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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Some perspectives on MES implementations: Part 1

Dec 17, 2013 8:19:13 AM | Posted by John Clemons

A lack of understanding or definition of MES within a company can lead to the same mistakes being made on project after project.

I think everyone knows by now that I’m a manufacturing execution systems (MES) guy from way back. I’ve been doing MES since way before they even called it MES. In fact, when I started doing it we didn’t even have a name for it. MES is one of the names for a class of computer-based systems that are focused on the execution side of manufacturing. Another common name for these systems is manufacturing operations management (MOM).

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PID math demystified, part 3: More on derivative control

Oct 25, 2013 4:19:27 AM | Posted by Scott Hayes

Consider how a PD controller would work, without an integral function. Would you ever want to use that approach?

To investigate how derivative action works, let’s look at a proportional derivative or PD controller. PID controllers are far more

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PID Math Demystified (Part 1)

May 7, 2013 4:37:49 AM | Posted by Scott Hayes

You've seen the equations, but have you thought about how those elements work together? Part 1: The basic concepts and proportional control.

Most process control engineers have been exposed to the basic equation in a form that looks something like this:

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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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Scoping Automation And Control Projects

Oct 23, 2012 10:00:44 AM | Posted by Shane Hudson

 

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