Friday 23 October 2009


American show attracts thousands
Features Dozens of Special Events

ISA EXPO 2009, held at the Reliant Center in Houston (TX US), on 6-8 October, attracted 8,500 attendees and included a 61,500 square foot exhibition showcasing 364 companies. The ISA Fall Training Institute ran 13 courses and trained 113 students at the event.

The show featured seven co-locating organizations, including ARC Advisory Group, Industry2Grid (I2G), MCAA, OpenO&M, Microsoft and the Microsoft Manufacturing User Group (MSMUG), Houston SmartPlant Instrumentation (LTUF), and WBF.

See our take on this event with links to commentaries and releases from other sources in The Last Picture Show!

More about Automation Week<

The co-location of these organizations’ events with the ISA Fall Training Institute, Industry Standards Forum, six technical conferences, and the exhibition brought an abundance of technical content, professional development, and networking opportunities to attendees. New technologies were a focus of both conference sessions and presentations on the exhibit floor, with attendees anxious to see the latest trends in the field. “I’m always looking for new technology. That’s what I’m here to see. I’m a control systems engineer, and anything that can make our processes work better, whether that’s software, wireless, or fieldbus, I want to have a look,” said James Pitts of Goodyear Tire and Rubber in Beaumont, Texas.

The technical conference featured six Exchange Conference Tracks centered on key issues facing instrumentation, automation, and control professionals, including safety, security, process automation and control, energy and environment, wireless and networking, and enterprise integration. The conference program also included several events open to all attendees, including keynote addresses from key leaders. John Hofmeister, CEO and Founder of Citizens for Affordable Energy, and retired President of Shell Oil Company presented the opening keynote address on Tuesday, 6 October. Hofmeister’s presentation, entitled "Energy Security and Affordability in the 21st Century," tackled these two critical concerns for industrial operations.

Wednesday’s keynote address, “Securing the Nation's Industrial Control Systems Infrastructure,” was delivered by Marty Edwards, U.S. Department of Homeland Security Program Manager of the Control Systems Security Program (CSSP). Edward’s address discussed the current threat landscape, common vulnerabilities and security issues facing critical infrastructure control systems, and mitigation strategies being developed to address these challenges.

Lisa Long, Safety Engineer with the U.S. Department of Labor-OSHA (U.S. DOL-OSHA), presented the final keynote address on 8 October, titled, “Overview and Findings from OSHA's Refinery and Chemical National Emphasis Programs." Long’s address described the Petroleum Refinery National Emphasis Program’s inspection protocol and procedures, and reviewed preliminary findings from the program, including data on the most frequently cited paragraphs of the process safety management standards and example citation language.

The event also featured activities for young automation professionals and students. YAPFEST, in its fourth year, attracted 200 automation professionals in the under-30 category to interact with sponsoring companies, learn more about careers in automation, and discuss how they might make a difference in the automation world. Students from several local colleges attended the event to learn about real-world applications of the automation and engineering concepts they’re learning about in school, and young professionals already working in the field attended to network and build their knowledge of the industry. Tamara Freasier, a graduate of LIT, works as a commissioning admin for Chicago Bridge and Iron. “We’re building a liquid natural gas plant in Sabine Pass, Texas,” she said. “I came to EXPO to get exposed to instruments and what they do.”

The second annual iAU2M8 event, designed for middle and high school students, attracted over 600 students from the Houston area. Students had a chance to walk through the ISA EXPO exhibit, see automation technology in action through an interactive demonstration area, and learn about career opportunities from real-world automation professionals. Sponsored by Shell, the event attracted several participating organizations and schools, including Citizens for Affordable Energy, FIRST Robotics, Houston Community College, the Houston Museum of Natural Science, Lee College, the Offshore Energy Center, Texas State Technical College, and the University of Houston.

The students attended a keynote address entitled “Deadliest Innovation,” given by Greg Crouch, Embedded Systems Business Development Director at National Instruments. Crouch is active in National Instrument’s academic STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) program efforts, helping to expand excitement of engineering among youth.

During the show, ISA announced its plans for a new event in 2010. ISA Automation Week 2010 will be held 4-7 October 2010 at the Westin Galleria Complex in Houston, Texas, USA. ISA Automation Week is a new, knowledge-focused event that will feature educational and applications-based technical conference sessions delivered by subject matter experts. Discrete and process automation professionals will have a chance to learn techniques and solutions for creating more efficient, productive, and economical manufacturing processes. ISA training courses and standards meetings will also be held concurrently, making ISA Automation Week a one-stop shop for automation and control knowledge and networking opportunities.

ISA Automation Week will attract management, engineering, production, IT, and R&D professionals responsible for automation, control systems, plant-wide communications/networks, plant operations and maintenance, and systems integration in continuous and batch manufacturing environments.

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