Transitioning from a control room to an operations center

During a recent visit to Honeywell Industrial Control (IC), Control Engineering got a peek at the firm's new "Honeywell Operations Center of the Future." Unlike product demonstration centers at manufacturers' home offices, Honeywell's operations center is more like visiting a well-designed control room at a manufacturer's site.

11/01/2000


During a recent visit to Honeywell Industrial Control (IC), Control Engineering got a peek at the firm's new "Honeywell Operations Center of the Future." Unlike product demonstration centers at manufacturers' home offices, Honeywell's operations center is more like visiting a well-designed control room at a manufacturer's site. What you see and hear is what's possible when operators, maintenance, management, and technology personnel work in harmony to address operational scenarios.

Working with the Abnormal Situation Management (ASM) Consortium and Brad Adams Walker Architecture (Denver, Colo.) to identify best practices in control room design and use, Honeywell learned the sophisticated capabilities that make up today's control and automation systems are making the traditional "control room" label obsolete. ASM's research on best practices found that control room activities now extend far beyond controlling the process. Increasingly, the control room is where serious and far-reaching business decisions are being coordinated, but isn't necessarily where the information needed to make those decisions is readily available. What best practice reviews revealed was a need to integrate business, maintenance (asset management) and control information.

Some of the most significant aspects of Honeywell's Operations Center include:

  • Positioning its entrance and controlling access to the room;

  • Simulating daylight lighting and using non-reflecting surfaces;

  • Colors, ergonomics (e.g., adjustable work surfaces), and aesthetics;

  • Physical integration of maintenance and operations with workspaces that maintain subtle segregation, yet support collaboration;

  • Close proximity of a high-fidelity training simulator [See "Developing Intellectual Capital, CE , Aug.'00, p.63);

  • Attention given to evaluating the processes complexity to establish the quantity of physical elements (e.g., points, units, equipment, etc.) an individual can safely manage; and

  • Appropriate graphic display complexity, quantity, and hierarchy for each maintenance, operator, and process engineer.

Honeywell's Operations Center also involves customers, alliance partners, service providers, equipment manufacturers, and others, not physically present, but important in making timely and "best-for-everyone" decisions.

For more coverage of operations center issues, see "Is a New Control Center in Your Future," CE, May '99, p. 81. For more information, visit www.iac.honeywell.com or www.controleng.com/freeinfo .





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