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Mike Monday is going to Reliable Plant

April 13, 2018

This week I’m doing something a little different. I’m going to a conference. Conferences are a chance to connect with other people in the field. Between the workshops, exhibitors, and the other attendees the week will be packed. I'll have opportunities to learn from people with decades of experience. There will be chances to connect with people in my field as well as see a variety of services available.

What conference you ask? Reliable Plant Conference 2018 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Attendees range from people with years of in the field to fresh faced new guys looking to learn. Exhibitors include giant companies as well as smaller more independent and flexible companies.

One of the workshops I look forward to concerns lubrication filtration. Many of our own machines suffer from poor lubrication maintenance, so this workshop will provide great insight on how we can improve. We have to raise our standard of oil purity, but how do we achieve that goal? Is it through an offline oil filter? Maybe we're using the wrong type of filter element? Or do we need better practices? These workshops do more than answer questions, they teach us how to solve our own issues. Providing us with actionable information.

The exhibitors are another important piece to the conference. They come to show their products and figure out who they can help. These are companies that want to help maintain and improve machines. Some are selling the latest in industrial filtration, and others better wear parts. The variety, when you start looking, is astounding. Products I've never heard of will blow me out of the water. I'll be able to compare competitors and talk with people who care about how their product improves my work. Exhibitors provide educational opportunities in their own right. Many will be demonstrating their products live on the show floor such as a kidney loop filter system.

Then there are the other attendees. The people I'll be in workshops with and walking the floor with, or grabbing a bite to eat with, or talking shop. I know who the exhibitors are what kind of workshops there will be. I don't know who exactly will be there and that is exciting. I could run into someone whose experienced what I'm working on, but he found out twenty years ago and has relevant advice for my situation. This wild card factor is powerful. Connecting with people in your field is one of the most powerful tools in your arsenal. Conferences foster moments to connect with people you otherwise would never meet.

At the end of the three days, I will be leaving this conference with a wealth of new information. From the companies that help what maintain, to new contacts, to lessons learned. I go to the Reliable Plant Conference knowing that this is a great investment of time. I expect that along with a great learning experience I'll be coming back to work inspired.