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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.

Control Room Design

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 systems are localized with no integration between areas. Some areas are still utilizing analog controllers whiles others have as many as 3 generations of distributed control systems.

Our site initiated a capital program to replace all area control systems with a common and current DCS platform. In addition, the program would consolidate multiple area control rooms into a single site control room located outside of the process areas.

The project team visited several sites that had consolidated control rooms and updated their DCS platforms to gain an understanding of best practices. The project team attended a number of workshops addressing high performance human machine interfaces (HMI) and situation awareness. One of these workshops was hosted by User Centered Design Services and it was very clear that there was a body of research and implementation experience behind situation awareness and value that had been realized.

  • UCDS provided a situation awareness workshop locally for key site leadership, operations, and engineering personnel to establish grounding on the principles that would become the basis for a site control room. This workshop was repeated two years later for console operators and operations supervisors marking the beginning of design development for the site control room.
  • UCDS provided console and field operator workload studies for our site to optimize the number of operator consoles required in a new site control room. This also identified alarm rationalization, high performance HMI, and improved automation in the control system as objectives for operator optimization.
  • UCDS provided a developmental workshop with the site for a current alarm management philosophy aligned with ISA and EEMUA publications. This was followed by an alarm rationalization effort.
  • UCDS provided design consultation in the initial layout of the site control room.

UCDS staffing and situation awareness workshops helped us develop the value proposals associated with framing the project and obtaining capital funding. Our project is still in progress but we have confidence that we should see substantial return on investment as soon as we have all areas moved to the new control room.

Driscoll W. Staley
Programs and Projects
INVISTA S.à r.l. – Victoria Plant