Archive of Problem Solving - MAVERICK Ideas

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....

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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...

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Doing Your Homework – Part 2

Posted by John Clemons on June 27, 2012 @ 7:33 am

In the last post I gave you some homework around the idea of operational excellence.  I hope you did your homework and learned some things. In this post, I’d like to keep this idea of homework going and extend it to the idea of manufacturing agility.  Manufacturing agility is a little more complicated and is usually only really possible once you’ve mastered at least the basics of operational excellence. But, manufacturing agility is what makes a good manufacturing plant a great plant.  And, it’s the thing that really helps accelerate profit and market share growth. Manufacturing agility is all about changing products easily and quickly.  It’s about changing the processes and changing the equipment just as easily and quickly.  It’s even about changing the back-end business processes and being able to make these changes in as close to zero cost, zero time, and with ...

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The Importance of a Project Specification Document

Posted by Control Engineering Team on June 26, 2012 @ 10:41 am

Leaving Project Specifications Blank or TBA is a Recipe for Project Trouble

Much has been written on the subject of creating legal contracts, often including statements like, “Good contracts make for good clients,” and “Good contracts lead to good customer relationships.” Contracts are important. In addition to stating legal and financial requirements, contracts define what is to be done for the client. Just as important as contracts, proper specifications are needed to identify clearly how the contract requirements are to be satisfied. We have written this to remind our peers about the importance of specifications to any engineering project, and to explain to any prospective clients that we know how to deliver what is expected. When we say, “We get it,” the functional specification is where “it” is defined.Continue ReadingLeave a Comment

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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...

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