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  • Cloud computing in manufacturing

    Manufacturers need a directed and informed strategy for cloud investment. This strategy should focus on communicating benefits to senior executives, aligning with line-of-business objectives and recalibrating personnel. Cloud computing will have a very positive impact on IT performance for those firms that take a well considered approach to investment. Drawing on the manufacturing-specific responses from a broad IDC survey, this report details the trends surrounding cloud computing in the industry.

    This IDC Manufacturing Insights report details the trends surrounding cloud computing in the industry. The report looks at adoption rates, important characteristics, and business benefits and how those factors will impact manufacturing IT budgets in the next two years.

    Related articles:

    Examining cloud computing formations
    David Berger, P.Eng., contributing editor, explores the dark side, and silver lining, of cloud computing.

    CMMS and EAM rise to the cloud
    Are plant maintenance and asset management ready for software as a service (SaaS)?

  • Integrating process weighing data

    Efficient transfer of process data to higher level MES or ERP systems, along with intelligent weighing platform system upgrades, can:

    • Enhance manufacturing process controls
    • Improve asset use
    • Lower operating costs
    • Generate measurable ROI

    Clear goal identification — either performed internally, or with the help of weighing process specialists — can ensure that hardware and software investments reap intended process improvement dividends. Considerations for proposed system upgrades include:

    • Speed of process (for example, high-speed filling), which influences data exchange rates
    • Existing equipment and potential connectivity
    • Available budget
    • Adverse operating conditions, such as high-pressure washdown, corrosive chemicals, hazardous environments and extreme temperature
    • The data itself-who/what needs it, why and in what format?
    • Is PLC connectivity is required, or will serial or Ethernet TCP/IP-to-PC work?

    This paper explores weighing process integration challenges and provides points to consider when defining operating boundaries and data objectives. Weighing and
    communication solutions are more likely to meet objectives and produce measurable ROI when these points are taken into account.

  • Future safety design: Revision of ISO 13849-1 and performance level

    ISO 13849-1 is the most important standard for regulating the basic principles and performance required of a safety control system for machines and devices.

    This standards was greatly revised in November 2006. The revision is expected to cause major changes in the fundamentals of safety and system design.

    This white paper helps explain the content of the revision.

  • Understanding the electrical performance of Category cables

    In today's electronic world, the following statement could accurately summarize the rules for data transmission: More data, going longer distances, at a faster rate.

    This rule makes perfect sense when you consider the technology of today that includes products, ranging from high definition televisions to cell phones, on which you can perform tasks that include watching movies or browsing the internet. At some point in the data transmission system that enables these and other technology driven products to function properly, we will find wire and cable.

    In a majority of these cable applications, Category cable will be the product of choice.

    Mike Levesque, Mike Karg and Himmeler Themistocle
  • Reducing servomotor instability

    Instability in a motor is uncontrolled and unintended motion at the motor shaft and can occur at any frequency. It's caused by excessive gain in the speed controller of the drive, and the gain setting of the speed controller determines how much torque the drive will generate. As servo drives become more prevalent in industry, they are being applied in a wider range of applications. Servo motors sometimes make a "growling" noise, which can be eliminated by reducing the gain on the speed controller, but lower speed controller gains can lead to an increase in position error and a decrease in performance. This paper looks at the methods that can be used to eliminate servo instability.

    Marcus Schick
  • Review of how reducing air system pressure influences compressor power

    With current financial and market pressures, energy conservation has become a priority. Compressed air is a recognized energy consumer with great opportunities for energy savings with a quick payback. Reducing air system pressure is a common action to drive energy savings but it is typically not well received by production and the potential savings can be misleading. In an effort to drive results, this savings opportunity is frequently over simplified and the savings potential exaggerated. Greater detail regarding this action is discussed in hopes of clarifying issues and improving calculated returns.

    This paper is republished with the permission of the Association of Energy Engineers (www.aeecenter.org) and the sponsors of GlobalCon (www.globalconevent.com).

