A young small company is able to take university graduates and immediately make them productive in industrial applications. The open, positive, and enabling culture fostered by management has recently elevated and accelerated employee knowledge by providing a means to gain key fundamentals and essential concepts. The deeper core knowledge expands skills beyond what is needed for projects opening minds within the company and the customers to opportunities to improve plant performance.
MYNAH Technologies in Saint Louis, a key supplier of operator training systems (OTS), has more than doubled in size in the last 4 years by employing Chemical and Electrical Engineering graduates, particularly from the Missouri University of Science and Technology. The enthusiasm, computer and people skills, energy, and open minds of these graduates enable them to be quickly productive in projects. The models being built increase both operator performance and the new engineer’s understanding of automation systems and industrial processes. The business offers an inherent advantage in rapidly developing knowledge by creating models that mimic the plant, leading to the apt software name MiMiC. I can relate to this experience because most of my knowledge of the first principle dynamics of industrial processes and the performance of automation systems was gained by decades of dynamic simulation for process control improvement. In fact, the use of actual Distributed Control Systems and operator interfaces in hardware labs and virtual labs is one of the best ways of preparing students for a job in the process industry as noted in the blog Bridging the Gap between Universities and Industry.
MYNAH asked me to start a Mentor program. To bring everyone up to a higher level of understanding of the impact of dynamics, I developed a series of Lunch-n-Learn sessions instead of full day courses to meter out the knowledge in manageable doses, adapt the sessions based on experience gained, and avoid largely stopping project work. One of the recent graduates, Pierce Wu, developed models with a minimal of degree of guidance that provided demos to provide a dynamic visual experience for each session. The models can be used for hands-on learning for MYNAH employees and customers.
The sessions were also attended by about as many young engineers at Experitec, a supplier of the DCS that is often part of the OTS provided by MYNAH. I could tell from the audience faces that nearly all were interested and able to absorb the knowledge offered. 90 Minute video recordings of the first 4 of the following 6 Lunch-n-Learns created by me and Pierce Wu have been made available by Aimee Ubriaco and Noelle Hasser on the MYNAH website as Greg McMillan’s Series on Dynamics :
(1)What are the Key Characteristics of Dynamic Terms and Responses?
(2) Why do I Need to Learn Dynamics?
(3) Where do Process Dynamics Come From?
(4) Where do Automation System Dynamics Come From?
(5) What are the Consequences and Sources of Disturbances?
(6) How do You Improve Plant and Model Performance?