Upgrading control systems: Phase migration vs. complete replacement

Apr 30, 2014 7:30:49 AM | Posted by Dave Cortivo

After receiving the approval for a control system replacement project, how do you decide between phased migration and a complete replacement? Do you keep some of the old and integrate the new, or just go with a fresh start?

Now it’s time to setup the plant for the highest possible return on a project that was hard to justify in the first place. There are so many questions that should drive the selection of the control system. What is its expandability? How well does it play with my “other” systems? What is my support learning curve? When you have answered these questions and have selected a control system, the hard part is done right? Not even close; it is time to execute what model you choose. Let’s discuss two typical migration models, phased migration and complete replacement. So now you must consider what should stay and what should go.

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New ideas for quality management: Part 6

Apr 23, 2014 5:02:07 AM | Posted by John Clemons

Managing manufacturing quality is never a one-size-fits-all solution. Each situation differs and requires unique approaches to technologies, information, and training.

As I promised last time, I’m finally wrapping up this topic on the management of manufacturing quality. If you’ve been following all this, you’ll know that there are a lot of cool new ideas out there and a lot of cool new technology as well. It all means that you can have a pretty big impact on the shop floor and a pretty big impact on the bottom line for your company.

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New ideas for quality management: Part 5

Apr 16, 2014 9:53:14 AM | Posted by John Clemons

By implementing a process of testing rationalization whereby only a minimal number of tests are actually run and more tests are run only when problems occur, a process of management by exception may be implemented.

Well, I thought I was wrapping up these on the new ideas for quality management, but I’ve thought of a few more things that I’d like to talk about.

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Distributed control systems: Four things to consider when emulating a third-party application

Apr 9, 2014 8:17:55 AM | Posted by Josh Bozeman

The capabilities of a DCS appear so limitless that we’re sometimes asked to replicate an external third-party application in the existing control system. Keep these four considerations in mind.

The modern distributed control system (DCS) is extremely powerful and highly versatile. The capabilities appear so limitless that we’re sometimes asked about the option to replicate an external third-party application in the existing control system. Typical justifications include saving thousands each year in maintenance costs and product support while streamlining operator training. Though it would appear that this might be a fairly small project, there can be a lot more to consider than meets the eye, especially to someone that's not highly attuned to complex control configuration. Before signing on the dotted line, here are a few things to keep in mind.

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New ideas for quality management: Part 4

Apr 2, 2014 4:11:04 AM | Posted by John Clemons

Laboratory information management systems are ideal for facilities that are looking to improve overall lab performance. Does LIMS make sense for you?

In the last post, I started talking about some of the technology that makes all these new ideas for managing manufacturing quality a reality. We had just started talking about the technology aspects, and I thought I would keep it going a little longer.

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New ideas for quality management: Part 3

Mar 26, 2014 7:56:15 AM | Posted by John Clemons

Improve quality management by recognizing the system operators. Providing them with the proper training and more responsibility over the testing process can be a win-win situation.

In the last couple of posts (see Part 1 and Part 2) I’ve talked about some new ideas for quality management in the manufacturing industries. These ideas can have a huge impact on the shop floor and make things a whole lot better when it comes to managing quality.

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Operator Interface Graphics 101

Mar 18, 2014 7:52:48 AM | Posted by Jeff Monforton

Graphics on an operator interface can range from very simple to extremely complex, so when creating them there are a few tips you should keep in mind.

Most automation and process control projects provide an operator interface presenting the current state of the system. These can range from the very simple to the extremely complex. The one aspect that they exhibit—perceived or real—is a reflection of the total job quality. The quality of the graphics will certainly leave a lasting impression; after all they are in the operators view every day.

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5 basic questions for selecting a level instrument

Mar 12, 2014 7:33:07 AM | Posted by Andy Crossman

Selecting the right level measurement instrument for your application can be difficult, but these questions are what you should be asking when evaluating your options.

Although level measurement instruments can be categorized by just two main categories—continuous and point level—selecting the right instrument can be complicated. Evaluating the many different sensing technologies and the accuracy of each for a specific application can be arduous.

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