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Posts by mycontrolroom

Situation Awareness

Ian discusses situational awareness. Most people believe situational awareness is knowing what is going on around you at all times. But there’s more to it. It’s knowing what was going on around you 30 minutes ago, what happens 30 minutes from now, etc. This gives the operator the complete picture. A control room provides a…

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Management of Organizational Change

Ian describes the benefits of applying standard best practices to every area of the control room. UCDS guides a customer through the entire process. In this video, Ian shares actual customer experiences and feedback related to best practice work with UCDS. The best practices of all the different areas of a control room are applied,…

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Other Resources from UCDS

UCDS President and CEO Ian Nimmo discusses new resources available on the UCDS website. These resources have been developed from 50 years of experience in the industry, 10 years of research from The Abnormal Situation Management Consortium, and hundreds of site visits from working all over the world. UCDS will be offering self-assessments and resource…

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Control Room HMI Design

President and CEO of UCDS Ian Nimmo discusses the history of HMI (Human Machine Interface) Design. He explores the evolution of HMI starting back from the processing industry when operators used analog instrumentation on control panels, all the way to describing the benefits of modern HMI today. The ultimate goal of HMI today is to…

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Consolidating 2 or More Operator Positions into 1 Position

Don’t change workload without knowing the risks: We are often asked to identify where operator responsibilities can be moved from one position to another. In some cases, clients believe they can combine 2 operator positions into one. We have discovered some positions can be consolidated in specific units in the plant. Keep in mind, you…

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Control Room Staffing Studies

In this video, Ian Nimmo discusses how staffing studies are becoming increasingly important in the industry. In the past, time and motion studies were used to analyze staff efficiency, but that no longer works when an employee uses an automation system. Staffing studies consist of collecting data on the physical amount and complexity of equipment…

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Operator Management

Apart from the operator user interface and control room or field environment, is operator behavior and management, known as Conduct of Operations. This is a system of improving human performance to ensure that every task is performed correctly, every time, even when nobody is watching. This is accomplished when you put documented standards in place…

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Operator Centered -Situation Awareness- Control Rooms

This is a perfect example of a control room that was designed for situation awareness. The operator workload was analyzed to know how to balance the workload evenly and to make sure they had the right number of operators in the room. Alarm management was implemented and the displays were designed using Level 1 and…

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Happy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving 2020 As we reflect on 2020, we find ourselves tremendously grateful for our customers and the opportunities we have to help so many. We hope that you find moments in this holiday season to experience the same. We are thankful for you. Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at UCDS.

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Warning: Non-Process People are Designing Control Rooms

Let’s talk specifically about control room design for a minute. We continue to see major problems in the control room, from poor lighting, number of and placement of screens, screen sizes, room layout, traffic flow, noise, and distractions. One of the biggest issues is screen stacking and too many screens. These problems continue to happen,…

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Control Room High Performance HMI

UCDS President and CEO Ian Nimmo explains what High Performance HMI is and why it’s important. It’s about the operator’s ability to be performant in resolving abnormal situations. Nimmo explores the four different levels that must be set for the hierarchy of an HMI system. Your attention should be focused on the ability for an…

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HP Situation Awareness Displays Work!

It’s important to test your display designs and check results. Ultimately with any project we want to see an improvement in operator performance. That is why we call our displays High Performance Displays. During a study of traditional P&ID displays versus HP displays, we found that operators could detect a problem – before the alarm activated,…

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Level One Operator Display Explained

This is a very simplified explanation of what a properly designed level one display can do. For ease of understanding, we performed an operator task analysis to identify the most important information that was scattered on many different displays and we combined that information into a simple list. The idea, is turning critical operator data…

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Operator Display Navigation (let’s clean it up)

We analyzed the number of moves an operator makes as he navigates from display to display, a common practice during start up and when troubleshooting abnormal situations. The operator is looking for information on multiple screens. In this scenario, the operator viewed 28 screens during a start up, looking for information that is scattered on…

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Video Presentation By Ian Nimmo: Operator Centered Control Rooms

