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So the other day, I was riding a shuttle bus from the Houston International Airport’s new rental car lair to one of its main terminals, when I heard a man across the aisle talking on his cell phone. I didn’t pay much attention at first, but I perked up when the fragments of the call I caught seemed to be saying something about getting a PLC programmed with the right software for installation somewhere soon. Now, I don’t hear much control and automation talk outside of work, but I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised to hear it on an airport bus in Houston. However, I was intrigued by the coincidence, and so I buttonholed the caller and asked for a quick interview. And instead of calling security, he agreed to answer a few questions. Okay, so I’m still a nosy reporter.
Anyway, Vitreas Godbey, the man on the cell phone, is a self-employed electrical engineer from Waynesburg, Ky., who helps implement and service regenerative thermal oxidizers. These devices take contaminated air in process settings, clean it by heating it to 1,600 °F, and so recover it for use in chemical production applications and in the ever-multiplying number of U.S. ethanol plants. As you might expect, he’s been pretty busy lately...
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