I had the opportunity to attend the Fieldbus Foundation Seminar in Vancouver last week and was not only pleasantly surprised by the turn out, some folks drove up from Seattle, but more importantly the fact that several EPC companies were represented. This was the second of the 2010 North America seminar series and next up is St. Louis in April. Information on the North America events is at http://www.fieldbus.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=270&Itemid=259 while a listing of ALL the events planned for 2010 can be found at http://www.fieldbus.org/images/stories/international/downloads/fieldbus_international_events_calendar.pdf and I will be presenting the material at the events in South Africa in May . The next BIG event will be held next week in Houston with the General Assembly on March 24. Information can be found at http://www.fieldbus.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=698&Itemid=259. Walt and I will be in attendance so be sure to say hello when you see us.
Most of the industrial communications foundations (Profibus, FDT, etc.) have similar programs so be sure to keep your eyes and ears open for the opportunity to partake of this free training when it comes to your neighbourhood because you can be sure that it eventually will. Most of these events also distribute Professional Development Hour certificates as well.
Despite being active in this technology for over a decade every time you attend an event like this you are always sure to learn something and it was a good opportunity to reinforce some of those little things you tend to forget over time. This year the seminar agenda uses a short lecture on each stage of a typical installation followed by a ‘live’ demonstration of the discussion actually being put into practice. Topics covered include: Planning, Design, Installation/Maintenance/Troubleshooting, Commissioning & Configuration, Maintenance & Troubleshooting and actual case studies to emphasize what is possible once all the pieces are working.
Of course attending events like this also have the intangible benefit of actually meeting the people that are either experiencing the same pains as you with their first fieldbus project or having a chance to meet with others having a closet full of t-shirts for having been there already.
If you want to learn more about a fieldbus technology being considered for your project, seminars like this are a good way to get started.