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...

String Selection from Binary Input

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Do you have a machine that you need to get data from? And do you need to send that data to another device but the machine lacks networking capabilities? In this article I'll show how to get data a your...

How to Download and Upload Mitsubishi PLC Programs using GX Works3

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In this walk-thru we'll look at downloading and uploading to Mitsubishi FX5 and iQ-R controllers. The same setup was used in the previous Mitsubishi PLC series which includes the preceding (pre-requisite) document with step-by-step on how to connect. Like any other...

The Move from Analog to Digital Control Systems

As we entered the twentieth century, the invention of electricity created previously unknown possibilities to modern technology. Generators and the utility industries began to light city streets as well as homes. On/Off controls were installed in manufacturing facilities and production...

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 ...

Getting CIP Data from your Stratix Switch

Have you ever used or thought of using your HMI as a network monitoring tool? What if your HMI system was used for more than just an operational tool? What if it can also help you, as a control system...

Converting Equipment from PC-Based to PLC-Based Control

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My company was provided an OEM label printer and applicator machine that was being controlled by five Arduino PC boards. They were asked to provide a PLC control system, however, they insisted that they needed to use this controls architecture...

Controls and Automation Safety

Thinking back over my last twenty years in manufacturing, I can recall several lessons and “wake up” calls that helped me mature in my personal attitude towards safety. Yes, if you mentioned safety to me when I was twenty years...

Troubleshooting 101: Not always what you think, but how you think

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Not many people spend their entire career in one place or the same position. As you move up and on to different positions and other seemingly brighter opportunities, as most do for much of their career growth, the ability to...

Using The 1783-NATR To Bridge Networks

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With small control teams managing already large and increasingly growing control systems, an opportunity that I have encountered is the need to remotely access programmable logic controllers for various reasons, including troubleshooting as well as performing administration tasks. Often, the...