Achieving Excellence In Operations

Date Posted: May-20-2015  |   Category: Main News

Requires Operator Support… Many organizations have appointed a leader to initiate an excellence philosophy for operations and the first thing they discover, improving operations is a major challenge for most managers. Indeed, multiple pressures – competition, more stringent regulation as well as investor and stakeholder expectations – are driving leaders …

New IEC 62682 Webinar

Date Posted: May-12-2015  |   Category: Main News

EC 62682 View Webinar Here             US national standard has been a recommended practice for a long time now, but the new IEC 62682 specifically calls out management letting them know this is an international standard not a recommend practice. We can help, our customers are …

Alarms Revisited: The New IEC 62682 Standard

Date Posted: Apr-27-2015  |   Category: Featured, Main News

Many are still struggling to achieve the EEMUA 191 alarm rates (1 alarm per 10 minutes per operator) because they have not embraced the new international IEC 62682 standard. This international standard is a reflection of the ISA 18.2 US national standard, for alarm management. What does this mean to …

Operator Staffing based on Workload

Date Posted: Apr-23-2015  |   Category: Main News

In today’s competitive environment, all plants are interested in reducing costs to maximize profitability. One fixed-expense area most frequently targeted is hourly staffing level. If one duty station can be eliminated in a plant that operates 24 hours a day, head count can be reduced by at least four full-time …

Cost Estimate for a New State of the Art Control Room

Date Posted: Apr-22-2015  |   Category: Main News

Many managers and company executives are focusing on achieving company goals and objectives. The automation system and the control room operators significantly impact the business. Bottom line: control room operators are the first line of defense during abnormal situations, if they detect problems in time, they can reduce costs. How …

March 2015 news

Date Posted: Mar-14-2015  |   Category: Main News

The months are ticking by already, and we are working on a variety of projects. I am busy working on Large Screens Display projects both here in the USA and in Trinidad. Dave continues to love working in Canada and everyone else is working on a variety of projects from …

Success Story – Operator Effectiveness Means Money

Date Posted: Mar-12-2015  |   Category: Featured

Arnold Oliver of Worsley Alumina challenged his process control group to improve process efficiency. The goal was to get operators to set setpoints closer to the maximum process capacity. To achieve this, operators needed an environment that was optimized. Operator effectiveness was the major focus for changes that proved to …

New Book from UCDS

Date Posted: Mar-03-2015  |   Category: Main News

Operator Effectiveness and The Human Side of Error Operators are the first line of defense when abnormal situations occur. We reply on operators to be vigilant and predictive when process problems occur. Humans make mistakes but when operators make mistakes it could have a major impact on the business. We …

February 2015 News from Ian

Date Posted: Feb-17-2015  |   Category: Main News

2015 has started strong with a lot of new opportunities. As usual, this time of year David volunteers to head north and enjoy some snow on the ground, while I stay in Phoenix and enjoy the 80 degree weather; well-done Dave. He also spent a week in Houston doing some …

Why We Improve Operator Effectiveness

Date Posted: Feb-16-2015  |   Category: Main News

Alarm Management is one of the control room systems that affect operator performance, but there is a bigger picture. When we look at downtime, we need to think about why we have operators in the control room and ask: are they effective at mitigating and managing abnormal situations? Are they …

Happy new year, High performance HMI and Human Factors

Date Posted: Jan-13-2015  |   Category: Main News

Happy New Year to all our friend’s and clients! Who knows what this year will bring as we start the year with falling oil prices and low fuel costs which helps many businesses but often leads to loss of work for an organization like ours.  We have been through a …

Reduce Unplanned Downtime Caused by Process Upsets

Date Posted: Jan-12-2015  |   Category: Main News

Alarm Management is one of the control room systems that effect operator performance but there is a bigger picture. When we look at down time, we need to think about why we have operators in the control room and ask, are they effective at mitigating and managing abnormal situations? Below …

Webinar – Alarm Management Per the New IEC62682 Standard (New Rationalization Method)

Date Posted: Jan-05-2015  |   Category: Main News

Webinar – Alarm Management Per the New IEC62682 Standard (New Rationalization Method) The recent IEC 62682 Standard lays out a business procedure for the lifetime management of process alarms: You should attend this webinar if: Your plant is planning or considering an alarm rationalization project to ensure it complies with …

December News 2014

Date Posted: Dec-21-2014  |   Category: Main News

Where did the year go?  I am sorry I didn’t manage to keep blogging all year.  I guess you understand when everything gets busy some things get dropped, not because they are not important, but other things like customers and projects take the priority. Dave and I just returned from …

Fatal Chemical Release Killed Thousands in Bhopal, India.

