I can’t believe we’ve reached the end of August. Kids are in school, soccer is in full swing, and I’m preparing for a very busy fall.

I must have tried a dozen times this weekend to upload this video to YouTube. AW crew got it up there faster than usual, though. Four ways to avoid manufacturing decline.

You can listen to the podcast version here or by clicking the link at the bottom of the post.

Emerson Global Users Exchange 2010 is rapidly approaching. Jim Cahill is beginning to highlight some interesting papers that will be presented. Three tough level control challenges  and Analysis of Automation System Modernization Alternatives.

Alright, all you inventive engineers. Here’s a project for you. Airborne electricity is ripe for the picking.

Here’s a Brief Guide to Life from Leo at Zen Habits. Very true. I practice most. Learning to do the others.

Speaking of life hacks, here’s one for soccer referees, parents, coaches–and all the rest of you. How to Keep Your Cool.

Thanks to Carl Henning at the Profiblog, found a new industry blog, GridConnect.

The Manufacturing Enterprise Solutions Association (MESA) International today released Harnessing the Power of Metrics to Diagnose and Solve Business Problems, a white paper that illustrates a systematic approach for achieving the measurable business results demanded by enterprise managers.  MESA has leveraged the extensive experience of its membership to develop both a conceptual framework and real-world best practices that enable manufacturers to achieve—and demonstrate–performance improvement.

“Management often demands that operating groups or plant managers demonstrate performance improvements in terms of business improvements,” says Steve Kaplan, Global MES Administrator for Murata Power Solutions and MESA Metrics Working Group Co-Leader.  “There are so many nuances to the process of diagnosing and solving problems.  For example, a supplier might think its shipping process is running smoothly when it is really triggering customer problems.  Mutual supplier/customer metrics’ analysis can enable corrective action.  The team that assembled this paper provides a range of real-world examples like this and identifies common best practices for addressing such issues.”

The paper is available now for MESA Members to download.

I heard about this technology and product on my recent trip to Minneapolis. Usually automation suppliers talk about making solar panels. Here’s a different take, a solar position algorithm library.
Beckhoff Automation has released the TwinCat Solar Position Algorithm library. This function block permits the exact calculation of sun angles anywhere in the world at any time, without the use of sensors.
This block is designed for parabolic mirror and photovoltaic systems as well as for other solar power plant designs that automatically track the sun’s position for optimum utilization of the sun’s rays. The control algorithm, which calculates the zenith and azimuth angles of the sun with an impressive precision of ±0.001°, can also be used for other applications such as in building automation or with wind turbines for shadow flicker calculations.

The ISA100 Wireless Compliance Institute (WCI) has announced certifications of six ISA100.11a wireless devices as conducted for WCI by National Technical Systems, Inc. (NTS). I presume these tests are relative to the ISA-adopted (but not ANSI) 100.11a standard that is currently being re-worked by the committee.

ISA100.11a wireless devices that have completed certification include:
XYR 6000 Pressure Transmitters (Gauge, Absolute and Differential Pressure); Models STWA94L, STDW924/930/974, STGW944/94L/974/97L/98L
XYR 6000 Universal IO Transmitter; Model STUW700/701
XYR 6000 Temperature Transmitter with Digital Input Transmitter; Model STTW401
XYR 6000 Temperature Transmitter; Model STTW400
XYR 6000 Multiple Digital Input Transmitter; Model STXW500

EJX B Series Differential Pressure and Pressure Transmitters

ABB has introduced an integrated PLC and robot controller for robot cell applications, offering powerful performance in a single unit. Combining ABB’s flexible AC500 PLC with its IRC5 robot controller, the newly integrated unit eliminates the cost and space of a separate PLC cabinet and greatly reduces the time associated with the set-up and operation of robotic production cells.

Rockwell Automation announced that it has announced an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Integration Gateway application that allows plants to exchange transactions and execute business processes across plant-floor and business systems, in real-time. Typical types of information include quality, order planning and scheduling, as well as accounting of production costs and material usage.

The ERP Integration Gateway is delivered on the Rockwell Software manufacturing services bus, a key component of the Rockwell Software manufacturing operations platform. The manufacturing services bus provides a service-oriented architecture (SOA) framework for messaging between applications that is said to be secure, robust, scalable and highly available.

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