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I just re-read your Dec. 15 blog re Nels Tyring for the third or fourth time, and I’m finally prepared to respond, knowing full well you said everything and more that could be said better than I could.
Nels was the first CSIA member I met at my first executive conference, a half-dozen years ago or so. From that day on, Nels was always a source of ready answers, help, and ideas. He was someone with that unique ability to always leave you with an idea to build on.
I will certainly miss him.
Let me begin by thanking you for your magazine. I look forward to each issue and invariably find something helpful within its pages.
Your recent article, “Wireless Arrays on New Sensor Frontier” (Oct. ’08, p. 52) was interesting. However, the article brings to mind a question. You stated that, “The big four primary process variables are flow, pressure, level and temperature.” While I can’t disagree that these variables are very common, it seems that weight is just as common, if not more so.
I work for a company founded in 1946 as a scale service firm and distributor for Toledo scales. Over the last 15 years, we turned this company into a weight-based system integrator. We still service weighing equipment, as well as perform calibrations of flow, pressure, level, and temperature devices, but the majority of our customers now look to us for more. It used to be that our customers only wanted to see a weight, possibly write it down, or, more recently, print it out on paper. This is no longer true.
With the advances made in computers over the last two decades, our customers now ask us to integrate their weighing devices with computers, PLCs, feeders, etc.
“Systems” have become our leading sales mechanism. With the current digital, smart sensor load cells offered by Mettler-Toledo, and with our own ingenuity regarding such applications as wireless technology, we seem to be far ahead of most of your readership. I often read articles, letters and comments regarding applications that we take for granted.
For example, we’ve been implementing wireless systems for years. Our smart sensors have been on the market for almost two decades. Your article states, “Taking...(multiple) sensors...to a smart...analyzer with a single output to the control system is most certainly practical, and we’ll see it done.” This is a common application in our weighing world. Sure, there are still small companies, who own test weights and have little knowledge of technology, but they’re becoming less and less common. I work for a multi-million dollar company in a multi-billion dollar market. Take a look sometime.
Comment from the “Sound Off!” blog on this post: "Would you want your kid to do this job?"
The tough thing about getting people excited about the joy of manufacturing is that the hyper-globalists allowed so much of it to leave our shores. A key benefit I’ve gained from following my father’s footsteps is that I’ve seen a lot more than most of my peers. It gave me the chance to have my 10,000 hours in instrumentation in before I was 25—a huge advantage to truly understanding the business. So many of the places I gained that experience are gone.
Hopefully, the Obama administration will focus on bringing manufacturing jobs back to the U.S., and with them the opportunity to have those experiences again.
ControlGlobal.com is exclusively dedicated to the global process automation market. We report on developing industry trends, illustrate successful industry applications, and update the basic skills and knowledge base that provide the profession's foundation.