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101 Tips for a Successful Automation Career

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Title: 101 Tips for a Successful Automation Career
Author: Greg McMillan, Hunter Vegas
ISBN: 1937560503 / 9781937560508
Format: Soft Cover
Pages: 250
Publisher: ISA
Year: 2013
Availability: Out of Stock
  • Description
  • Contents

Do you want to:

  • Know more than your boss?
  • Sleep like a baby before a startup (less crying in the middle of the night)?
  • Get back early from startups?
  • Have vendors ask what you think works best?
  • Become the “Go To Person?”
  • Have your CEO smile at you?
  • Inspire your children to become automation engineers?
  • Get a knowing twinkle in your eyes like the technologist about to retire?
  • Get asked what is your key to success?
  • Get invited by operators to special meals in the control room kitchen?
  • Create a worldwide recognition of the value of the automation profession?
  • Become famous and a regular guest on late nite TV?
  • Be remembered for all the right reasons?

While this book cannot guarantee the above results, the content should provide an automation engineer with a proven path to career and technical success. So much of the automation field depends upon experience, and many feel that experience can only come with gray, thinning hair and lots of wrinkles. However, with this book, we invite you to take full advantage of two lifetimes of hard-fought lessons learned and to avoid many of the technical and career pitfalls made by the authors.

With 60 years of automation and control experience, we—Greg McMillan and Hunter Vegas—have installed hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of equipment and managed thousands of projects. We have witnessed (and occasionally committed) a whole host of blunders, and we have the scars and gray hair to prove it. Fortunately for you, we are willing to share what works and what doesn’t work so that the next generation can benefit.

So… save your hair! Avoid premature aging! And most importantly, save yourself a whole lot of pain and suffering! We sure wish we’d had a book like this when we were getting started.

