Archive of Control Systems - MAVERICK Ideas

Exceeding Expectations and/or Destined for Failure

Posted by Andy Crossman on June 11, 2013 @ 8:33 am

Is your control system exceeding expectations by performing in an environment for which it is not rated, operating beyond its rated temperature, powering loads beyond the documented capacity, or is it destined for failure? So which is it, or is it more than one? In most cases where an issue is present, the answer is yes to more than one, including the last one: the equipment is functioning beyond rated capacity and destined for failure, yet the owner is unaware. imageOver the years I have seen too many instances of control equipment being used beyond its documented limitations and expiring prematurely. Of course, when the equipment does fail it will li...

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Understanding Machine Safety Analysis In The U.S. (Part 1)

Posted by Karl Schrader on December 11, 2012 @ 11:17 am

A few years ago, I was working with an internal integration group for a manufacturing company which had facilities in many domestic and international locations. One of the initiatives I had undertaken was to redevelop procedures for assessing safety hazards on automated equipment. Safety_WorkPlace_MachineWith the planned adoption of the International Standards Organization document ISO:13849-1:2006, the older EN-954 standard was slated for retraction by the European Standards Organization. Anticipating this retraction, we needed to take another look at our own risk analysis and mitigation procedures in order to maintain complia...

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Who Will Be In Your Control Room In 2016?

Posted by Bill Tolrud on December 5, 2012 @ 1:29 pm

Control SystemsTake a look at the people in your control room: you probably see a lot of gray hair. How many of those individuals are still going to be there in another three or five years? To answer this question, we need to look at the retirement rate of the baby boomers that are now between the ages of 55 to 65. On January 1, 2011, the first baby boomers turned 65. According to a report from the Congressional Research Service, dated January 30, 2008, the retirement of baby boomers will affect the overall economy and our industries until the year 2020. The industries affected most will be those that have been part of the structure of the U.S. industry buildup: steel and primary m...

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Power Plant Control Systems In A Smelter Complex

Posted by Mike Robb on September 11, 2012 @ 8:17 am

Isolating A Large Power Generating System When It’s Driving A Variable Load Creates Some Special Control Challenges

Power plant control systems have their own unique design issues, however when dealing with island systems, there are even more things to consider. Take for example a large aluminum smelter complex – such plants can have their own power generation facilities, as large as 2,000 MW, which is enough to power a small city. These operate with only a small tie breaker connecting them to the grid for emergency purposes. These complexes try to maint...

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Why Aren’t More People Getting on the Fieldbus Bus?

Posted by Bruce Brandt on June 19, 2012 @ 8:55 am

After being involved in a number of migration projects, I’m surprised at how few of these considered taking advantage of the extra capabilities of fieldbus-based instruments, drives and positioners. This is not a new phenomenon, but it was more understandable in the early years of the technologies. To some degree the fault lies with the manufacturers. Fieldbus communication was marketed as being a way to reduce the number of wires required and the size of the cabinets required. To a great degree the real benefits of its ability to support smart instruments was a marketing afterthought, “Look at all the room you can save and, oh by the way, you get this extra information.” As a result, the typical migration project team says, “We already have all these HART instruments that give us the extra data and we’re not pulling any new wire, so why should we change?” Continue ReadingLeave a Comment

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