Date Posted: Dec-02-2014  |   Category: Main News

Fatal Chemical Release Killed Thousands in Bhopal, India. Video Below: CSB Safety Message Warns it Could Happen Again, more Must be Done to Improve Process Safety Regulations in the U.S. to Prevent the Next Accident from Occurring. The U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) released a short video safety message marking …

Operational Excellence (where do we start)

Date Posted: Nov-05-2014  |   Category: Main News

Operational Excellence (where do we start) Many organizations have appointed a leader to initiate an operation excellence philosophy and the first thing they discover, improving operational excellence is one of the most crucial challenges facing CEOs across the globe. Indeed, multiple pressures – competition, more stringent regulation as well as …

News from UCDS!

Date Posted: Aug-11-2014  |   Category: Main News

Welcome to this month’s news from UCDS. In the midst of a growing workload, the team has managed to get some well-deserved vacation time in, so everyone is ready for a busy couple of months. I know many of you are interested in what sort of projects we are working …

Workshop: The High Performance Control Room

Date Posted: Jul-31-2014  |   Category: Main News

Workshop: The High Performance Control Room Nov 13th Control Room Ergonomics and ISO 11064 Workshop Houston, TX Click here for brochure

UCDS news June 2014 – High Performance HMI, Graphics and Upcoming.

Date Posted: Jun-24-2014  |   Category: Main News

UCDS has been extremely busy on a full range of projects covering all of our standard offerings.  We are delighted that customers have been enthusiastic about our solution for overview displays.  We decided to get into this market space having seen so many failures at customer sites and talking to …

Welcome to UCDS’s blog!

Date Posted: Apr-14-2014  |   Category: Main News

Welcome to UCDS’s blog!  A place where we pass on to our current customers, prospective customers and friend’s some insight into what we have been and are doing and also to provide some insight into the people and company. UCDS has the best people who love what they are doing …

Launch of CenterHFE

Date Posted: Mar-15-2014  |   Category: Main News

Dear Colleagues, Next week we launch the first meeting of CenterHFE, it has been a hard start with Tax Registration delays, wish I hadn’t used the term “Tea Party” as you all know that means tea and biscuits to me, but maybe something else to others! Only joking. The email …

Lives lost Tesoro Refinery 2010

Date Posted: Feb-01-2014  |   Category: Main News

Seven lives were tragically lost at the Tesoro refinery in 2010…said Dr. Rafael Moure-Eraso, CSB chairperson. “I believe the draft report does an outstanding job of tracing this complex accident to its roots: a deficient refinery safety culture, weak industry standards for safeguarding equipment, and a regulatory system that too …

December News

Date Posted: Jan-03-2014  |   Category: Main News

December News Well, a year has come and gone really fast.  Merry Christmas everyone and best wishes for the New Year. This last month I spent 2 weeks in Hawaii at our alarm management customer’s property in Honolulu.   We spent a lot of time rationalizing alarms and made some significant …

Two major things to account for in Control Room Design

Date Posted: Dec-23-2013  |   Category: Main News

There are two major aspects of control room design that should be taken into account, these are: 1. The suitability of the structure of the control room to withstand possible major hazards events; and 2. The layout of control rooms and the arrangement of panels, VDUs etc to ensure effective …

Control Room Fatigue & Alertness

Date Posted: Dec-20-2013  |   Category: Main News

Operator fatigue is a critical safety issue that is putting 24/7 operations at risk in our industry. Every day, operators and managers must cope with unusual and difficult work schedules and the reality of operator fatigue. Fatigue may produce physical and mental decrements in alertness, vigilance, and decision-making that can …

Control Room People and Behaviors

Date Posted: Dec-19-2013  |   Category: Main News

Control Room People and Behaviors Operators need to be allowed to do what they are trained and paid to do and that requires that they be provided an environment that is void of as many unnecessary distractions and disruptions as possible, something akin to an air-traffic control center. When you …

