Perspectives: Field Notes

Make Your Message Clear and Concise

Some common errors plague writing done by many engineers.

By Dirk Willard, Contributing Editor

“How to write good” made me laugh until I heard an engineer from Texas say it, believing that was correct English. The phrase should be “How to write well.” Thankfully, you understand that, right?

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Stick to the basics

Getting immersed in details can doom a basic design contract to financial failure.

02/13/2008

It really isn’t your problem

A manager shouldn’t try to be a Mr. Fix-it.

02/05/2008

Build reliability in during design

Instrumentation that promises to improve reliability may not always be what they seem. You have to consider whether a site can properly maintain sophisticated instruments.

12/19/2007

Make the most of newly hired, experienced engineers

Contributing Editor Dirk Willard reminds readers that an old dogs can learn new tricks and plants should keep this in mind when hiring new, yet experienced, engineers.

10/29/2007

Learning foreign languages can make your job easier

Don’t build walls, by ignoring foreign languages, says Contributing Editor Dirk Willard, in this month's Field Notes column. Learning foreign languages can make your job easier.

10/04/2007

Don’t get zapped by spark testing

Understand the intricacies of checking for defects in a liner, advises Dirk Willard, contributing editor, in this month's Field Notes column.

08/28/2007

Know when to call for help

Sometimes a construction manager is a necessary evil, says Dirk Williard, in this month's Field Notes column.

08/20/2007

Electives can contribute significantly to professional growth

Taking electives can help you broaden your skills, says Dirk Willard, in this month's Field Notes installment.

07/24/2007

Protect your electronics

Ignoring exposed electrical boxes can cost you a bundle, says Contributer Dirk Willard, in this month's Field Notes column.

06/06/2007

Strike the Right Balance

Make the walk-through your first line of defense, advises Dirk Willard in this month's Field Notes column.

04/30/2007

Choose the right fluid for your pressure test

Compressed gas often makes the most sense for checking a process, according to Senior Editor Dirk Willard, in this month's Field Notes column.

04/12/2007

Pressure tests can spur successful start-up

Push it: if it breaks it probably needed to be replaced, says Dirk Williard, in this month's Field Notes column. Doing so can help improve your processes.

03/01/2007

Rely on an Ombudsman for a Smoother Project

Working with someone who speaks the operator’s language will avoid problems, according to Dirk Willard, in this month's Field Notes column.

02/12/2007

Know when to leave a sinking ship

The unspoken truth about projects is that they all come to an end, according to Dirk Willard in this month's Field Notes column. The key, he says, is knowing when to leave.

01/03/2007

Making Your Process Operator-Proof

Senior Editor Dirk Willard discusses Shigeo Shingo's take on mistake-proofing, or Poke Yoke, if you speak Japanese. The practice suggests the following devices: eliminate — redesign, facilitate — guide, mitigate — lessen the damage caused by the error, or flag — identify the error.

12/05/2006

Work to build coalitions with difficult teams

Managing feuds is the first step toward a successful project, according to Senior Editor Dirk Willard in his monthly installment of Chemical Processing's Field Notes column.

10/24/2006

Choosing the right contract

A contract can be a stone in your shoe. Knowing which type of contract to choose can make your job easier. Chemical Processing's Senior Editor Dirk Willard provides tips on various types of contracts.

09/20/2006

Remember the old reliable orifice plate

The cost-effective dP flow meter is ideal for utility surveys, Senior Editor Dirk Willard says in this month's Chemical Processing Field Notes column.

09/11/2006

Twisting the dragon's tail

Complacency is a problem when violating safety rules has no repercussions.

08/18/2006

Don’t Be the Hub of a Wheel

Successful ‘green-field’ site start-ups depend on developing a team, says Senior Editor Dirk Willard.

08/17/2006