8 Reasons Staff Augmentation Can Benefit Your Process Plant

Posted by Paul Galeski on November 8, 2012 @ 10:06 am

For many process plants, there are three distinct tasks with respect to their control, instrumentation and information systems—otherwise known as the automation system. The first task category is operations and maintenance. The plant must be kept up and running with minimal downtime, with maintenance performed as needed. The second task includes continuous improvements. The existing automation system must be made to increase throughput, reduce downtime, cut energy costs, improve quality and make other enhancements to the production processes. Third, capital projects must be pla... Continue Reading

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Conflict in the Workplace: What to do When Two Worlds Collide

Posted by Bruce Brandt on November 6, 2012 @ 11:25 am

  Recently I attended a session with a panel of security experts who were discussing process control system security. There were quite a number of surprising revelations from this gathering including the need to ensure that your facility’s control system isn’t found by a search engine called Shodan. It may sound like the villain of some cyberpunk novels, but can be a real threat to the security of your control system. I’d never heard of Shodan, so I was more than a bit taken aback that something like this existed and was regularly being used by hackers to attack industrial control systems. Hearing that the number of systems that can be found using this search engine numbers in the thousands was even more of a shock.... Continue Reading

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OEE and Continuous Improvement: Two Peas in a Pod – Part 1

Posted by John Clemons on November 1, 2012 @ 8:07 am

When I’m asked the question, “Where should I get started with improvements on the shop floor?” there is not necessarily an easy answer.  There are lots of places to start and it can be very complicated. All the vendors have their own solutions and will typically tell you to start with their products – all of their products.  (That’s obviously not a lot of help and can actually be a total disaster.) And, everybody else will have some kind of answer as well telling you that you need to start here or there in places that usually turn out to be their pet... Continue Reading

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Overcoming Network Obfuscation

Posted by Karl Schrader on October 30, 2012 @ 10:20 am

Within the field of manufacturing automation, we face hurdles unique to the ways industrial control systems communicate. This often leads to piecemeal approaches to communication architecture development and installation. With a careful approach, legacy communication systems can be converted to higher performing systems, capable of providing connectivity without sacrificing security. With the ever growing need for real-time data related to manufacturing, two of the largest concerns are accessibility and security. While these two requirements, at first glance, appear to be at odds with each other, cues can be taken from existing IT technologies which can lead to successfu... Continue Reading

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Seven Reasons to Integrate Your Applications

Posted by Paul Galeski on October 25, 2012 @ 8:26 am

  There are many reasons to integrate your automation information system. Fortunately, you don’t always have to rely on an automation hardware and software vendor. Integration among applications makes data  immediately available to all relevant on-site and off-site parties, including, but not limited to, management, engineering, and operations and maintenance staff. Once applications are integrated, a single point of data storage can be selected, often a historian. The historian can then become the focal point for both local and remote access... Continue Reading

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