Tuesday, February 19, 2013

ARC World Forum: A Great Time for Industry, Part 2

Yesterday, I wrote on Invensys’ participation in a panel on Moving Historian and Production Management to the Cloud.  Today, I’ll write about Ron Cisco and his work at the Salt River Project Power Plant on their use of a dynamic simulator from # SimSci-Esscor.

Ron has a problem typical of many companies: how to effectively train new employees, as well as existing employees, on upgraded systems maintenance, on start ups and shut downs, and on emergency procedures.  For a power utility, mistakes can’t be tolerated.  Lives are literally at stake.  So how do you handle such a task?  With Dynamic Simulation—and for this, they turned to SimSci-Esscor.

What was interesting about Ron’s presentation is that you hear about companies putting in dynamic simulation (products that represent hardware, such as a Foxboro DCS system, or a Triconex safety system) or even an Operator Training Simulator such as DYNSIM, but they don’t explain how to culturally prepare and orient a user to understand that the simulation they are using represents real equipment and systems. 

The younger workers had deep familiarity with gaming technology, and at the roots, it is a similar environment.  However, the simulation did not offer the tactile dimension that you get when sitting in front of a control panel, so what Ron did was add real pushbutton and control panels into the simulation mix.  In this way, the newer workers could get the real “feel” from the training, and were left with a deeper appreciation for their responsibilities and for the control equipment they were to manage.

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