    Mark Krisa
  • Implementing 21st century smart manufacturing

    This report describes a framework for a proposed path forward for smart manufacturing in a number of priority areas. The report reflects the views of a national cross-section of industry leaders involved in planning the future of the process industries, vendors supplying technology solutions for manufacturing operations, and academic researchers engaged in a range of associated systems research. The report is based on information generated during the workshop on Implementing 21st Century Smart Manufacturing held in Washington, D.C. in September 2010, and from subsequent discussions among members of the Smart Manufacturing Leadership Coalition.

  • Effectively applying the total cost of ownership equation to the process automation industries

    Acronyms abound in the manufacturing industries. These common three-letter symbols are everywhere from process equations, to annual reports, to vendor product names. Many industry professionals know them by reference, but how many of these acronyms are actually well defined and understood?

    This document will decode the background behind one of the manufacturing industries' most-commonly used, yet rarely fully understood, acronyms: TCO. Otherwise known as total cost of ownership.

    TCO has been likened to other acronyms such as ROI (return on investment), TBO (total benefits of ownership), TCA (total cost of acquisition) and in some cases, TVO (total value of ownership). With all of these interpretations abounding, it's easy to see why many don't fully grasp the concept of TCO. All indications, however, point to TCO becoming a greater factor in the future of the process industries as manufacturers are constantly tasked with producing higher-quality products using fewer resources. Maximizing monetary resources will go a long way towards achieving this — which means it would behoove most companies to have as tight a grasp on the concept of TCO as possible.

    The most critical truth to realize is that a longer product lifecycle means a lower TCO that a company can expect to pay each year.

  • Mean time between failure: Explanation and standards

    Mean time between failure is a reliable term used loosely throughout many industries and has become widely abused in some. Over the years the original meaning of this term has been altered which has led to confusion and cynicism. MTBF is largely based on assumptions and definition of failure and attention to these details are paramount to proper interpretation. This paper explains the underlying complexities and misconceptions of MTBF and the methods available for estimating it.

    Wendy Torell and Victor Avelar
  • Seven types of power problems

    Many of the mysteries of equipment failure, downtime, software and data corruption are the results of a problematic supply of power. There is also a common problem with describing power problems in a standard way. This white paper will describe the most common types of power disturbances, what can cause them, what they can do to your critical equipment, and how to safeguard your equipment, using the IEEE standards for describing power quality problems.

    Joseph Seymour
  • Drive-based integrated safety

    While safety functions have been integrated into drives packages for some years now, the current trends are very exciting, from many angles. Today, a full complement of safety functions can be implemented at the front-end of a system design on all types of production machines, including printing, packaging, converting, materials handling and other equipment used throughout American industry. This can be accomplished in full compliance with all the current regulations for machines used worldwide.

  • 16 epic fails in MRO master data management

    Most business enterprises typically put their energy, resources and investment into things like product design, sales and marketing, production efficiency, tight process control, information technology and supply chain management both for inbound flows of direct materials and outbound flows of finished goods to end customers.

    With so many important priorities vying for attention, managing a company's MRO supply chain has typically been quite neglected.

    In today's economy, however, with much of the fat having been squeezed from direct materials supply chains, enterprises are taking a big interest in MRO. While MRO-related cost savings and process efficiencies are ripe for the picking, though, there is one huge problem: having never before controlled nor managed their MRO item and supplier masters in ERP, most companies' source data is — to put it bluntly — a mess.

  • Higher intelligence: Quadra Mining uses online system to increase uptime

    Imagine if you could predict a problem — and stop it — before it occurs. Thanks to Timken's Online Intelligence System, Quadra FNX Mining Ltd. is able to do just that. Timken's Online Intelligence System is helping Quadra keep its electric shovel — the heart of its operation — running. This means a lower cost of operation through increased productivity and reduced repair expenses. With an abundance of gears, plus dozens of bearings throughout a shovel, being able to predict problems prior to catastrophic failures is key.

  • Polk State College helps close manufacturing skills gap

    In 2005, Florida's manufacturers faced losing skilled craftspeople to retirement and other local manufacturers because of a limited skilled labor pool in the region. Unfortunately, as the Baby-Boomer generation retires from an increasingly high-tech workplace, the shortage of employees with science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills is growing worse every year. Without the proper training programs in place, companies simply have no way to fill the labor pipeline.

