Control Design Looks Back on Last 15 Years

June 5, 2012
Issues That Impact Machine Control, Operator Interface, Sensing, Measurement, I/O Systems, Drives, Motion, Machine Safety and More
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.
About the Author
Joe Feeley is editor in chief for Control Design and Industrial Networking. Email him at [email protected] or check out his Google+ profile.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

It's VPN for 24/7
April 2009
Allowing Trusted Outsiders in Through Secure VPN Tunneling Makes Comprehensive Tracking a Reality

Don't Get Burned
May 2009
Machine Safety Is No Trip to the Beach. Apply Risk Assessment to Protect Employees and Reduce Exposure to Accident Liability

Flat-World News
June 2009
Sourcing and Manufacturing in China Is Indeed Risky Business

PC Access Could Invite Hackers
July 2009
The Typical Hacker Might Have Trouble Getting Into Your PLC or PAC, but Odds Are the Same Hacker Could Burrow Into Your Internet-Connected PC With Ease

Welcome to the World
August 2009
If You Want to Be Successful in the Global Machine Market, You Need Multilingual Fluency in Standards and Regulations and Local Issues

China No. 1 Machine Builder by 2011
December 2009
China Predicted to Be the World's Leading Producer of Industrial Machinery by 2011

Stick to the Playbook
February 2010
Reuse That Automation Know-How: Machine Builders Make the Most of Standards and Modular Design to Overcome Resource Constraints

Safe to Operate
May 2010
Risk Assessments Are Simpler. Safety Standards Are Harmonizing. New Machine or Old, It's Emphatically Smart to Protect Operators

Make a Splash
August 2010
Developing an Impactful Global Strategy Can Be Messy as Machine Builders Decide Where in the World to Manufacture

Change the Game
October 2010
Green Manufacturing Techniques and Machine Design: A Game-Changing Project Eliminates the Use of Coolant in a Titanium Machining Center

Machine Tools on the Internet
November 2010
Global Data Acquisition Is a Value-Add for Machine Builders and a Vital Operating Tool for Their Customers

Vulnerability of Web Diagnostics?
February 2011
Isolating the Customer's Network and Allowing Only Limited Access Protects the Network From External Threats Through VPN, Easing Customer Concerns About Vulnerability

Machine Safety: Burden or Improvement?
April 2011
Although Machine Builders Have Typically Bemoaned the Cost of Safety Standards, a New Report From IMS Research Says They Are Shifting to Thinking About the Benefits of Productivity Improvements

An Integrated Approach
May 2011
You Can Nest Machine Control and Machine Safety Together. It Doesn't Sting Like It Used To

Handle With Care
August 2011
Enter the Global Machine Market With a Lot of Research and Good Partners, and Be Ready to Make Difficult Decisions. The Rewards Could Be Earth-Shaking

Remote Services via VPN
August 2011
Secure VPN Tunneling Implementation Enables Machine Builder to Provide Robust Remote Technical Support to Its Pharmaceutical and Cosmetics Customers

Troubleshoot From Afar
October 2011
Does Anyone Have Any Advice for Providing Remote Machine Automation Diagnostics and Troubleshooting Services?

Connect Four...
November 2011
With Internet and Cellular Technology, You Can Monitor and Manipulate Machines From Just About Anywhere

February 2007Baldor Electric buys Reliance Electric and Dodge from Rockwell Automation.
August 2007
Mike Bacidore joins Control Design as Managing Editor; Katherine Bonfante joins Control Design as Managing Editor, Digital Media.
May 2008
GE Fanuc Intelligent Platforms completes acquisition of assets of MTL Open System Technologies.

Rockwell Automation buys CEDES Safety & Automation.

June 2008Control Design is named as one of the Three Best U.S. Trade Magazines by ASBPE.
October 2008
Pepperl+Fuchs buys Christensen Display Products.
November 2008Moog buys Berkeley Process Control.

Ultra Electronics buys Weed Instrument.

December 2008
Georg H. Endress, founder of Endress+Hauser, dies at age 85.
January 2009Haydon Switch and Instrument merges with Kerk Motion Products to become HaydonKerk Motion Solutions.
September 2009
GE and Fanuc joint venture dissolution final.
February 2010
ABB buys Jokab Safety.
May 2010
Kaman Industrial Technologies buys Minarik.
August 2010
Nidec buys Emerson Electric's motor assets.
September 2010
Aaron Hand joins Control Design as Managing Editor.
October 2010
Beijer Electronics buys QSI.
November 2010
ABB buys Jokab Safety.
May 2011
Rockwell Automation buys Lektronix.
August 2011
Dunkermotoren buys Copley Motion Systems.
October 2011Spectris buys Omega Engineering and Sixnet.
January 2012
Sarah Cechowski joins Control Design as Associate Digital Editor.

February 2012
ABB buys Thomas & Betts.

Datalogic Automation buys PPT Vision.