Of key metrics and myth busting

The need for high-availability computing in mission critical applications and the need to understand how variable frequency drives (VFDs) really work are becoming increasingly important for manufacturers.

The cover story in this issue of AppliedAutomation focuses on industrial computers and the characteristics that differentiate them from their commercial-grade counterparts. In addition to explaining the various hardware failure modes, the author emphasizes the fundamentals of measuring reliability, serviceability, and availability—key metrics that are applicable to nearly every industrial system, regardless of configuration. The author wrote, “As mission critical applications become more commonplace, so will the need for high-availability computing.” The author also provides a timeline, which puts the evolution of industrial—and commercial—computing into context.

One would think that because variable frequency drives (VFDs) are so ubiquitous, everyone who works with them should understand their operation—and many do. However, there are still misconceptions about their abilities and designs. The other article in this issue addresses five common VFD myths and corrects misconceptions about VFDs’ proper usage. The author addresses assumptions associated with VFD output waveforms, VFD similarities and differences, how they affect power factor, limitations to operating speed, and input- versus output-current issues. As the author puts it, “Knowing the truth about VFD operation can simplify the selection process.”

This issue marks the beginning of the 10th year of AppliedAutomation. I am honored to have been involved with this supplement for most of that time. We have been fortunate to have had many automation industry leaders appear in these pages. CFE Media appreciates their contribution, as well as your support. As we eagerly anticipate the coming year (the August 2016 issue will mark the 10th anniversary of AppliedAutomation), we also look forward to many decades to come.

Automation Update