cyber attacks?
It's time for the smart IoT
The IoT journey is pushing the development of smart devices, equipment and machines.
The journey to smart devices, equipment and machines is underway, but how do you implement it? To start, Dan Throne, during Automation Fair in Atlanta, Georgia, pointed out a few of the roadblocks that need to be navigated to create smart machines…
A machine learning education at Automation Fair
How to integrate RFID tags in any tracking application
Are big data errors throwing off your analytics?
Various technologies in wireless sensors
The Latest Online Tools and Resources on Wireless Sensors
Control Design's quarterly section highlights some of the latest online tools and resources for various technologies. In this case, it covers wireless sensors.
Many of these kinds of sensors work on a wireless sensor network (WSN) as spatially dispersed and dedicated devices for monitoring the physical condition of industrial and process environments. The data they collect is organized at a central location, where it can be analyzed to optimize processes or used to monitor errors, so operators can take timely action. There are numerous types of wireless sensors, ranging from temperature to impact, strain, pressure, level, vibration and more.
A Simple Way to Add New Sensors?
WirelessHART is pertinent to the wireless sensors topic because…
Going mobile? Things you should know
How to make informed decisions on network choices
Filling systems with experience
What's a Wireless Ethernet Standard?
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
Information collected via the Internet of Things gives a competitive advantage, but at what cost?
You just can’t make this stuff up. Remember Barbie—that doll that is Wi-Fi-connected and can create an open port on your home network just so she can talk to your kid? That Barbie.
Well, the Internet of Things (IoT) has gone haywire, and I think…
Why machine builders must monitor vibration and corrosion
How to balance risk and remote access
How have analytics affected diagnostic-tool development?
How can sensing technologies help to diagnose machine health?
Is the PLC ready for a comeback?
Global decline in industry’s most popular controller could reverse by 2017.
Don’t call it a comeback. Not yet, at least. Programmable logic controllers (PLCs) are plodding through a global economic swamp, but there’s dry land on the horizon.
In 2015, the PLC market sank by 11.5%, and revenue slid to $8.3 billion,…
Use distributed control to offload PLCs and PACs
Case Study: University builds nanofiber-producing machine for biomedical research
PLCopen releases coding guidelines
Trends of the modern PLC
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
PLCs, PACs and IPCs ─ controller terminology explained
The more controls change, the more familiar they become
The basics of power supplies in industrial machinery
Although power supplies just keep getting better, these well developed devices still must be properly specified and connected.
A variety of power sources are typically required to operate industrial machinery. This includes the plant line side ac voltage down to the electronic devices—power supplies—used to convert the ac to dc voltage. Not only is the type of power…
How much effect will linear power supplies’ EMI have on machine controls?
Power Supplies Get Smarter
High-End Protection for Low Power
Getting to a Better–and-Cleaner Power Source For Machine Builders
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.
Robroy Enclosures acquires ATTABOX Industrial Enclosures
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 are…
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
In the new Nat Geo series ‘Mars,’ the technology, hardware and engineering have to be there, and, if that's the case, hold on tight because we are definitely going to Mars.
National Geographic Channel (NGC) is launching a new TV series, “Mars,” in November. The six-part miniseries brings together some of the best minds in modern science and innovation, illuminating how research and development are creating the…
Mouser Electronics, Grant Imahara launch International Space Station Design Challenge
The real impact of robotics and automation advancements
This is what makes a great controls engineer or designer
Apply motors and drives efficiently
Manufacturers worry about supplying hardware that meets federal efficiency requirements.
There can be a lot of hype surrounding motor and drive efficiency. However, from a machine designer prospective, the new motor efficiency standards don't really affect the machine builder, but there are some things to be aware of. On the…
Motion application drives stepper or servo selection
ABB opens new drives, motors testing laboratory
HTI Technology acquires Klauber Machine & Gear
The basics of variable frequency drive installation
Once a VFD is specified, pay attention to these installation tips to realize its benefits
Starting and stopping a motor can be done with three common methods: a motor starter, soft start or variable frequency drive (VFD). As of late, the use of a VFD is becoming more popular than ever due to its claimed efficiency benefits, but be sure…
How to select a variable frequency drive
As machine trends change, motion requirements stay unaffected
The reindustrialization of America
Festo’s regional support, automation products and technical education programs come to Ohio.
Industry 4.0, the Internet of Things (IoT), the reindustrialization of U.S. manufacturing and the skills gap in advance manufacturing all have people’s attention at the corporate, state and federal levels. "We would like to showcase how Festo can…
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
The Straight Skinny on Linear Motion
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
Webinar: Preparing for Ebola in the Water Sector
Hydroforming For Machine Builders Gets 21st-Century Makeover
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
Will the stepper motor work poorly in a servo application, or will the servo motor be overkill for the stepper application?
The stepper and servo motor each has its advantages and disadvantages. Both integrate well with a variety of control systems and provide high-performance linear and rotary motion capabilities. While the motor technology and control is well developed…
Is a stepper or servo best for torque optimization?
When Industrial Steppers Measure Up
How to tune PID loops
Servo-motor applications and temperature-control applications often need training after the auto-tune.
A Control Design reader wrote to us: I often have difficulty tuning PID loops, especially for temperature control applications and servo-motor motion applications. If I use a temperature controller, the auto-tune built into the device often works…
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
The keys to robot selection, safety and collaboration
Get along, little robot: Integration and collaboration are two important job requirements for the robot workforce.
A robot's flexibility makes it suitable for use in many applications. Whether you’re starting or expanding the use of robotics, there’s a lot to know when it comes to selection, safety and collaboration.
Start with the unwanted
Robots can help…
Educating OSHA compliance officers on robot safety
Who will hire these robots?
Robots allowed contact with humans under new collaborative specification
Yaskawa Motoman receives reaccreditation status from IACET
Trends in sensors and vision
Sensors are becoming better, smaller, less expensive and embedded—here's what you need to know in 2016.
Specifying, designing, programming and integrating are just some of the tasks related to sensor and vision system use on machines. Sensors are becoming better, smaller, less expensive and embedded. From new vision hardware to lenses, lighting and…
How to make the right safety and sensing decisions
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
How machine vision systems and robots have influenced each other
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
Motion Industries to acquire OBBCO Safety & Supply
OBBCO Safety & Supply is an industrial safety distributor.
Motion Industries, Inc. a wholly owned subsidiary of Genuine Parts Company, has entered an agreement to acquire OBBCO Safety & Supply, LLC. The transaction closing was scheduled for August.
Based in Chesapeake, Va., OBBCO Safety & Supply is an industrial safety distributor, which provides products from more than 100 safety supply manufacturers. Its offerings include a wide range of personal protective equipment, as well as other essentials such as hazardous storage units, first aid supplies and gas detection equipment.
"OBBCO Safety looks forward to the opportunities that Motion Industries will bring to our employees and our customers," said OBBCO owner, Mike Bryant. "This will provide OBBCO with the ability to expand our footprint…
The popularity of integrated control and safety continues to improve
How industry is attempting to keep humans safe from robots
Modular mining system combines remote monitoring, operation with redundancy for safety
Case Study: How PCMC makes functional safety an integral part of its equipment
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…
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…
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
Why text-based OI has its place on the machine
Simple message display and operator input device doesn’t need microprocessor for data manipulation.
Technically, an operator interface (OI) and a human-machine interface (HMI) could be considered the same thing, and the differences between them are becoming increasingly blurred. The generally accepted definition of an OI is a usually a text-based…
Hazardous locations spin a web of unique issues for HMI and OI
Vendor-supplied or open-source HMI software?
Harsh environments call for more rugged components
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
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
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