E-mail Ray Peacock

The industrial automation world is coming out of its summer hibernation with renewed energy. Trade shows, conferences, training courses, and new product releases abound. Each presents an opportunity to increase your knowledge of important technologies, network with colleagues, and identify trends that are shaping the industry. The challenge is to be aware of the important events so that you can take advantage of them. In this month's newsletter, I'd like to point out some of the more valuable and interesting items that are out there.

ISA Doings
More and more technical and expo meetings are on tap. This month, ISA ran the Marketing and Sales Summit, in San Antonio, TX. The summit was sponsored by the ISA Management Division to help marketing and sales executives in the automation industry meet the strategic and tactical challenges of the 21st century.

ISA EXPO 2006 will be back at the Reliant Center in Houston, October 17–19. The annual big show has all its usual bells and whistles and will also include a new party this year, the YAPFEST (Young Automation Professionals—age 30 and under). There'll be a special tent, a shuttle to and from the Expo area, a hot local band, a free lunch, networking with potential employers from industry, a drawing for an Alienware computer, and more. Sounds great, wonder how closely they check IDs?

Then the 53rd International Instrumentation Symposium has issued its call for papers for the April 2007 meeting in Tulsa, OK.

There's even an ISA Show South America, November 21–23, at the EXPO Center Norte, in São Paulo, Brazil. I personally attended one of the first ISA Show forays to Mexico a "few" years back, and it was very rewarding, despite my getting lost in Mexico's Federal District within 5 minutes of leaving my hotel.

Of course, the FLIR/Infrared Camera Applications Conference at InfraMation 2006 is scheduled for October 23–27, 2006, in Las Vegas, at the Orleans Hotel.

ISA will also be offering a lot of courses at EXPO 2006, but they don't have a patent on education and training. Many other organizations have their own offerings.

The American School of Gas Measurement Technology (ASGMT) held its annual meeting in Houston, September 18–21. The school consists of a two-and-a-half day series of 1-hour lectures, hands-on classes, plant tours, and exhibits. The ASGMT is the largest school in the U.S. devoted to natural gas measurement, pressure regulation, flow control, and other related areas.

This fall, IOtech is offering a series of no-cost vibration seminars around the U.S. Learn about easy-to-use, cost-effective solutions for common vibration monitoring and analysis applications. The seminars will feature IOtech's data acquisition hardware, along with relevant software.

The SMMA Motor and Motion College is offering a special course called "Continuous, Dynamic and Intermittent Thermal Operation in Electric Motors" during the SMMA 2006 Fall Technical Conference, November 1–3, at the St. Louis Airport Marriott Hotel.

Online Training
Snell Infrared, a thermographic training organization, is offering a WEBINAR called "Basics of Radiometric Temperature Measurements" on Thursday, October 12, with Rob Spring, a Snell Infrared instructor and ASNT Level III certificate holder. For more information, go to the organization's Web site.

Emerson Process Management is now offering a comprehensive DeltaV operator training course, using eLearning online training (a growing field). The course provides in-depth information on the DeltaV system, operator user interface, alarms, trending, and module operation.

It is expected that the Infraspection Institute will soon announce an expansion to their already large array of online thermographer training classes.

There's even a set of online, self-paced tutorials: Measurement Traceability and Uncertainty in Analytical Chemistry, meeting the requirements of ISO/IEC 17025. The same Web site also has FAQs concerning the evaluation of measurement uncertainty and the establishment of traceability in analytical chemistry.

Despite the heavy title, the concepts taught at the MeasurementUncertainty.org Web site are the same for all measurements. It is a great adjunct to the NIST Online Reference to Uncertainty for anyone unschooled in the concepts of error analyses and uncertainty that is trying to make serious measurements. If you measure or use measurements and do not understand these terms, you really need to take a look.

New Products and Services
Analytical Spectral Devices Inc., a manufacturer of rapid, precision, analytical and quality control instruments, has introduced the Quality Spec iP Vis/NIR spectroscopy system, the newest measurement tool for integrated online process monitoring and quality control. It provides continuous online analysis of key product parameters. It is designed specifically for compatibility and full integration into existing communications with most plant IT systems enabling uninterrupted real-time analysis.

Hart Scientifics' readouts, including Models 1529 and 1560, will display temperature for many of the common letter-designated types of thermocouples, using standard algorithms. There are other types of thermocouples for which the readouts do not have built-in algorithms. These include tungsten-rhenium thermocouples (Type C), as well as Type L, Type U, and Type M (unofficial designations). Hart Scientific provides help in an applications note on how to use even these sensors.

Moritex has chosen the forthcoming Vision 2006 exhibition in Stuttgart, Germany, November 7–9, for the international launch of a range of new illumination systems and lenses for machine vision and inspection applications.

Fluke Corp. has announced the release of the Fluke 9640A RF Reference Source, which is designed to simplify RF calibration while improving productivity and reducing cost.

Keithley Instruments' Metrology Services Group is now accredited to ISO/IEC 17025:2005, the single most important metrology standard for test and measurement, by the American Association for Laboratory Accreditation.

The new Zetasizer Nano series from Malvern Instruments can measure a combination of three of the most important parameters for the colloid and polymer chemist: particle size, zeta potential, and molecular weight. The new technology incorporated in these systems provides unequalled sensitivity and versatility. The patented NIBS optics incorporated into the Nano Z and Nano ZS also allows measurements of samples with little or no dilution.

Big News
A new, world-class measurement laboratory will be located at Philips Research's Microsystems Plaza (MiPlaza) in Eindhoven—one of the largest shared research service centers in the world. Cascade Microtech, a leader in precise electrical measurements on small structures, has announced a partnership agreement with Philips' MiPlaza research center and Agilent Technologies to create a new world class Electronic Measurement Laboratory on the high-tech campus at Eindhoven, The Netherlands. The laboratory will enable development of complex nanoscale high-speed integrated circuits, which are at the heart of next-generation wireless systems.