Newsletter Issue # 9

Real Time Automation's - Best Darn Newsletter 

Living a Really Great Life... Final Thoughts on 2012
What's Next for Automation?
Fun Facts and Trivia

Free RTA yo-yo this month only!

Email your name and address to: jladd@rta- by December 15th to claim your steal of the month.

Tag Fragmentation
"DeviceNet is Dead" - Revisited 10 Year Later
PLC's and Printers
Loose & Tight Systems

2012 Fundraiser - RTA Takes the Plunge!

It’s that time of year again when we donate a portion of our sales to a worthy cause. This year 5% of our gateway sales for one month of will be donated, only we’ve added a little twist. Our donation will be divided up between all of our employees, who get to chose whatever charity they’d like their portion to support. BUT their portion will ONLY be donated IF they do the Polar Bear Plunge into the icy waters of Lake Michigan on New Years Day. The average high in January around here is about 29°F, which doesn’t even take into account wind chill or water temperatures, which average right around miserable that time of year. This will not be a leisurely swim! Help make sure your favorite RTA employee takes the plunge by purchasing any gateway product between November 23rd to Decemer 21st. There will be lots of pictures along with results and which charities chosen, so make sure to check our next newsletter to see how it goes!

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Living a Really Great Life... Final Thoughts on 2012

A Column of personal opinion by John Rinaldi, Founder and Owner of Real Time Automation.

It’s the end of another year and this is our final issue of 2012. This is one of the best things I get to do all year - write articles that aren’t about things like Profibus, EtherNet/IP or some other technology. It’s a real joy.

Since 2012 is coming to an end, I’ve already started thinking about everything that’s happened this year. It was a pretty exceptional year for me. One that I will remember for a long, long time. Here’s a few highlights:

· I lost weight! After years and years of growing waistlines I dropped two pants sizes. A sales guy at  Nordstrom shamed me into it by saying “Boy, I don’t know if we have anything that big.”

· I shaved my mustache and goatee – I’ll do anything to lose weight. It was scraggly and old. It needed to go. I am now completely sans hair – not entirely by choice.

· By the time you read this I will have seen Hawaii. I am scheduled to be there for two weeks in early December.

· I had great vacations to Florence Italy, Nashville TN and Clearwater FL.

· Business was good. Sales will be up significantly again for the 3rd or 4th year in a row. I had fun. We added some terrific new people to our staff and I finished another book. It’s on relationships and women for men. Don’t ask me how I got started on that project.

Of course, not everything went my way. I had my share of sadness and tragedies. I had a significant personal tragedy on July 11 at 2:30pm. A date and time I’ll never be able to forget. I also lost some good friends this year. Jeff Bock, a good guy from Freescale Semiconductors, laid down on his couch one night this year and never rose. 39 is much too young to die. Shocking to everyone who knew him.

The sadness and tragedies of 2012 got me to thinking about how I want to live to have a really great life. I am sure that each of you has your own list but I wrote down the things that are important to me and I’d like to share them with you:

LIVE FIT AND HEALTHY - No one can be truly happy when living in ill-health. You can’t fully enjoy life, your children and grandchildren, a sunset, a walk on the beach or anything else from a hospital room or in hospice care.

LIVE LIFE INDEPENDENT AND FREE - Too many of us live those lives of quiet desperation. Live in mediocrity. Some of us work at jobs we hate. Some of us have married the girl we just happened to be dating when it was time to get married. We’ve stopped dreaming and now are just playing out the string. THAT’S NOT HOW TO LIVE. You have to take chances. Live without fear. Approach and date the most amazing people you can find. Take on the really complex, difficult projects at work. Start your own business. Sky dive. See New Zealand. Bike around Hawaii. LIVE LIKE YOU ONLY HAVE ONE CHANCE AT LIFE.

MASTER YOUR EMOTIONS - No one can be successful in the world or in a relationship without mastery of their emotions. This concept deserves a book of its own. You have to be in control and have confidence that you know you can handle anything that life throws at you. And it will. You’ll get sick. Your business partner will die suddenly. Your spouse will leave you. Your child will be in a terrible car accident. Your company will go out of business. Life is going to throw curve balls at your head and sometimes hit you pretty hard. You have to keep your head about you, handle it and move forward.

YOUR MISSION IS PRIMARY – I’ve been thinking of this a lot. I have come to believe that everyone has a mission in life. A reason we are on this planet.  I think our core purpose may differ when it comes to men and women, but we can never be happy until we know what our mission is and that we are working to complete it.

LIVE LIFE ON THE EDGE - This principle is very easy to implement. If you fear it, you have to do it. If you fear starting a business – start one. If you’re single and you fear attracting, seducing and building a relationship with that attractive person at the health club – ask for a date today. Think about what and where your fears lie and take one step beyond them. Fear is our number one enemy. Never, ever make decisions or act out of fear.

BE A LEADER – Be the one that everyone depends on. Be the person who gets the difficult work assignments because everyone knows you’ll handle it. Lead the Building committee at your parish or synagogue. Lead your family. What this really means is to take real, conscious responsibility for your life and the lives of the people that are dependent on you.

BE DECISIVE – You aren’t always going to make correct decisions but make decisions and stand by them. If they are wrong, learn from them and move on. Listen to those around you, but in the end make your own decision, stand by it and accept the responsibility for it. That’s what a leader does, and it’s an attractive quality.

