My colleague Luis Duran, Product Marketing Manager for ABB’s Safety Product Group, is preparing for a seminar in a few weeks and ran into a few ideas he wanted to share…
“It is critical for an operator to sustain a high level of alertness and understanding of the progress through the production cycle during the slow times and, at the same time, have real-time access to critical information in context to be able to make correct decisions immediately when circumstances dictate. This is the challenge operators’ face in the process industries and the reason why operational errors are the highest single cause for unscheduled slowdowns and shutdowns.”
- Paul Miller & Dave Woll, ARC Analysts
Without running the chance of affecting independence and other fundamental design criteria, operators should be able to access information seamlessly from a multitude of plant systems (including safety systems) in order to perform their function, to run the plant in a safe and productive fashion where timely decision making in the case of abnormal conditions prevents hazardous conditions, equipment malfunction and process downtime.
It should be normal and easy to access alarm and events from anywhere in the process (coming from the process control or safety systems) and to seamlessly react to diagnostics, assess initiating events from sequence of events data or from the safety system in the context of other relevant information in the process historian in order to take appropriate corrective action.
It’s maybe a surprise for many that IEC61511/ISA 84 considers this also…
“The operator should be given enough information on one display to rapidly convey critical information. Display consistency is important and the methods, alarm conventions and display components used should be consistent with the BPCS displays.”
Even when discussing and analyzing the causes of the troubles in the Fukushima nuclear power plant from the viewpoint of instrument control engineer, this subject was mentioned.
“The design of protective control in the future must include design principles that prevent errors, even in unpredictable events. It must also supply measurement data in a way that provides operators with the correct information..”
- Toshiaki Itoh, formerly of Mitsubishi Chemical and current SICE Fellow
If you are wondering about the seminar, it’s on the topic of integration of safety and process control and it’s coming to a computer near you. The webinar is on December 8th – look for the registration information on this blog and in an upcoming newsletter from Control Engineering. We look forward to hearing your opinion on this topic.