4 Rules For Designing Safety into Control Systems

Posted by Brad Ems on November 13, 2012 @ 9:47 am

When you see a talk about safety, your first expectation is probably something on proper PPE, procedures or other aspects of safety that are typical fodder for safety “toolbox talks.” What I’d like to discuss in this post, at least in a very general way, is how to design safety into your process control system. First off, a disclaimer: I am an engineer, although not (yet) a PE and I have no certification in any safety-related field. I do have roughly 30 years of experience in working around heavy equipment, much of it quite dangerous to life, limb, and property if the risks are not properly ... Continue Reading

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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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