Q. Why was there need for an updated edition? Were there any new developments, new technologies, new trends, etc. that have taken place since the second edition that prompted it? If so, please explain?
A. Sands: The automation field is a technology field, and technology changes. As a result, A Guide to the Automation Body of Knowledge must also change. We do not address new trends in this book, but rather the basics of the technologies and the related standards. Since the last edition, we have new standards on alarm management, HMI design, and cybersecurity, to name a few.
Q. What would you say is the core focus and overriding value of your book? Why should people purchase it?
A. Verhappen: The book is a practical overview of the key elements of, as the name implies “automation body of knowledge,” that is consistent with the Automation Federation’s Automation Competency Model. The book reflects the combined knowledge of a wide range of experts in the field of automation, with each individual sharing insights gained from their experience in their field of expertise. As one of the editors, I had the privilege of learning from these people during the book’s development and obtaining a sneak peek, if you will.
Q. What is the prime audience who could benefit most by reading it?
A. Sands: The primary audience are automation practitioners early in their careers, those new to the field of automation, and those who are looking for a “refresher” guide.
Q. Is there a specific challenge or set of challenges the book trying to address or solve? What practical knowledge and applications can be gained by reading it?
A. Verhappen: The challenge we are trying to address is to make the book a general reference guide for practitioners as well as a study guide for the Certified Automation Professional® (CAP®) exam. The book collects the wisdom of many different experts between its covers. These experts share tips on how to successfully design, install, and maintain automation systems so readers don’t have to go through all the trials and error of trying to master these practices on their own.
Q. What makes this book different than other books on the subject? What differentiates it?
A. Verhappen: We have strived to keep the individual chapters relevant and to the point so that the concepts are presented in plain language while also describing the core concepts in as few pages as practical—hopefully with minimal overlap between topics. In addition, the book can be read from front-to-back or simply as standalone chapters based on the problem or challenge you are working on at present. As with many ISA publications and events, the book is about the practical application of the arts and sciences associated with automation. Theory is kept to a minimum, other than in providing the basic underlying concepts. Overall, the book is about how to make things work.
Q. Is there any particular subject matter or material covered in the book that you would particularly like to highlight, emphasize or promote in the press release or author Q&A?
A. Verhappen: A Guide to the Automation Body of Knowledge represents a compendium of knowledge based on the Automation Competency Model that can greatly assist those in the first decade of their automation career understand the breadth and scope of this profession.
Q. Do you have any other comments to make about the book that can help highlight its value, benefits, and advantages?
A. Sands: For years I have given the previous edition to new automation engineers. Many times they have reported that it helped them when they needed a quick reference. It really is a practical reference.