By Dan Hebert, PE, Senior Technical Editor
AS A PROCESS automation professional, your first priority is supporting the manufacturing process so your company can get sufficient quantities of quality product made and shipped in a timely manner. This task is so important and takes up so much of your time that it is difficult to find time for your second priority: making your processes better through improvements in automation and instrumentation.
Making your processes better is critical. If this task is neglected, competitors will leap ahead with products that are cheaper, better, and can be delivered quicker.
There is no lack of products and technologies available that can improve your automation and instrumentation systems. The trick is to find, evaluate, and implement these products without spending an inordinate amount of time or taking on too much risk.
We are inundated with vendor claims here at CONTROL, and we have come up with a way to validate the veracity of these claims. We simply ask vendors to supply us with the names of process industry end users and/or independent system integrators that use their products. We then contact these sources and get their opinions. Input from these sources, and from end users and independent system integrators that we contact directly, form the basis of all feature articles in CONTROL.
Fortunately for us, almost all of the sources referred to us by vendors are technical people, and we have found technical people always seem to tell us the truth regardless of how hard a vendor tries to put words in their mouths. This independent third-party verification means that CONTROL does not judge the merits of competing vendor claims. We instead rely on you and your peers to judge the merits of vendor claims.
Learning from another’s experience is the best way to save time and money when implementing new products and systems. It is much cheaper to learn from someone else’s mistakes rather than your own. You can search for a feature article in CONTROL that addresses the product or technical area of interest to you. In these feature articles you will find the opinions and experiences of your peers as related and consolidated by our editorial staff. CONTROL can provide you even more time-saving assistance at ControlGlobal.com, and directly, from the expertise of our editorial staff. You can directly use the services of our magazine to help you find and evaluate new products and services.
CONTROL has created an event that was specifically designed to address this issue, and we invite each of you to participate as our guest.
CONTROL’s second annual AutomationXchange will be held August 21–24, 2005 in Park City, Utah, just outside Salt Lake City. This event has two purposes: locate new technologies and products that can improve your automation and instrumentation components and systems; and facilitate peer-to-peer interaction among process industry automation professionals.
You know the value of peer-to-peer interaction when evaluating new products. Our AutomationXchange event provides numerous opportunities for these interactions because attendance is limited to a small and select number of senior process industry automation professionals. The event features several meetings designed to facilitate peer-to-peer interaction and best practice sharing.
The primary service CONTROL can provide you through the event is finding new technologies and products that can improve your automation and instrumentation systems. To provide this service, we use your input with respect to technical areas of interest. We explore these areas of interest using our visibility in, and our knowledge of, the marketplace. We leverage our contacts with senior technical people in the vendor community.
Evaluation of new products and services may be your second priority, but it is our first. We spend all our time evaluating process industry applications of automation and instrumentation products and services. Our magazine makes this evaluation expertise available to you, as does our AutomationXchange event.
If your firm accepts our invitation to attend AutomationXchange, we will interview you and create a profile that describes your firm’s needs and wants in the areas of automation and instrumentation products and services. We will then use our evaluation expertise to research the marketplace of solutions, and facilitate presentation of these solutions to you at the event.
Please contact event director Rick Forsgren at 952/224-7641; or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in finding out more about AutomationXchange.
By Dan Hebert, PE, Senior Technical Editor