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petrochemical co-workers working in the plant

Promoting Operator Effectiveness

Operator effectiveness is often an overlooked area that can improve the performance and safety of your control system or plant. Yet operator effectiveness is one of the key elements for running a safe, efficient, and profitable plant. Research shows worldwide process industry losses because of unscheduled downtime and poor quality can exceed $20 billion. Of […]

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The key MEMS sensors today are accelerometers, gyroscopes, and pressure sensors.

Making Sense of Micro Electro Mechanical Systems or MEMS

Micro Electro Mechanical Systems (MEMS) describe a type of device or sensor as well as a manufacturing process. MEMS sensors incorporate tiny devices with miniaturized mechanical structures, typically ranging from 1-100 μm (about the thickness of a human hair), while MEMS manufacturing processes provide an alternative to conventional macro-scale machining and assembly techniques. MEMS development […]

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Is Smart Grid Avoiding Real Challenges?

In my opinion, there is too much hype about the Smart Grid without looking at the core problems from an engineering and business point of view. There is a constant flow of information, presentations, and discussions about the Smart Grid, but I wonder if this simply makes people feel good and avoids facing the real […]

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Many of the real costs of downtime are hidden in other cost areas and do not show up unless you account for them properly.

How Much Is Downtime Costing You?

Take a look at the important components of total downtime cost. As you read the list, assess whether your downtime number fully includes these issues. Equipment related costs Annually calculated as a constant unit price Labor cost: Account for the full cost of direct and indirect labor with benefits, and include a share of all […]

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Energy harvesting is the extraction of usable energy (usually converted into electrical energy) from otherwise wasted energy available in the environment.

Energy Harvesting: Practical Reality for Wireless Sensing

What is energy harvesting? Energy harvesting is the extraction of usable energy (usually converted into electrical energy) from otherwise wasted energy available in the environment. On the macro scale (MegaWatts – MW) this includes hydro-electricity, wave power, solar panels, and wind turbines. However for wireless sensing, we are talking about harvesting immediately available energy such […]

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Developing Manufacturing Skills for Economic Growth

Developing Manufacturing Skills for Economic Growth

Recent reports from two of the biggest consulting firms in the world, Boston Consulting Group and Accenture, looked at what is euphemistically being called on-shoring. What their research shows is manufacturers are discovering China is not as cheap as everyone thought. When you factor in everything from the shipping of goods to the availability of […]

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Michael Lopresti

Young Innovators: Internship Opportunities Lead to Automation Future

InTech magazine has launched a new column called “Young Innovators.” The column will focus on “talking shop with the next generation.” The inaugural contribution comes from Michael Lopresti. Lopresti is a senior Industrial Engineering student and collegiate swimmer at the University of Missouri, dually enrolled in the Crosby MBA program. Here is an excerpt from […]

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Virtualization allows one computer to take the place of multiple computers, resulting in greater efficiency.

Virtualization Simplifies Computer Maintenance and Delivers High Performance

The process of virtualization works by inserting a thin layer of software called the hypervisor directly into the computer hardware. The hypervisor layer presents multiple sets of “virtual hardware,” which contain the same components as a regular machine (e.g., motherboard, chipset, etc.). To an operating system, virtual hardware is indistinguishable from a regular machine. … […]

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