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Modernizing a Rockwell-Based Ultra-Pure Water Plant Control System

NXP Semiconductor was facing several issues with an aging control system for its ultra-pure water (UPW) plant in Chandler, AZ. The Allen-Bradley PLC-5 control systems were state of the art when installed in the late 1990s, but most of the components are now discontinued or deemed “active mature.” The two main problems NXP Semiconductor was facing with the system included:

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The Industrial Ethernet Book Features Vertech’s ICS Cyber Security Guide

This month, our ICS Cyber Security Survival Guide was featured in The Industrial Ethernet Book– the only internationally distributed journal dedicated to industrial Ethernet and wireless technologies. As the respected Internet of Things authority, The Industrial Ethernet Book is a trusted resource for forward-thinking plant manager and network administrators in manufacturing.

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4 Tips for Writing a Successful Automation Project RFQ

Why is it when you send out a request for quotation (RFQ) to potential vendors, you end with a stack of widely different prices and proposals that are about as comparable as apples and oranges? You’re probably not going to accept the highest bid with its extraneous add-ons, but if you choose the lowest bid, there’s a strong likelihood you’ll end up with multiple change orders after the project begins. What’s the secret to setting up your automation project for success right from the start?

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Counting the Cost of Manufacturing in the Cloud

According to the IDC market research firm, public cloud services and infrastructure are forecasted to become a $277 billion worldwide market by 2021, with discrete and process manufacturing as two of the top five industry consumers. Cloud computing is not just a passing trend. It’s a foundational technology that has the power to improve product quality, accelerate decision making, and cut costs – all scalable to your business’s needs.

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Cloudy with a Chance of Security

How to Securely Get Plant Data into an Azure Database Via a Site-to-Site VPN.

Data that is generated and resides in the plant can be extremely useful for the continued success of the company, but it often resides in a highly protected and regulated environment. Rather than pushing the information to a database on the enterprise network, many people are moving toward cloud-based data processing and analytics for greater accessibility and expandability. So how can we get the data out of that environment securely and allow the business to start further increasing the value of that data? 

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Three Consequences of Procrastinating a Control System Upgrade

Your production facility is an income-producing asset – this is where you get products to market and where profits are made or lost. Your control system is the brains of that asset, and it’s critically important to keep that brain as sharp and up-to-date as possible. Failing to give your control system much needed TLC over its lifetime will eventually come back to haunt you. Here are three potential consequences to consider.

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5 Techniques to Mitigate Risk During Your Control System Upgrade

Has maintaining your outdated control system become increasingly difficult, time consuming, and costly? It may be time for an upgrade. Control system upgrades come with some inherent risks of disruption and downtime, but there are steps you can take to mitigate as much risk as possible during the upgrade. Let’s briefly examine five common risk mitigation strategies our engineers at Vertech employ to help ensure a smooth migration.

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Understanding PID Loop Process Control - Part 1

PID control is one of the most commonly used closed-loop control mechanisms in industrial control systems. PID controllers work great when applied and configured correctly, and they are often viewed as a sort of magic box that can solve any process control problem. To successfully apply and tune these controllers, it is important to understand how they work, the math behind them, and the nuances of the specific implementation by various manufacturers. This post provides an intuitive look at how a PID works before getting into the math.

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Upgrading Wastewater Treatment Facility Process Control Systems

When it comes to upgrading systems that control the utilities we rely on, in addition to designing and developing reliable systems, strategic implementations need to be planned to avoid shutdowns and service interruptions. In this case, our client had two active wastewater treatment facilities running on aging Allen-Bradley SLC-500 PLCs and Wonderware InTouch. Another issue is that documentation did not exist for many of the existing control panels, and the client had no faith in the drawings they had.

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Balancing Code Standardization and Flexibility in PLC Programming

If your systems work differently from plant to plant or machine to machine, you have experienced the downside of a lack of standardization. PLC programming standards are a great tool to ensure that functionality and operator experience are identical within your organization. This reduces training time and prevents costly mistakes. This is a custom world, though, and systems tend to be “the same except.” How do you maintain the benefits of standardized code while remaining flexible enough to handle inevitable equipment differences?

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