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Listening – An Engineer’s Greatest Skill

PLCs, HMIs, and SCADA Systems are all great tools. On their own, each has plenty to offer. PLCs have massive sets of I/O and specialty cards, support large memory formats with advanced features for the most demanding control applications. SCADA systems and HMIs have a dizzying array of finely developed 3D objects, clean high-performance graphics, advanced trend and alarm objects, and slick new navigational methods. You can hardly go wrong selecting products from any of the major players: Rockwell, AVEVA, Schneider, Siemens, and GE, not to mention several lesser-known names. And while chock full of all that there is to technically offer, typically a system’s success hinges not on the tool themselves, but on the skills the operations teams possess and how they use each tool. In fact, your most important tool might be your listening skills!
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How to Develop the Next Generation of Engineers

Children are natural engineers. They love building and taking things apart. Their innate curiosity about the world around them creates the perfect opportunity to introduce and explore what it is that engineers do.
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Working From Home: The Current Reality

Notice, I didn’t call it the “New Normal.” The COVID 19 pandemic has caused disruptions and challenges that no one ever could have predicted. For the past 8 months (yes that’s right, it’s been nearly 8 long months since the world was turned upside down), adaptability has proven to be, perhaps, the most essential skill of all. Out of necessity, most workers have transitioned to working from home. This has forced both companies and employees to adapt and adjust quickly.
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Defense Against the Dark (PID Tuning) Arts

Sometimes it can feel like PID tuning is a cross between engineering, mathematics and the Dark Arts. There are some definitive engineering and mathematical steps to take when tuning a loop (for the first time or for the ninetieth), but there is also a lot to be said for experience and understanding how to tweak things based on the loop makeup and response you are seeing.
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Obsolescence: The Journey of Reviving an Un-Commented Code

What do you do, when your scope of work for a project is to re-write an old PLC code in a newer software version, but there is a major roadblock holding you back? This is the position I recently found myself in. The code I was given had no routine names, no tag labels, and no rung comments!
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