Friday p.m. Wrap-Up:This Week on ControlGlobal and Elsewhere


By Nancy Bartels

May 17, 2013

While you've been keeping all your processes under control (no pun intended), we've been keeping track of the wider world of process automation and other things.

While this story has fallen off the major news radar, overtaken by political scandals, Angelina Jolie's breasts--or lack thereof--KFC being smuggled into Gaza and other important news, yesterday a prelimary report on the investigation into the West, Texas, fertilzer plant explosion was released. We now know a lot about what didn't cause it. What did, not so much.

Meanwhile, the natives are restless in Zurich. ABB's CEO, Joe Hogan, and CTO, Prith Banerjee, resigned within days of one another.  In an uncanny similarity to the West, Texas, story, we know a lot more about what's not going on than what is. The notoriously discrete Swiss say the resignations are not for reasons of health, disagreements with the board or any dubious business dealings. The reasons could be anything from better offers from elsewhere to wanting to quit the rat race to join an ashram. There may be more to this story as time goes on too.

In another maddenligly incomplete story from Europe, the European Commission yesterday raided the offices of BP, Royal Dutch Shell and Statoil as part of an investigation about price fixing, being careful to say that just because they raided the offices we shouldn't assume that there's anything suspicious going on. . .

And whether it's climate change or an evil political conspiracy, the crazy weather we've been having is costing us big-time--to the tune of $100 billion or $1100 per tax payer annually. 

Oh, and in case you were wondering, the Chinese dig fieldbus. And from our May issue, control systems guru Greg Shinskey takes on "Killing Model-Based Control Dead Time."

Closer to home and on the lighter side, Control has published a recipe only a process engineer could love.  The answer to what you'll be making is here.  Not to be outdone by the boss, Jim Montague raises the question of the connection between calibration and rock and roll.

Check out these and plenty of other stories at

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