Using data acquisition and control systems to monitor plant subsystems

Posted by Steve Beyer on Aug 16, 2016 3:57:43 PM

How well do you know your weak link?

If you operate a continuous manufacturing process, then you know the importance of maintaining your systems' operational performance. No doubt you gave a considerable amount of thought to your system architecture, understanding the critical parameters for producing the highest possible quality product.

You pay attention to safety, process control, reliability, and quality through constant monitoring of key performance indicators to oversee the health of your system in order to assure your products' quality.

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Topics: Data Logging, Automation, Controls

Postcard From the (Leading) Edge

Posted by Steve Beyer on Aug 3, 2016 3:33:09 PM

I'm fortunate to again be attending NIWeek, the annual business and technology conference run by National Instruments (NI) in Austin, Texas. It's a scene of thousands of engineers, scientists, and businesspeople converging to look at the latest and greatest technologies, applications, and success stories while also having the opportunity to learn new techniques and advance our prowess.

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Topics: Trends, Internet of Things, Controls, Software

Remote Monitoring and Control

Posted by Steve Beyer on Jun 29, 2016 4:22:01 PM

Being “remote,” and having “control” can mean different things in different circumstances. For instance: remote can refer to a geographical distance, as in working from home--remotely; or, being standoffish—aloof, and distant. How about “having control” in the sense of managing a situation versus being manipulative, or grabbing the steering wheel?

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Topics: Manufacturing, Controls, Test Systems

HALT!  Who goes there? Industrial System Security

Posted by Mike Triassi on Jun 14, 2016 1:47:59 PM

Password management gets more important as we access financial websites, corporate portals, and an ever-increasing number of cloud-based resources as part of our online activity. In addition to passwords, it is good to secure personal data such as Social Security numbers and other sensitive information that should be kept out of the wild from identity thieves.   

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Topics: Technology, Trends, Controls, Smart Factory

Rockwell’s Support of Code Standardization: Add-on Instructions and PlantPAx

Posted by James Farnham on May 25, 2016 12:17:47 PM

One of the most useful features of Rockwell’s RSLogix 5000 is the capability to create and leverage Add-On Instructions.  A programmer can define one instruction that contains a specific set of instructions, thereby encapsulating a specific function or algorithm.  Add-On instructions can be used to create new instructions for sets of commonly-used logic, providing a common interface and documentation.  They are not the same as a high-level programming language. Note that Add-On-Instructions can be used across multiple projects and shared by other team members with each other.  You add the instruction in to your program, connect up necessary references, and it runs!

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Topics: About Optimation, Controls, Software

Code Standardization

Posted by James Farnham on May 16, 2016 3:15:45 PM

When Optimation started standardizing code in 1998 for PLC Programming for the Allen Bradley PLC5, not too many others were practicing code standardization in the controls world. Now it’s considered a best practice, but is it always followed? What happens when you work with a systems integrator who doesn’t use standardized code?

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Topics: Controls, Software

The Manufacturing Business of Beer

Posted by Mike Triassi on Mar 16, 2016 1:50:50 PM
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Topics: Manufacturing, Rockwell, food industry, Controls

Change Management for Controls Systems with Git

Posted by Mike Triassi on Feb 24, 2016 11:36:39 AM

It is difficult to search software titles for very long without coming across something being sourced by a Git server (such as GitHub).  As the default workflow for over 10 million software developers, coupled with the recent announcement that Google Code is being retired, there seems to be every reason to believe that Git is here to stay.  How can those of us writing software for controls systems take advantage of this tool in our everyday work flow?

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Topics: Technology, Controls

How to Get Started with your Industrial Automation Controls Project

Posted by Pete Sherer on Feb 1, 2016 11:49:38 AM

As one of the industrial automation companies that assists clients in maintaining their competitive edge, we frequently participate in capital upgrade projects for industrial automation controls that embrace the application of automation as a means to keep production costs low and product quality consistently high.  We have frequently been invited to engage in our client’s projects at the time they are studying how they manufacture their goods, and are asking the question, “What will be the most effective use of the latest automatic processing technology in my operation?”

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Topics: Automation, Upgrades, Controls

Welcome to the Optimation Blog

Tips, tricks and trends

The goal of this blog is to be helpful to readers by providing useful information about applications in industrial engineering, design and skilled trades, as well as industry knowledge. We're passionate about manufacturing in the United States. We have a little fun with it too.  

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