BE CONSCIOUS – Be present in the moment. This is hard for me and has been even harder in 2012. When you’re at work, be at work and fully conscious of your work. When at home, be fully conscious with your spouse and your family. No cheating on this.

LIVE LIFE WITH INTEGRITY – Live by your commitments. No lies, deceptions or half-truths. Say what you are going to do. Do what you say. Once you make a commitment be 100% loyal and faithful to it. If you can’t do that then don’t make the commitment.

KEEP A CLOSE CIRCLE OF FRIENDS – No one can have hundreds of friends. Friends on Facebook are a joke. There are two important aspects to friends. One, you need to find friends that are living the kind of life you are living or, preferably, a better life. You should be able to take some value from each person. Two, once you have them in your small inner circle, you have to be absolutely loyal, caring and supportive of them. You have to know that if something bad happens, you have friends that will be there and do anything they can to help.

I don’t think you can live a great life unless you know what you value. These are the values that I am choosing to live by in 2013. Can I do it? It’s going to be hard. I have a real problem implementing some of these things. I am imperfect and have a lot of work to do.

Someone asked me where FUN is in this list. I looked at it and said it’s not in there. But then I thought again. If I take on difficult projects and succeed, that’ll be fun. If I face my fears and conquer them I’ll have fun (I’m scared to death of riding in a helicopter, for example, but will probably enjoy it).  If I’m a better friend, if I’m more conscious with my family and I’m living independent and free – how can that not be fun?

I turned 56 years old in 2012. That means I already have 17 years on Jeff Bock. I might have 10 minutes more. I might have 40 years. I don’t know. What I do know is that I have to make that time special and I plan to do that in 2013 by living these values.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Trivia Challenge

· What was the first department store to hold a Thanksgiving Day parade?

· What is the first day of Fall called?

· What weed pollen causes the post common Fall allergies?

· What three Federal holidays occur during Fall?

· The pilgrims came over on a ship called the Mayflower, who was the captain of that ship?


Answers located on bottom of page.

What's Next for Automation?

Drew Baryenbruch & Scott Zukewich

We are often asked by customers, what’s the future look like for Industrial and Building Automation protocols?  We have found that much of the success a protocol finds has far less to do with exploiting the latest technology and a lot more to do with meeting a need in the market.  Let’s look at a few common questions we get based on the needs we see in the market.

Is Modbus RTU, DeviceNet, Profibus, CANopen, or “Insert fieldbus here” going away? No!  These technologies meet basic needs in the market and there are thousands of devices available.  While trade organizations and the market continue to push toward Ethernet protocols the number of vendors creating devices on legacy fieldbus protocols continues to grow each year.  In 10 years “Legacy” Fieldbus protocols will still be big players in the market.

When will the PC replace the PLC?  This is a twenty year old question that still seems to defy logic.  PC’s have been more versatile, powerful and less expensive than PLC’s for a long time.  The fact is that the market doesn’t care about price it cares about reliability.  If you are pushing 200k of product off a line an hour you want a solid system that doesn’t go down.  PLC’s offer the best determinism and reliability.  Plus they are closed systems less apt to be taken down by PC threats and users.  We think there will be a lot more integration between PLC data and enterprise systems but control is staying in PLC’s for the foreseen future.

How Will “…..” affect the Future?

Speed: Speeds have become ridiculously fast. EtherCAT and Profinet IRT are moving data in micro seconds.  That is very important to about 1% of the market.  Most applications don’t need micro or even milli second responses.  Speed in our industry is like the car market.  Very few customers need to go 200 MPH most are happy with a top speed of 100 MPH and rarely go over 60.  Top data access rates will continue to rise for motion control but this will have little effect on the base market.

Security: Security will play a growing role in the evolution of automation.  We used to view our systems as closed and inherently safe.  Integration to the enterprise, remote access, IT people, and Stuxnet have proven that view wrong.  Remember the biggest issue isn’t protecting our manufacturing data as much as it is protecting the application from spam viruses that can bring down a network.  Products are going to feature a lot more security features in the future.  Some will smarten up and use them, many will have more features to turn off.   

Energy: Energy prices continue to rise and technology providing measurable energy savings continues to improve.  Energy monitoring and efficiency initiatives will continue to be automation drivers.  Many leading protocols have implemented energy saving features into their protocols.  State and Local governments are also mandating many of these programs. 

Generation X,Y,Z: Many people worry about the challenges the next generation of controls engineers will force on our industry.  We are looking forward to it.  This generation will force change we should have made 20 years ago.  We haven’t used DOS in ages but still work with ladder logic weekly.  Tools need to become more user friendly and that is good for everyone. 

Our Industry has a history of slow evolution as opposed to sweeping revolutions.  We don’t see that changing.  


Fun Facts


· A spooked turkey can run at speeds up to 20 miles per hour.

· The night before Thanksgiving is the single best day for bar sales in the United Sates.

· Red, yellow, and brown are in leaves all year long and are only exposed when the green chlorophyll disapears in fall. Two other chemicals that cause coloring are xanthophyll, which is yellow, and carotene, which is orange. Red and purple are caused by the sugars in sap that are trapped inside of the leaves.

· In the United States, about 280 million turkeys are sold for Thanksgiving celebrations.


  Trivia Answers: Gimbel's Department Store in 1920; Autumnal Equinox; Ragweed; Columbus Day, Veteran's Day, Thanksgiving; Christopher Jones
  RTA Website