Mar 25, 2019 | Written by Shawn Gwin | Process Control and Plant Automation, Toxic Gas Monitoring Systems, Manufacturing Intelligence

When a screwdriver just won’t do… Building custom software tools for the job

Custom software applications can provide great benefit to plant automation and engineering teams. Any task that includes the management of large amounts of data, repetitive entries or utilizes the same information in multiple places lends itself to developing software that can automate these activities.  The benefits from a well


Jan 29, 2019 | Written by Steve Comeau | Process Control and Plant Automation, Manufacturing Intelligence

Introduction and Optimization of Data Historians

A Data Historian is a type of time-series database designed to efficiently collect and store process data from a SCADA or automation system. The stored data can then be used to display trends of process data on charts, create reports, or perform data analysis.


Nov 01, 2018 | Written by Shawn Gwin | Manufacturing Intelligence

Free Your Spreadsheet Data

Spreadsheets are used as an easy way to catalog any data in a tabular format. Spreadsheets were originally developed in the early 1960's for financial applications. Spreadsheet applications, such as Lotus 1-2-3 and Excel, became popular in the 1980's and have been used for multiple scenarios.


Mar 29, 2018 | Written by Steve Comeau | Manufacturing Intelligence

Microsoft Access Databases Are Still Popular

Over the years from the mid-1990s until the present, I have developed many Microsoft (MS) Access database applications for clients and for in-house projects.  Most of these databases are still in use at client sites and others are still used within Hallam-ICS on projects.


Jan 04, 2018 | Written by Shawn Gwin | Process Control and Plant Automation, Manufacturing Intelligence

Manufacturing Intelligence 2018 Outlook

The Manufacturing Intelligence Team at Hallam-ICS currently provide a variety of services from Data Analytics to Custom Multiplatform Applications for our customers. However, the future of Manufacturing Intelligence is changing very rapidly and therefore, our team will need to adapt to these future technologies in order to offer our customers the best tools to do their jobs efficiently. Here are a few new technologies that will help us capture, analyze and display data in whole new ways in 2018 and beyond.


Dec 07, 2017 | Written by Steve Comeau | Manufacturing Intelligence

Equipment Energy Usage – My Favorite MI Project in 2017

Looking back on 2017, the Manufacturing Intelligence team has worked on many fascinating projects.  I would like to tell you about my favorite project for the year, involving collecting data and reporting on equipment energy usage, which is a common need at many facilities.


Dec 05, 2017 | Written by Steve Comeau | Manufacturing Intelligence

Looking Back on 2017: Excel Is Still Relevant For Reports And Data Analysis

There are many modern data visualization and data analytics tools used for manufacturing intelligence (MI).  Some, such as Microsoft’s PowerBI, have advanced data visualization capabilities that make products such as Excel seem rather dated; yet, Excel continues to be widely used.


Nov 16, 2017 | Written by Shawn Gwin | Process Control and Plant Automation, Manufacturing Intelligence

4 Low Cost Options for Training on Topics like Microsoft .Net and Azure

I have been a software developer for over 20 years in Upstate New York. In that time, I have had the opportunity to attend over a dozen professional conferences. Usually these conferences are offered in venues that are thousands of miles away from where I live. Attending one of these conferences involves paying for flights, hotels and car rentals. In addition, these conferences usually cost a few thousand dollars for their registration fee.  Once you arrive at one of these large conferences, you and thousands of your peers are herded into huge rooms to listen to keynotes and breakout sessions.


Jul 13, 2017 | Written by Heather Valachovic | Manufacturing Intelligence

How We Got Started with Microsoft SharePoint

Perhaps you’ve heard of Microsoft SharePoint but aren’t using it and wonder, “What’s so great about SharePoint?” or “Should our company use SharePoint?” and “If we use it, what kind of benefit will we realize?”


Jul 11, 2017 | Written by Shawn Gwin | Culturally Different, Process Control and Plant Automation, Manufacturing Intelligence

Making a 120 Pound Robot that can Climb a Rope

It all started back in the spring of 2016 when my son was telling me about a robotics team in a neighboring school that had competed in the FIRST Robotics Competition league.