Getting More Out of Your Historian, Part 2

Posted by John Clemons on May 31, 2012 @ 8:29 am

In the last post I mentioned that you probably had lots of data that you might not even know about all over the place just waiting to be collected and put into your historian. I suggested that if you collected that data you could put the data to work and would probably find out that the data was actually very valuable and quite worth it to have collected. In this post, I’d like to suggest another idea to get more out of your historian. You probably have a data warehouse of some kind somewhere. It’s probably part of a business intelligence initiative and it’s almost certainly owned by the IT department. And, you may not even know it’s there and might never have even used it. And, it probably has no manufacturing data in it and almost certainly has no data from the historian in it. But, it’s probably there. And, there’s probably a lot of people that use it. And, if they k... Continue Reading

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MOC for Plant Control Systems

Posted by Jason Montroy on May 30, 2012 @ 7:52 am

Management of change (MOC) can apply to nearly anything from organizations to projects to IT infrastructure. But does it apply to plant control systems? Considering that control systems need to change over time - process optimization drives changes in control logic and software updates occur on at least a monthly basis – the answer is: MOC is essential for plant control systems. You will make at least a handful of changes to your control systems on a monthly basis. It pays to approach these changes in a consistent manner. After all, if your SCADA system fails, your operators find themselves flying blind, without a means to control the system. If your PLC or DCS fails, plant production will come to a screeching halt. Most plants have some form of MOC process. But not every plant’s process is well-reasoned and documented – or effective. Processes range from simply “asking Joe... Continue Reading

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Ten Tips for Successful Team Leadership, Part 2

Posted by Control Engineering Team on May 29, 2012 @ 9:34 am

Here are the final suggestions to get the most out of a leadership role by creating an enjoyable and productive experience for you and your team. 5. Keep in touch. Peters and Waterman popularized the concept of “management by wandering around” in their 1982 book “In Search of Excellence.” Email is a great tool, but informal communication such as face-to-face, voice-to-voice, or even chat-to-chat provides much more information about how the work is progressing. Most of us are hesitant to voice our frustrations in a email that can live forever and be forwarded, but a simple, “How’s it going?” may elicit a lengthy and detailed description of any current frustrations or roadblocks that might adversely affect progress. Sometimes shooting the breeze clears the air. 6. Give them what they need. Make sure your team members have everything they need to keep moving forward, be ... Continue Reading

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MES – Seeing the Big Picture by Looking Small

Posted by John Clemons on May 23, 2012 @ 7:41 am

I’ve said this before- any system, be it MES or MOM or even ERP, if it’s going to be considered successful it has to meet the needs of the organization. It has to actually bring value to the company and do something that the company needs doing and is valuable to the company. Certainly, that’s a lot easier said than done. For MES, it’s even more difficult because there’s really no clear definition of MES and exactly what MES is supposed to do. Of course, that can be a good thing in that MES can actually do a lot of things and can address a lot of different problems. But, as you may suspect, that can be a problem as well. Lots of MES systems are pretty big and have been designed to do lots and lots of things. That’s all good and that means that MES can bring value to the company. And to make MES successful, it means you have to look at the big picture and see what’s... Continue Reading

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Ten Tips for Successful Team Leadership, Part 1

Posted by Control Engineering Team on May 22, 2012 @ 8:49 am

They say that some are born to lead, but to paraphrase Mr. Orwell’s wonderful line from Animal Farm, “Some leaders are more born than others.” Here are some suggestions of things you can do should you find yourself in a project or team leadership position that will make the experience an enjoyable one for you and your team. 1. Get the big picture. While it may be impossible to be cognizant of all of the details of your project(s), maintain a clear understanding of the scope, major tasks, technologies, and issues involved in the project so that you can offer constructive advice and guidance to your team. If your eyes glaze over while we ask a question, you are not helpful. 2. Provide shelter for your team. When upper management asks for estimates, schedules, resource allocation schemes, and other information, don’t just forward the ... Continue Reading

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