- By Bill Lydon
- May 31, 2020
- The Final Say
By Bill Lydon
The impact worldwide of the COVID-19 virus is obvious, and there are amazing and dedicated people in healthcare on the “frontlines” working with patients. Many have characterized this as a fight much like a war. It certainly has those characteristics, including the quiet heroes behind the scenes who “keep the wheels turning and supply the troops.” In order for society to function, many manufacturing and process industry professionals are also amazing and dedicated behind-the-scenes people who are making sure a steady flow of a wide range of essential resources, materials, and supplies is available.
Manufacturing and process industry professionals are keeping a wide range of production functioning, including:
- pharmaceutical and biotech plants (medicines, insulin, etc.)
- electric power generation, substations, and transmission lines
- natural and LP gas utilities (pipelines, compressor stations, etc.)
- water and wastewater treatment plants (distribution, lift stations, pumps, etc.)
- oil and gas production (upstream, midstream, downstream)
- ethylene plants (plastics, solvents, etc.)
- pulp and paper plants (toilet paper, masks, filters, diapers, etc.)
- food and beverage production plants (sanitizer, groceries, soup, meats, frozen food, etc.)
- manufacturing plants (medical masks, medical shields, ventilators, soap, toilet paper, etc.)
- distribution centers (conveyors, material handling, AVGs, robotics, etc.)
Consider the impact if these operations at these production plants degraded or failed.
In the ranks of these workers are many International Society of Automation members who are dedicated professionals. Since the founding of ISA in 1945, members have been committed to improving industry with members volunteering their time to develop standards and education and training, and publishing books and technical articles. ISA’s 160 geographical sections connect members with technology, expert advice, and technical training.
The importance of manufacturing and production professionals in this crisis reminds me of the message Peter Martin, PhD, ISA Fellow, has given for a number of years about the high value that automation professionals’ work contributes to the welfare and betterment of the world.
For those not familiar with Dr. Martin he is a recognized leader and innovator in the field of automation and control for over 37 years. He was recognized by Fortune magazine as a Hero of U.S. Manufacturing and received ISA’s Life Achievement Award. He has a BA and MS in mathematics, an MA in administration and management, a PhD in industrial engineering, as well as a masters and PhD in Biblical studies.
Manufacturing and production professionals are another part of the “troops” in this fight behind the scenes. Others behind the scenes in these ranks include warehouse people, operators, truck drivers, grocery store cashiers, farmers, and many others. Certainly, the medical professionals are brave, dedicated people right at the front. As automation professionals, we understand it takes an entire system with all support troops to win.
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