Top 10 most-read articles of 2015

Dec. 30, 2015
These are the stories we were all reading, sharing and discussing in 2015.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

1. Is the PLC’s obituary premature?

Much has been made in 2015 about the impending demise of PLCs, expected to meet their end as the inexorable digital advance renders them obsolete with the advent of PACs and more advanced computer-based controls. But is this true? ⇒ Read more. 

2. What OEMs don't tell end users about PACs

A PAC is very different from a PLC, and it is important for OEMs and designers to educate their end users regarding the differences between a PLC and a PAC prior to purchase and again during customer training on any new equipment. ⇒ Read more.

3. The father of the PLC explains its birth

Dick Morley is considered by many to be the father of the PLC. We had the chance to sit down with Morley and ask him a variety of questions regarding the birth of the PLC and his specific involvement. ⇒ Watch the interview.

4. Should you use solid-state or electromechanical relays?

Our panel of industry veterans offers insights that might remind you of some basics you already know that could help you make a more-informed decision on your next machine. ⇒ Read more.

5. The father of the PLC discusses his view of the Internet of Things

Dick Morley is considered by many to be the father of the PLC. In this second installment of our series, Morley discusses the Internet of Things. ⇒ Watch the interview.

6. How and why simulation saves time and money

Simulating machine, robot and process skid operation in software is the best way to test controller code, device settings and HMI configuration—short of actual connection to the completed system. ⇒ Read more.

7. Is a stepper or servo best for torque optimization?

A machine builder wanted to know the trade-offs between stepper motors and servo motors for CNC machines. Our readers obliged with many various answers and suggestions. ⇒ Read more.

8. PLC vs. programmable relay

A Control Design reader asked: I have a small test system that I want to put error proofing on. The sensors are actuated in a very simple extend-and-retract sequence. The application only has four inputs and three outputs. Because it’s such a simple application, how do I decide whether to use a PLC or a programmable relay? ⇒ Read the discussion.

9. How to link machine controls to IT systems

Connecting machines to IT systems provides a number of benefits for machine builders and their customers. In the past, this access was often hard to implement due to proprietary communication protocols and closed systems. But now, open systems and their standard communication protocols are making it easier to connect machines to IT systems. ⇒ Read more.

10. What the ability to design or program a simple start/stop circuit says about you

The ability to design or program a simple start/stop circuit says much about both the individual and our educational system. ⇒ Here's why.

Sponsored Recommendations

Engineer's Guide to Advanced Motion and Mechatronics

This guide will examine the remaining differences between stepper and servo motors, new perspectives on motion control, the importance of both gentleness and accuracy with linear...

eBook: Efficient Operations: Propelling the Food Automation Market

For industrialized food production sectors, the megatrends of sustainable practices, digitalization and demand for skilled employees are underpinned by rising adaptability of ...

2024 State of Technology: Report: Sensors, Vision & Machine Safety

Manufacturing rarely takes place in a vacuum. Workers must be protected from equipment. And equipment must be protected. Sensing technology, vision systems and safety components...

Enclosure Cooling Primer

Learn more about enclosure cooling in this helpful primer.