Control Design Looks Back on Last 15 Years

Issues That Impact Machine Control, Operator Interface, Sensing, Measurement, I/O Systems, Drives, Motion, Machine Safety and More

By Joe Feeley

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During the 15 years that we've been creating and providing content, we could argue that the issues that have most influenced machine performance, time to market, and support could be broken down into a few "big idea" areas.

If we tried to do a retrospective with more granularity than that, it could turn out to be a task so daunting that we might not complete it until we're approaching our 20th birthday. We cover the issues that impact machine control, operator interface, sensing and measurement, I/O systems, drives and motion control, among others, in every issue.

So, we looked at the topics that seemed to generate the most "it's going on" energy and discussion among our machine builder and integrator audience. We'll have a look back at how we covered the impact these three issues had on Machine Builder Nation:

Also see "Sustainable Is What Sustainable Does" to see how the drive to sustainable manufacturing has accelerated in recent years; and "People, We Need People" to look back at our coverage of building and retaining a first-class automation team.

You could lobby for more items in this topical basket. We might get an argument that other issues had equal or greater impact. We certainly would welcome your thoughts and ideas about that.

We'll also limit our focus to roughly the 2008–2012 period, since our 10th anniversary issue reviewed the 1997–2007 period rather extensively. You can revisit that treatment at

—The editors

Included here are all the articles referenced in the print version of this cover story.

Leap of Faith?
August 2004
Technology Trends Don't Always Lead to Better Machine Design, but Control Design's Senior Technical Editor Dan Hebert Has Found a Few That Could Help You Break Away From the Crowd.

Greater Expectations
January 2008
How Machine Builders Meet and Exceed End Users' Wants and Needs. And How Well Users Say Builders Are Doing it

Why Is Safety Information So Pricey?
January 2008
A Significant Portion of These Standards Don't Contain Information Relevant to a Particular Application

How to Build an Automation Professional
February 2008
Industry Steps Up to Nurture and Train Automation Professionals

Proceed With Caution
May 2008
Good and Thoughtful Safety Design Yields Productive Machines That Are Easy to Operate and Maintain

Confluence of Influences
August 2008
As Machine Control and the Global Business Environment Increase in Complexity, Both High- and Low-Priced Producers Must Customize Their Business Approaches to Geographic Markets

Safety Adds Complexity and Function
February 2009
Machine Safety Devices and Safety System Designs Are Equal Partners in the Decision-Making Process for Machine Design or Upgrade

Business Benefits Drive Sustainability
March 2009
Sustainability Is More Than Just the Latest Green Buzzword

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