Control Design Celebrates 15th Anniversary

A Look Back at Topics We Have Covered That Have Generated the Most Discussion Among Our Machine Builder and Integrator Audience

By Joe Feeley

Have a look at this promotional piece we produced in early 1997 to alert the planet that a new automation magazine was about to launch.

You can make out the logo and see that the working title was CONTROL for the OEM.

During early planning, it seemed sensible to leverage the goodwill that Control had earned during its first five years. Many suppliers Control worked with had interests in discrete manufacturing or had divisions that did.

But it didn't mean much to a new audience, since the machine builder readership we sought to develop didn't have much to do with process automation.

We rather quickly realized that we had to stake out our own identity, and not be thought of as the cute, young sibling guided by its smart big sister through early years. If you were the youngest of two or more kids in a family, you know what a rollercoaster ride that can be.

So we rethought the name, we created a new logo for the cover, and off we went. "Control Design for Machine Builders." Not much gray area there.

Most of this retrospective deals with 2007-2012, the five years since we celebrated our 10th birthday. That June 2007 issue stands up pretty well, if you'd like to take that journey back in time.

As we looked for content for this issue, I reread the first issue.

Do you recall that the leading industrial PC technology of the time had 200 MHz Pentium processors, 512 MB RAM, powered by Windows NT? The PC vs. PLC debate about industrial suitability was warming up in one of the issue's articles. A PLC supplier scornfully asks, "Can a $7,000-10,000 PC system survive delivery?"

A PC supporter returns fire, stating, "A 200 MHz Pentium performs 15–20 times faster than hard PLCs. Users can upgrade system performance more quickly, and scale up more easily."

Oh, yeah? "I can get replacement parts for a 10-year-old PLC, but good luck finding parts for a 5-year-old PC," counters another.

So much has changed in 15 years...or maybe not, eh?

I'm proud of our 15-year track record, mostly because you've told us you appreciate our dogged focus on your concerns and needs, supplemented by what the analysts and suppliers think…not the other way around.

We've also tried to create a brand (that now, of course, includes websites and social media) by employing a concept that, regrettably, many people find difficult to embrace: It's indeed amazing what you can get done if you don't care who gets the credit.

Enjoy the look back.

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