There was an interesting thought broached by one of the speakers I heard at this week’s Yokogawa Users Conference. Think of typical operators in a process plant. We’ve removed them from the plant itself and encapsulated them within the walls of the control room where they spend their shift monitoring computer screens.

The net result is that often operators are reactive to situations rather than proactive in finding process improvements. I’m not sure how far to take that observation. It is good to ponder how many tools, say comprehensible trend information for example, that we provide operators to help them proactively find process improvement possibilities.

Ideas for automation and control engineers

While listening to TED Talks on the flight home, ran across a couple that should get you thinking about new opportunities. Check these out:

There is a project, “OMEGA,” that is spinning off a considerable number of product and process ideas springing from the idea of creating fuel from biomass–specifically from microalgae. Watch Jonathon Trent discuss the project and show examples.

Kent Larson shows multiple cool ideas springing from the idea of figuring out better ways to develop cities.

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