Human Machine Interface


Background

A poorly implemented Human-Machine interface (HMI) adds to workload, increases frustration, stress, and confusion, and can ultimately impact safety, reliability, production, and profitability. A properly implemented human-computer interface can reduce operator work load, improve situational awareness, and aid the operator in preventing minor deviations from becoming major incidents.

A properly implemented Human-Machine interface will also work hand in hand with alarm management initiatives. Better presentation of information to the operator improves overall situation awareness. This helps offset the perception operators frequently have that elimination of alarms from the DCS will reduce their ability track the status of the plant.

Recent research has identified that well implemented human-machine interface can improve operator performance in problem detection and resolution by as much as 25%. This reduces the amount of time the plant is running at less than optimal efficiency, thus improving the bottom line. This also reduces operator stress and improves employee relationships.

Does the following seem familiar?

  • Your operators claim they need 10 screens to operate the plant

  • Your graphics look cluttered

  • Your graphics are more colorful than a carnival

  • During an abnormal situation are your operators rapidly jumping between screens searching for the information they need

  • Your graphics developed page-for-page from the P&ID’s

  • Your graphics do not incorporate the latest research into cognitive processing


Service Description

We schedule a site visit to evaluate the human-machine interface system. Typically, one or two representatives of User Centered Design Services visit the site for three days. During the visit UCDS performs interviews with multiple representatives of those departments involved in the management, implementation, use, and maintenance of the human-computer interface. This typically includes: Senior Management, Department Management, Instrument Engineers, Instrument Supervisors and Technicians, Process Engineers, Training Supervisors, Trainers, Procedure Writers, Control System Engineers and Technicians, Operations Supervision (all levels,) Field and Console Operators, Health and Safety, and Process Safety Management.

Following the site visit we generate a report detailing the current state of the site human-computer interface along with identifying specific gaps versus Best Practices.

 

For additional information or to book a workshop please E-mail us at:  sales@mycontrolroom.com



© 2013 User Centered Design Services

Technical

UCDS has in-depth experience in designing control rooms and modifying existing field shelters. Our process is compliant with the ISO 11064 Ergonomic Design Standard for Control Buildings. We interview management, supervision and a significant group of the operators to understand functional requirements, what works well in the existing environment, and identification and correction of problems with the existing design. To learn more Click Here

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Situation Awareness

Abnormal situations encompass a range of events outside the “normal” plant operating modes, e.g. trips, fires, explosions, toxic releases or just not reaching planned targets. In the past incidents such as Piper Alpha, Milford Haven, Flixborough, Texas City and the 2003 northeast electrical blackout have all been attributed, at least in part, to a fundamental lack of good situational awareness. Early work of the Abnormal Situation Management Consortium® included a survey of the US petrochemical industry. Based on their research the consortium estimates industry losses of around $20 billion per year from abnormal situations, approximately equal to the total annual profits of that industry. Furthermore these studies indicate that companies achieving Best Practices in operations can improve productivity by 5-12%. To learn more Click Here

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Fatigue Alertness Management

We have many customers looking to enhance their shift handover procedures and follow some of the Recommended Practices identified in the API documents; others are focusing attention on fatigue and fatigue countermeasures. We have great solutions for both these topics. For more details please contact Steve Maddox. To learn more Click Here

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Behavior

User Centered Design Services promotes Behavior – Based Safety which is a process that helps employees identify and choose safe behavior over an unsafe one. Safety in the workplace is a combination of three measurable components – the person their environment, and their behavior. To learn more Click Here

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About the Control Room Operator Performance Group

The purpose of this group is to share ideas and solutions that contribute to improving the performance of the control room operator. Abnormal situations can be managed safely and effectively if we provide our operators with the right training, workload, environment, and interfaces.