ISA Interchange

Welcome to the official blog of the International Society of Automation (ISA).

This blog covers numerous topics on industrial automation such as operations & management, continuous & batch processing, connectivity, manufacturing & machine control, and Industry 4.0.

The material and information contained on this website is for general information purposes only. ISA blog posts may be authored by ISA staff and guest authors from the automation community. Views and opinions expressed by a guest author are solely their own, and do not necessarily represent those of ISA. Posts made by guest authors have been subject to peer review.

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Fall Leaders Meeting & Automation Week, It's A Wrap!

Believe it or not, I'm still recovering from being at ISA's Fall Leader's meeting and Automation Week.  It was a whirlwind 6 days in Orlando, all of them GREAT!  I even got to enjoy my birthday with my ISA peeps :).

Fall Leaders Meeting

I spent some time with the leaders of District 3 on Friday, Sept. 21st, and shared some inside tips on Social Media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.  We had some laughs, as many leaders are still trying to figure out the best way to use these platforms to support their local sections.  Good news is, Bob Reinhart jumped right on board and started up an ISA Tampa Bay Section Facebook Page - Go Rob!  I hope I'll see more of this type of activity moving forward with other sections. Give me a yell if you need help :), that is what I'm here for.

ISA Fall and Spring Leader meetings are always something to be experienced, I highly recommend it.  Any ISA member can attend, and you'll learn the inner workings of how ISA operates as a volunteer leader.  There are many opportunities for growth and you'll meet so many great people.  This deserves its own blog post, which I will work on at a later time.

Automation Week 2012

Over the next few months, I will be sharing various Automation Week proceedings to highlight some of the awesome technical goodness that was being presented there.

We uploaded some photos of the Fall Leaders Meeting, the Honors & Awards Gala and Automation Week on our Facebook Page, check 'em out!

I also wanted to give a shout out of THANKS to all the editors and analysts who shared their thoughts on Automation Week. Always great to see Eoin O'Riain from Readout Instrumentation Signpost, Rick Zabel from, Gary Mintchell from Automation World.  I missed Jim Montague from and a couple others but I included their reports below.   I was also happy to reconnect with Peter Martin, Ph.D., from Invensys who was Automation Week's Technical Program Chair.  I met Dr. Martin several years ago in the early days of ISA's Marketing & Sales Summit where he was a keynote.  He's a fascinating guy to say the least. He has 2 Ph.D's in Biblical Studies on top of a stellar technical career in automation!

Anyway, it was a fantastic week of highly valuable technical content and networking.  As I mentioned, I'll be pouring through the material to pick out the best of the best - but it will be difficult as it was all really good.

Here's a snapshot of the coverage the event received:

Barry Young from ARC Advisory Group summarized his experience here.  I like that he noted this:

ISA as Catalyst for Change
To paraphrase Dr. Martin, the automation industry has lost its way. It went from a solutions-oriented industry focused on solving customer problems to one focused on computer-based technologies, but without a real understanding of the problems the technology could solve. This model is unsustainable and Dr. Martin believes that ISA can be a catalyst for the change required for the industry to again focus on solutions. As the leading professional organization for control and automation engineers, ISA must continue to provide education, training, and standards that enable its membership to meet the long-term challenges of automation.

I agree that ISA and its members play a huge role in meeting the long-term challenges of the automation industry moving forward.

Jim Montague from shared some interesting points about keynote Greg Hale from Disney. He captured some of the details Greg shared about the technical innovations created at Disney:

For example, the Big Grizzly Mountain ride at the California Adventure park in Anaheim includes 460 sensors that monitor position and speed, and these perform safety checks 20 times per second. Hale works with a 5,000-member maintenance cast that performs thousands of pre-opening checks and maintenance tasks each day, which are all scheduled and tracked by Maximo software. Similarly, an automated maintenance verification system (AMVS) monitors and displays equipment status in real-time, while RFID chips in many rides work with interlocks to call out vehicles when they exceed their allowed number of laps.

Paul Studebaker, editor-in-chief at Sustainable Plant also shared highlights of Greg Hale's keynote.  In particular, Disney goes to great lengths to insure maintenance procedures are tight and secure:
Hale says safety is embodied in the real-time maintenance management system Disney developed with Maximo to assign, record and monitor the millions of inspections and preventive maintenance procedures required each year to be sure equipment is OK to run. Technicians record every night’s maintenance activities using wireless handhelds, and the maintenance status of every piece of equipment in parks around the world is uploaded to a supervisory system in real time.
Eoin O'Riain editor of Read-out Instrumentation Signpost shared his views on the event, and highlighted the plethora of technical content:
Topics of interest included the Intriguing  “Governments & Industrial Security,” “Operational Excellence – the essential Driver of increased profitability, ” “What your DCS knows but wont tell you,” “Are Humans needed in a crisis,” “Getting results from Social Media,” “Establishing an effective plant cybersecurity program,” and, from  John Barth of Apprion, “Turnrounds, Real Time and Beyond: How a wireless plant network changed the way we do turnarounds.”
Other industry reports include:
Automation World:   Not a Mickey Mouse Event, ISA Week Overview
Last but not least, BIG KUDOS go out to ISA Staff who worked tirelessly to make sure everything ran smoothly! High fives to Carol Shafer, Kim Gordley, Susan Colwell, Jennifer Infantino, Rodney Jones and the entire marketing team at ISA :).
All in all it was a week filled with great conversations, learning opportunities and a good dose of fun!  Just how I like it :).  I hope to see more of you next year at the Fall Leader's Meeting and Automation Week 2013...

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