Building Operator Experience

Process manufacturers are modernizing their automation to increase the efficiency of their operations. A key requirement is skilled operators who are essential to effectively use the technologies these new automation systems deliver.
An October 2005 study of chemical manufacturers by the United Kingdom’s Health and Safety Executive indicated that 37% of plant incidents could be categorized by incorrect operator actions.
Also, operator actions can have a big effect on process variability which can impact throughput, product quality, energy usage, and downtime. These all have an impact on the profitability of the operation.
Another issue many process manufacturers face is the expertise of their operators to effectively run the plant. In many countries with aging populations, the experience levels of operators are dropping as many reach the retirement age.
To help manufacturers address these issues, Emerson Educational Services has developed a number of solutions to help better train operators. These solutions include web-based operator training, formal classroom training, packaged fixed price Operator Training Simulation solution with customized curriculum, and full plant-wide simulation with customized curriculum for operator training.
I spoke with Jeff Hackney, DeltaV OTS Project Manager, about the new packaged Operator Training Solution called DeltaV OTS Express. Jeff told me DeltaV OTS Express is an affordable solution that provides operator training specific to the actual process for a fixed price.
DeltaV OTS Express is sized to target a specific critical unit, area, or process. With a combination of software and services, the operator training is built to be identical to live plant system configuration and graphics. Jeff, his team, and the global Ed Services team start with the manufacturer’s DeltaV configuration database and graphics.
The DeltaV OTS team also uses DeltaV Simulate and the MiMiC process simulation software and customized courseware to create a training environment with process specific conditions, training scenarios and assessments to teach the operator process and skill-based knowledge. In addition to the simulation model, courseware and software, the PC hardware is included. The training solution is ready to go when it arrives and helps operators learn and refresh their knowledge of the process over time.
The DeltaV OTS Express is built with flexibility in mind to meet the financial and logistic needs of the customer. The base offering can be expanded in order to deliver simulation-based training to an entire class of operators if needed.
Jeff stressed that this is not a high complexity, high cost, high fidelity model which is designed to model the process as closely as possible, but rather something that helps the operator learn how to better operate and understand the process. By employing the actual automation system configuration and graphics, the DeltaV OTS Express solution can be delivered in one to three months, instead of a more typical one to two years for the more complex, high fidelity solutions.

Posted Monday, March 20th, 2006 under Operator Training.

One comment so far

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