Category: Automation Concepts

Sensors 101 – Control System Inputs

In today’s post I’m going to ask you to think of sensors in a different way. Most engineers who are specifying equipment think of sensors as discrete or analog devices, proxes or photoelectrics, flow or pressure sensors, thermocouples and the

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Evolution of the Retroencabulator

While many readers may have heard of the Rockwell Retro Encabulator and some of you may have even been involved in its calibration or decirculation, few people realize that it actually evolved from General Electric’s “Turbo Encabulator”. Encabulation technology has

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Posted in Automation Concepts, Vendors and Manufacturers Tagged with: , , , , ,

Engineering Ethics and Software

Back when I started doing software work directly for customers I must admit that I didn’t pay for the programming software that I used. This was in the days of DOS based programming software, and I had a laptop with

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Jargon, Buzzwords and Acronyms: Understanding the Process

One of the best things about teaching technical classes around the country is getting to meet people from all kinds of different industries. Sometimes, like a couple of weeks ago in Raleigh, NC a class will have people from several

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Posted in Automation Concepts, Documentation, Software & Programming Tagged with: , , , , , , ,

The Importance of Machine Documentation

Automated machinery can be very complex and cost millions of dollars. When it breaks down seconds can count… lost production affects the bottom line and can lead to lost customers when deadlines aren’t met. So why is machine documentation considered

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Device Labeling Poll Results

A couple of weeks ago I started a poll on device numbering methods, here are the results. Responses came from comments on this site and five different Linked In forums. Method 1: Labeling the device based on the I/O point

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Posted in Automation Concepts, Controls Design, Machine Design, Process, Techniques Tagged with: , , , , ,

Device Numbering Methods: A Poll

Recently I was involved in a discussion on the best method of numbering and labeling devices for systems and machinery. I have used several different methods in the past, depending on customer preference and the type of application; these methods

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Posted in Automation Concepts, Controls Design, Machine Design, Process, Techniques Tagged with: , , , , ,

Dynamic (Indirect) Addressing

Today’s post is another guest article, this one written by Steve Myres. Steve owns Automation Solutions, a controls integration company that also provides machine mechanical, electrical, and fluid power troubleshooting and design. ************************************************************ Dynamic addressing In this article, I’ll describe

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Posted in Automation Concepts, Guest Posts, PLCs, Software & Programming Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,

Advantages and Disadvantages of Automation

Is automation “good” or “bad”? There are arguments on both sides of this issue. On one hand the cost of production on a per item basis is generally lower, on the other hand it is often said that automation takes

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Posted in Automation Concepts, Ethics, The Book Tagged with: , , ,

More Startup and Debug

After spending the last several months working on some of my entrepreneurial ideas and teaching PLC programming classes, I just spent the last couple of weeks contracting on a machine and system startup/debug job. I feel very fortunate to have

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Posted in Applications, Automation Concepts, Contracting, Machine Builders and Integrators, Software & Programming, troubleshooting Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,