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Industrial Pervasive Sensing Reduces Costs and Prevents Downtime

There has never been a greater need for plant reliability and energy efficiency. Both depend upon actionable information: plant operators need to know what is happening everywhere in the plant, often in close to real time. This was seldom done in the past, mainly for cost reasons. However, the availability of innovative sensors (many of […]

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The Autonomous Workplace: Robotics Developers Focus on Safety

A new wave of automation is building, and it will affect (almost) everything. Robotic technology was once limited to operating behind light curtains, cages, and doors. Now, mobile robots are breaking away from these traditional confines to appear in dynamic, peopled environments like offices, health-care facilities, classrooms, factory floors, agriculture, and distribution centers. The convergence […]

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How to Solve Common Problems with Industrial Alarm Systems

If you work in a plant that processes oil, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, power, water, wastewater, or food, you probably have problems with alarms on the automation system. In fact, you probably have the same problems that most other users have. The bad news is that it turns out that the common problems of alarm management are […]

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How ISA and Automation Federation Leadership Helped Secure Industrial Control Systems

Technical leaders had the foresight to create the ISA99 standards committee back in 2002. They recognized the need for cybersecurity standards in areas outside of the traditional information technology (IT), national security, and critical infrastructure areas of concentration at the time. In the following years, a number of ISA99 committee members spent time and effort […]

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Electromechanical vs Digital: Time to Make the Switch?

A typical process plant might have anywhere from 100 to 1,000 mechanical switches installed, performing functions ranging from controlling hard alarms, permissive and interlock circuits, blowers, and fans to emergency shutdown. Some of these switches, however, may be nearing the end of their useful lives or taking up operating space that might be filled by […]

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How to Leverage Profibus and Profinet for Troubleshooting and Preventing Downtime

One of the strengths of fieldbuses and industrial Ethernet protocols in general, and Profibus and Profinet in particular, is the diagnostic information. This diagnostic information can prevent downtime and accelerate troubleshooting. First, an explanation of the technologies: Profibus and Profinet International (PI) created, support, and maintain the Profibus and Profinet standards. Both specifications are part […]

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Is the Internet of Things Creating Unfocused Urgency to Monitor Everything?

Business analysts, industry consultants, venture capitalists, and major vendors are forecasting enormous Internet of Things (IoT) growth with estimates of massive numbers of sensors being deployed to instrument everything. Executive management at companies are being bombarded with an overwhelming message: if they do not invest in the adoption of IoT technologies, their competitors will dramatically […]

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How to Use HMIs to Improve Energy Efficiency and Reduce Power Consumption

Machine and process skid builders can use human-machine interface (HMI) software to improve energy efficiency by measuring and monitoring energy usage, and by then using this data to reduce energy consumption through analysis and optimization. Through their connection to a variety of monitoring devices and controllers, HMIs provide measurement and monitoring and save the data […]

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