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Ken Ball

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Ken Ball - 50 Years of Experience in Instrumentation and Controls

An engineering physicist with 50 years experience in instrumentation & controls, Ken Ball has designed and built systems as well as provided writing, and editing services.  He served as the editorial director for the I&CS, Intech, and Programmable Controls journals.  He has had a lifelong interest in improving technical education and has contributed to a number of technical education projects and training programs.          

Ken graduated from Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania in 1954 with a BS in physics. He completed graduate aerodynamics engineering courses (Drexel Extension at Martin Aircraft) and short courses and training programs in sensors & control topics; PLCs; nuclear engineering; and solid state electronics.    

He started his varied instrumentation career as a radio relay technician in the US Marine Corps and moved on to perform aerodynamic heating & unsteady flight.

trajectory analyses for re-entry vehicles for Martin Aircraft. He then worked as an R&D physicist in instrument development for Mine Safety Appliances Company and also  headed projects to develop instruments to detect trace amounts of CW and BW agents.

Ken has also been involved in variety of instrumentation-related projects over the years:

·        Designed controls for and installed over 100 environmentally controlled biomedical rooms used for DNA, protein, and enzyme analyses 

·        Designed and built a small rocket engine test chamber for the Army’s Huntsville Missile Center .  Provided thermodynamic analyses & controls for a new pulsating pressure deep fryer.

·        Headed an Air Force R&D project to detect toxic levels of storable rocket propellants; co-managed a project installing detection systems in all USAF Titan II Silos (Received a Corps of Engineers Award for services) 

·        Installed launch pad (count-down numbers) leak detection systems for Atlas-Agena and Thor-Agena launch pads

·        Built oxygen candle systems for an early fuel cell type remote sonar unit

·        Developed an emergency breathing system for the Navy’s Trieste II Deep Submergence Vehicle

·        Helped found Chemical Separation Technology Inc in 1985 based on a shared patent covering mine acid drainage neutralization systems. 

Since 2002, Ken has edited three books for the ISA (Instrumentation, Systems & Automation Society).  He organized and moderated an annual Rimbach Lecture Session at the ISA Annual Conference. Ken has also developed short courses in temperature measurement, fluid flow, and process controls for the ISA. 

Ken helped start and provided editorial director services for Industry.Net; the first industrial trade publication to bridge the realms of a printed product and an online information service. Industry.Net built to $28 million in revenues in 6 years.

Now semi-retired, Ken concentrates primarily on providing tech writing & publishing services along with some sensing/controls engineering and technical marketing guidance.

Some of Ken’s publications include:

How PLCs Emerged from Industry Needs; Ken Ball; Control Engineering;

    September, 2008.  (Invited article recognizing the PLCs 40th year).

Alcoa Adapting to Global Urbanization; Ken Ball; (published in Pollution Equipment

     News); (Based on Alcoa CEO Alain Belda Keynote at 2005 Manufacturing  Week).

MEMS Sensors: Key to New Markets; Ken Ball; Pollution Equipment News; February  

     ’04 (From the 2003 ISA Rimbach Lecture by Dr Janusz Bryzek).

Heavy Growth Projected For Environmental Automation; Ken Ball; Pollution

     Equipment News; June ’03.

Oil Shippers May Lose More Than Prestige; Ken Ball; Pollution Equipment News;

     February 2003.

Curtailing Aquatic Stowaways; Ken Ball; Pollution Equipment News; October ’02.

NOAA Coastal Services: Ounces of Prevention....: New Technology Week;

     August 7, ’01 .

Controlling CO2: Is There a Handle; Ken Ball; Pollution Equipment News; June, 2001

Microreactor Technology Gaining Momentum; Ken Ball; Industrial Hygiene News;

     September/Oct , ’00.

Sensor Markets Adjusted Upwards; Ken Ball; Pollution Equipment News; April ‘00

PLC I/O Systems: News, Views and Networks; Ken Ball; Control Engineering;

     October ’97; Pages 81-88.

Two parts of a 6-Part Series; AIR POLLUTION IN PERSPECTIVE; 1st Part; Earth’s

     Atmosphere & Man’s Contributions; Part 6; Hydrocarbons &Odors; Kenneth

     E. Ball; Technology Tutor; Dec ’70 & May ’71.        

Atmospheric Monitoring of Toxic Levels of Missile Propellants; John T. Nakamura,    

     Kenneth E. Ball; American Industrial Hygiene Association Journal; Jan-Feb 1964.


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