Our internal blogs at Emerson (blogs.emersonprocess.com for
those readers with access to the Emerson internal network) are vibrant and
growing. One of the folks I’ve featured in past
posts, Jeff Hackney, who leads the DeltaV operator training
solutions (DeltaV OTS) global sales team, has joined the ranks of internal
In one of his posts, he highlights an OTS team project that
delivers a complete operator training solution. This operator training system supports
4 butane splitter columns, butane butylene treater unit, propane propylene
treater unit and utilities (cooling water system, steam/condensate system) for
a U.S.-based refiner.
The simulation includes a dynamic model with startup and
shutdown exercises and 33 training scenarios to help prepare the operators to
work through simulated abnormal plant situations. Instructor graphics allow the
refinery instructor to perform activities such as isolation valves opening and
closing, and manual drain and filling valves not controlled from the plant DeltaV automation system.
Another post describes an operator training solution for an
offshore oil and gas producer. This training solution supports two offshore
platform wellheads and all downstream process areas through to sales gas to the
pipeline company. In addition to the platform dynamic models, the OTS team also
emulated safety instrumented system (SIS) shutdown logic. For this oil &
gas producer, the team developed 47 training scenarios including startup and
shutdown, instructor graphics, deck operations graphics, and random scenario
generation. The random scenario generation allows the operators to train on the
system without an instructor.
Jeff notes that some believe that building a large, dynamic
simulation model and integrating it with various emulated or simulated control
systems is a relatively simple activity that can be grasped within a few days.
The reality is that updating a complex process model needs a detailed
understanding of the process itself, simulation technology, the automation
system and a design for the interaction between these components. It takes a
combination of skills that most individuals usually do not possess. The OTS team
works with process manufacturers to augment the skills within the plant to
develop and maintain these operator training solutions.
Operator training systems become increasingly important as
experienced operators retire and new ones join the ranks. Having instructor-led
or instructor-less training systems can help develop the skills needed to handle
abnormal plant situations when they arise.