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 hear the same thing over and over, it’s hard to detect changes while I’m scrolling through displays, unless I happen to be on the right screen at the right time. I don’t know there is a problem until I get an alarm, then I panic because I know the clock is ticking.
Operators have become accustomed to these issues, predicting or identifying changes in the data is difficult, it’s just too much information. That is why we focus on providing Level one and Level two High Performance displays to be used as a (problem detection layer) in conjunction with their existing Level 3 displays – specifically to address change blindness and information overload. We use analog objects and pattern recognition to improve situation awareness and provide the operator with “information” – what might happen – well before the alarm activates. This is what Operator Centered Design is all about, and it’s what makes us stand out as a different kind of control room company.
Displays should improve performance and reduce the reliance on alarms, simply put – High Performance Displays Improve Performance. It’s not simple to design level one displays, many have tried and operators don’t use them. The process of developing level one and two displays, that truly improve performance requires 3 important ingredients: A very experienced operator, a green operator, and a process controls expert that understands human factors. If you don’t combine all 3 into the design process, you end up with a large screen that can actually cause problems for the operator.
If designed correctly, the operator will actually say, I don’t know how I managed without these displays. We’ve heard it.
Let me know if you’d like a copy of our “Operator Centered Situation Awareness Control Room Methodology”
firstname.lastname@example.org / www.mycontrolroom.com (free assessment tool on our website).