Report from Columbus

Part of our new approach is to include all the paperwork plus the class CD in the handout.  I was afraid that not trading CDs for Course Evaluations at the end of the day would reduce the number of evaluations that we got back.  My fear is now assuaged.  We got a lot of feedback in Columbus at the PROFIBUS one-day training class.  The feedback fell mostly into four categories: topics to cover more deeply or less; environmental factors; criticism; and praise.


Requests for more (and less)

We had requests to talk in more depth about commissioning, troubleshooting, PROFIsafe, Industrial Ethernet, and PROFINET.  For the latter two, I suggest attending one of the PROFINET one-day training classes or the first four archived webinars.  I’m surprised at the request for more on PROFIsafe; perhaps safety over a fieldbus is taking hold faster than I anticipated.  Since no one suggested reducing anything (with one exception), we may have to do a webinar to fill the gap.  I’m not surprised that attendees want more on troubleshooting and commissioning; maybe we can increase those a bit.


Hands-on time is often requested as it was twice in Columbus, but we just can’t figure out how to do that for 70 people at a time.  Someone asked us to compare PROFIBUS to ControlNet.  We won’t.  We don’t know much about it because it is not really on our radar.  We rarely see or hear of it.


The one request to cut down something was the introduction.  We’ll cut it down, but not eliminate it.




We got one comment we occasionally get (“Room too cold.”) and two I’ve never seen before:

“Breaks too long.”

“Lunch too long.”


I did not think the room was cold… and I’m acclimated to Arizona temperatures (87 in Phoenix while I was in Columbus).  Of course, I was moving around a lot.


The breaks are always 15 minutes and the lunch, an hour.  We want to make sure people have a chance to get up and move around.  And to visit with the exhibitors who make it possible for us to do this at no cost to the attendees.




“Too much chest thumping vs. FF.”

I admit I don’t understand this criticism.  Just the night before I read John Rinaldi’s blog and his criticism of us bashing Ethernet/IP.  So I was conscious of my apparent tendency to present the perception of bashing.  I really feel we presented FF factually.  We’re ahead of FF when it comes to safety over the bus – by years.  These are just facts.  We have more global support infrastructure than FF.  These are just facts.  FF’s claim to fame is control in the field and ours is one network for both discrete and process.  These are just facts.  My chest is not sore.





“Excellent helps on acronyms.” [We’ve added definitions of the acronyms as we go, like we did in the PROFINET class last year.]


“Good course, especially for free.”


“I think PROFINET will probably work better for my application.  I would love to try to attend a course for that.”  [I recommend the archived webinars on Industrial Ethernet and PROFINET.]


“Very good.  I was starting from zero.”


“Good overview of PROFIBUS. Enjoyed the raffles and quizzes to keep us tuned in.”  [In order to break up the technical drumbeat, we raffle off some inexpensive giveaways.  We also do a raffle right after each break and after lunch – just our subtle way of luring folks back to their seats.  The rules of presenting say “Tell’em what you’re gonna tell’em, tell’em, and tell’em what you told’em.  For the latter, rather than a “summary” slide, this year we decided to make the summary a quiz complete with prizes.]


“It’s nice walking away from a class like this feeling very comfortable with the product.”  [Really a technology as opposed to a product, but we like the sentiment.]


“It’s a great course. Thank you very much.”


“Excellent introduction to PROFIBUS.”


“I am very glad I attended today.  Wonderful job presenting; kept my interest.”


“Like the new format.”  [And I was worried that the new format might not be well-received, but at lease one person who attended in the past liked the change.  The new format parallels an actual project.]



PROFIBUS in Columbus photo album.



Next week we have a PROFIBUS in the Process Industries class in Greenville.  But I’ll be in Orlando for ABB Automation and Power World.  I’ll be presenting an introduction to PROFIBUS and PROFINET; please attend if you are in Orlando.  If you are going to Greenville, say hello to Mike and Manny.