I was very happy to hear that all the miners trapped in the mine in Chile are alive as it was one of the topics on people’s minds while I was there last week, that and sharing with me the occasional evidence of the recent earthquake. That is a different environmental specification for your typical process instrument.
The automation professionals in Chile are generally keen to stay on top of technology, especially as it relates to their industry or industries and that normally means the mining industry. While in Santiago I think I saw more Universities in one place than practically anywhere else in the world I have been so education is taken seriously in Chile. Apparently compensation is also comparable to rates here in Canada so engineering is also a good profession to be part of in Chile.
Mining is interesting as it is a combination of both process and discrete or what many consider factory automation and with little requirement for Area Classifications (solvent processes and dust perhaps) so the bigger concern is how does it behave in EMI/RFI because the equipment used in mining is generally large and high voltage. I am sure that the schools in Chile train their people for these unique requirements of this industry. What is missing is specialised training on new technologies – hence the reason I was there. South America is growing, the people are hard working (typically their day starts at 9 and goes to 6 or maybe a bit later) and keen to learn how new technology can be properly applied to help their countries prosper. Exciting times with the demand for metals and other natural resources growing this will drive these economies to expand faster than developed countries and the people I met have the skills to make it happen.
Time for me to learn more Spanish & maybe some Portuguese and I am also glad that Canada recently signed a Free Trade Agreement with several South American countries including Chile.