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Posts by mycontrolroom

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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Control Room Alarm Management

In this video Ian Nimmo, CEO of UCDS, discusses why alarm management is so critical to the control room. He explains why major accidents have been attributed to the alarm system. In many situations, the operator missed important events because they were overwhelmed with alarms and did not have the opportunity to go through the…

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Navigating Control Building Policies and Procedures Post COVID-19

As the world adapts to a new norm resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, many Process Control operations have been developing work policies to further mitigate the spread and outbreak of the virus. While 24/7 command and control environments contain similar working routines as compared to typical office environments, Control Buildings require many strategies that go…

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Control Room Design

In this video, Ian Nimmo of UCDS discusses the importance and complexity of control room design. It’s much more than simply hiring an architect to design a control room. Nimmo describes just some of the considerations that need to be made when designing a control room. Beyond architecture, there’s the layout, communication between users, flow…

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Why choose UCDS?

Ian Nimmo, President and CEO of User Centered Design Services, discusses the company’s history. UCDS has been in existence for over 20 years. Our foundation was at the abnormal situation management research consortium where Nimmo was the program director. Now, operations are the main focus of UCDS, both in the control room and in the…

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Do you know your Process’ Sacred Six?

  My first lesson in Human Factors was a memorable one as evidenced by the fact that it has stuck with me for over 20 years. As I remember the talk during World War II, the fatality rate of US Navy aviators, due to pilot error in training and in action, had become unacceptably high.…

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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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