Using programming standards to navigate your process

Nov 26, 2014 3:31:00 AM | Posted by John Athy

A definite set of programming and HMI standards can alleviate the burden of navigating your controls process from start to finish.

Imagine you had to navigate from one corner of London to the opposite corner, using only a map. No problem, but what if each square mile of this map was designed by a separate person using different scales, symbols, and languages. Now the task becomes more daunting.

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When “Just Fine” Isn’t Good Enough: HMI Design and Development

Nov 24, 2014 6:53:00 AM | Posted by Chad Harper

“Please don’t talk to me about technologies that can improve my plant’s performance. I can’t stand the idea of disrupting my current situation with anything new, even if it’s better.”

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Factory acceptance testing with system simulators

Nov 18, 2014 7:56:00 AM | Posted by Jeff Wood

System simulators allow developers to test most of a new control system, but not the entire system. See 6 tips for the factory acceptance test (FAT) phase of your project.

Virtual machines and control system simulation have been a great help in checking out systems during development. These have allowed the developer to be able to check out the control system code prior to installation. Most factory acceptance tests (FATs) are conducted using a simulated system or part of the real system that will be used for final installation. Over the past several years I have developed several new plant control systems using system simulators. Although this allows the developer to check out most of the system it does not check out the entire system.

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Hazards encountered in industrial automation

Nov 11, 2014 5:39:00 AM | Posted by Evan Pederson

Recognizing safety hazards is important in any work environment—in the office, commissioning on the factory floor, or in the middle of construction. See 5 tips on avoiding common vulnerabilities.

Safety is a topic we hear about often in the modern workplace. Industry rules and standards about equipment and procedures address common risks, and are continually evolving to address new ones. But one
component of safety that depends on the individual is the need to stay aware of one’s surroundings. Learning what things to be on the lookout for is therefore critical, and it’s an ongoing process.

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Separating good code from bad: The "paper-and-pencil" method

Nov 4, 2014 6:23:00 AM | Posted by Jeff Monforton

As the digital age continues to grow, the automation industry keeps up with upgrading or replacing control systems. When migrating, try the simple paper-and-pencil method to
help identify programming issues.

In society today, computer technology has become ever present. We use smartphones, tablets, laptops, the internet, web pages, and smart TVs. The digital age is certainly all around us. The automation world has also been moving in that direction for over 25 years.

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The importance of quality throughout project lifecycle

Oct 30, 2014 9:11:00 AM | Posted by Jeff Haywood

As engineers, we are very detail oriented and should always make quality part of our process—it should never be an afterthought.

As engineers, we are very detail oriented and should always make quality part of our process—it should never be an afterthought. What we produce makes a statement about who we are. The process should follow the complete lifecycle of the project, from definition to startup. Do you raise questions to both your project teams and the customer throughout the project?

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Avoid the pitfalls of ‘reuse’ on your automation project

Oct 22, 2014 9:06:00 AM | Posted by Jason Montroy

When used appropriately, reuse can dramatically reduce the upfront engineering time and cost for a project.

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Hazards of the technical solution

Oct 15, 2014 10:16:00 AM | Posted by Mayann Stroup

Proper documentation of a solution can be the key to improving future operations for your control system and your colleagues.

During the French Revolution, a doctor, a lawyer, and an engineer were scheduled to be executed. The doctor was taken to the guillotine, saying his last prayers. The blade dropped, and jammed halfway down. After some discussion, the guards and officials decided to let him go. The doctor went away rejoicing, planning to open a clinic for the poor out of gratitude. When the lawyer was taken to the guillotine, again the blade jammed halfway down. He was also set free. He left happily, planning to devote the rest of his career to pro bono work. As the engineer was led to the guillotine he looked up at the device and said, “You know, I think I see what’s wrong with it.”

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