Achilles Certification

It wouldn’t be right for us to recommend our clients validate their control and automation systems and keep them up to date while not ‘practicing what we pre...

Batch Systems

Automation systems used to control batch processes typically feature a ‘Batch Engine’. This software is commonly seen in industries like fine chemicals and p...

Control System Validation Explained

As companies continue adopting technology to increase efficiency and automate complex operational processes, external factors exert pressure on capital and o...

Towards absolute reliability

Whatever the sector, the industry, the process, the machine, the component, things will go wrong. Component failures cause machine downtime, processes get in...

Front-End Engineering Design (FEED)

An early but crucial stage of project development. The FEED is a comprehensive analysis and planning process which helps define the scope, requirements, and ...

Hit that 'Save' button

We all fall short of this in some manner. I would love to take you down memory lane to bring your thought closer to the adverse effect of not saving your wor...

SCADA

SCADA systems are used to collect process data, display plant status information, and provide users with control over automated processes. SCADA systems are ...

Unified Namespace

A unified namespace is intended to be the ‘single source of truth’ for an organisation’s production data and is a key component of network architectures whic...

Will it work?

I went to visit Sally down at Sale the other day, we had a good conversation over a “cuppa tea”. Just as I was about to set up and leave Sally informed me sh...

What's the diagnosis?

We have four cars in our household and three of them are more than 10 years old. They all have engine management lights showing. The trouble is, the engine m...

Give your manufacturing business an MOT

It’s a statutory requirement that once your car is over 3 years old it be MOT’d every year. This ensures it is both safe and not hurling huge levels of emiss...

Who owns your automation software?

The ‘rent or buy’ concept is not a new one. It’s the difference between buying software on a perpetual or subscription basis:

Process Historians

Process historians have been used for decades in automated industries to keep a historical record of process conditions.They collect, organise and store time...

How to reduce energy consumption

The cost of energy has increased rapidly. Manufacturing businesses can be particularly affected, especially those put off by the capital intensive nature of ...

Improving Your Automation System

The below quote, often attributed to Einstein, suggests whatever got us to where we are now can’t take us to where we want to be. This can definitely be said...

Programmable Logic Controllers

Programmable Logic Controllers are widely used to automate, control and monitor all manner of equipment and proceses. PLCs are available for installation in ...

How to enjoy Christmas

While I’m sure some reading this will be working during the holiday period almost everyone will enjoy at least a few days off during the next week.

Computer System Validation - a process

It’s quite a while now since I was first involved with Computer System Validation (CSV). It was around 1994 if I recall correctly and it was during a large p...

Is your DMZ a no man's land?

Organisations continue to digitise. Whether intentionally via planned projects with dedicated budgets and resources, or unintentionally as suppliers embed re...

Should you replace your DCS with PLC-SCADA?

For decades owners of large, complex, continuous and batch processes have relied on Distributed Control Systems (DCS) to control their plants. This technolog...

Waking up your data

We live in an ever more competitive age where increasing the capability of our assets is becoming more and more important. However, we rarely think in terms ...

Quantum Leap Technologies

Even if you can’t recall exactly where you were when you heard the news of the Gulf of Mexico Deepwater Horizon disaster, it’s likely that you will remember ...

Much ado about heating

There is much debate on the efficacy of heat pumps for domestic heating, but heat pumps alone are not the answer. There are a number of technologies in the h...

Get to know Richard Banyard

Richard Banyard took a typical route into engineering, studying control and automation at Sheffield before enrolling onto ABB’s graduate scheme. During his 1...

Maximise your ROI from technology projects

There are several pitfalls I see affecting technology projects time and time again. To help clients avoid them I’ve written a lot about the common problems I...

Tennants Fine Chemicals

Tennants Fine Chemicals Ltd supplies a global customer base with around 24,000 tonnes of chemicals a year from Leek, Staffordshire, plus seven other sites ac...

Don't know where to start? Try the basics

Often in life, getting the simple things right is key to success. For example, when we're feeling overworked, overcommitted and overwhelmed it can be hard to...

Support available for ABB System 800xA

800xA is the world's leading* distributed control system (DCS). However its power and flexibility come with a cost. It's not known as the easiest system to w...

Using data to inform maintenance

How you use data analysis to inform maintenance activity can have a huge impact on the efficiency of your operations. It may never be possible to eliminate t...

Are you a grandmaster or a centaur?

May 1997 was a turning point in the world of chess. Garry Kasparov, chess grandmaster and world-champion at the time, was beaten by IBM’s Deep Blue 2.5 - 3.5...

Are you choosing to drive blind?

It sounds like madness, but I believe many manufacturers are doing just this. Imagine you've bought a new car but the dashboard was an optional extra, you sp...

Transferring is the worst

You’ll know the scenario. I’m in France at the moment, but had a similar experience before Christmas in Ireland. It happens when I need to travel between unf...

ATT&CK!

The MITRE ATT&CK® knowledge base for ICS is now publicly available. If you've not got time to check it out now, at least click on this link and bookm...

Windows 7 end of life announcement

In case you've missed it, Microsoft support for Windows 7 and Server 2008 ends on 14th Jan 2020. Here's the links to Microsoft's statements on the matter: ht...

New interfaces for old machines

30 years of battering by operators takes its toll on any system, even one as robust as Emerson’s RS3. When the trackball for a legacy control console no long...

Support available for Emerson RS3

The Rosemount System 3 (RS3) DCS can still be found controlling a variety of industrial processes today, after first being installed in 1984. If you're still...

A humble PLC saves the day

We recently had a request for some legacy control boards needed to run a refrigeration system's compressors. They were critical components in the motor-start...

Benefits of virtualisation

Virtualisation (or virtualization to the rest of the world) is widespread within IT and quickly being adopted for OT systems. The technology has proven relia...

It's a wide spectrum

Manufacturing in all sectors is carried out on a diversity of machines that all have one thing in common; at some time, some critical component will need to ...

ISO 9001 certification transferred to BSI

We've transferred our quality management system's ISO 9001 certification to BSI, who will be auditing us in the future. So have a new certification badge: O...

Tempting isn't it?

Everything's running well, it has been for some time. In fact your control systems have worked for years. Why risk loading an update? It carries some risk an...

Open technology

At Op-tec we've always been passionate about using open technology. We believe basing your control architecture on open technology gives numerous benefits, a...

If it ain't broke don't fix it?

Recently, a PLC controlled heating system failed, causing the product to go over temperature resulting in substantial consequential losses.

IIoT and Industry 4.0 Explained

Recently, I spoke to the Food and Drink Engineering & Processing Summit about IIoT and Industry 4.0. I wanted to explain the meaning of these terms, and ...

Op-tec's main office has moved to Stockport

We've moved! Things were getting a little tight where we were, and with customers throughout the UK locating ourselves more centrally makes sense as we conti...

Different control system types

We often get asked the difference between DCS and PLC/SCADA-based systems, and where PACs come in to it. So here's an attempt to clear things up. History DCS...

Op-tec achieves ISO 9001

After many years of operating with a compliant Quality Management System, we have now committed to regular external audits against the latest standard. This ...

Time to upgrade?

We all have a favourite t-shirt, sweater, pair of jeans or trainers that have stood the test of time - in our own eyes at least. Comfortable, dependable and ...