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This is an interesting topic.  Much of what I know about industrial
processing operations comes from vendor literature and trade journals
written by technical representatives.  The range and depth of information
available to me just by asking is far more than I could obtain working

Yes, the information is sometimes biased towards their own line of product,
but how often do state and federal agencies publicly claim that another
agency can do things better?  It's the nature of survival to promote
yourself over your competition.  And for those vendors who cannot refrain
from hyping their products, they tend to do more harm to themselves than

I remember attending a conference where the use of Supercritical CO2 was
being discussed.  One vendor got up and gave a very good overview of the
technology and what their company was doing to promote new applications.
The next presenter got up and couldn't end a sentence without mentioning
their company or how they held the patents to everything. It was very
unprofessional and I know their reputation was hurt.  If I needed to buy a
system, they wouldn't be my first choice based on that presentation.

What I do find interesting in this discussion is that some agency people
view vendors in a negative light, but they also rely heavily on their
service for free information.  This can put a tremendous strain on the small
vendor. Face to face meetings, free samples, and impressive color hand-outs
all cost money.  So if a vendor puts in a lot of time and effort to make
your presentation a success, it shouldn't be a big deal if he "occasionally"
mentions his product.

Just my two cents.

Mike Callahan