January 2007 Issue


CONTROL DESIGN is the only industrial automation magazine dedicated to the automation information needs of industrial machine builders, those original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) that build the machines that make industry work.



  • In search of encoder accuracy

    As the technology has improved, encoders have become the dominant rotary and linear displacement measurement means. Today it dominates North America and Asia, while resolvers still hold Europe.

  • Who exactly is an innovator?

    Real innovation depends on more than just inventions and patents and really doesn’t happen until it is put to productive use by an end customer. This puts the U.S. in the lead because it’s the best at commercializing innovation.

  • The role of the ODM

    System integrators tend to have a good understanding of component technologies but a lesser understanding of the unique characteristics of an individual OEM market. Read why in this installment of TechFlash.

  • PLC home companion

    A tell-tale sign of good content is the handling of how a three-wire control circuit is built in a PLC. Embedded Intelligence columnist Jeremy Pollard, CET, reports that he finds the book's explanation confusing, although accurate.

  • That was the year that was

    As we approach the 10th anniversary of our inaugural issue in June, we can’t help but wonder what you remember about 1997. Take this quiz if you think your steel-trap memory is in fine working order.

  • A look back at Microsoft in manufacturing

    As we look back at how machine automation has changed since 1997, columnist Jeremy Pollard reflects on the way Microsoft-based technology revolutionized the face of machine control during that period.

  • To lease, or not to lease

    There’s been a trend lately toward machine builders who lease—not sell—their machines to customers. Who benefits most? Executive Editor Jim Montague went looking for answers and reports his findings.

  • Ergonomic design best practices

    Contributing Editor Loren Shaum reports on the best practices he found for taking ergonomics into consideration in machine control design for operator safety and overall machine performance.

  • Straight and narrow motion

    As manufacturers become familiar with modular linear motion, these systems—whether one, two or complete three-axis Cartesian robotics systems—are finding their way into more and more areas of production.

  • Power supply solves design problems

    Turck is introducing its PSU67 24 V IP67-rated power supplies to give machine control system designers flexibility in both installation and ruggedness.

  • Staying power

    A roundup of new power supplies and associated devices for industrial machine applications shows how the trend toward distributed control systems and competition among vendors gives OEMs more choices.

  • PLC: An evolutionary matter

    Has the PLC evolved over the past 10 years? Is it better? As we look back at how machine automation has changed since 1997, columnist Jeremy Pollard reflects on the evolution of the PLC.

  • Analog I/O is discretely valuable

    Designing or specifying a device for A/D conversion consists of a series of tradeoffs. More resolution means more accurate conversion but more expensive hardware.

  • Do handheld OIs make sense?

    A reader looks for shared experiences regarding cost savings that can be realized with the usage of a wireless or plug-in handheld OI to take care of all their additional in-line networking functions.