This Week's Editor's Pick
Digital twins, science-fiction or reality?
June 2018, Absolute Perspectives
Industrie 4.0 introduces the somewhat abstract concept of a ‘digital twin’. But is this really new, does it actually exist anywhere in practice, and if so, what steps should be followed to build one?
An automation customer speaks
The engineering institutions, systems integrators, suppliers and seminar groups within the automation industry in South Africa are all concerned, and rightfully so, with the lack of active participation
Open Process Automation moves to the proof of concept stage
Open Process Automation was once again a hot topic at the 2018 ARC Industry Forum in Orlando, Florida, earlier this year. Among the highlights was the session focusing on the current status of several
Case History 160: More problems with control
May 2018, Michael Brown Control Engineering, Motion Control & Drives
In a recent assignment to sort out problems being experienced in a petrochemical refinery, I came across the following two examples: Drum pressure misbehaving
The first was with the control of an
If a machine can do it, why not learn something else?
By the end of 2017, The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) reported an estimated 60 000 imports of multipurpose industrial robots into Africa. From a South African perspective,
Case History 159: Bad valves again hampering control.
March 2018, Michael Brown Control Engineering
It still fascinates me that so many control problems are caused by poor operation of control valves. I have encountered and recorded hundreds of cases of such problems. What is amazing is that many plant
Nick Denbow’s European report: Process plants as weapons of war
February 2018, News
Malware over the Internet has replaced the large gunboat that was dispatched in previous times – say 200 years ago – to send a message to the heart of a rival nation, indicating that relationships were
Nick Denbow’s European report: Benefiting from technology transfer between modern industries
This month, I take a different look at how technology can be transferred between industries, and used to solve heart-wrenching problems. Always touted as the birthplace of new technology applications,
Trends in process safety systems
Market is changing
The global process safety systems market is changing in a rapid and dramatic way. Less industrialised countries continue efforts to grow their economies and build mega plants. These
Case History 158: Report on temperature control of an autoclave
January 2018, Michael Brown Control Engineering, Motion Control & Drives
I was recently asked to help with a client who treats a product in an autoclave and was complaining that they always got overshoot on a step setpoint change to holding temperature. The following is taken
Innovating in the process industry with PLM
December 2017, Absolute Perspectives, IT in Manufacturing
There might be an opportunity for you to adopt a proven technique from another industry in a new way and thereby gain a competitive edge for your business in its own niche.
Nick Denbow’s European report: Bürkert’s investment in SAW technology now paying off
December 2017, News
The SAW (surface acoustic wave) technique offers fascinating opportunities for many different styles of monitoring sensor. The first example seen many years ago really impressed me: it was called TorqSense,
Will OPC UA TSN prevail over industrial Ethernet?
December 2017, IT in Manufacturing
OPC UA is a vendor-independent communication protocol designed for industrial use. TSN (time-sensitive networking) is a further development of the IEEE Ethernet standards. Together, they aim to offer
Nick Denbow’s European report: Modern trends in long distance power links
Many of the changes in the way the world works lead to new opportunities for different technologies. This has led to a new approach to electricity distribution using HVDC – High Voltage Direct Current
Compact drive technology from Beckhoff used in Synlight radiator
November 2017, Beckhoff Automation
The DLR Institute of Solar Research in Jülich, Germany, recently put the Synlight high-flux solar simulator into operation. This high-power radiator – the only one of its kind in the world so far – consists
Case History 157: Positive lead integrator tuning ‘party trick’.
November 2017, Michael Brown Control Engineering
Control loop optimisation has always fascinated me. In most cases when I am called into a plant to sort out a problem, it is something that they have been trying to fix for a long time without success.
The potential value of manufacturing analytics
October 2017, Absolute Perspectives, IT in Manufacturing
Mature analytics organisations understand the value of using digital technology to tap into data to achieve better business performance.
Nick Denbow’s European report: The market for solar power
Most of the time, developments in industrial technology are a success or failure as a result of the benefits provided to the customer – often in terms of cost, but also factors like accuracy, reliability,
Next-gen MES Technology
October 2017, IT in Manufacturing
Manufacturing execution systems (MES) can help manufacturers and other industrial organisations reduce costs while improving operations, collaboration, asset management, workflow and safety.
Challenges in alarm management
Late last year, ARC Advisory Group conducted a survey on current practices and trends in alarm management in the process industries. We also wanted to learn how end users, suppliers, consultants and system
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