Is Your Control System Training Program Up-to-Date?

Posted by Bill Stewart on May 9, 2012 @ 8:02 am

When it comes to control system training, you’ve undoubtedly heard this phrase said to new folks: “In my day, you applied common horse sense, some on-the-job-training and a couple of days of following me around. After that you just ask questions. Do you have any for me now?” Now, if I was instructing someone on how to rake leaves or sweep out the garage—the above conversation would probably work.  But if you want to ensure that new engineers, operators and maintenance personnel who interact with the control system everyday are capable of doing so, then we need to teach them to be them more sophisticated. First, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Is your control system architecture documented and current?
  2. Do you have security in place to prevent unauthorized or qualified people from accessing set points?
  3. Is there a clear lin... Continue Reading

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HART: New Lease On Life

Posted by Sergei Kuznetsov on May 8, 2012 @ 8:56 am

Working in our industry it is impossible to avoid bumping into the HART Communication protocol. Introduced in the mid-1980s by Rosemount as an attempt to find an inexpensive, almost trial way to get more information from smart field instrumentation, it later developed into something that finds its way back even when it seems to have outlived its purpose. I won’t get into the details as to when, why, and how the HART standard was developed and how it works. It’s common domain information, but in a nutshell it utilizes low-frequency carrier to communicate digitally with intelligent field instruments. For point-to-point connection with an instrument, even the existing 4-20 mA cables can be used – leaving the main variable to the current signal and using digital communications for auxiliary information. It’s the best of both ... Continue Reading

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Pardon me, your Slip is Showing!

Posted by Lori Hayes on May 2, 2012 @ 8:58 am

The corporate world we live in today relies on the information highway, an interconnected network system where business transactions are carried out in cyber space. Left undiscovered, a system’s vulnerability can lead to Intellectual Property (IP) loss, financial loss and confidential data exposure. In the Industrial Control System (ICS), hidden vulnerabilities can be exploited through malware, such as viruses and trojans, and can cause similar outcomes including unpredictable operations and expensive downtime, resulting in a loss of production and compromised safety systems. Can this really happen to you? Not so new to the cyber neighborhood are vulnerability researchers that look closely at ICS software and systems. The best outcome is that any vulnerability information is given directly to you or the Computer Emergency Readiness Team) (CERT), enabling a planne... Continue Reading

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Expecting The Unexpected: The Risks That Didn’t Make The Project Plan

Posted by Brad Ems on May 1, 2012 @ 8:58 am

If you’ve been in controls long enough, it’s happened to you: a project that seemed to be going well suddenly hits a wall that was unforeseen and whose effects threaten to derail it irreversibly. My Waterloo came with a project to automate a press that made abrasive bars for honing pipe welds, compressing sand-like material into rectangular “sticks” that were then baked to produce the final product. The automation portion was reasonably straightforward, applying mechanical and controls equipment that would feed the raw material into the die cavities, compress it and automatically offload the pressed sticks to small pallets. The usual risks were identified and hedged: subcontractor performance issues, equipment delays, personnel scheduling, etc. What doomed the project was my failure to heed a small, offhand comment made by the client even before the project began about how dif... Continue Reading

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Four Reasons Why You Need to Attend Our Webinar: Upgrading DCS with No BS

Posted by Paul Galeski on April 30, 2012 @ 1:51 pm

With budget constraints, fear, uncertainty and doubt, DCS migration most likely feels like a nightmare. But we can make it easier. MAVERICK’s Upgrading DCS with No BS can help you sort through the mess and come out on top. Here are four good reasons to attend.

  1. We’ll Give Straight Answers — There’s a lot of talk about DCS migration. It can be hard for project managers to cut to the chase and get the answers they need — so we’ll provide them for you. OEM’s won’t try to sell you their DCS package at this webinar. You’ll just get what you need: practical information to help you understand the real ROI of DCS migration.
  2. You’ll Get Actionable, Real-World Advice — MAVERICK Founder and CEO Paul Galeski and Seni... Continue Reading

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