Archive | InTech


How to Use the Cloud to Store and Distribute Manufacturing Data

Cloud-based human-machine interface (HMI) software, databases, and historians are ideal gateways to deliver practical and actionable machine, manufacturing, and plant information to those who need it. Harnessing cloud capabilities to harvest data from plant floor automation systems and then distributing this data to users is a powerful combination that can save money, speed implementation, enhance […]

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Is Your PM Program Passive, Preventative, Predictive or Proactive?

There are so many acronyms and so little understanding of what they mean. Not only do we have to interpret acronyms that are specific to our industry, the automation discipline, our companies, and what is perceived to be “common knowledge” across multiple sectors, but the expectation is that we do so consistently. These are tough […]

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ISA Student Sections Spearhead Future Industrial Automation Workforce

Joining ISA back in 1989, I quickly discovered what a wonderful advocate the Society is for student workforce development activities and opportunities. During the past several years, I have witnessed the development of student sections and have attended meetings and other Society events where volunteers present opportunities for students to engage with mentors and practitioners. […]

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Should STEM Education Programs Include the Arts?

Michael J. Gelb, author of the book How to Think like Leonardo da Vinci, gave a thought-provoking keynote presentation at an Emerson Exchange. He posed the notion that STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education should be expanded to STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) education. Certainly his presentation about Leonardo da Vinci and his […]

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How Much Is Enough Cybersecurity Protection for an Industrial Network?

Today’s cyber threat landscape is constantly changing with a growing list of highly publicized attacks against the government, retail stores, and business information networks. The number of incidents against industrial networks is also growing—and they often go unreported. Most of today’s industrial networks are not isolated from corporate business networks or the Internet. In fact, […]

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How to Integrate Valve Actuators with an Automation System

There are two key issues currently affecting the actuation industry: host system integration and functional safety. Host system integration In any plant installation, a key requirement is being able to smoothly integrate the actuators used for opening or closing valves with the plant’s automation system. While the mechanical interface between actuator and valve is standardized, […]

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Unintended Consequences of Cutting Technical Headcount

In the automation community, we routinely hear that reducing head count is one of the better ways to cut operational costs in a manufacturing plant. From some perspectives, this assertion makes sense, especially if management is looking for short-term cost reductions to bolster the plant’s net operating profits, meet their performance goals, and receive their […]

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What Are the Benefits of Connected Manufacturing?

More and more customers today are looking for highly customized products. At the same time, manufacturers are under pressure to produce efficiently at mass-production costs. One way organizations can meet this challenge is by integrating business and manufacturing systems with automation technology. Traditionally, these systems have run independently of each other, but the factories of […]

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Industrial Control System Cybersecurity: Build It in or Bolt It On?

Legacy industrial control systems (ICS), including distributed control systems, programmable logic controllers, and supervisory control and data acquisition systems, were engineered using cyber technologies and tools from as far back as the 1970s and 1980s. These industrial control systems are now up against rogue actors and nations armed with cyber weapons that are orders of […]

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