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October 2008

Congratulations to John Moscatelli and his wife Beth on the recent birth of a son Logan (7Ib 7oz). Logan is joining his big sister, Tess. John has taken some time off work and is enjoying being a Great Dad. We wish them all well.

We were so excited to announce that our book has hit the streets (see blog below) and we are getting many emails about it. We have booked some High Performance HMI Workshops and will be doing several of them in the next few weeks. We have a great workshop and we will be providing copies of the book to participants in the future. Maybe signed copies!

The workshop focuses on “Situation Awareness” and the Best Practices around HMI design together with understanding of ASM® Style Graphics. Our customers have found this workshop of great benefit, and we have been able to not only impact the customer’s sites but have enabled them to implement a common solution worldwide.

One customer recently shared that initially their refinery showed some hesitation and doubt, but after experiencing several upsets have confirmed their endorsement of the High Performance Graphics. They stated that with their original traditional designs they would not have caught the problem as early, and had the good outcome.

We have repeatedly emphasized to our clients that they will never resolve their alarm management issues without addressing their HMI. If they want their operators to perform they must move their HMI from reactive to proactive using a user-centered design approach.

The bottom line is what the customer has to say about this:

Ian Nimmo was instrumental in helping us establish a company standard for operator graphics at Lyondell. We value his enormous expertise and excellent understanding of situational awareness and consult with him to support our efforts to establish an operational philosophy of operating by awareness.

Lothar A Lang, Ph.D.

Consulting Engineer

Control Systems and Electrical Engineering


This month Rusty and Dave have been working in New Orleans on a Refinery staffing project, we all have been working on a control room project in Yanbu Saudi Arabia and Dave and I have been doing alarm management in Las Vegas. This week we are all in Denver starting a new control room project after completing our operator staffing study. We will be doing a MOOC and a Situation Awareness Workshop for this customer.

Dave and I will be in Houston for the ISA Conference next week. I will then be in California to talk control rooms with a customer, then in Ohio doing High Performance HMI Workshop and MOOC workshop with Rusty who will be Chairing the MOOC process for the customer as they look at doing some changes to their operations after moving into a new Central Control Room.

My next trip will be to a new customer in Antwerp; I will be giving a Situation Awareness Workshop and helping them get through the Conceptual Design for a new Centralized Control Room. I must say this year is the most control room projects I have ever observed in a single year and so many centralized control rooms. Theater Style Control Rooms are becoming very popular and very successful.

We have some availability in November and December and are looking to bring another employee to join our team. We have a lot of proposals waiting for purchase orders and we have quoted jobs in Russia, India, Pakistan, Canada and the USA and are hoping to expand our International business. We are currently working in multiple industries from Power & Utilities, Pharmaceutical, Oil Refining, Petrochemical, Mining and Minerals, Coal Mining, Off-shore, Water Authority, Pulp & Paper and Specialty Chemicals.

At Thanksgiving the UCDS team will be having a retreat in Sedona, AZ to do annual reviews and assessments and our planning meeting for next year. We will be updating a lot of our materials and procedures. The team will be bringing their families with them so we are planning to celebrate what has been a very interesting and successful year for us. I spent some time this week just going back through all this year’s news on the website. It is remarkable to read about what we have done. So we have to thank all our customers for investing in us and allowing us the privilege of working on their projects. We plan on having some relaxation and exercise as the team have been working really hard since January and have sacrificed a lot of family time and weekends. So we want to also say thank you to our families for being patient with us and forgiving us for the times we were not there for them.