November/December 2012
Your Letters

Security issues

I appreciate the article, "Uninterruptible power supplies and cybersecurity" by Michael A. Stout (January/February 2012 InTech). The author's expertise and product offering are from the UPS world, which is great. The same security issues apply to any device located in the facility-for example, HMIs, PCs, SCADA system, or any operating/control device. Security by obscurity no longer flies. Unless a serious security event occurs at a facility in question-water/wastewater, power generation/distribution-it is tough to get the attention of those with budget control to implement the proper security policies and defenses.
Jeff

Career change considerations

Alan Carty's article, "Thinking about a job change?" (May/June 2012 InTech), offered excellent insight for engineers wanting to make the next steps in their careers; of particular interest are his views on engineers becoming sales engineers. I agree that trying to grow one's career with a current employer makes perfect sense, and it cannot be argued that it takes at least three to six months to become effective in a new role. For many reasons, however, it's not always possible for aspiring persons to grow their careers with their companies. As a veteran recruiter in this industry, it's my ambition to reach engineers ready to make that "next step" and who cannot achieve this in their present situations. Many clients are receptive to these candidates, particularly as baby boomers retire. Teaching an engineer to sell, provided he or she has the interpersonal skills necessary to manage the circumstances that selling demands, is indeed a valuable commodity. Mr. Carty makes a strong point: what happens if success isn't achieved when the engineer takes on a new role with a new employer? Candidates and clients must assure that objectives, business philosophies, etc. are on par before making a commitment to one another. Success can never be guaranteed, but risks can be minimized. I often remind clients that bringing them the best possible candidate is my job. Keeping this employee satisfied and challenged is their job.
Eric C. Bergsman

Expanding on standardization

"Code standardization increases throughput" (May/June 2012 InTech) was an excellent article with many spin-offs, such as:

  • Shorter fault-finding times by technical staff due to familiarity with the code
  • Quick new project delivery timelines due to the code library
  • Ease of software modification when physical/mechanical plant changes are made
  • Ease of knowledge transfer to new technical staff.

I would also like to see PLC/DCS/SCADA system libraries come "standard" with software modules for conveyors, crushers, multiple drives, etc. that do not require modification by a system integrator. This will reduce the investment by system users in terms of producing their software standards.
Selvan Murugan