About the Authors

Tip 1 : Always Ask “Why?” – And Never Stop Learning
Tip 2 : Always Note the Author of a Technical Article
Tip 3 : Pain is Instructive
Tip 4 : Never Lie
Tip 5 : Admit Your Errors
Tip 6 : Change for the Sake of Change is Not Always a Good Thing, but “We’ve Always Done It That Way” is a Poor Reason to Avoid Trying New Things
Tip 7 : If You Have to Tell Everyone How Smart You Are, You Probably Aren’t
Tip 8 : Never Underestimate the Power of Politics and Emotion
Tip 9 : The O-ring Seal in an On/Off Actuator Can Be a Good Predictor of Its Reliability
Tip 10 : Butterfly Valves and/or Ball Valves with Positioners Are NOT Control Valves!
Tip 11 : The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Vortex Flowmeters
Tip 12 : The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Magmeters
Tip 13 : The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Differential Pressure Flow Devices
Tip 14 : Capillary Seal Pitfalls
Tip 15 : You Cannot Control What You Do Not Understand
Tip 16 : Use Outlines and/or Flow Charts First
Tip 17 : You Can Never Have Too Much Messaging
Tip 18 : Cheap Instrumentation is Exactly That
Tip 19 : Always Run Spare Wires and Plan for Expansion
Tip 20 : Spend the Money to Individually Fuse I/O with Indicating Fuse Blocks
Tip 21 : Too Many Alarms Can Be Worse Than None at All
Tip 22 : Details Matter
Tip 23 : Anticipate Murphy; He is Alive and Well
Tip 24 : When Performing a DCS Retrofit, Take Time to Study the I/O Cards
Tip 25 : Make Sure the Coffee is Strong and the Pot Brews Quickly on Start-up
Tip 26 : Document Your Code
Tip 27 : Create, Thoroughly Test, THEN Replicate
Tip 28 : “Plug and Play” Devices Often Don’t
Tip 29 : Tricks for Control Panels
Tip 30 : Appearance Matters
Tip 31 : Project Management is Really Risk Management
Tip 32 : General Project Management Tip s
Tip 33 : High Pay is Great but Life is Too Short to Stay in a Job You Dislike
Tip 34 : Take Time to Learn Exactly How Instruments Work
Tip 35 : Operators Can Make or Break an Automation Project
Tip 36 : A College Degree Does NOT Buy You Respect, Nor is It a Good Indication of What You Know
Tip 37 : Get Past the References You Are Offered
Tip 38 : Derail Scripted Demonstrations
Tip 39 : Know the Codes
Tip 40 : Engineers Are Generally AWFUL Communicators. Do Not Fall into That Trap
Tip 41 : If Possible, Get Plant Experience Early
Tip 42 : Money Drives Corporate Behavior
Tip 43 : Small, Continuous Waste Streams = BIG Money
Tip 44 : Foster Relationships with Honest Vendors
Tip 45 : Learn to Estimate Jobs
Tip 46 : Success Breeds Success and Mediocrity is Never Acceptable
Tip 47 : Grow Your Direct Reports
Tip 48 : Treat Everyone with Respect and Do Not Accept a Lack of Respect from Others
Tip 49 : Working For a Boss Whom You Do Not Respect is Difficult
Tip 50 : Ask for Feedback
Tip 51 : Seek Conversations with Knowledgeable People
Tip 52 : Be a Good Listener
Tip 53 : Find and Read Technical Articles and Books
Tip 54 : Look for Opportunities to Improve Plant Profitability
Tip 55 : Use the Best Technology, Even if the Price Tag is Higher
Tip 56 : Learn New Skills and Explore Technological Advances as an Extracurricular Activity
Tip 57 : Be a Team Player
Tip 58 : Make Yourself More Marketable
Tip 59 : Document the Benefits of Improvements
Tip 60 : Write and Present Papers
Tip 61 : Install Online Process Metrics
Tip 62 : Demonstrate and Prototype Improvements via Dynamic Models
Tip 63 : Use Field Analyzers to Measure Key Component Concentrations
Tip 64 : Improve Setpoints
Tip 65 : Use High Rangeability Flowmeters and Valves to Increase Plant Turndown
Tip 66 : Seek First Principles for a Deeper Understanding
Tip 67 : Find the Best Measurement Location
Tip 68 : Find the Best Valve Location
Tip 69 : Add Control Loops to Eliminate Manual Actions and Sequences
Tip 70 : Minimize Deadtime
Tip 71 : Achieve Best Disturbance Rejection and Setpoint Response
Tip 72 : Achieve Best Loop Coordination and Optimization
Tip 73 : Use Coriolis Meters for Mass Flow and Concentration Control
Tip 74 : Eliminate Split Range Oscillations
Tip 75 : Use Wireless Transmitters for Diagnostics, Improvements, and Metrics
Tip 76 : Use Checklists to Cover All the Bases
Tip 77 : Increase the PID Gain and Reset Time for Vessel and Column Control
Tip 78 : Decrease the PID Gain and Reset Time for Pipeline and Inline Control
Tip 79 : Understand How Equipment and Operating Conditions Affect Process Dynamics
Tip 80 : Use Sliding Stem Valves for Tighter Control
Tip 81 : Select the Best Type and Size of Actuator for Tight Control
Tip 82 : Use and Tune Smart Positioners
Tip 83 : Don’t Use On-Off Valves for Control Valves
Tip 84 : Use Signal Characterization in the DCS to Linearize Valve Installed Flow Characteristic
Tip 85 : Use Linear Reagent Demand Control for Systems with Difficult-to-Control pH
Tip 86 : Test the pH Response Time to Determine the Health of a Glass Electrode
Tip 87 : Monitor the pH Offset to Determine the Health of a Reference Electrode
Tip 88 : Use Middle Signal Selection to Improve pH Measurement Reliability
Tip 89 : Identify Deadtime and Ramp Rate
Tip 90 : Compute and Trend a Future PV
Tip 91 : Use Output Tracking to Improve Setpoint and Abnormal Condition Response
Tip 92 : Make Reset Time and Feedforward Action Smarter
Tip 93 : Use a Viewable and Adjustable Flow Ratio and a Feedforward Summer
Tip 94 : Smooth the Transition between Batch and Continuous Operations
Tip 95 : Use External-Reset Feedback for Cascade Control and Slow Final Control Elements
Tip 96 : Optimize Batch End Points and Cycle Times
Tip 97 : Use Valve Position Control to Optimize Process Efficiency and Capacity
Tip 98 : Achieve the Required Simulation Fidelity
Tip 99 : Use a Virtual Plant for All Dynamic Models
Tip 100 : Use an Enhanced PID for At-Line and Off-Line Analyzers
Tip 101 : Use Plant-Wide Feedforward for More Flexible and Efficient Production

Appendix A : References
Appendix B : Vintage Books
Appendix C : Checklists
Appendix D : Dynamics
Appendix E : Enhanced PID
Appendix F : First Principle Process Gains, Deadtimes, and Time Constants

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