Have a question about your test and measurement products? Start here at our "Test & Measurement Tool Users Community."10/15/2012
Visual management is the process of displaying critical information that helps to drive productivity throughout the organization by increasing efficiency, quality and uptime.10/15/2012
Human operators are a key part of any process control system. As such, they constitute part of a complex, causal chain of overall system processing. Human machine interfaces (HMIs) form a key link in that chain by bridging the physical world where processes reside with the perceptual reconstruction and representation of those processes in the heads of human operators and supervisors.
If an HMI design gives rise to a flawed or inaccurate representation of a process, then error and suboptimal task performance may result. HMIs have become increasingly important links in this chain for two reasons. First, the arrival of distributed control systems (DCS) in the 1970s distanced operators from the physical entities they controlled, requiring all interaction be mediated by HMIs. Second, the ongoing introduction of complex automation into process control is increasingly changing human operators into supervisors. Supervision has complex decision-making requirements that must all be conveyed via HMIs.
Download this entire white paper to learn more.10/09/2012
Communication is more than exchanging data; it means globally understandable information based on syntax and semantics. This is the theory behind IEC 61850, the topic of this issue of ABB Review Special Report.10/08/2012
As the need for bandwidth rises and the cost of fiber-optic cable drops, fiber is beginning to replace copper cable in many network topologies. This article describes fiber's physical attributes and explains how to calculate signal loss and the communications range for a fiber installation.10/08/2012
End Users implementing automation projects today face capital reduction pressures that have given raise to new procurement strategies. On the surface they appear to save money but companies need to be aware that they may also expose your company to unnecessary risks. This white paper discusses those risks and how to avoid them.10/08/2012
With the advancement of computer and data transmission technologies, systems formerly reserved for the office environment are now critical components of the manufacturing floor. The demands of factory automation, in addition to computer hardware and software, have brought the wire and cable networking products that interconnect these technologies into the industrial setting as well.
With the vast differences between an office and an industrial environment, networking cables such as gigabit Ethernet have had to adapt to these harsh new surroundings, not only from a physical perspective but from a performance perspective as well, in order to function reliably.
This white paper discusses the constructional differences between standard Gigabit Ethernet and the specifications required for similar cables utilized in an industrial manufacturing environment. Additionally applications for these ruggedized designs are also reviewed.09/26/2012
In this paper, we review the operation and advantages of the 4-20mA transmission standard and loop-powered transmitters. The discussion explains sink vs. source wiring, power requirements, voltage drops, proper grounding, transmission distance, signal noise, live zero calibration and more.09/24/2012
From process and environmental monitoring to asset management and safety, Apprion's wireless solutions can save lives, increase security and help make your plant sustainable. Download this report to learn more.09/24/2012
One of the benefits using a documenting calibrator is to be able to determine how accurate an instrument or sensor is. However, many times in the calibration process, documentation is a step that process manufacturers skip because they lack the resources and the time to do so. Although most instruments are very accurate these days, regulatory bodies often need to know just how inaccurate a particular instrument is and whether it drifts in and out of a specified tolerance over time. Download this white paper and learn how using a documenting calibrator can can help cut down costs and time, minimize manual errors while improving efficiency, accuracy and quality in the calibration process.09/10/2012
The technology advancements in measurement instruments and final control elements provide greater process insight, reduce engineering costs and contribute to improving the overall operational performance of the plant. These instruments are often collectively referred to as smart devices.09/04/2012
With any new tech device, whether a cell phone or plant-floor controller, there is inevitably a helpful feature or two you overlooked while reading the manual or taking the introductory tutorial. Although these technological devices still perform their desired, basic functions - discovering an underutilized feature makes you wonder how you ever operated the device without it.
Interacting with alarms is one of the basic functions your operators expect from their human-machine interface (HMI) software. However, if you're only using the standard alarming functions, you may be missing out on lesser-known features that could help you save time, ease troubleshooting and reduce headaches. The five FactoryTalk Alarms and Events functions listed below are often overlooked and underutilized. See where they fit and if you can find some hidden tools in your plant-floor applications.08/29/2012
Manufacturers have many questions on how to approach their DCS migration, and top automation engineers recently provided answers during a roundtable discussion now available on video for you. Learn from the experts, get platform-independent advice and real-world answers to these questions and more:
How do I get funding for my DCS migration?
