"Ian has consulted for us in the area of alarm management, central control room design, process control management and operator workload assessments. He is without doubt one of the world's experts in the above fields and has assisted us implementing leading edge techniques with definite business outcomes."

— Angelo, Senior Process Control Engineer

What Others Are Saying:

Navajo Refining Company, located in southeast New Mexico, is part of the HollyFrontier Corporation and employs approximately 360 workers at this site.

"While in the development of a new Training Center, we needed design ideas. We contacted UCDS and they designed several conceptual designs of a training center in accordance with our needs. While we did not build the exact design (we had to downgrade it, in accordance with our budget), we were able to use most of the ideas from UCDS for the training rooms. The Conceptual Design we received opened our eyes to what we really needed. It helped us focus on the key aspects of what a Training Center should be."

Jeff Stack
Training Specialist
HollyFrontier Corporation


Company Background:

SourceGas LLC (“SourceGas”) and its subsidiaries serve approximately 425,000 customers and operate more than 19,340 miles of natural gas distribution, gathering and transmission pipeline, as well as storage facilities in Arkansas, Colorado, Nebraska and Wyoming. SourceGas and its subsidiaries also provide gas transportation, in-home HVAC and appliance service and sales, as well as gas commodity sales services to its natural gas customers in many jurisdictions. SourceGas and its predecessor companies have provided natural gas service to small and rural communities for nearly 80 years.

"The company lacked enough appropriate industry knowledge and expertise to comply with the extensive PHMSA 192.631 Control Room Management code requirements for Alarm Management, Fatigue Mitigation, Management of Change, and Process Management. Outside guidance was sought to aid in the CRM plan administration and implementation. UCDS came highly recommended from various industry contacts and references.

UCDS performed a gap analysis and made various recommendations and improvements to our CRM plan. Plan has successfully gone through two multistate audits. UCDS brought to the table knowledge and skills in areas that were lacking. Staff now has better guidance and skills on all aspects of Gas Control functions. I would absolutely recommend UCDS!"

Bill Stephens
Senior Manager of Codes and Standards

LyondellBasell is a world leader in chemical manufacturing and refining. Goal Zero is our motto for zero, safety incidents, environmental incidents and customer complaints.

"Our Ethylene Oxide control room needed to be updated to enhance operator effectiveness for managing abnormal situations. At times the noise level would exceed 80db and our board Operators would struggle to operate the units from the distractions.

UCDS, after a very comprehensive study and report, more or less woke up not only our site but our other company sites to the importance of control room environments. We thought we only had a noise issue. However after the study we learned we had much more than a noisy control room that we needed to improve on in order to provide a safe environment that’s also ergonomically enhanced for the control room operator.

My personal thoughts for the work done are that there are a lot of “old school” thinkers managing and running plant control rooms. The data in the UCDS reports were basically indisputable and made very clear the importance of the recommendations. Since we implemented the changes our Operators are much less fatigued at the end of their shift and our site KPI’s have drastically improved.

I would HIGHLY recommend UCDS because the industry still has a lot of catching up to do in order to improve control room environments for safe operating conditions that actually can reduce operator fatigue and improve abnormal situational management, (ASM)."

Michael L Johnson
Sr. Control Systems Specialist


Facility Background:

The Victoria, TX nylon plant was constructed over 60 years ago and remains a key global supplier of intermediates. Each production unit represents a different molecule required for nylon production and is operated as separate business unit. Control systems are localized with no integration between areas. Some areas are still utilizing analog controllers, while others have as many as three generations of distributed control systems.

"Our site initiated a capital program to replace all area control systems with a common and current DCS platform. In addition, the program would consolidate multiple area control rooms into a single site control room located outside of the process areas.

The project team visited several sites that had consolidated control rooms and updated their DCS platforms to gain an understanding of Best Practices. The project team attended a number of workshops addressing high performance Human Machine Interfaces (HMI) and situation awareness. One of these workshops was hosted by User Centered Design Services, Inc., and it was very clear that there was a body of research and implementation experience behind situation awareness and value that had been realized.

  • UCDS provided a situation awareness workshop locally for key site leadership, operations, and engineering personnel to establish grounding on the principles that would become the basis for a site control room. This workshop was repeated two years later for console operators and operations supervisors marking the beginning of design development for the site control room.
  • UCDS provided console and field operator workload studies for our site to optimize the number of operator consoles required in a new site control room. This also identified alarm rationalization, high performance HMI, and improved automation in the control system as objectives for operator optimization.
  • UCDS provided a developmental workshop with the site for a current alarm management philosophy aligned with ISA and EEMUA publications. This was followed by an alarm rationalization effort.
  • UCDS provided design consultation in the initial layout of the site control room.

UCDS Staffing and Situation Awareness Workshops helped us develop the value proposals associated with framing the project and obtaining capital funding. Our project is still in progress, but we have confidence that we should see substantial return on investment as soon as we have all areas moved to the new control room."

Driscoll W. Staley
Programs and Projects
INVISTA S.à r.l. – Victoria Plant

The Lake Charles, Louisiana Chemical Complex has seven manufacturing units situated on approximately 400 acres. Its primary products are used in the cleaning and personal care markets to manufacture ingredients for soaps, detergents, shampoos, cosmetics and more. Specialty chemicals used in mild abrasives, thickeners and pharmaceuticals, as well as in the enhanced oil recovery markets, are also manufactured here at this facility.

Company Background:

Sasol is an international, integrated energy and chemicals company that leverages the talent and expertise of more than 32,400 people working in 37 countries. Sasol produces a range of high-value product streams, including liquid fuels, chemicals and low-carbon electricity utilizing commercial technology development and the construction and operation of world-scale facilities.

"Safety is a core Sasol value. This value, coupled with a high-performance Sasol culture, became the driver to implement the safest and most intuitive toolset for the operator. We didn’t have a firm foundation for how we designed the operator environment and needed to develop the framework from which to do so. That is why we hired UCDS.

We utilized UCDS’ world-class experience to guide our team in developing our operator environment. UCDS helped define and develop our site HMI Philosophy which will be used to benchmark existing units and design newly-added units.

Now that we have a working HMI Philosophy, we possess the foundation from which to design the most comprehensive HMI solutions for our operators. It also defines the framework for continuous improvement as technology, people, and the plant environment evolve."

David Smith
Process Control Engineer
Sasol, North America