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Controls Engineering Automation

Julia Grant

As controls engineers you know that our lives are based on logic, not “cutting” metal or other materials.  We specify components based on the task at hand, company or customer standards, as well as a host of other factors.  Given that supposition it only makes sense that by automating the design and drafting tasks as well as providing data to shop personnel, purchasing, and customers, we can become the most efficient part of our organizations.

The shame is that most of us don’t use the tools that are readily available.  Sure, we use AutoCAD and perhaps even AutoCAD Electrical, but are you using all of the tools and workflows that make us the best?  Most of us would rather design, program and debug (I know, there is never, ever an issue upon build) then draft, enter information into spreadsheets, and produce wire labels and device tags.

There are several barriers to becoming best in class.  First, we do not get to do “sexy” 3D models, just “boring” schematics.  Second, we have always used our own blocks, tool palettes and we get stuck in our ways.  Third, we ALWAYS get the job done so it’s difficult to get the time and funding necessary to move ahead of our competition.  And last but not least is that most people don’t speak our “language”, they are just schematics…right?

The world of automation is rapidly changing with the introduction of “smart valves”, new PLC technology and distributed control systems.  We need to not only keep up with that technology but also produce schematics and panel layouts that can be wired, debugged, shipped and work to their specified intent.

At Hagerman, we have a commitment to assist in all aspects of controls design.  From tying together, the various aspects of schematics whether you start with a P&ID or PFD, move to electrical schematics, single line diagrams and the like and then link those to hydraulics and pneumatics as well as produce the physical panels, junction boxes, manifolds that allow electricians and plumbers to build.

Some of the capabilities that make us unique in the market is the ability to understand your workflows and requirement and put together an implementation plan to give you the ROI necessary to justify your organization’s time and money to take on this project.

Over the next few months, we’ll explore the various aspects and topics that concern us as well as provide some pretty awesome tips and tricks.  If you have ideas, let us know!  We “Sparky’s” have to stick together!!