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How to Create Control Room Design Specifications

The basis of any control room design specification should be based on the International Standard for Ergonomic Design of Control Centers ISO 11064. The document is in 7 parts, part 6 being the main specification. Before you can use this part 6 of the standard much work needs to be done clarifying the control room…

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Understand the Control Room Design Layout Requirements

The control room design layout is conceived during the Conceptual Design Phase of a control room project and formalized during the Detail Design Phase. The requirement comes from the initial data collection phase capturing and analyzing functions and tasks, developing room layouts, furnishing designs, displays and controls, and communication interfaces to necessary to satisfy needs…

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5 Ways to Better Equip Your Control Room Operator

In control rooms are day-to-day issues and systems that impact the performance of control room operators, the most common are defined as compromises to Situation Awareness. We will review each of the five and provide insight into practical solutions to implement them. The first is providing Adequate Information, control rooms are full of data, but little…

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3 Things You Didn’t Know About High Performance HMI

The High-Performance HMI is grounded in ASMTM principles. The Honeywell ASM Consortium which I used to be the Program Director and founder did extensive research into HMI graphics practices. At the time, Honeywell was locked into a development path which was not graphics friendly and was before the decision to switch to a Windows-based control…

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Why High Performance HMI Is Often Misunderstood in the Control Room

The processing industry has evolved from physical instruments on a panel to electronic physical controllers on the panel to a limited group of 8 faceplates on a black background which replicated the electronic controllers. The industry identified that this limited view did not show the context of the faceplate and relied on the operator mental…

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How Alarm Management Could Save Your Company Millions

Alarm Management is more than just another chore companies must do to comply with Regulations, it is a great investment and has an immediate ROI when done correctly. Unfortunately, it is often treated as a chore with no ROI. Let me say first off that no plant or process is designed to run in Abnormal…

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How to Do Your Own Alarm Management Training

Alarm management training is something that many companies skip assuming that operators will figure out how to respond to an alarm, they do this because that is the way it has always been done. As alarms get more complex, more rational, and more ways to configure them using multiple alarm modes and attributes. Some alarms…

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How to Create an Alarm Management Policy

Alarm Management is probably one of the most written about topics in control theory and one of the best-documented methodologies covered by International and local standards and guidance documents, yet, still many companies do not know where to start or how to get a handle on a bad alarm management system. The problem stems from…

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Types of Organizational Change Management

Organizational change can come in many forms. The most common today is workload balancing, many companies have been through the dark period of de-manning and laying the workforce off to save costs. This came after automation reduced the need for the number of outside workers. Now because of changes to equipment, shutting down some units…

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ISO 11064 Is Still Crucial in Control Rooms. Here Is Why.

ISO 11064 is the only Ergonomic Standard that comprehensibly addresses the Human Factors and Ergonomics of a control room. The role of the standard is twofold, it addresses the risk to humans through Repetitive Stress Injuries or MSDs which have been identified globally to cost industry more than $508 Billion which includes human error, turnover…

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Fatigue Risk Management Is Just About Keeping People Awake

Fatigue Risk Management is focused on two import aspects: alertness and fatigue that leads to falling asleep. Studies show that many shift workers acknowledge falling asleep at work due to irregular work-rest schedules. Nodding off has in many places been an acceptable byproduct of shift work but is extremely dangerous for process control operators who…

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Fatigue Risk Management Systems Could Bring New Life to Your Tired Operators

Recent studies of workers have identified that job dissatisfaction along with a previous history of MSDs were the two most significant predictive factors for employees reporting work-related injuries. A 2013 Gallup poll finds that 70% of US workers are dissatisfied with their jobs. This results in a $550 Billion loss in productivity. Shift-workers, particularly those…

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3 Things to Change to Better Manage Operator Workload

Operator workload is driven by three main topics: The physical equipment they monitor. The interactions they do on a day-to-day basis. The automation system. If you want to influence the workload you must make changes to one of these three areas of influence. The easiest one to comprehend is the physical equipment under their control.…

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Learn why the alarm management safety layer is flawed and what to do to make sure abnormal situations are detected, managed, and prevented.

