Humorous Insights into Disturbances and being an Automation Engineer

What comes at you too fast? How do people know you are a process control engineer? What is more disturbing than talk shows? Is a flea market indicative of a project behind schedule? These and other questions you have not asked will be answered.

Humor to me has been a way of breaking down barriers and opening up minds besides having some fun. Of course not everyone is into humor or comic relief. If this is the case, don’t worry, this is just some temporary escapism courtesy of Top Ten Lists from some vintage Control Talk Columns. I will return to doing a totally serious blog next week.

Top 10 Things That Come at You Too Fast

(10) On-off level switched flows
(9) Sequenced and interlocked flows
(8) Strong acids and bases
(7) Pressure waves
(6) Compressor surge
(5) Dunk shots
(4) Hockey pucks
(3) Late-night car commercials
(2) Corporate restructuring
(1) Retirement

Top 10 Signs You Are an Automation Engineer

10. Your first and second language is for a computer
9. You have photos of pH electrodes in your wallet
8. Your riding lawn mower has a laptop holder
7. Your laptop has a beer cup holder
6. You have more muscles in your fingers than in the rest of your body
5. You have pictures of people doing strange things with obsolete DCS consoles
4. You dreamed "Baywatch" life guards were wearing hard hats and carrying laptops
3. You named your children ‘Lightning’ and ’Thunder’ after DCS releases
2. You are frustrated with noise band and dead time in your peer 360-degree feedback
1. You have hired a private investigator to determine who gave your life to Dilbert

Top 20 Sources of Disturbances

(20) Limit cycles (split-ranged point discontinuity, resolution and cascade dead band)
(19) Interaction between loops
(18) Slow secondary loops (cascade control)
(17) Design limits (equipment operating limits)
(16) Low residence times (e.g. undersized feed, recycle, surge and waste tanks)
(15) Manual procedures and manual valves
(14) Field switches (e.g. on-off level control)
(13) Activity (catalytic and metabolic)
(12) Ambient conditions
(11) Interlocks and sequences
(10) Raw materials
(9) Recycle streams
(8) Startups, shutdowns and product transitions
(7) Fouling (e.g. process coatings) and frosting (e.g. crystal accumulations)
(6) Parallel trains
(5) Undersized cooling towers
(4) Bored board operators
(3) Shift changes
(2) Initiatives
(1) Goal reviews

Top 10 Signs Talk Shows are not for you

10. You have taken to using one-word sentences and one-syllable words like “yep.”
9. You think John Wayne was too verbose
8. You feel life is just a series of subtitles
7. Friends take to using sign language around you
6. Strangers think you have laryngitis
5. Your parents keep turning up their hearing aids
4. You run off to become a “roadie” for the Blue Man Group
3. Your favorite entertainment is watching mimes
2. You let your slides do the talking
1. You are mistaken for a statue

Top 10 Signs Your Project is Behind Schedule

(10) The simulated plant is the plant
(9) The electricians are using conduit as a communications medium
(8) The millwrights are using DCS graphics to build the plant
(7) The plant manager is wondering why we can’t use wireless technology to power unwired motors
(6) The control room operator keeps getting a “failed to start” alarm
(5) The commission and startup phases are re-termed “commiss-up”
(4) The only modular equipment that has showed up on site is your son’s Lego blocks
(3) All of the operators have retired
(2) The electricians think ANSI is the name of a rock group
(1) The construction trailer parking lot has turned into a flea market