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The Realities of Project Management: The Project Czar

In 1975, computer architect Fred Brooks published a series of essays on software engineering and project management called “The Mythical Man-Month”.  These cautionary tales and inevitable realities not only stand the test of time, but also can crossover to...

Keeping Check On Control System Health

As you and I travel the roadways each day, we cross paths with many other people traveling to their destinations in automobiles of all kinds. We notice some vehicles are well taken care, while others are not so well taken...

Becoming Self Sufficient: Taking Ownership of your Control Systems

There are many challenges to having the right technical people on staff to be able to support complex control systems. And there are often times where these technical people (automation engineers, electronic techs, maintenance electricians) get handed something and are...

The Realities of Project Management: The Second Effort

In 1975, computer architect Fred Brooks published a series of essays on software engineering and project management called “The Mythical Man-Month.” These cautionary tales and inevitable realities not only stand the test of time, but also can crossover to many...

Evaluating your Control System Failure to Recovery Methods

If your control system failure experiences are anything like mine, most of them haven't occur on weekday mornings when it's convenient for you and your team to evaluate how good your recovery procedures are. Instead, they're more likely to occur...

Safety Instrumented Systems vs Basic Process Control Systems

Most industrial processes incorporate Safety Instrumented Systems (SIS) and Basic Process Control Systems (BPCS) in their operations. This article compares the features of each system. SIS and BPCS Compared A Safety Instrumented Systems (SIS) function is to monitor and maintain process...

The Realities of Project Management: You Can’t Always Do It Faster

In 1975, computer architect Fred Brooks published a series of essays on software engineering and project management called “The Mythical Man-Month”. These cautionary tales and inevitable realities not only stand the test of time, but also can crossover to many...

Leaving Your Legacy Control Equipment

Some will argue that there's no reason to remove part of a control system that today is running as good as it has for the last twenty years (or longer.) Especially when that legacy hardware has been as durable as...

Getting A-B PLC Data Into A Raspberry Pi

In my last article I discussed why you might want connect your PLC to a IoT device like a Raspberry Pi, as well as the software we use to accomplish this connection with A-B PLCs (Node-Red with the free...

Common Causes of PLC Failures, and the Solutions

In today's article, I cover some of the most common causes of PLC failures, as well as solutions to avoid them. Input/Output Modules and Field Devices I/O failures can be caused by: Error in the PLC configuration Slacked (loose) terminal blocks ...

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