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Latest Articles

Success through measurement expertise and product innovation
July 2018, GHM Messtechnik SA, Maintenance, Test & Measurement, Calibration
Since inception, the GHM Group has constantly sought to add layers of exper-tise and competence through the development and acquisition of brands, which not only offer precision measurement, but also bring a dynamic cross-over of synergies to customers.

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Industrial control system ­cybersecurity
July 2018, Nclose
In the last three articles on cybersecurity in ICS environments, we have covered risk assessments, asset discovery and vulnerability management, and environment hardening. In this month’s article, we ...

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Nick Denbow’s European report: Fieldbus, government interference and news from the UK
July 2018, News
The German organisation Profibus & Profinet International (PI) publishes annual statistics on the numbers of devices installed with interfaces equipped with their communication technologies, which also ...

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Nick Denbow’s European report: Technology disruption and profiting from university R&D
June 2018
It is almost a part of engineering folklore that the UK is slow to realise the potential of its inventions. The jet engine, computing and television are perhaps the best-known examples of British inventions ...

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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? A ...

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An automation customer speaks
June 2018
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 ...

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Open Process Automation moves to the proof of concept stage
June 2018
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 ...

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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 ...

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If a machine can do it, why not learn something else?
April 2018
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, ...

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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 ...

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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 ...

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Nick Denbow’s European report: Benefiting from technology transfer between modern industries
January 2018
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, ...

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Trends in process safety systems
January 2018
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 ...

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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 ...

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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.

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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, ...

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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 ...

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Nick Denbow’s European report: Modern trends in long distance power links
November 2017
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 ...

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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 ...

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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. ...

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