What Does Statistical Process Control Really Do? (Part 1)

Posted by John Clemons on February 12, 2013 @ 10:43 am

Statistical Process ControlYou’ve heard of SPC. Statistical process control applies statistical methods to control manufacturing processes. You can go look at all the equations yourself, and you’ll see it’s actually pretty cool math and a practical application of mathematics in manufacturing. But, what does it really do? SPC is like a lot of things, people have heard about it but few do anything with it. And, when someone actually does something with SPC it’s often a math or quality geek who’s... Continue Reading

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Having The Right Tools In Your Arsenal

Posted by Miguel Gutierrez on February 5, 2013 @ 10:38 am

Everyone Starts Out Green, But Getting A Handle On A Few Important Resources Will Move You To The Experienced Side Much Faster

Have you ever been on a project where everything went as planned? If you’re like me, the answer is no. I would like to say yes, but who would I be kidding? Issues can vary from bad wiring, incorrect instrumentation calibration, wrong equipment specified or delivered, equipment installed in the wrong place, poor documentation, communication issues, seized motors, and so on. That’s a list that doesn’t end. Devoting enough up-front time on a project will minimize surprises during commissioning, but as much as one plans and prepares for a project, there are always issues, and those issues will need to be resolved by you. Having the right tools in your arsenal will make all the difference in finding the best solution quickly. Tools are not limited to s... Continue Reading

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Making Power More Efficiently

Posted by Bruce Brandt on January 29, 2013 @ 10:37 am

It is a common practice in the electric utility industry to utilize multiple stages of shell and tube heaters to preheat feedwater going to the boiler. The challenge has always been transferring as much heat as possible from the steam inside the shell to the water in the tubes. The mechanical design of the heaters helps this by providing baffles to prevent steam from exiting the heater rather than condensing. Heaters cascade from the highest shell pressure being the last in the train to the lowest being the first. There is also one heater called a deaerator that is an open heater between the low-pressure and high-pressure closed heaters where steam mixes with feedwater and any entrained air is removed. The steam for heating feedwater comes from extraction stages of the turbine and from the drain of the next higher-pressure heater.

At first blush, this ... Continue Reading

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The Economics of Automation – Part 2

Posted by John Clemons on January 23, 2013 @ 8:18 am

Automation SolutionsIn this last installment on this topic I said that the main purpose of automation is no longer to eliminate labor. That may have been the purpose some decades ago, but it is no longer the purpose of automation. I spent some time explaining that fundamentally that was the case because if some type of machine or automated equipment could be used to replace manual labor, it would have already been installed a long time ago. So... Continue Reading

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The Importance Of Client Reviews

Posted by Control Engineering Team on January 22, 2013 @ 10:21 am

This is a continuation of an earlier article which discussed the importance of specifications in engineering services projects. That article described the importance of good specifications to define a project’s scope of work. This posting continues from there, with advice intended to help developers continue the good work that began with specifications. This post is not intended to give advice to project managers on how to run a project. We are not project managers – we are engineers who have worked with many clients on many project teams, with some experiences to share on the benefits of providing early-stage review of project development with your client. Once project specifications are written or received and development is underway, it is wise to keep the client involved in the initial stages of development. That may seem obvious to some readers and completely unnecessa... Continue Reading

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