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Design Insights: The Value of Gaining Control; Practical PLCs; WISE—and Hows

April 19, 2021
A review of the day’s top trending stories from Machine Design editors.

The Value of Gaining Control

Control systems are the backbone of a modern automated manufacturing plant, but their longer-term value lies not just in the moment-to-moment control, but in the deeper evaluation of how systems actually operate.

A Machine Design story this week discusses line control and notes there is a greater need for machines to work in coordination. “Typical manufacturing production lines consist of many islands of automation—equipment for material handling, assembly, packaging and more—which work well in a very localized sense but may not communicate much or at all with each other for better holistic visibility,” the article notes. “Operators lack clarity into how all the pieces relate. Basic coordinated control at a production line level, sometimes called connected automation, is a better solution and is often the reality for more sophisticated sites.”

Practical PLCs

The Practical Guide to Programmable Logic Controllers Handbook has been improved with tons of new need-to-know info, making it a more comprehensive guide to the world of PLCs. Besides covering the basics of PLC history, PLC hardware and PLC software, this guide takes you deeper into the ever-changing world of PLC communication, the importance of feedback loops, cybersecurity and many other areas that are a must-know for any PLC novice or seasoned automation professional.

It's now available for download here.

WISE—and Hows

The initiative for a more inclusive workplace will require greater resolve on the part of employers, but also an understanding of the skills needed to make an impact on the workplace. For women in manufacturing, that will mean gaining the knowledge needed to compete for jobs in a modern operation.

Florence Verzelen, EVP for industry, marketing, global affairs and workforce of the future at Dassault Systèmes, gave a presentation at Hannover Messe last week that provided valuable insights for women seeking careers in a male-dominated industry. “Getting skills in artificial intelligence and digital transition is extremely important to ensure women play a meaningful role in building and shipping the digital world of tomorrow,” she said.

Machine Design’s Women in Science & Engineering (WISE) initiative focuses on the challenges facing women in industry while highlighting the success of women such as Verzelen.

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