Good vs. poor documentation: Don’t be ‘that guy’

Dec 17, 2013 8:20:23 AM | Posted by Jeff Monforton

A well organized and well documented system, complete with commentary within your code, can only help you and your fellow developers and programmers.

Over the years we have all had to modify, repair, debug, and otherwise live with someone else’s code. The platforms vary, but the challenges remain the same—the biggest of which is, “What in #@$! was this guy thinking?!” Looking at that single—sometimes painful and often confusing—question leaves us wondering how it happened in the first place.

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Understanding Machine Safety Analysis In The U.S. (Part 2)

Dec 18, 2012 5:07:37 AM | Posted by Karl Schrader

This trail of breadcrumbs has led us back to ISO 13849-1:2006, Safety of Machinery – Safety-Related Parts of Control Systems. This new standard is the basis for the PL and B10d ratings you see on many safety devices today. The ratings are ranked “a” through “e” in increasing risk to the operator, with “e” being the greatest risk. Within this standard, the EN-954 categories for circuit types survive, but are only part of the implementation. More common-sense approaches are allowed, taking into account variables such as mean time to dangerous failure (MTTFd) for devices, monitoring devices for failure, circuit types (cat.1-4), and even those hazards which cannot be guarded without impeding the work to be done (such as PPE, signage, training, etc.). All of these are on the table if the situation supports them. ISO 13849-1:2006 was developed with the support of ANSI, as this organization supplied representative engineers to help with development of this standard. ANSI is a contributing member of ISO standards development and adoption boards.

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Understanding Machine Safety Analysis In The U.S. (Part 1)

Dec 11, 2012 5:17:56 AM | Posted by Karl Schrader

A few years ago, I was working with an internal integration group for a manufacturing company which had facilities in many domestic and international locations. One of the initiatives I had undertaken was to redevelop procedures for assessing safety hazards on automated equipment.

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Who Will Be In Your Control Room In 2016?

Dec 5, 2012 7:29:00 AM | Posted by Bill Tolrud

Take a look at the people in your control room: you probably see a lot of gray hair. How many of those individuals are still going to be there in another three or five years? To answer this question, we need to look at the retirement rate of the baby boomers that are now between the ages of 55 to 65. On January 1, 2011, the first baby boomers turned 65. According to a report from the Congressional Research Service, dated January 30, 2008, the retirement of baby boomers will affect the overall economy and our industries until the year 2020. The industries affected most will be those that have been part of the structure of the U.S. industry buildup: steel and primary metals, power generation, paper makers, forestry, and so on.

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More Than A Story, A Process Narrative Can Define Your Next Automation Project

Nov 27, 2012 4:55:54 AM | Posted by Jason Montroy

I recently sat down with an automation manager responsible for a subsection of a large manufacturing business. His company is embarking on an effort to standardize the use of process control narratives for all automation projects. To my surprise, the concept of process narratives was new to him. He didn't understand their purpose. But he was intrigued and asked many good questions I was happy to answer.

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4 Rules For Designing Safety into Control Systems

Nov 13, 2012 3:47:49 AM | Posted by Brad Ems

When you see a talk about safety, your first expectation is probably something on proper PPE, procedures or other aspects of safety that are typical fodder for safety “toolbox talks.” What I’d like to discuss in this post, at least in a very general way, is how to design safety into your process control system.

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8 Reasons Staff Augmentation Can Benefit Your Process Plant

Nov 8, 2012 4:06:43 AM | Posted by Paul Galeski

For many process plants, there are three distinct tasks with respect to their control, instrumentation and information systems—otherwise known as the automation system.

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Conflict in the Workplace: What to do When Two Worlds Collide

Nov 6, 2012 5:25:27 AM | Posted by Bruce Brandt

 

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