I write wherever I get the inspiration. Headphones are a given. Right now I am listening to Crosby, Stills and Nash’s “Déjà Vu”, which seems especially appropriate since this is a flashback to my career in instrumentation. When I am in a groove, I enjoy the detail of every note and lyric and the thoughts flow to the page as fast as the music.
I seem to get better insights when I can get away to places particularly beautiful and relaxing. For the November 1998 issue of Chemical Engineering I wrote the feature article “Trouble free Instrumentation” from Pensacola Beach while enjoying the sugar white sand, emerald waters, and tropical drinks as shown on the attached cover.
The article is a summary of everything I learned installing, checking out, and starting up automation systems while in instrument construction and tackling dynamically challenged process control loops for Engineering Technology during my career at Monsanto and its spin off Solutia. The article is a core dump of 11 pages on the selection, installation, maintenance, and troubleshooting of instrumentation and control valves. The article lists major causes of measurement and valve errors and failure, best practices, dos and don’ts of maintenance, diagnostic and knowledge based monitoring techniques, and rules of thumb.
Stay tuned for an electronic copy. If you want to hear about the highlights and lowlights of my career that lead to this article, checkout my “Control Talk” column starting in the August issue of Control magazine titled “One Man’s Story.”