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April 2008

UCDS is working with new clients this next month – but we will be on US soil the entire month. Dave has been working in Lake Charles with one of our best clients. While I have been visiting a very wet Ohio, where I nearly did not make my flight due to road conditions. I will be back out to Lima to do a new control room project this next week.

I will then be heading to St. John’s in Canada, a new destination for me, and I am looking forward to seeing a new area of Canada. I will be giving the keynote address at the TiPS User Conference this month, sounds like fun in the sun for me.

I will be starting another control room project in Ireland with a start-up trip to Indianapolis. Then Dave and I will be back in Orange Texas for a week working on a new contract and new customer. Dave will also be heading off-shore to look at control rooms on a rig.

The above is a glimpse at what we are doing, and obviously we don’t share any specific customer’s information unless they first approve a press release. We are seeing a large number of clients moving from inside/outside operators to dedicated inside DCS technicians and dedicated outside field operator or equipment specialists. Most companies come to us to help them determine how many console or DCS technician operators they need and how best to split units up and reallocate their field operators.

Our staffing assessment methodology for field and console operator’s has been determined the best methodology in the industry by both big and small clients and the most useful for implementing future plant additions such as new equipment or units, at a later date. We have updated some customers models five years after the study, references are available on request.

We are still doing a large number of control room projects all to the latest ISO 11064 standards and most client’s have selected theater style control rooms with large video walls. We have several customers that are about to commission their new control rooms and move into them. This is often a long process which can take anywhere between 12 and 36 months, depending on the size of building and number of units.

We have also seen a lot of projects with major changes to the Human Machine Interface or Human Computer Interface as some call it these days. We have been promoting the Acuite – Advanced Process graphics and have many customers that are finding incredible benefits the most important being safety which is being impacted by our Situation Awareness focus and our leading industry Graphics Style Guide. We are investing time re-educating control engineers and operators about this new graphics philosophy. Plant managers see immediate benefits and are realizing new savings in performance and productivity.

Our last major focus has been on our MOOC methodology; many of our customers are being trained and are implementing these themselves. The method focuses on the staffing requirements for preventing and responding to abnormal situations. ( This is the Management of Change for people and organizations rather than for equipment.

We request that you please keep requesting proposals, however we are now getting booked a little in advance and the more notice we get the easier it is to accommodate your requests for our time. On that note, I would like to stress that we are currently hiring new Engineers with Chemical Engineering experience. We have an opening for a Senior Consultant and would be especilally interested in hearing from any early retirees.