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Ransomware: industrial class distraction?

Fri, 21 Jul 2017 11:33:00 -0400

With Petya still threatening PCs around the world, and WannaCry fall-out still lingering, many have called out for immediate action to protect our systems.

Ask the experts: Hydrogen mass flow

Wed, 19 Jul 2017 08:24:00 -0400

How can we measure hydrogen for custody transfer? Must we cut into the pipe?

Process sensor cyber issues have contributed to catastrophic events

Wed, 19 Jul 2017 00:18:00 -0400

Compromising process sensors can, and have, contributed to unintentional and malicious cyber events. There is a need to monitor process sensors to validate process conditions and know whether malware or other issues have caused impacts to the process.

Yaskawa America direct drive servo motor

Tue, 18 Jul 2017 17:42:29 -0400

Delivers from 4 to 35 Nm of torque in a device as small as 2.1” high and 5.3” in diameter (53x135mm).

Axis Communications temperature-alarm cameras

Tue, 18 Jul 2017 10:52:55 -0400

Easily integrated with existing SCADA architectures, cameras can help users detect and monitor fire, equipment temperatures, leaks and people.

Defined, tailored, protected mobility

Tue, 18 Jul 2017 09:08:00 -0400

"Mobility means different things. Within a plant, it can mean not being tied to a particular station, and being able to move around. Or, it can mean not being in a plant at all, and accessing applications via tablet PCs and mobile phones off-premises," says Matrix Technologies' Eric Lauber

Digitalization drives Siemens Summit

Tue, 18 Jul 2017 08:53:00 -0400

The three-day user conference featured keynote addresses, more than 50 end user presentations, training workshops product exhibits.

Honeywell Users Group Americas connects plants, users to IIoT future

Mon, 17 Jul 2017 14:25:00 -0400

HUG 2017 highlights solutions to help users benefit from the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) right now.

Mobility rises above

Mon, 17 Jul 2017 12:08:00 -0400

Spurred by the freedom granted by earlier mobility tools, many process users are further increasing their range with more diverse solutions—and even taking flight.

Benefits of upgrading to get more information may easily justify the cost

Fri, 14 Jul 2017 11:27:00 -0400

Operation and maintenance organizations shouldn’t assume that they can merely connect our “things” from the last century and reap the benefits.

Potential resiliency challenges from ICS cyber attacks

Thu, 13 Jul 2017 08:21:00 -0400

If large equipment such as generators or transformers are damaged in a cyber attack, not only can it take many months to build new equipment, it could take weeks just to get it to the facility site because of the size of the equipment.

Optimization of cooling systems

Wed, 12 Jul 2017 15:16:00 -0400

One of the few processes whose efficiency can be doubled through optimization.

Sign up for Smart Industry 2017 and receive a discount on your registration fee

Wed, 12 Jul 2017 14:28:00 -0400

Use the code "CG" when you register to save $150

Observations from the Wolf Creek nuclear plant and other “ICS” hacks

Tue, 11 Jul 2017 21:45:00 -0400

I did a podcast for Security Ledger on my thoughts about the recent hacking of Wolf Creek and other “ICS” facilities. The bottom line is the “means” exist for hacking control systems and causing damage.  The question is the motive to do so. The podcast can be found at The full blog post can be found at


Wireless flowmeter woes

Tue, 11 Jul 2017 11:22:00 -0400

Innovations in energy conversion and storage promise to open up our options.

Q&A with Red Lion on field-to-cloud networking

Mon, 10 Jul 2017 12:01:00 -0400

In response to Control's questions about field-to-cloud networking for the "Alternate Paths" cover story in the June 2017 issue, two experts provided some thorough and comprehensive responses.

Opening minds about controllers, part 2

Mon, 10 Jul 2017 09:21:00 -0400

Cases where it’s better or easier to use model predictive control instead of PID.

Insights to Process and Loop Performance

Fri, 07 Jul 2017 18:25:00 -0400

Here we look at a myriad of metrics on process and control loop performance and show how to see through the complexity and diversity to recognize the commonality and underlying principles. We will see how dozens of metrics simplify to two classes each for the process and the loop. We also provide a concise view of how to compute and use these metrics and what affects them. Let’s start with process metrics because while as automation engineers we are tuned into control metrics, our ultimate goal is improvement in the process and thus, process metrics.  The improvement in profitability of a process comes down to improving process efficiency and/or capacity. Often these are interrelated in that an increase in process capacity is often associated with a decrease in process efficiency. Also an increase in the metrics for a particular part of a process may decrease the metrics for other parts of the process. The following example cited in the April 2017 Control Talk Column “An ‘entitlement’ approach to process control improvement” is indicative of the need to have metrics and an understanding for the entire process: “In a recent application of MPC for thermal oxidizer temperature control that had a compound response complicating the PID control scheme, there was a $700K per year benefit clearly seen in reduced natural gas usage. However, the improvement also reduced steam make to a turbo-generator, reducing electricity generated by $300K per year. We reached a compromise of about $400K per year in net benefit because of lost electrical power generation from less steam to the turbo-generators. We spent many hours to align the benefit with measureable accounting for the natural gas reduction and the electrical purchases. Sometimes the loss of benefits is greater than expected. You need to be upfront and make sure you don’t just shift costs to a different cost area.” Process efficiency can be increased by reducing energy use (e.g., electricity, steam, coolant and other utilities) and raw materials (e.g., reactants, reagents, additives and other feeds). The efficiency is first expressed as a ratio of the energy use per unit mass of product produced (e.g., kJ/kg) or energy produced (kJ/kJ) and then ideally in terms of ratio of cost to revenue by including the cost of energy used (e.g., $ per kJ) and the value of revenue for product produced (e.g., $ per kg) or energy produced (e.g., $ per kJ).  The kJ of energy and kg and mass are running totals where the oldest value of mass flow or energy multiplied by a time interval between measurements is replaced in the total by the current value. A deadtime block can provide the oldest value. The time interval between measurements and the deadtime representative of the time period for the running total should both be chosen to provide a good signal to noise ratio. The deadtime block time period should also be chosen to help focus on the source of changes in process efficiency. For batch operations, the time period is usually the cycle time of a key phase in the batch and may simply be the totals at the end of the phase or batch. For continuous operations, I favor a time period that is an operator shift to recognize the key effect of operators on process performance. This time period is also suitable for evaluating other sources of variability, such as the effect of ambient conditions (day to night operation and weather) and feeds and recycle and heat integration (upstream, downstream and parallel unit operations).  The periods of best operation can be used to as a goal to be possibly achieved by smarter instruments o[...]

Does industry have a death wish – connecting actuators directly to the Internet is not a good idea

Thu, 06 Jul 2017 14:23:00 -0400

Actuators, including motors and drives, control physical processes by monitoring sensors and adjusting pumps (motors), valves, fans, etc. When actuators don’t work as designed for malicious or unintentional reasons, equipment damage, injuries, and deaths can, and have been, a result. Consequently, connecting actuators directly to the Internet is not a good idea.

Alternative paths: faster routes available

Thu, 06 Jul 2017 11:35:00 -0400

There's a multiplying grab bag of software, hardware and support technologies that blaze the alternative trails for moving data from operations to decision-makers.