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April 10, 2014 | By Renee R. Bassett
An Analysis of Ethernet/IP vs. EtherCAT
Real-time communications are essential in industrial Ethernet applications. A paper evaluates two protocols as possible solutions for real-time control of an electrostatic precipitator.

The real-time communications capability of industrial Ethernet is a hot topic. It will be a key component of the Industrial Safety Network panel discussion being held on the first day of The Automation Conference 2014, in Chicago May 20-21. There, Joey Stubbs, PE, North American representative of the EtherCAT Technology Group, Gregory Richards, system engineer for Siemens Industry, Inc.

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March 27, 2014 | By Renee R. Bassett
Brains Brewery upgraded of its yeast-handling control process to a Rockwell Automation CompactLogix system and Ethernet connectivity. Source: Prosoft Technology
Remote I/O-to-Ethernet gateway enables easy replacement of 27-year-old PLCs for a Wales brewery upgrading its yeast-handling control process.

One of the prominent beers in Great Britain is SA, manufactured by Brains Brewery in Cardiff, Wales. SA recently celebrated its 50th anniversary, and the company decided it was time to upgrade its overall yeast-handling control process. The brewery had been making beer for more than 130 years, and had been controlling its yeast-handling process with Rockwell Automation PLC2 controllers for the last 27 of those years.

Given how important yeast is to beer, Brains postponed the upgrade until after the busy Christmas season and sought every way possible to minimize the downtime needed for the upgrade.

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March 19, 2014 | By Renee R. Bassett
Sensors enable clear object detection. Source: Banner
One trend in packaging machine design is to move from tool-less changeovers to automated changeovers, reducing the complexity and downtime related to product variation. Sensors of various types enable the automation.

Automation World regular contributor Keith Campbell said in a blog post recently, “Most Consumer Packaged Goods companies don’t think of themselves as manufacturers  In the executive suite, they think of themselves as clever marketing companies with valuable brand equities.” But those CPG employees on the plant floor and in the engineering departments know that their companies are major manufacturers, part of the broader hybrid manufacturing segment (distinct from discrete/metalworking manufacturers and proce

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March 19, 2014 | By Renee R. Bassett
Banner's IVu  is a vision sensor that can identify mislabeling.
Non-rigid packaging handling, quality control and track-and-trace applications are being improved by advances in sensor technology. Here’s how.

Packaging machine builders are meeting the needs of their CPG manufacturing customers for smarter, more flexible packaging machines by incorporating improved sensing and communication technology.

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Uflex Ltd believes that flexible packaging is one of the main ingredients of the food and beverage industry owing to its dynamic structure and nature. Many innovations which have become a part of the FMCG industry are products of the flexible packaging industry. Apart from that, top of the line designs and recyclable plastics have been the company’s bastion for last many years. Uflex products are designed keeping in mind the changing market trends and consumer needs and specifications.
February 19, 2014 | By Renee Robbins Bassett
Fast-growing industries like oil and gas and mining are capturing skilled engineering resources by paying higher rates. What must food and beverage plants or small machine builders do to find the qualified engineers, operators and technicians they need? 2014 may require new strategies.
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