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Operating Training Development

Ian discusses operator training. We must identify roles and responsibilities, then put together job performance profiles. This helps us identify what skills are needed in order to do the job. Looking at every aspect of the job, we then create a program for new people coming into the industry as they progress through positions in…

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Work Team Design

Ian discusses how the organizational structure of the operations department can have a tremendous impact on the effectiveness and profitability of a production facility. It isn’t unusual for this structure to be manipulated frequently by managers seeking to improve performance but have limited experience in what makes a truly effective organization. This can lead to…

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Control Room High Performance

  Ian discusses what high-performance HMI is. Most people only use HMI, resulting in over-using colors, glaring screens, and information being displayed incorrectly. Our retention is focused on how an operator detects a problem. We want to be able to detect the moment we leave normal operation. We need to define what is off normal,…

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Abnormal Situation in the Control Room

Ian discusses abnormal situation management. From a production perspective, how do we keep processes within normal operating limits and how do we determine normal operations? 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…

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Join us July 13th in Houston Texas

On July 13th, Chris, Steve W., and I will be hosting a 1-day event in Houston, Texas. There, we will provide a tour of the latest control room furniture options, demoing sit-stand features and a smart keyboard for the operator to access multiple networks with a single interface. We will explain our 6-Step Methodology for High-Performance Control…

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6 Step to Achieve High Performance Control Room

  Image 1 This is a 6 Step methodology where each step, starting with number 1, feeds into number 2, and so on. After each of the 5 steps are complete, all the information and design changes are rolled into step 6! This is an integrated methodology that promotes high-performance operations in the control room. …

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Control Room Staffing Studies

Ian discusses how workload staffing studies are becoming increasingly important in the industry and looks at the economics of business models post COVID. In the past, time and motion studies were used to analyze staff efficiency, but that no longer works. After gathering this information, we can get a good understanding of the operator’s workload…

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Minimizing Risks & Consequences of Organizational Changes

“We have 8 control room operators. The union says we need 8, but we believe we only need 6. So, we outsourced a staffing study to measure the workload of each position to see if we could consolidate a few positions into a single position and where those responsibilities could be absorbed. This project was…

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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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