Voices: McMillan & Weiner

Advice on implementing ANSI/ISA standards for operator interfaces

Bonnie Ramey, DuPont senior process control engineer and HMI expert, explores how these standards are critical for improving the performance of operators, enabling them to better do the tasks needed for abnormal conditions, operational states and production objectives.

By Greg McMillan and Stan Weiner
Mar 13, 2017

*Greg*: The operator is on a moment-to-moment to basis, making sure the process is safe, reliable and productive. It appears to me that the operator interface developed for the original distributed control systems in the 1970s did not improve much for the next 20 years. If anything, they were going in the wrong direction and getting too colorful and complicated, providing distractions rather than a clear path to the operator task needed. Fortunately, there's been a significant effort starting about 20 years ago and including research by the Center for Operator Performance (COP), an alliance of academia, process manufacturers and automation suppliers. Most important, there is now a practical guide via the ANSI/ISA-101.01-2015 standard, “Human Machine Interfaces for Process Automation Systems.” This standard has considerable synergy with ANSI/ISA-18.2-2016, “Management of Alarm Systems for the Process Industry.” These standards are critical for improving the performance of operators, enabling them to better do the tasks needed for abnormal conditions, operational states and production objectives, increasing process safety, efficiency and capacity. The implications extend well beyond the displays to training and control system configuration besides the operator interface. All automation professionals should take advantage of ISA Standards. ISA members can view a standard for free online by clicking on “View ISA Standards: A Member Benefit,” and logging in with the email and password for their ISA membership account.

Read More