White Papers

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  • Why Is Safety So Hard?

    Control editor Walt Boyes speaks to the TÜV Safety Symposium in Cologne. Read a transcript of his speech, "Warum Ist Sicherheit So Schwer?/Why Is Safety so HARD?

    Walt Boyes
    09/02/2008
  • Why Do Steam Traps Fail?

    Properly functioning steam traps open to release condensate and automatically close when steam is present. Failed traps waste fuel, reduce efficiency, increase production costs and compromise the overall integrity of the steam and condensate systems. Traps should be tested on a regular basis -- or the neglect may be quite costly.

    Bruce Gorelick, Enercheck Systems and Alan Bandes, UE Systems, Inc.
    10/09/2009
  • Why buy industrial computers?

    Industrial personal computer (IPC) technology is used in ever increasing volume in the manufacturing environment. This White Paper provides a report for OEMs and manufacturers who use computers in their manufacturing equipment and processes.

    Xycom Automation
    08/01/2005
  • Who Controls the Off Switch?

    We're about to acquire a significant new cybervulnerability. The world's energy utilities are starting to install hundreds of millions of 'smart meters' which contain a remote off switch. Its main purpose is to ensure that customers who default on their payments can be switched remotely to a prepay tariff; secondary purposes include supporting interruptible tariffs and implementing rolling power cuts at times of supply shortage. The off switch creates information security problems of a kind, and on a scale, that the energy companies have not had to face before. From the viewpoint of a cyber attacker - whether a hostile government agency, a terrorist organization or even a militant environmental group - the ideal attack on a target country is to interrupt its citizens' electricity supply. This is the cyber equivalent of a nuclear strike; when electricity stops, then pretty soon everything else does too. Until now, the only plausible ways to do that involved attacks on critical generation, transmission and distribution assets, which are increasingly well defended. Smart meters change the game. The combination of commands that will cause meters to interrupt the supply, of applets and software upgrades that run in the meters, and of cryptographic keys that are used to authenticate these commands and software changes, create a new strategic vulnerability, which we discuss in this paper.

    Posted pursuant to the creative commons license at http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.5/

    Ross Anderson and Shailendra Fuloria, Computer Laboratory
    08/02/2010
  • Who Are Your Bandwidth Hogs

    As industrial Ethernet networks grow in number and importance, keeping the right traffic on – and off – the network becomes essential

    The use of Ethernet for industrial automation has grown dramatically. One of the main benefits of moving from legacy fieldbus to Ethernet is the ability to connect the front office to the manufacturing system. This is possible because Ethernet is not a proprietary communication protocol. The non-proprietary nature of Ethernet allows engineers to mix and match equipment from different vendors and get competitive bids. This combination of better office-factory communication and open standards helped industrial Ethernet gain recent widespread acceptance.

    But with these benefits come potential problems. As networks and the services they provide evolve and servers or user machines are replaced and upgraded, the likelihood of passing unwanted, often obsolete protocols within the network increases.

    Potentially more challenging is the existence of unknown protocols that may degrade the performance of the network. Unknown protocols are often caused by well-intended but uninformed employees who attach unauthorized devices, such as wireless access points, to the network. They can also be caused by traffic such as streaming audio from employees listening to Internet radio stations while working.

    Mara White, Fluke Networks
    04/28/2009
  • When to Use Multi-Function Safety Relays

    Often the Best Choice for Applications Where SingleFunction Relays Aren’t Capable Enough and a Safety-Rated PLC is Overkill

    Lenny Filipkowski, AutomationDirect
    07/23/2014
  • When and How to Inspect, Clean and Calibrate pH Sensors

    This paper will address
    - Knowing when to do a pH sensor calibration versus a calibration check
    - How to properly clean a pH sensor
    - How to perform a pH sensor calibration
    - A decision tree for step by step guidance

    The phrase in the above title is actually incorrect in its sequence of wording. All pH readings are supposed to be taken and accepted only when the pH sensor is clean. After all, a contaminated pH sensor may yield an incorrect reading. So one must make sure the sensor is clean before doing a calibration. Once a pH sensor is installed in the process and operating, how do you determine when it is time to take the sensor out of the process and do a cleaning, or a calibration? Does one perform both a cleaning and a calibration or just a cleaning, or just a calibration, or does one just perform a calibration check in buffers or...?

    This is something that can be quite confusing, especially when the operational practices and procedures documented by your company's Quality Control or Environmental Practices department may not be specific enough when they describe the procedure or the timing on when to conduct the pH calibration and maintenance. Inversely, the procedures may be too specific, detailing many more procedures and operations than are actually required.

    In practical terms, users must develop their own maintenance and calibration schedule. This schedule is accomplished by taking the pH sensor out of the process after a set amount of time, perhaps after a day or two to perform a visual inspection of the sensor. If after inspection you find no debris or fouling on the electrode and reference surfaces with the naked eye, rinse the sensor off in distilled water and perform a buffer check.

    Fred Kohlmann, Endress+Hauser
    02/27/2012
  • What U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Greenhouse Gas Regulation Changes Mean to You

    There is an upside for forward-thinking manufacturers regarding EPA blueprint for the way state and local regulatory agencies use the Clean Air Act permitting process to regulate greenhouse gas emissions in the United States.

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency blueprint for the way state and local regulatory agencies use the Clean Air Act permit process to regulate greenhouse gas emissions in the United States is defined in their November 17 document: PSD and Title V Permitting Guidance for Greenhouse Gases.

    The greenhouse gases that will be regulated include carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, sulfur hexafluoride and a number of refrigerants.

    The Agency believes that these compounds are responsible for changing the planet's climate and is thus taking steps to reduce emissions of the gases throughout the nation. In taking this action, EPA is breaking new ground, by not only defining a broad new class of air pollutants, but by changing the way that the Agency regulates emissions of those pollutants.

    Traditionally, EPA has set definitive, measurable goals when seeking to reduce air pollutant emissions, both in terms of how much a compound a facility is allowed to emit and in terms of the maximum amount of the pollutant that can be in the air we breathe. The Agency will not take the same approach when it comes to greenhouse gases. Instead, they will be asking facilities to reduce emissions to the greatest extent possible and economically feasible.

    And, yes, there is upside for forward-thinking manufacturers.

    Catalytic Products International
    01/21/2011
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