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A: Many good books can be purchased from the ISA that will cover control systems applications and theory. The most practical information on the sensors and their application can be had for free from the application notes section of the Omega catalogs. Their hardbound catalogs and their online technical reference, www.omega.com/techref/ , contain an immense amount of information on sensor and their applications.
Johns Hopkins University
A: I would add Safety Integrity Level Selection by Ed Marszal and Eric Sharpf, 2002, for an introduction to the
safety problems in the plant design.
Dr. Alberto Rohr
A: If you want to know specifically about instrumentation, Lipták volume 1 is probably the best single choice. Also good are Fundamentals of Industrial Control, 2nd ed. by D.A.Coggan, ISA, 2005; Sensor Performance and Reliability by H. M. Hashemian, ISA, 2005; Instrumentation for Process Measurement and Control, 3rd ed., by Norman A. Anderson, CRC Press, 1998; Measurement and Control Basics, 3rd ed., by T. A. Hughes, ISA, 2002; and the Instrumentation Reference Book, 3rd ed., Walt Boyes, editor, Butterworth Heinemann, 2003.
If you want to know about the entire field of automation, the book A Guide to the Automation Body of Knowledge, ISA, (which I edit) is a good choice.
A: You mentioned that you worked for an instrumentation firm, but you didnt say exactly what the firm did. If its activities are in the continuous control field (as apart from PLC and discrete logic work), then I have some suggestions.
As Béla said, as an author it is difficult to remain unbiased on the subject of books, nevertheless, Ill recommend my own book, Basic and Advanced Regulatory Control: System Design and Application, available from ISA, as a practical book on continuous process control.
There is also a control loop simulation software package, PC-ControLAB 3, (also available from ISA),which would be an excellent companion to the book, although either product can be used alone. In your case, where you have little field exposure, the realistic simulation package would let you view the behavior of various types of control strategies, practice controller tuning and even permit building simple dynamic process models, at your desk. You can download a demonstration version of this program from www.wadeco.com.