Archive of MAVERICK Ideas - MAVERICK Rethinking Automation

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...

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Scoping Automation And Control Projects

Posted by Shane Hudson on October 23, 2012 @ 3:00 pm

  The approach taken during front-end engineering feasibility studies and scope development frequently determines whether an industrial control project will be successful. Unfortunately, budgetary and timing constraints normally limit the approach and resources used during these critical phases of project development, which ultimately result in unanticipated costs, technical complications, and schedule delays during subsequent project implementation. Scoping Automation And Control Projects For example, plant operations or maintenance personnel are routinely tasked with developing project scopes and capital budget estimates in a short period of...

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How Recipes and Specs Impact Your Entire Company – Part 2

Posted by John Clemons on August 22, 2012 @ 7:37 am

The last time we talked about recipes and specifications I made a big point that while only a few people in the company were responsible for managing recipes and specifications, almost every single person in the company used some data from the recipes and specifications at some time or the other. I hope you’ve had some time to think about this.  And, I bet you’ve come to the conclusion that I may not be 100% correct in that everyone in the company uses the recipes and specifications from time to time, but you realize that there are a lot more people that use the recipes and specifications than you ever thought about before. So, this time, I’d like to talk about one other aspect of the recipes and specifications that is very important.  And, I’d like to frame it in terms of some questions. Continue ReadingLeave a Comment

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Is Your MES Integrated with Your Business Goals?

Posted by John Clemons on April 4, 2012 @ 7:26 am

In the past 10 years alone, there have been some big changes in the MES space. Not just changing business requirements or changing manufacturing work. I’m talking about changes that come from new technology and new architectures and solutions presented by the various MES vendors. The good news is, most of these changes are really pretty good — and a lot of the new technology is excellent and well worth taking a close look at. But, yes, there’s some bad news, too: The basic business requirements haven’t really changed, nor has the actual job of manufacturing down on the shop floor. Yes, there have been some changes due to regulations and some changes in the labor mix and such. But fundamentally, the business requirements for a manufacturing operation are pretty much the same as they were 10 years ago, or even 20 or 30 years ago. So, how do you decide if any of the new MES te...

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Some Notable Control Features of DeltaV Control System

Posted by Sergei Kuznetsov on March 28, 2012 @ 2:07 pm

Soon after the acronym DCS appeared, more than 30 years ago now, discussions about what system is “best” cropped up among control engineers. The conversations continue today. Which DCS is indeed the best? Or is DCS even needed anymore, when modern PLCs — especially high-end PACs — can allegedly do the job? Over the years I’ve seen a number of different approaches to the control system selection. Some — usually larger — companies take a very methodical approach, with complex criteria that take into consideration an enormous amount of information. Smaller companies look at certain features that are most critical to them, like the proximity of a reputable engineering outfit capable of handling routine maintenance issues. Precious few seek advice from a consulting company. The truth is, a good engineering team (or a lone engineer, as may be the case) can make any contr...

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