Integrating an HMI Into Existing Control Systems

What are some considerations and challenges when integrating an HMI into an existing control system? Let’s dive into the benefits and challenges. In the broadest definition, an HMI, or human-machine interface, is a hardware device that runs software, making it possible for humans to interact with a machine. In the automation and industrial contexts, an … Read more

An Overview of Sequential Function Chart (SFC) Programming

Sequential Function Chart (SFC) is a graphical programming language among the languages identified by IEC 61131-3 standard for PLC programming. SFCs are not text-based programming languages, but rather visual programming languages, similar to the flow charts for computer science algorithms.  SFCs are commonly used and easier to represent in scenarios where there are multiple states … Read more

Process vs. Discrete Manufacturing

What are the similarities and differences between process and discrete manufacturing, and how can control engineers best equip themselves for these processes? To characterize is human. With the myriad of industries and manufacturing facilities in the world, and new ones being developed each year, it is useful to characterize them. This way, common problems can … Read more

Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems (ASRS) Unpacked

Learn what an automated storage and retrieval system (ASRS) is and how the technology has advanced over the years. Who Created Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems (ASRS) The first ASRS was designed and built by the company Demag, the predecessor of the automation giant Dematic in the 1950s. Before it, warehousing was a time-consuming task … Read more

Genetic Operators in Evolutionary Algorithms

Learn about genetic operators and their role in future genetic algorithms for automation. Welcome to Control Automation's series on genetic programming. You can check out the rest of the series below.  An Introduction to Genetic Programming: A System That Programs Itself? Genetic Operators in Evolutionary Algorithms (you are here) Genetic Algorithm Examples: Evolving a Sorting Program and Symbolic … Read more

Analysis Tools for Air Quality Measurement

Air quality measurement monitoring systems incorporate both hardware and software. This article discusses the key parts that go into these systems and discusses how they work. The analytics for air quality measurements are provided by monitoring air quality and storing data for different quality requirements. It performs the automated analysis depending on the different threshold and … Read more

How-To: Programming with IO-Link Devices

Advanced features such as programmable limits, diagnostics, and remote configuration are available with IO-Link devices. Learn how to connect an example IO-Link block into an actual PLC project. Figure 1. Examples of IO-Link blocks with Ethernet, PROFINET, and other Fieldbus interfaces. Image used courtesy of Balluff   Within any automated machine, sensors detect and measure … Read more

Designing and Planning Existing Control System Upgrades

After understanding how to select the right control system, learn how to design and plan control system retrofits. Once the decision has been made to replace or retrofit your plant's or facility's control system, it's time to start a crucial part of the process: designing and planning. This stage must be completed diligently and methodically, as … Read more