- Who are the stakeholders, and how should they be engaged?
- How does up-front planning impact total project cost?
- Why should I bother with a migration if my plant is running?
- How do I objectively evaluate vendor capabilities?08/28/2012
In this new paper, F. Greg Shinskey offers more than a dozen practical ways to reduce cost with process control. These are not theoretical examples, but specific cases from real plants. Learn from one of the masters in the field of process control and see how your plant can benefit today.08/27/2012
With today's technology shift, the very concept of HMI has evolved so far beyond its roots that the "HMI" label seems inadequate. Today's evolved and expanded HMI facilitates communication in multiple directions, empowering people to engage with historians, web services, enterprise systems, engineering stations, maintenance departments and operators in the control room. Whether it's getting production numbers to management or financial data to plant personnel, information gets where it's needed to support decisions that enhance operations, safety and profitability. Download this informative e-Guide and learn more about what you should demand from your "HMI" solution. Register now to download.08/21/2012
Every manufacturing industry is experiencing an increasing speed of business in several areas including changing schedules, customer needs, costs of materials, business models, and technologies. At the same time, many manufacturing sites - particularly in the discrete industries - have growing complexity in their operations which makes it more difficult to adapt. There are more SKUs and data to keep track of due to product proliferation, smaller lot sizes and compliance to government regulations.
The demands for improved speed and agility conflict with the plants' ability to respond. Visibility into current operations, including the control system, is the primary reason manufacturers buy Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES). This visibility provides the information necessary for informed decision making in real-time by all levels of personnel - plant floor to the executives.
MES applications contain the critical business processes for executing a production schedule. These systems perform the production-centric functions of planning, controlling, operating and informing. Control systems execute these functions to produce the goods needed to fulfill customer orders. By integrating MES with control systems, manufacturing becomes more agile for responding to change in this increasingly dynamic business environment. Integrating the control system with the MES allows for more effective and broader set of production management functions to improve operational performance.
To improve their response to operational issues, managers look to technology for connecting plant floor and business systems for automated business processes. Some manufacturers have implemented point solutions on a case-by-case basis. Because of the higher development costs and support issues, this approach is not acceptable. An integration platform is needed.08/20/2012
The thermal mass flow meter's ability to deliver a direct reading of mass flow rates of air, natural gas and other fuel gases provides a simple, reliable, and costeffective method for tracking and reporting fuel consumption.
Accurate, repeatable measurement of air and gas, at low and varying flow rates, is also a critical variable in combustion control. Conventional flow meters require pressure and temperature transmitters to compensate for density changes. The thermal mass flow meter, however, measures gas mass flow directly, with no need for additional hardware. The thermal meter also provides better rangeability and a lower pressure drop than orifices, venturis, or turbine meters.
Energy prices are subject to frequent and abrupt changes and fluctuations. When energy prices are high, daily accounting of natural gas usage should be made a priority for large industrial facilities with multiple processes and/or buildings. Fuel gas flow meters are used to analyze demand, improve operating efficiency, reduce waste and adjust for peak usage. Thermal mass flow meters are frequently used for these energy-accounting applications. In addition, thermal flow meters can help plant managers provide accurate usage reports for environmental compliance, as well as compare measured usage to billing reports from gas providers.08/13/2012
This ebook describes the main elements of RS-422 and RS-485 data communications systems. The authors have provided enough technical details so that personnel can be successful in designing, modifying or troubleshooting an RS-422 or RS-485 data communications system.08/13/2012
Most companies are accustomed to buying energy, however unpleasant the process may be. Organizations can now generate another product to add to their portfolio, the Negawatt. Very few corporations today are without energy and emission reduction initiatives, but few are taking advantage of the low-hanging energy efficiency opportunities that are not discussed in the investor conference calls. Is your mobile workforce equipped with the right toolset to help generate Negawatts today? Energy efficiency gains are not simply a one-time savings; they represent a recurring opportunity which can be realized monthly. Learn more in this white paper.08/13/2012
Let's take a closer look at the process of vaporization and how we can manipulate the variables -- temperature, pressure, and flow -- to ensure proper vaporization and an accurate analytical result.08/09/2012