Author Archives: Frank Burger

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UPGRADING: Ride the (PLC) Five No More

Once upon a time in the 1970s, when Controls Engineers rode brontosauruses to work each day, the only way to automate a control system was to fill a medium-sized room with relays, wires, and a whiff of desperation.
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UPGRADING: Getting Swamped by the Obsolescence Wave? Tech Tips for Keeping your Ship Afloat

Most manufacturers and utilities with an established base of vintage PLC systems have either started chipping away at modernization or nearing that phase. These projects can seem simple – after all, they won’t be touching the field devices or processing equipment, and there’s no change to operation. You think that all that you need to do is swap in new PLC hardware in accordance with the manufacturer’s guidelines and convert the program, but there’s more to the story.
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Building a Digital Knowledge Infrastructure

We’ve been hearing for a while about the growing experience gap that manufacturers face, as the longest-tenured operations experts claim their gold pocket watches and head off into the sunset. This is true for engineers, technicians, and operators who represent a trifecta of wisdom that manufacturing companies will be hard pressed to replace.
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Continued Learning Part 2 – Enter the MOOC

MOOC is a term that’s still new for a lot of people, though the concept of online learning is certainly well established. A MOOC is a Massive Open Online Course, although the term is sometimes also applied to the platforms and companies that offer them. It’s all right there in the name – these are courses designed for a potentially unlimited number of students, available to anyone, via the web.
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Building a Culture of Continuous Learning – Part 1

Over the years, whenever a conversation would turn to topics like continuing education, I would always get a chuckle in response to my standard answer: “The most important thing I learned in school is never to go back.” Looking back, it wasn’t terribly funny, and the laughs were probably just polite.
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