Operators – alarms, displays, screens, glare, fatigue, distractions, training, data overload, etc…how do we manage control rooms and improve performance? Check out this recent video: https://register.gotowebinar.com/recording/recordingView?webinarKey=7776801068881362699&registrantEmail=csalera%40mycontrolroom.com smaddox@mycontrolroom.com / www.mycontrolroom.com / 512 630 3401

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The Impact of Fatigue in a Control Room

UCDS President Ian Nimmo explains the impact that fatigue can have in a control room. He describes what it is, and how UCDS can help you avoid fatigue for your operators. There are fatigue counter measures your company can take, that UCDS can assist in. Examples of measures include taking breaks, getting fresh air, and…

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The 3 Ingredients for Successfully Designing Level One and Two Displays

Operators possess the ability to optimize the process while monitoring multiple variables on the control system. The operator is expected to maximize efficiency and output, often working with outside operators to achieve these goals. We rely on them to detect subtle changes in a sea of information. We have interviewed thousands of operators and we…

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Costs Associated with Poor Situation Awareness and Too Many Alarms

Nuisance alarms contribute to – poor control and wasted energy – Standing alarms = feedstock expenses, containment loss, and an increase in utilities – Missed alarms = wear and tear on equipment, increased maintenance costs, and equipment damage – Critical alarms = unplanned downtime, Injury or death, or environmental violations. Alarms are a safety layer…

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Operator Performance: A Return on Investment

So if we invest in our operators, where is the ROI? Well, Operating outside equipment and process limits is costly and risky. In the above image, focus your attention on the dotted line where the fault occurs. There is a problem, the system takes some time to generate an alarm (the problem continues to grow) then…

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Alarm Management Workbook

Ian Nimmo discusses the new workbook on alarm management that UCDS will be releasing soon. It will cover the main principles about what “good” looks like from an alarm management perspective. It will also cover the life cycle model, alarm philosophies, as well as how to identify, rationalize, implement, and maintain an alarm. This is…

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Operators and Abnormal Situations

Operators are eyes and ears of a process, like pilots, they have to manage multiple instruments at the same time. They have to be positioned to resolve issues before they escalate and become catastrophic, if we address human factors in their displays, alarms, consoles, and work environment, we can address and enhance situation awareness. To…

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Control Rooms, Displays and Screens (should be an integrated design)

So, what do operator do? Ultimately, an operator’s job is to optimize the process, maintain product quality, intervene when needed, ensure safety and production goals are met, while complying with regulatory requirements. We must think of operators with the same value and respect that we give pilots. In fact operators are much like pilots, they…

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Gaps in Conduct of Operations

To help operators respond to alarms and manage abnormal situations quickly and correctly, they have to be vigilant, competent, responsible, and predictive. We must identify the gaps in operational standards and behaviors and improve Conduct by putting the right management systems and tools in place. The-end-result will be, High performance operators and supervisors that meet…

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Process Operations is in Need of New Operating Standards and Management Systems – Your Best People are Looking to Retire or Switch to Another Company

Safety, Reliability, quality, and profitability goals are driven by upper management, they want to lower operating costs, increase profit, and focus on safety – so they’ve made large investments in automation to achieve these goals. The missing link, however, is the small investment made in human factors and operational conduct. Plants and Pipelines will be…

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Abnormal Situations in the Control Room

President of UCDS Ian Nimmo explains abnormal situation management. From a production perspective, how do we keep processes within normal operating limits? Abnormal situation management is when a process begins to function outside those limits, and an operator must step in to help the automation system. Today, HMI tools are needed to give operators indication…

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Operator Centered Control Rooms

What do all control room operators have in common? Technology advanced and the human factor was forgotten, but they all do the best with what they got. Technology, in many cases, made life worse for operators. They work in a position where situation awareness is critical yet we keep adding screens and data thinking it…

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Selecting and Training Operators

Operators are often selected based on years of experience and are rarely tested for managing large amounts of data and hundreds of unique scenarios. Rarely do they receive formal process condition training using a formalized classroom instruction course with professionally prepared training manuals and tests. Most companies rely on experience and move people from one…

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