Moving from Reactive to Predictive Maintenance

How much does unexpected downtime cost your facility per minute, hour, or day? In your facility, how much of that unexpected downtime can you prevent? Making the right maintenance choices and investments can help minimize these surprises.

Read more by Jack Smith from Fluke

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Calibration Report Tool Released for Evaluation

The new E & I Tech CalReportTool is ready to download for evaluation. See Calibration Report Tool Released for Evaluation at E & I Tech.

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Seven Steps To Training Success

In recent years you, like many others, may have faced a double-edged sword with respect to finding or developing people with the needed craft skills and knowledge for your organization. From the hiring perspective, you may have experienced researching over 100 resumes to find a single candidate that you would consider interviewing.

For one company building a new facility, the struggle had been quite pronounced as the maintenance manager had not been able to find a single potential hire locally. On the opposite side of the sword, during the economic downturn the first items cut were training and travel budgets.

Now the with economy showing signs of revitalization and with a surge in manufacturing openings coupled with retirements from the baby boomer generation, companies are being driven to develop internal craft skills and knowledge once again. That said, do you know how to approach training and development to maximize your investment?


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Water Treatment Industry Solutions

From HollySys Automation Technologies:

Paper describes how a typical municipal waste water treatment operates – including mechanical treatment, biological and chemical treatment, sludge treatment and the instrumentation involved – and how a PLC-based control system, Profinet and Ethernet handle it all. Processes include: Waste water treatment, Water purification plant, Intermediate water reuse, Municipal pump station. Download Here

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Automation Technician

New job descriptioin from the Automation Federation:

Automation Technician

Alternate Titles:

Instrument Technician, Instrumentation Technician, Control Technician, Process Control Technician, Instrumentation and Electrical (I&E) Technician, Electrical and Instrumentation (E&I) Technician, and Measurement Technician. Sometimes called Instrument Mechanic, Control Mechanic.


Automation Technicians install, perform start-up/commissioning, maintain, troubleshoot, document and repair a wide variety of industrial instrumentation, electronic monitoring, metering, controlling and signaling devices used in the production of goods and services. They frequently provide input to equipment selection and design.

Sources of Material:

Certified Control System Technician Body of Knowledge, Automation Competency Model.

Performance Domains:

Domain I: Calibration

Domain II: Loop Checking

Domain III: Troubleshooting

Domain IV: Start-Up

Domain V: Maintenance/Repair

Domain VI: Project Organization

Domain VII: Administration 

See the complete description for Automation Technicians from the Automation Federation.

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Automation Competency Model


The Automation Competency Model is a resource that provides a comprehensive collection of the competencies or the knowledge, skills, and abilities required in the automation industry. The competencies are described using key behaviors, examples of the critical work functions, or the technical content common to an industry. A competency describes a behavior, but does not attempt to describe a level of performance, or competence. Not every worker in an industry needs the same level of performance in a competency area.

The model is depicted in a graphic consisting of several tiers on a pyramid. Each tier is comprised of blocks that group the skills, knowledge, and abilities essential for successful performance in the industry. At the base of the model, the competencies apply to a large number of occupations and industries. As a user moves up the model, the competencies become industry and occupation specific. The pyramid shape does not imply that competencies at the top are at a higher level of skill.  The model’s shape represents the increasing specialization and specificity in the application of skills as you move up the tiers.

View the Automation Competency Model at

The graphic and complete text descriptions are available for download at the bottom of the page at the link above.

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Vocational tech grads buck the jobs trend

From the CBS Evening News, October 12, 2011:

John McGlade, president and CEO of Air Products, says 4,000 of his 7,500 U.S. employees are skilled workers. His global company designs and builds high-tech hydrogen equipment and devices.
McGlade is “worried” he won’t be able to find skilled workers in the future. He hires about 550 U.S. workers a year. Three-hundred-and-sixty are technically skilled positions that require two years of college or advanced certification. These positions can often go unfilled for 12 months.
“You need people who are electronics experts, instrument technicians, mechanics,” McGlade said.
“Without support and continued development of a skilled workforce, we’re not going to be able to fill the jobs,” McGlade warned.
“There is going to be more and more of those skilled jobs that are available, that are going to be paying and provide a sustaining career for years and years to come,” McGlade said.
It’s a career path that McGlade estimates will need 10 million more skilled workers over the next decade.
Read the full article and watch the video here.
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Repair Your Maintenance Program

Take a fresh look at how to improve staff productivity and skills in Repair Your Maintenance Program at

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Formal Training and Mentorship Key to Protecting Future

As the boomer generation ages and leaves a sizable gap in the workforce, it is essential to institute apprentice programs to help fill the void. Read more about Formal training and mentorship key to protecting future by

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Plant Engineering 2010 Salary Survey

According to the Plant Engineering 2010 Salary Survey, 23% of respondents cited the lack of available skilled workers as the biggest threat their manufacturing operation faces today. It was the number one concern. Read the January/February 2011 Forecast Issue online.

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