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5 Practical Steps for Successful IT/OT Convergence

In today’s manufacturing world, businesses are rapidly adapting smart manufacturing and Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) technology that amass valuable data from all aspects of the organization for faster, smarter decision making. According to the Industrial Ethernet Book, “by 2020 there will be an estimated 20.8 billion devices in the IoT, and more than 30 billion devices will be wireless connected.” However, this digital transformation also means that the line between information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT) is blurring more and more with every passing every year.

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Understanding PID Loop Process Control – Part 2

Part 1 of this series introduced the concepts of Proportional (P), Integral (I), and Derivative (D) terms in a PID loop to automatically control a process so that it can react to unforeseen changes. The changes can be either in the Process Variable (PV) or Setpoint (SP) and it is brought under control by altering the Control Variable (CV). In this blog post we will explore the role played by each term using simplified examples and basic arithmetic.

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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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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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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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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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