Stuff Found While Going Through100+ Emails

I returned Tuesday from six weeks overseas to the usual list of quotidian tasks that awaits one after a long absence--unopened mail, an empty refrigerator, a suitcase full of souveniers and dirty laundry, a need to replenish domestic currency--all to be accomplished with a mind and body still six times zones to the east of my physical presence. Not least among the jobs was sorting out the 100+ work emails that I didn't open while flying home (bad Nancy!). I found few surprises there either, but I did uncover some interesting bits of news and information. The process industries, it seems, chug along quite nicely without my constant attention. Just as well.

There's this bit of news from the Fieldbus Foundation. The final specification for integration of ISA100.11a wireless field devices into its Foundation for Remote Operations Management (ROM) technology has been released. According to the foundation, "unlike solutions limited to a single network standard, this development allows automation end users to employ multiple wired and wireless protocols for greater flexibility and expandability." More on Foundation for ROM can be found here.

This bit of news from Siemens Industry was waiting. Siemens Robicon medium-voltage, variable-frequency drive was renamed "Sinamics Perfect Harmony” as of January 1.  More to the point, perhaps, is the fact that under its old name, it has crossed the 10,000 globally sold units mark, and has an installed base of 2.2 million KW, making it, says Siemens, the world’s No. 1 selling drive.

Whatever its virtues or problems, travel does broaden one’s horizons. I have discovered a new magazine to follow—the U.K.-based The Engineer  (, which covers engineering disciplines from aerospace to marine and rail. Editor Stuart Nathan’s daily news, delivered via email, is always well-written and interesting.

While my boss with probably send me a gentle reminder that the following, from Nathan's blog, isn’t strictly a process automation related story, it is a fascinating tale of the origins of one of the biggest industrial companies in the world and its unique way of doing business. “Tata for Now” is worth the read. Who knew that the company goes back 175 years, owns, of all things Tetley Tea, making Tata Global Beverages second only to Unilever in beverage-making, and builds “the world’s cheapest production car, the Tata Nano (

When you’re talking to the folks locked into the image of all manufacturing being evil, polluting and run by greedy villains interested only in profit, you might tell them the story of Tata, which is two-thirds owned by charitable trusts which give away their income every year, funding a range of causes including education and health.

Yes, you can do very well indeed and still do good at the same time.