Safety & Automation System (SAS) - How the Safety and the Automation Systems Finally Come Together as an HMI

Overview:

Today we have clear guidelines on how the Safety Instrumented Systems (SIS) and basic Process Control Systems (BPCS) should be separated from a controls and network perspective. But what does this mean to the HMI and the control room design?

Where do Fire & Gas Systems fit into the big picture and what about new Security and Environmental monitoring tasks?

What does the Instrument Engineer needs to know about operators and how systems communicate with them.

The evolution of the control room continues as Large Screen Displays provide a big picture view of multiple systems. Do rules and guidelines exist for this aspect of independent protection layers? What are today's best practices for bringing these islands of technology together.

This paper will review the topic and provide advice on a subject on which the books remain silent. Today's practices are haphazard and left to individuals without a systematic design or guidance.

Over the past 20 years the Safety System and the Automation system have been evolving separately. They use similar technologies, but the operator interface needs to be just one system. Unfortunately, due to the nature of the designs, this is not the case.

The automation system has been evolving since the introduction of the DCS and many Human Factor mistakes have been made. As we move towards new standards such as ISA SP 101 a more formal approach to HMI design is being taken.

The past widespread use of black backgrounds which cause glare issues in the control room and are solely responsible for turning the control room lights down to very low levels, or in some cases off, are being replaced with grey backgrounds and a new grayscale graphic standard replacing bright colors for a more plain grayscale scheme only using color to attract the operators' attention.

In having strong compliance schemes that restrict color usage to just a handful of colors, restricting the use of some colors that are reserved for important information such as alarm status, it appears that the automation system is being standardized and is starting to take advantage of new technology available to control room designers such as large screen displays.

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Author: Ian Nimmo  | File Type: PDF

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