CSB Report on the Chevron 2012 Pipe Rupture

Date Posted: Dec-18-2013  |   Category: Main News

CSB Report on the Chevron 2012 Pipe Rupture Recommendations for regulation change and the implementation of a “Safety Case System” The August 2012 process fire in the crude unit at the Chevron refinery in Richmond, California endangered 19 workers and sent more than 15,000 residents to the hospital for medical …

Control Room Abnormal Situation Management

Date Posted: Dec-14-2013  |   Category: Main News

Control Room Abnormal Situation Management Abnormal situations are preventable and manageable but they continue to cost companies millions of dollars and sometimes the lives of our coworkers, friends and family. Training programs should be focused on all possible situations, the way pilots are trained using simulators during crash sequences. Are …

Control Room Excellence (an overview)

Date Posted: Dec-12-2013  |   Category: Main News

Control Room Excellence begins with a culture that enables operators to achieve best operating results by reacting to process changes before they become problems. Operations Excellence comprises several sub-solutions that focus on improving operational performance to achieve optimal results. From the control room to off-sites material movement, Operations Excellence solutions …

Operator Training

Date Posted: Dec-05-2013  |   Category: Main News

Quote: “People should not be trained until they get it right; they need to be trained until they do not get it wrong”. In the industrial workplace, few people begin a job fully trained. Even when people have prior work experience, they will still need to learn the many nuances …

November News

Date Posted: Nov-29-2013  |   Category: Main News

November News What a wonderful time of year, but it represents the beginning of the end of the year. We go into Thanksgiving season this year with grateful heart’s for the year we have had so far. Back in England this was Harvest Festival, a time of reaping and bringing …

WWTP Operator – The poor cousin? (Award winning paper from David Lee)

Date Posted: Oct-28-2013  |   Category: Main News

WWTP Operator – The poor cousin? Opportunities for Better Control Room Design David Lee MIChemE, CEng1* 1User Centered Design Services Inc., 48412 North Black Canyon Highway, PMB #99, New River, Arizona 85087, USA (*correspondence:, 336.816.1419) KEYWORDS Control Room Design, Human Factors, ISO 11064, Ergonomics, Waste Water ABSTRACT It is …

Fatigue is a real issue in operations

Date Posted: Oct-14-2013  |   Category: Main News

Fatigue is not just feeling physically drained or tired; it’s also a state of impaired alertness, attentiveness, affecting your mental and physical performance. Being fatigued also includes having reduced motor coordination, and slower reaction time. When we are fatigued, there is a loss of environmental awareness, impairment of cognitive/logical reasoning …

October 2013 – Alarm Management in Hawaii

Date Posted: Oct-07-2013  |   Category: Main News

Aloha from Hawaii! Dave and I have been here for 2 weeks now and we have made great progress developing an Alarm Management Philosophy for an Electrical Transmission and Distribution Center customer. We have also developed an Alarm Rationalization Procedure and a specification for an Alarm Management Software tool to …

Control Room Management Compliance

Date Posted: Oct-02-2013  |   Category: Main News

The Pipeline Hazardous Materials Safety Administration’s (PHMSA) Control Room Management (CRM) rule requires pipeline operators to create written procedures for the control room. This is a great opportunity for pipeline operators to go beyond compliance requirements and implement operating best practices that significantly enhance reliability and safety. To effectively achieve …

UCDS news for September 2013

Date Posted: Sep-19-2013  |   Category: Main News

Hello and welcome to the User Centered Design Services news for September 2013. Thank you for your interest in what we do and for allowing us to have fun while we do really important and serious work that makes a difference. The team has just completed a CRM review that …

Presentation by Stephen Maddox

Date Posted: Sep-11-2013  |   Category: Main News

You have been invited to view “Presentation” by Stephen Maddox on myBrainshark. Use the following link to view the presentation:

Consolidating Control Rooms Video

Date Posted: Sep-05-2013  |   Category: Main News

Below I included a link to a 5 minute video where we consolidated 8 control rooms into one. This control room was depicted as the control room of the future by Control Global. Our goal was to enhance situation awareness, balance the operator workload, and reduce fatigue. This dramatically improved …

Workshops by UCDS

Date Posted: Sep-01-2013  |   Category: Main News

UCDS offers a full line of consulting services to evaluate your current plant condition, make realistic and achievable recommendations for improvement and aid you in implementing our recommendations. An integral part of this line is a set of workshops that provide an introduction to the basic principles and best practices …

Watch UCDS video about staff studies

Date Posted: Aug-29-2013  |   Category: Main News