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.
Everybody makes a wrong turn now and then on a project. Most of the time you can correct the wrong turn and get the project back on track pretty easily. Sometimes it’s a lot harder to get the project back on track and sometimes the project can’t be recovered at all.
The customer is the individual who pays the bills. The customer is the group that will use the product. The customer is the executive who judges how well the project meets the business needs of the company. We could add more examples to the list, but each of these customers looks at a project slightly differently and judges it in unique ways. As engineers, we must always try to understand these different viewpoints and be responsive to the needs of the various voices that speak for a collective customer. If we do not understand how different stakeholders offering input on a project might be in conflict with each other, we open ourselves up for some nasty surprises.
Over the course of my career, I have seen hundreds of different HMI applications. Some of them have been very good, while some of them have been painful to look at and worse to actually use. The most important purpose of an HMI application is to allow an individual to interface with the control system as effectively and efficiently as possible. When developing an application from start, I break the development process into two parts: functionality and layout.
Commissioning is usually that undefined time between construction and plant start up. If commissioning doesn't go smoothly, you can count on start-up not going smoothly. I have commissioned dozens of plants over the past 27 years and have seen firsthand the difference between a good plan and a bad one. If you avoid these following mistakes I've witnessed over and over again, your efforts will be more trouble free with fewer self-induced headaches.