2014 Instrumentation Symposium Proves to be another Banner Year with Record Attendance

The 69th Annual Instrumentation Symposium for the Process Industries was held on January 21-23, 2014, in the Memorial Student Center (MSC) at Texas A&M University. The symposium was hosted by the Mary Kay O’Connor Process Safety Center and the Artie McFerrin Department of Chemical Engineering. This was the second year in the MSC, solidifying a venue tradition as the symposium moves forward. The exhibit hall space was increase by 50% over what was offered in 2013, and there was a sizable increase in the number of booths present. For the second year in a row, the symposium saw an increase in the number of papers presented by utilizing a dual-track program.

The instrumentation symposium has had a third consecutive year of record attendance since 2010. While the 2012 and 2013 symposia showed a steady increase of attendees, the 2014 symposium saw a pronounced increase of attendees over the past year. This indicates a trend that will likely continue to grow in the coming years. Keeping up with the latest software, knowledge, and regulations as they affect the instrumentation world is what continues to bring professionals, students, and faculty together each January. This long-standing symposium provides a forum for technical presentations, workshops, networking, and exhibits offering the latest technology for the industry.

Again in 2014, the Instrumentation Symposium featured the 2nd Annual Instrument Reliability Network Symposium, which was presented jointly to raise awareness and provide an opportunity for knowledge exchange and networking. The Instrument Reliability Network’s (IRN) mission is to share historical information and lessons learned in order to minimize environmental harm, improve industry safety, maximize asset performance, and reduce maintenance costs through better lifecycle management of instrumentation and controls applied in the process industry. The IRN is a natural addition to the instrumentation symposium due to the connections to instrumentation and the process industry. This year, the second track of papers for two of the days was focused solely on the IRN and its growth potential.

In keeping with the number of relevant topics discussed at the symposium, this year featured three Keynote speakers. The first keynote address was given by Richard Meserole, Vice President of Construction for the Energy & Chemicals division at Fluor. His presentation discussed the current and projected markets in oil, gas, and chemicals and some of the strategies that instrumentation companies are looking to use as the market grows and changes. The second keynote address was given by Amr El-Bakry, Senior Optimization Advisor for ExxonMobil Production Company. He presented on the topic of the importance of asset management in instrumentation with a presentation titled, “Asset Management: Data-to-Action.” A third keynote address, specifically tailored to the IRN portion of the symposium, was given by Gregory Morales, Site Reliability Director for Dow Texas Operations. His presentation was titled, “Reliability is a Culture,” and focused on how to make reliability a culture and the challenging paradigms to do so.

Along with the three keynote speakers, the symposium included 26 papers and 15 workshops over three days. The exhibit hall featured 38 companies showcasing their software products, instrumentation goods, and safety instrumented systems. The exhibits provided an opportunity for managers, operators, students, and instrumentation personnel to network with colleagues and seek out new trends and technology that is available to them in their respective areas.

The 70th Annual Instrumentation Symposium for the Process Industries is scheduled for January 27-29, 2015 at the MSC at Texas A&M University. The Call for Papers is being solicited through May 31, 2014; information can be found here: http://instrumentation-symposium.che.tamu.edu/.

For more information on the Instrumentation Symposium for the Process Industries, contact Valerie Green, Associate Director, Administration, at 979-845-6884 or val-green@tamu.edu.