Hazards of the technical solution

Posted by MayAnn Stroup on October 15, 2014 @ 3:16 pm

Proper documentation of a solution can be the key to improving future operations for your control system and your colleagues.CIP

During the French Revolution, a doctor, a lawyer, and an engineer were scheduled to be executed. The doctor was taken to the guillotine, saying his last prayers. The blade dropped, and jammed halfway down. After some discussion, the guards and officials decided to let him go. The doctor went away rejoicing, planning to open a clinic for the poor out of gratitude. When the lawyer was taken to the guillotine, again the blade jammed halfway down. He was also set free. He left happily, planning to devote the rest of his... Continue Reading

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Identifying power quality issues

Posted by David Paul on October 8, 2014 @ 3:38 pm

Is your automation problem really a power quality problem in disguise?

Do you have production losses or shutdowns in your plant attributed to the automation system? Do you have automation problems attributed to software “bugs” and other software anomalies that happen at random? shutterstock_139950247Does your automation system experience excessive or high rates of hardware failure in components such as PLCs, power supplies, variable frequency drives, and communication devices? Many facilities attribute these costly failures and production losses to either poor vendor hardware and/or poor software programming practices. Many plants simply write off these excessive costs “as a cost of doing business,... Continue Reading

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Four advantages for state-based control

Posted by Rocky Chambers on October 1, 2014 @ 10:19 am

State-based control may increase your workload at first, but the benefits start to kick in and earn their worth quickly.

While state-based control (sequential function logic) generally presents significantly more work, it also provides significantly more benefits. To that end, we’ll pursue a discussion on the advantages of state-based control. It is up to the user to determine if the benefits are enough to justify the cost. For our discussion we will start with a step diagram of a distillation column as an illustration (see Figure 1).

 Advantage 1: Mirrors operating discipline One advantage of state-based control is that it mirrors operating discipline. Typically, to generate a “step diagram” for a process that is converting to state-based control, I start with the “operating procedure.” By comparing that against the instrum... Continue Reading

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Implementing a simulation network

Posted by Dave Cortivo on September 24, 2014 @ 11:32 am

Critical steps to implementing a successful simulation network include establishing a simulation policy, defining long-term needs, and training your operations team.

Iwatering_braint is a common understanding that manufacturing is one of the most important applications of implementing a simulation network. So, what does this mean to you and your plant? There is a direct overhead cost with simulation as it requires simulation software, license files, hardware, and upkeep. Can you justify the cost offset of a simulator? The answer is yes, it is worth all the products your plant makes if systems go down due to edits or failed startups. It is worth the cost replacement of a destroyed piece of equipment. It is worth the cost ... Continue Reading

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Balancing secure networks and process control systems access

Posted by Bruce Billedeaux on September 17, 2014 @ 1:33 pm

What are automation engineers to do to enhance security while ensuring the need for barrier-free access to the process control system?

Our friends in the information technology (IT) field that take care of the business networks talk a lot about security. I am sure that most people reading this blog had to log in to their workstation with a company provided username and a password that has to be changed every 90 days. The IT folks further program the networks to limit access to the minimal amount of data that is required to get each employee’s job done. Some firms even go as far as limiting which websites can be accessed from a company workstation. All this for a workstation already physically located inside a building with controlled access. Why all this effort to control what happens at a workstation inside what is essentially a controlled area: the company's building? It... Continue Reading

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