You Know You Know

Control Design Has Come to Your Rescue

By Katherine Bonfante

As young students, we learned things we thought we’d never use. Our teachers insisted that we learn to write a haiku, the names of every bone in the human body, how to balance chemical equations and solve algebra problems. Reluctantly, we learned these things just to ace the test and then made no effort to remember them for future use. Yet, when we got a job that fulfills our professional paths, especially a job in engineering, we realized how essential these dreary childhood lessons are to our careers.

Our jobs require us to learn new technologies every day, and sometimes we use these technologies sparsely throughout our work days. You know you know them, but when the time comes for us to put these technologies to use, we scratch our heads and try to remember whatever we captured from the initial training session. A lot of the time we wish there was some manual or book available for us to refer back to whenever we need it.

Well, Control Design has come to your rescue.

In February we posted an entry on our Machine Builder Forum in which we asked you how helpful refreshers on engineering topics — back-to-basics articles — were to you. We wanted to know if our articles give you the kind of information that helps you perform better as controls engineers, and our post generated some responses.

Gary Rathwell, president of Enterprise Consultants International in Sugar Land, Texas, commented that this is the kind of information he finds most valuable when he encounters a specific need.  However, he said that finding these back-to basic articles on our site is not so easy. This is why we created our new Back to Basics section.

We’ve gathered a list of online resources to help you remember the fundamentals of the technologies you use at work, but that you might not use daily.

By gathering information we’ve posted on our site in previous years, we offer you an electronic cheat sheet for those technology issues that aren’t so fresh in your mind.

The Not-So-Odd Couple” deals with how motors and generators are bound together. “Algebraic Solution Beats Fuzzy Logic” talks about how controllers provide improved performances in closed-loop control applications. “Know Your Serials” relates to how the factory floor communicates with serial communication interfacing (SCI). And “The Right HMI Tool for the Job” lists some of the HMI software packages designed to run efficiently on PDAs.

There’s a lot more information about technology that we have in our new section. Stop by and find out how much of this information you’ve forgotten.

You can also use the Machine Builder Forum link in this section to let us know which other topics you’d like us to cover. 

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