November 2008

Automation by the Numbers


Diesel engines are becoming popular in the U.S. now that the technology to make them compliant with the very tight North American emission regulations is available. Why? Because diesels have better fuel-economy numbers than gasoline engines. Diesels are more powerful and have about 50% more torque. Thus, one can drive the same way with a smaller engine. A three-liter diesel engine in an SUV like the Audi Q7 would require a gasoline engine with a displacement of 4.5 or five liters to operate at a comparable level. Diesels have a roughly 50% share in Europe.


IBM invented the first hard drive 50 years ago. It weighed more than 1,000 lbs, cost $250,000 per year to lease, and had 5 MB of storage  capacity. Today, one can get a 500 GB hard drive, which is 100,000 times the memory  of that IBM model, for less  than $100.


One of the most common circuits you will find in contemporary process control is the two-wire loop. It earned its name because two wires come out of the device, and the power and the signal are on the same wire.



After evaluating a record 760 review comments from industry experts, the ISA18 standards committee on Instrument Signals and Alarms plans one final review cycle prior to submitting draft ISA-18.00.02 for committee ballot by the end of the year. "The processes and practices in this lifecycle approach to alarm management will benefit any process plant," said co-chair Nick Sands of DuPont.