Editor’s note: Dave Geiger from GrayMatter also contributed to this blog.
If you’re a utility operator, then you’ve probably been working with the same HMI screens for over a decade. However, you now have the opportunity to update the entire SCADA system, including all the screens based on the ISA 101 and high performance HMI standards. Are you scared of change and being phased out? Relax, this change is all about making you the new superhero in your organization—The High Performance Operator. Get your cape ready, because I’m about to tell you how to maximize this new superpower.
Whether maintaining a water treatment, distribution, water collection, or wastewater system or plant, operators are a critical part of providing an adequate and safe supply of water. Today’s operator is faced with ever increasing process complexity, and producers want to make more with either the same or less amount of staff through automation. In small plants, a single operator might be responsible for maintaining all the equipment, including interaction with chemicals, equipment inspection, operating equipment, and environmental reporting. It’s a stressful job, and mistakes can cause emergency situations, including leaks, spills, equipment malfunction, and dangerous safety and health conditions. Mistakes are made for several reasons.
A knowledge-based mistake occurs when an operator does not accurately interpret a situation, either through poor training, biases, insufficient info, or info overload. A rule-based mistake is when the wrong rule is followed, often with confidence. Finally, a slip or lapse can occur when the task is very familiar and requires little thought, or an operator confuses similar tasks and makes the wrong response.
As the system interface, HMI screens are critical to operator performance. So, how does a High Performing HMI lead to you earning a super hero cape? Through simplified screens with situational awareness and intelligent alarming, information overload is reduced, and only the right information is provided at the right time and in the right context, reducing mistakes, errors, and slips, keeping the plant operating safely, securely and high performing, and making it easy to train new operators.