The Operator of the Future-- Arnold Oliver, Worsley Alumina Refinery

"We love to see our operators in action, just like our sports teams. We love them when they do well. We get frustrated with them when they make mistakes." Worsley management challenged the process control group with this question:  How can we create an environment where process operators can perform optimally. We created the concept of Advanced Process Management  Operator effectiveness Central Control roomOperator training simulators  Control platform If you look at those items, you can see that it is only cost, and there is a great difficulty to sell it to management"¦  So we added another item, process improvement, which is advanced process control. Operator effectiveness means alarm management. Our average alarm rate is 73 hr (every 49 seconds)On a bad day, 693/hr, one alarm every 5 sec. Won a worse case day, over 13,000 per hour. "You can just see that finger."  Rationalization: We reprioritised, renamed, sonsolidated, and documented. We revisited alarm limits, and we decided that if we did not need a direct action, we did not need an alarm. Smart alarming: we now allow shelving, first out alarming, mode dependant suppression, and offline suppression.  ASM graphics adoption. We've dropped alarm rates in a three month period from 129 to 11 alarms per hour.  But over time, the alarm rates began to rise. After the project was completed in this area, everything was focused, but over time people stopped worrying about it. We didn't follow up on alarms anymore. We instituted a concept called "Alarm Custodian" and that got us back to the previous success. I started as a young engineer in a panel environment. "An operator walks his panel." Then we got smart and implemented computers. Eight face plates per page. Then we got graphics. We plunked as many graphics on each page as we could to get back to the big picture we had in the panel days.  Now we've adopted the ASM style, and trained our operators and left them alone to design their own screens. We've been pleasantly surprised at what they did. How do you go about thinking about central control rooms? We went on the internet and researched controlroom design: functional style, theatre style, etc.  We designed a theatre style control room. We implemented the large screens, and we needed to look at ergonomics of viewing. We had to determine the size of tet on those large screens. (Character height in inches= visual angle* distance/3438) Screen size has to suit the amount of information per graphic.  So we got to our design. We have a semicircular video wall that mimics the flow of product. Adjacencies were sorted by the special needs of people to communicate. We've provided a conference room that can easily be converted into a war room in the event of problems. Behind each operator is a separate screen for email, etc. He turns away from his process, does his other business, and turns back. We don't use direct lighting, and the operator has control over the lighting in his area. Each workstation is adjustable so that the top of the display is at eye level.  The intent of things we do in the control of our calciner is to remove obsolesecence, put in a central control room and get rid of the PLCs in favor of the Experion DCS. We've put in an IRON CURTAIN router that can isolate  When you talk to senior management you have to use short words and short sentences.We had to explain maximum process capacity to our management. Operators are conservative and always adjust the setpoint lower than maximum capacity. If we can find a way to set the setpoint closer to the maximum process capacity, the difference is money. The management loved that explanation. So we got approval to implement advanced process control on spent liquor. We saved a huge amount of money. But there are freebies. We made an 80% reduction in the number of moves the operator has to do every day. Another freebie, was in fine seed MVC. There have been only three events leading to a change in pump seals, with huge cost savings.  The reason this project worked is the integrated team between Honeywell, the project team, management and operations.