Yesterday I was able to attend a presentation on alarms and HMIs1by Bill Hollifield. Bill quiet literally wrote the books on alarms and HMIs.
The first part of the presentation was on alarm management, what problems different sites face and how to fix them. To be honest, there wasn't a lot in this section that was new to me, but it was nice to see that we were doing the correct things.
I found the second part of the presentation very interesting. Bill covered many examples of bad control room graphics. Nothing particularly new there. I think most folk know what a bad graphic looks like. Usually we have seen too many ourselves. But he went on to show examples of good ones and explained how to help the operators quickly pick out how the plant is doing. He also pointed out how people have misinterpreted the original guidelines and implemented basic interfaces while claiming that they were good ones. He was particularly critical of the examples certain vendors put in their manuals.
Considering that there will be a major project over the next few years to reproduce all our graphics to move to the new control system, I found the topic very interesting. I hope we manage to avoid the mistakes others have made with their own upgrades.
- Human Machine Interfaces, basically how an operator interacts with a control system. ↩