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What is a Control Freak? [Video]

If you have been around Vertech much, you have probably heard us refer to ourselves as Control Freaks. The name has been around for a few years now, and it really does effectively capture our passion for automation. We quite literally wear this passion on our shirt-sleeves, and our Control Freak t-shirts have become somewhat of a fashion statement in the industry (almost). So in case you have ever wondered what that term means, we put together this little video to provide an explanation.

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Understanding PID Loop Process Control

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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MES Essential Tool #8: Statistical Process Control

Wouldn’t it be nice if you had a crystal ball on your factory floor that would tell you exactly when a problem was about to happen? While, statistical process control (SPC) isn’t quite a crystal ball, when integrated as part of your organization’s quality assurance/quality control (QA/QC) process, it’s close.

A specialized form of data analytics, SPC software samples key production variables and compares those variables against known tolerances. In layman’s terms, this means SPC can give plant managers visibility into a possible problem, like a tool that is wearing out, before it turns into a big issue that causes downtime.

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MES Essential Tool #7: Production Scheduling

Electronic data integration across all departments and levels is the holy grail for the digital enterprise. Your grail quest will involve integrating production layer software tools as part of your manufacturing execution system (MES) strategy to optimize operations. Efficient plant floor production will be one battle fought along the way, but it’s an easy-to-obtain victory with the holy hand grenade of production scheduling software.

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The Best of the Best: Our Top 5 Blog Posts of 2019

Happy holidays to our fellow manufacturers, engineers, technicians, and managers! As the year comes to a close, it's the season to take some time to relax and reflect on the year. You’ve likely read many of our blog posts this year, but you may have missed a few – it's been a busy year! Never fear, we've rounded up our most popular blog posts from 2019. We hope that they'll bring you some holiday cheer, or at least provide some ideas and insights to use for a successful 2020.

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MES Essential Tool #6: Predictive Maintenance

Beyond the benefits of common MES tools like OEE and downtime tracking, additional efficiency can be gained in manufacturing operations through the implementation of a predictive maintenance program. Traditional maintenance programs often used time-based intervals for equipment maintenance, which usually means equipment is maintained more often than needed, resulting in unnecessary downtime and labor costs. Worse, every now and then, equipment fails before a scheduled maintenance interval, resulting in unplanned downtime and scrapped product. Instead, predictive maintenance helps determine maintenance intervals in the “Goldilocks zone”— not too early, not too late, but right when needed.

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MES Essential Tool #5: Track and Trace

For heavily regulated industries, such as food and pharmaceutical, manufacturing execution system (MES) tools can offer manufacturers a valuable level of insight into their processes. Using a track and trace system on top of your organization’s control system to monitor the progress of a product through the manufacturing process can provide a wealth of information to all users, from operators to managers.

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Vertech Recognized as Top Company to Work for in Arizona for Fourth Consecutive Year

As we celebrate our company’s 15th anniversary, we received the news this week that we have even more to celebrate—for the fourth consecutive year, Vertech is being recognized as a Top Company to Work for in Arizona!

This award is based on anonymous employee surveys and an external analysis of our benefits and culture. This recognition is a tribute to our entire team at Vertech as we work to consistently be a world-class provider of automation solutions and the employer of choice for the best and brightest talent.

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October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month

Today, cybersecurity is a pressing issue across all industries, ranging from individual devices being hacked to data breeches from the computer systems used in the financial industry to malware being placed on the industrial control systems (ICS) used by manufacturers. Thus, the Department of Homeland Security has declared October National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, which they describe as a collaborative effort between government and industry to raise awareness about the importance of cybersecurity and to ensure that all Americans have the resources they need to be safer and more secure online.

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Error Handling Techniques for Ignition SCADA Applications

Error handling is critical in any software development. When done correctly and with the user in mind, error handling makes it easier to operate a system correctly, lets users know when something has gone wrong (and ideally how to fix it), and makes your code easier to debug and maintain. In this blog, I’ll discuss the common error handling techniques for Ignition SCADA applications and key considerations to keep in mind to provide the best possible user experience.

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