Moving beyond technology: 4 keys to project success

Apr 2, 2015 5:19:00 AM | Posted by John Clemons

Technology is only a tool for project success. Proper training and access to data combined with the appropriate technologies is a power combination for achieving results.

I’m an engineer and I work for a technology company. All the projects we do are about technology, and rightly so. Technology is an extremely powerful driving force in our world. Technology is used everywhere, and it’s all just amazing.

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Why Team Communications Fail

Mar 27, 2015 5:24:00 AM | Posted by Bruce Brandt

Communications issues between team members or customers delay projects and increase frustration levels. See tips on how to address popular miscommunications and avoid them in the future.

Unless you are a one person team, you will always have problems with team communications during projects. Even if you are a one person team, you will always have problems with customer communications during projects. Those are rather absolute statements, but after 45 years of projects, I can’t remember a project where there were absolutely no communications issues. In analyzing those issues some patterns emerge that point to underlying causes of miscommunication.

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Automation resource taxation

Mar 18, 2015 4:48:00 AM | Posted by Art Howell

Today’s engineers are faced with having to keep up on new technologies as well as maintaining older systems, and oftentimes integrating the two. See three examples on automation resource taxation.

Is it my imagination, or are today’s automation resources being heavily taxed? Today’s engineers are faced with an onslaught of technology that seems to be growing exponentially. On top of keeping up with all the new technologies, engineers are faced with having to maintain older technologies as well. There are so many varieties of products on the market that the integration of all these different technologies is becoming increasingly taxing, as well. For instance, there are many ways for these devices to communicate information, different network types, and protocols. A basic knowledge of communication networks and protocols is a must.

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Advanced regulatory versus model-predictive control

Mar 17, 2015 3:46:00 AM | Posted by Jim Ford

Some currently practicing control engineers may be regarding the features and capabilities of advanced regulatory control (ARC) as inferior to model-predictive control (MPC)—but are they really?

A contributor to a recent LinkedIn APC blog made the following statement about the difference between advanced regulatory control (ARC) and model-predictive control (MPC):
“In a general and very simple way, an advanced regulatory controller acts based on an error, while a predictive controller uses a model in order to predict what is going to happen and acts in consequence to avoid it.”

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Control System Engineering: Are PE stamped designs a requirement?

Mar 4, 2015 9:16:00 AM | Posted by David Paul

Professional engineering licensure for control system designers, engineers, and integrators is always a topic that can bring forth heated arguments both for and against licensure. The purpose of this article is to put forth the facts and let the readers determine if professional engineer (PE) designed control systems are a requirement for their systems and facilities.

Professional engineering licensure for control system designers, engineers, and integrators is always a topic that can bring forth heated arguments both for and against licensure. The purpose of this article is to put forth the facts and let the readers determine if professional engineer (PE) designed control systems are a requirement for their systems and facilities.

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Common misconceptions: Safety instrumented system basics

Feb 25, 2015 4:16:00 AM | Posted by Shane Hudson

ISA84 is not a "cook book" or "prescriptive standard," but rather a "performance standard" for a general approach plant owners can use for each phase of a safety instrumented system over its lifecycle.

Plant personnel commonly ask the following questions of consulting engineers who:

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6 version control best practices

Feb 23, 2015 3:14:00 AM | Posted by Tyler Bullock

Team projects require shared documents and programs, but poor version control can slow progression. See six best practices for version control.

Anyone who has worked on a team project knows version control on programs and documents are vital to the overall project’s success. Although version control will probably not be identified as the major cause of a successful project, it can easily become a key contributor to why a project struggled or failed. Here are six best practices for version control:

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Control system documentation: Don’t trust, field verify

Feb 20, 2015 4:43:00 AM | Posted by Jay Griffin

When referring to control systems, the only things that engineers can rely on are what is in the field and the live configuration running in a controller.

It would be nice if control system documentation could be trusted. It would also be nice if pigs could fly. Both scenarios are equally as likely.

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