Carl over at the Profiblog has a pet peeve–saying “wireless” as though it’s just one thing. He identifies four types ranging from local area networks (LAN) to sensor networks. He’s right. We tried a magazine on wireless last year at Automation World. There was lots of “smoke” about wireless, but no “fire” in terms of companies actually pursuing it in terms of competitive supplier landscape. But I tried developing the theme from an application point of view–sensors, control (not much there), mobile workers, broadband. So, wireless just means connecting without wires. Then there are the myriad ways of implementing.

MESA Conference

The official release is out and we can talk it up. And they are trying out one of my pet ideas–an “Unconference.” The Manufacturing Enterprise Solutions Association (MESA) announced that Ford Motor Co. will host MESA’s North American Conference, June 21 to 23, 2010 at the Ford Conference and Events Center, in Dearborn, Mich. Nationally-known conference speakers from industries including continuous process, batch and discrete will focus on best practice methods and strategies for unlocking potential for operations excellence — with an audience anticipated to be more than double previous years’.

“This conference is an educational and networking ‘must-do’ for anyone who holds a stake in improving their organization’s production performance. It will take attendees deep into some of the most pressing challenges and provide real-world, actionable steps that companies can take immediately,” said John Dyck, Board Chair of MESA International.

This year’s conference, themed “Unlocking Your Operations’ Potential,” provides an opportunity for production leaders and professionals to collaborate and share best practices across a broad range of industries within the discrete, batch, mixed and continuous process environments. Sessions will focus on topics such as lean, quality and compliance, asset performance management, tying operational metrics to financial metrics, and sustainability. An “Unconference” portion of the event will feature attendee-chosen and -led interactive sessions — with a goal of working together to better understand what’s possible in operations to improve profitability, business value, agility, and customer satisfaction.


WBF is recovering from its brief fling with the Automation Federation and the loss of income from the annual conference that was cancelled in 2009. It had a successful meeting during the ARC Forum this month, and plans are underway for the 2010 conference to be held May 24-26 in Austin, Texas. The conference focus is “Achieving Operations Strength.” Keynote speakers will include Dr. Thomas Edgar, chair of the Chemical Engineering Dept. at UT-Austin and expert on process monitoring, modeling, and optimization, as well as Dr. Patrick Kennedy, CEO of OSIsoft, a software company focused on connecting people with the right information, at the right time, to analyze, collaborate, and act.

As always, the centerpiece of the conference will be many presentations by engineers and technicians that discuss how procedural control standards ISA88 and ISA95 have recently been implemented at companies such as Pfizer, Lubrizol, Shire Pharmaceuticals and Dow Chemical. Topics will include not only batch process control, but continuous and discrete — manufacturing areas that also benefit from the application of these standards.

Additional conference activities will include the Control Magazine Hall of Fame dinner, a vendor showcase and reception, and tutorials on Make2Pack and B2XML. Visit the organization’s Web site for more information and to register. See you there.

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