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Cloud Computing in the Forecast

Cloud Computing in the Forecast

Cloud-based applications promise to deliver benefits for industrial applications, but implementation challenges exist. Cloud computing is becoming increasingly attractive for business and personal applications where its low cost solutions and fast deployment help companies and individuals save time and money. Many people already use the cloud for document management, data backup, Web mail, and music ... Read More
 
Cellular Remote Access Gives Companies Competitive Edge

Cellular Remote Access Gives Companies Competitive Edge

Internet and cellular technology make monitoring and control easier than ever. The automation world, with its distant and often isolated sites, has long sought reliable remote access to cut costs and improve reliability. Instead of sending technicians to distant locations, operators can now access critical information and control systems quickly and easily.
 
Internet Use Clicks with Machine, Robot Builders

Internet Use Clicks with Machine, Robot Builders

Machine and robot builders are increasingly turning to the Internet for product research. The Internet has become a legitimate avenue for researching automation products needed by machine and robot builders, and the use of vendor websites is emerging as the primary method for doing product research. Control Design magazine began asking its readers about their ... Read More
 
Upgrading Pump Stations with PLCs

Upgrading Pump Stations with PLCs

When relays and timer circuits get old, they cause problems. Replacing them with PLCs keeps pumps running smoothly. One of the most important jobs of a water distribution system is to reliably deliver water to its customers. At our water district in California, we had pumping stations (Figure 1) with relay-based controls that were more ... Read More
 
Upgrading From Batch to Continuous Processes Requires High Level Automation

Upgrading From Batch to Continuous Processes Requires High Level Automation

Many process plants use batch operations for all or part of their production operations. Some processes are inherently batch oriented, but many others can be converted to continuous. Converting a batch process to a continuous operation has many advantages including, but not limited to, better quality, more throughput and less energy use (see Table 1). These ... Read More
 
Maintaining Machine Quality While Reducing Time to Market

Maintaining Machine Quality While Reducing Time to Market

Machine and robot builder OEMs and their end user customers face similar challenges. For OEMs in a highly competitive market, quick machine delivery can make the difference between getting the order and losing it to a competitor. In a challenging economy, end users tend to take more time making machine upgrade or purchasing decisions. However, ... Read More
 
How to Improve Process Control by Automating Data Flow

How to Improve Process Control by Automating Data Flow

Whether you are responsible for a manufacturing facility, a utility plant or a bio-dome—you need to control and know what’s going on in your processes. Properly managing information is imperative to improving your process control—specifically controlling, monitoring and maintaining information flows into and out of your process control system. Most processes consist of the machines, ... Read More
 
Alternative Energy Helps Industrial Controls “Cut the Cord”

Alternative Energy Helps Industrial Controls “Cut the Cord”

Let’s say you want to improve safety on a remote section of highway through a mountain pass via a road condition monitoring system. A small automatic weather station beside the road plus several cameras in key locations could provide a good approximation of road conditions. This information could be posted on dynamic message signs along ... Read More
 
Government Spending: Some Positive Returns

Government Spending: Some Positive Returns

For the past nine years, the Navy has sponsored an Opportunity Forum for their Phase II SBIR (Small Business Innovative Research) contractors. The purpose is to publicize these government funded developments thereby helping viable business products to evolve beyond Navy needs. Successes triply benefit the small business, the Navy, and the American economy, and obviously ... Read More