“Please don’t talk to me about technologies that can improve my plant’s performance. I can’t stand the idea of disrupting my current situation with anything new, even if it’s better.”
Please don’t talk to me about technologies and work practices that can improve my plant performance. I can’t stand the idea of disrupting my current situation with anything new even if it is better.
fine – adj. – Satisfactory; acceptable
There seems to be a wealth of articles detailing the problems we have in our automation industries with finding and developing new talent. There are statistics that say there is a shortage of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) students in our universities, that there are not dedicated degrees that focus on automation, and that the demographics in our industry will drive us off a resource cliff. The conclusions in a lot of these articles recommend large, high-level initiatives to grow interest in STEM degrees at the high school and college level, and somehow change the macro-course of U.S. education.
A perfect storm is brewing in the automation world, and it has nothing to do with hardware or software. It’s about resources, which are fast becoming a bottleneck in the industry. Why? Well, there are several factors at play. I’ll address some of the bigger ones:
Quite often, automation projects become a plug-and-chug exercise in getting the code and HMI into the control system, according to the specifications, with little thought to the true purpose and strategy. This type of automation implementation can be successful, but does not protect your process from the dangers involved in making control system changes.