Improving Power Plant Staff Effectiveness

Emerson's Douglas Morris

Author: Douglas Morris

With the large number of power workers having already retired, there is a definite shortage of expertise within the industry. Not only are workers new, but companies are having difficulty hiring enough skilled employees. Although most new hires are diligent and eager to learn, they lack the experience necessary to make critical decisions. Younger engineers, technicians, and operators may have never seen an operating plant before, let alone know enough about its intricacies of operation. As a result, plants need ways to augment the critical skills necessary to run today’s modern units.


operator-at-workstationThis is probably the most important factor and includes face to face training and plant simulation. Face-to-face or remote education can provide the bridge to more expertise and allows students to learn from, and interact with, expert instructors. Another imperative is to use operator simulators which mimic the way a plant functions and enables new workers to improve their skills in a realistic environment without worrying about causing a plant outage.

Embedded simulation from Emerson is particularly compelling in that it utilizes the same tools from an operations and engineering standpoint so your systems can remain current. The environment and tools used for simulating operating scenarios and engineering changes is exactly the same as your control system. This addresses one of the biggest issues with traditional simulation approaches that use different operating environments and tools that typically become outdated the moment a unit is started up.

Embedded Expertise

By placing intelligence right into equipment, companies can supplement the knowledge of new workers with the experience of seasoned veterans and Emerson industry experts. When this is done, automation systems benefit from sophisticated expertise built directly into the equipment so new workers can have the knowledge of and perform more like senior staff.

An example of this is device dashboards which provide a clear view of everything a user needs to evaluate, diagnose, and configure a device. These also add another layer of embedded expert guidance to help anyone execute important and frequent plant operations, along with engineering and maintenance tasks.

Consulting & Technician Services

Emerson experts can offset inexperience by contracting dedicated local service teams to work onsite to streamline outages, renovation and modernization work, or perform instrument and valve maintenance services. Assistance can also be provided to connect a single or group of plant workers with experienced power plant consultants who can help diagnose performance and equipment problems remotely.

During the upcoming Power-Gen conference in Orlando (December 13-15), experts will be on hand for Emerson to discuss how to bolster your changing workforce. Stop by the Emerson booth to discuss a host of topics. Here is a sampling:

  • Embedded simulation
  • Consulting and training resources
  • Device Dashboards

From Jim: Be sure to get your free day pass now to connect and interact with the Emerson team at POWER-GEN. You can also engage with other power generation experts in the Power group in the Emerson Exchange 365 community.

Posted Monday, November 28th, 2016 under Power.

One comment so far

  1. jonasberge says:

    A second layer of automation can help improve personnel effectiveness, compliance, heat rate, and availability etc. Learn how power plants around the world are doing it from this article:

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