    Educational institutions are vital to reversing this trend. But simply getting more students into colleges isn't enough. They must learn the right skills, select the right disciplines and make the right connections to link them with good jobs.

    Polk State College's (PSC) Corporate College, based in central Florida, understands the importance of training the next generation of manufacturing employees. PSC offers a variety of classes to help students learn the skills they need to succeed in manufacturing positions.

    View more content on PlantServices.com

  • Eight common misperceptions of management of change

    Whenever I mention management of change to plant personnel, I generally get one of several predictable responses. The knowledgeable ones will cite the regulation OSHA 1910.119(a)(2) and tell me that they aren't a "covered process" so that it does not apply to them — generally with a great sigh of relief. Another frequent response is: "We have a drawing management procedure, but we are so far behind it would take years and resources we don't have to catch up." Others still will tell me that they have a perfectly fine procedure for their managers to approve small projects and alterations. And a few will sheepishly think about the pennies and nickels filling up their car's ash tray.

    Sam McNair, P.E., CMRP
  • Distributed I/O and remote I/O solution improves performance and reliability

    In central New York state, recent upgrades at a municipal water plant have provided the means for operators to enhance their process for meeting the water quality needs of customers. As part of the upgrades, the facility modernized its control system utilizing a distributed I/O and remote I/O solution. This technology reduced wiring costs for field instrumentation while improving operational readiness and reliability.

    Jim McConahay, P.E.
  • Optimization of energy usage

    For the industrial sector, energy consumption statistics are eye popping. The industrial sector alone consumes about half of the world's total delivered energy, making it the largest end-use sector. Moreover, although global industrial energy consumption is projected to increase by more than 40%, as measured from the beginning of the recent economic crisis in 2007 to 2035, emerging economies in non-OECD countries will account for approximately 95% of this increase in consumption.

    Thus, optimization of energy usage is a natural and necessary expansion of ODVA's application coverage for industrial automation. ODVA envisions an energy solution for the industrial energy consumer that will be comprehensive, scalable, open, and inclusive for both users and their vendors. Within this context, ODVA's vision of optimization of energy usage will emerge as the natural sweet spot to help industrial consumers meet their overall business objectives and achieve greater societal goals for sustainability. ODVA's energy approach will offer broad situational awareness of energy consumption and enable control strategies to optimize energy usage throughout the industrial ecosystem from the plant floor to the grid. This approach will enable businesses to improve productivity and thus profits while concurrently benefiting people and our planet through better utilization of energy resources.

  • IEC vs. NEMA push buttons

    The globalization of industrial manufacturing has resulted in a convergence of electromechanical operator interface device styling and performance standards. That convergence is evident in the design of push button products.

    A common misconception holds that any operator manufactured or designed in Europe is, by definition, an IEC push button. Another is that IEC push buttons are manufactured only in IEC countries. Neither belief is true. Conversely, not all NEMA operators are designed, manufactured, or even sold in the United States or Canada.

    What is factual is that the traditional target markets for IEC and NEMA rated devices were Europe and North America, respectively. These traditional markets are expanding with the globalization of product manufacturing, product support and product sales.

    An industrial operator interface device can be described by four general characteristics: ingress protection, electrical performance, panel opening size and styling.

  • The ISA S88 standard: A roadmap for automation — A powerful management tool

    This paper explains the purpose and benefits of ISA's S88 standard and its role as both an engineering guideline and an often overlooked management tool. Because detailed description of the standard's underlying technology frequently obscures the intrinsic value of the standard itself, this paper is not intended to be a tutorial on S88 technology. Rather, the intent is to help the reader understand what S88 is and where it is useful or, perhaps, essential. The focus is on how it can be used to reduce cost and improve the way a manufacturing process operates. Why S88 is important is emphasized along with how it can serve as a common language for better communication about automation opportunities and manufacturing requirements. It includes ways this modular and internally consistent standard can help reduce engineering cost and serve as a management tool, ways it can be used to help control capital expenditure, enable more precise definition of operational requirements, identify what should and should not be automated and aid in definition of optimum levels of automation.

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