  The operators job is to keep the process running at optimal capacity. Operators have a direct effect on quality, they prevent unplanned downtime, respond to safety critical events, and can provide valuable feedback that can save companies millions of dollars. They are a direct link to millions of dollars’ worth of equipment. Unfortunately, they…

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Control Room Operators – The Ugly Step Children

It’s true, operators are treated like ugly step children and the sad fact is they are the eyes, ears, and puppet masters of the process. There must be a good reason we have them. How much more value could they bring if we changed the way we looked at them? Is it time for a…

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Join us at the Lin & Associates 2017 Workshop

Ian Nimmo will be presenting: The Enemy Within Lurking within our control rooms is a demon, who strikes at the worst possible time in the life of a control room. During the early hours of the morning driven by poor lighting, unhealthy environmental controls, fatigue takes its toll – with no fatigue countermeasures in place…

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How to Get Management to Fund Your Alarm Management Efforts

Most of my clients have already implemented some form of alarm improvement process, from low hanging fruit nuisance alarm reduction to full blown alarm rationalization and documentation. For most, their efforts reflect the amount of support they received from management and the resources they had available at the time. Unfortunately, after nearly 20 years, our…

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Alarm Management and Operator Intervention

(A Safety Layer with Too Many Holes) I’m sure you have heard of Independent Safety Layers, alarm management and operator intervention being one of them. Operators are the fist line of defense when alarms activate so they are a safety layer, however,  just because you rationalized your alarms does not mean the operator will respond in…

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How Many Operators Do You Need?

To assess the ability to reduce or increase staffing levels, the facility must take an honest look at the quality of the workforce. How are console operators chosen? The move to a dedicated console-operator post should be treated as an upgrade in duties and pay. The selection should not be based on seniority, but on…

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The Paradigm Shift in the Control Room

By Paul Noble, CEO, Activu Corporation Today’s control room is not what it was a decade ago.  Gone are the days where these spaces were based on analog or nascent digital video technology.  Control rooms have instead transformed into networked information centers that play a major role in operations; spaces where information sharing, communication and…

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UCDS working with Sunoco

UCDS Helps Sunoco Design a New centralized control facility that aims to optimize their Philadelphia refinery Console Operator Bill Johnson, a 24-year Sunoco veteran, makes changes in the operations of the new low sulfur fuels unit from the new central control room. The recently finished low sulfur gasoline unit is the first plant to be…

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Control Room Operators and the Key Hole Effect

The key hole effect: Your control room operator is monitoring a process with several loops and several points, they have multiple screens and each screen has hundreds of graphics to navigate through, uh oh, several alarms start to activate! The operator begins to navigate through several graphics to determine the problem but has a very limited view because there are so many screens to…

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50 Shades of (Grey Scaled Graphics)

Why Switch Your Rainbow Graphics to a Boring Shade of Grey? First of all, you’re not just changing the background color on your existing graphics, your reducing the number of graphics by incorporating human factors into the design, using analog objects, trends, and regrouping objects so that the graphics provide visual interpretation of what’s important…

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New Book – Control Room Design guide

We have recently released a new book on Control Room Design. Here is the summary: Since the introduction of distributed control systems into control rooms, the mining, refining, chemical, and power industries have lived with, and suffered from, many behavioral problems common with this design. When Human Factors/Ergonomic design is introduced into a centralized control…

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UCDS December 2015 News: Automation Safety Webinar

It has been a very different year for UCDS. Our traditional work patterns dramatically changed which meant we did a lot more travelling than usual. I started the year recovering from foot surgery for a snapped Achilles issue but managed to make a trip in March to Sweden to visit with CGM and work on…

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Borregaard Biorefinery Moves to a Centralized Control Room With the Help of UCDS

Borregaard biorefinery pulp and paper operation in Sarpsborg, Norway, was originally established in 1889. Over the years, significant investments have been made in the facility, including a new pulp-drying machine; new cutting, baling and, reeling equipment; and conversion of the bleaching plant to sulphite pulp. The original digester house, built in the early 1950s, was…

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Navajo Refining New Mexico Builds a New Training Center

The following was written by Bill Stephens of SourceGas. Navajo Refining Company is part of the HollyFrontier Corporation. We are an oil refining company located in southeast New Mexico. There are approximately 360 employees at our site. While in the development of a new Training Center, Navajo Refining needed design ideas. We contacted UCDS and they designed…

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SourceGas Pipeline Complies with PHMSA 192.631

The following was written by Bill Stephens of SourceGas. SourceGas LLC (“SourceGas”) and its subsidiaries serve approximately 425,000 customers and operate over 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…

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Invista Embraces Situation Awareness and Control Room Design

The following was written by Driscoll Staley of Invista, describing his situation awareness and control room design experience with UCDS. The Victoria 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…

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Sasol Lake Charles improves HMI with UCDS

The following was written by David Smith, Process Control Engineer at Sasol. Sasol is an international integrated energy and chemicals company that leverages the talent and expertise of our more than 32,400 people working in 37 countries. We develop and commercialize technologies, and build and operate world-scale facilities to produce a range of high-value product streams, including liquid…

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