Hello from Tucson

As I travel on business I realized that it is more difficult to post when on the road. All of the familiar patterns are broken as I don’t have a ready plugged-in and booted up computer to sit down and write a post on. I left Sunday morning which is when I usually write my application specific post and was traveling most of the day. That broke my pattern for the first time. What with all the meetings, meals and presentations in the next few days it became difficult to apply myself to putting together another post by Wednesday (my concept and techniques post day). So here I am in the airport with a couple of hours to kill and I figured I’d talk a little about business trips and how they relate to the automation field.

This particular trip involved a lot of brainstorming of automation ideas for a customer that doesn’t have a lot of automation experience. As with most first meetings there was a lot of time spent doing introductions and getting familiar with the customer’s processes. We took a couple of tours of the facilities and got a good idea of the current techniques and procedures that are in place. In this case I am doing a controls design for the mechanical equipment that has already been concepted and partially designed by the customer, so much of the brainstorming was built around existing designs.

As with most brainstorming sessions many of the preliminary designs I did before I arrived underwent changes. Taking good notes is always important and I felt like by the end of today I had a pretty detailed path forward. This particular project has a lot of people responsible for individual types of stations as well as the omnipresent project managers, safety people, and IT folks. Overall I think its going to be a fun project.

I will be coming back to sunny Tucson three times in the next couple of months. When you add in a week long family trip to Japan (radiation permitting) there are likely to be more intermittent posts.

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