Posts tagged 'Process Control'

Turning it Off and On Again

Yesterday we fixed a problem with one of our optimisers by, as you can probably tell from the title, turning (a bit of) it off and on again.

In this case it wasn't as simple as flicking the switch on the wall. It was one module on a remote ...

Merrimack Valley Gas Explosions Part 5

So it turns out there is a bit more I want to say about the Merrimack Valley Gas Explosions.

In yesterday’s post, I was rather critical of the immediate recommendations that were produced by the investigators. They seemed to be very focused on the human error side of things ...

Merrimack Valley Gas Explosions Part 4

In my final post on the Merrimack Valley Explosions1 , I want to cover the recommendations that were issued in the Safety Recommendation Report. The report makes five urgent recommendations, one to the state of Massachusetts and four to NiSource, Inc., the parent company of the operating company in charge ...

Merrimack Valley Gas Explosions Part 3

In today's post about the Merrimack Valley Explosions, I want to discuss the mitigating factors and layers of protection, or rather apparent lack of then in this case. Again I will clearly state, I don't have all the facts and am not in anyway involved. I only have ...

Merrimack Valley Gas Explosions Part 2

I mentioned in yesterday's post about a series of gas explosions that occured while I was visiting family in the USA last year. In this post I will cover how this event that 'looked like armageddon' according to a fire chief.

As with most utilities, the gas network consists ...

Merrimack Valley Gas Explosions Part 1

While I was in America last year, I saw news reports of an accident in Massachusetts where a local residential gas network was overpressured. This lead to lots of explosions and fires over three different towns. The local emergency services received over a hundred 911 emergency calls within a short ...

Fixing an Unintended Consequence

Today I implemented a fix that will hopefully avoid a repeat of an incident that happend last week. It is the sort of problem that I enjoy to work on. Why isn't this doing what we would expect? And more importantly how do I get it to do what ...

Just Another Opinion

We are in the process of designing and building a new control room at the refinery. This will replace the building built in the 70s and the control system that has an user interface that doesn't look particularly different from the photographs of when it opened.

This is obviously ...

Person Who Changes Computers That Control Wet Stuff

I have read lots of things in the last week talking about how we should write simpler and not to trust things that are written in a confusing way or using long words.

I know that I can be bad at this and so I would like to try and ...

Making Magic

As a control engineer, I work on automating stuff. Automating things is something that I have enjoyed doing for years whether in a factory, a theatre or just on a computer.

And yet I still find it magical whenever I set up something new. If that feeling goes, I know ...

The Purpose of a Procedure

I frequently see people make a comment regarding procedures along the lines of "monkey see, monkey do", "they take the thought out of the job" or "they treat us like idiots".

I want to take this opportunity to say that is not how I see or use procedures. If you ...

Stale Alarms

I have previously written about alarms and following on from yesterday's post I want to write about stale alarms.

These are alarms that initially come in, but for some reason the operator cannot remove them. They are usually classed as stale if they have been on the alarm page ...

What is an Alarm?

I have previously written about nuisance alarms particularly during shutdowns, but today I want to cover the fundamental questions of what an alarm is and what it is not.

The definition of an alarm is:

Alarm: An audible and/or visible means of indicating to the operator an equipment malfunction ...

What Does a Control Engineer Do?

Today we had a school pupil shadowing our team, trying to work out what a carrier in chemical engineering would be like. Earlier in the week she spent time with developement and optimisation engineers but today it was the turn of the automation team to explain what control engineers do ...

APC vs Toddlers

Over the last few weeks, I have been commissioning a couple of new Advance Process Control (APC) schemes within the refinery and it occurs to me that this is very similar to looking after a toddler in the house.

Watching a Toddler

When looking after the little one, you can ...

Dynamic Alarms

Earlier today I commissioned a project I have been working on for the last year, ESD Dynamic Alarm Suppression.

When the Emergency Shutdown (ESD) System is activated, shutdown valves will close and pumps will stop. This normally causes a significant flood of extra alarms as the normal control system warns ...

JWF: Clamp on Flow Metering Technology

I have just attended a Lunch and Learn session delivered by JWF Process Solutions Ltd and hosted by the Institute of Measurement and Control East of Scotland Section.

This presentation focused on clamp on ultrasonic flow meters and their recent developments.

I have had a small amount of experience with ...

10 Ways Control Systems Lie

An Introduction to Instrumentation and Control

This Presentation was delivered on behalf of the IChemE Scottish Members Group on Thursday 2nd June 2016 at Ineos Grangemouth. I have attached a copy of the slides however they are not very descriptive on their own. This post is a summary of what ...

I'm Giving a Talk

I had an odd experience last night when I received an email from IChemE inviting me to a presentation that is to be delivered by myself.

No getting out of it now then. My intent is to provide a general introduction to instrumentation and cover things that I have learnt ...

Mangled Brain

So I have just completed the course on advanced process control. It was interesting on Sunday night when I met the other course attendees.

There were eight attendees in total, I was the only Brit, all others were from continental Europe (Dutch, Belgian and German). There was a definite feeling ...

Training for the Training Course

So after yesterdays post concerning being slightly worried about switching back into control engineer mode, this morning I am even more worried.

I arrived at the hotel just in time for dinner and met five of the other attendees (there are eight of us in total on the course). All ...

Switching Brains

The Cat Reformer is mostly back together. Hopefully later today, hydrogen can be introduced. If everything goes well, feed should be put back in on Tuesday.

For myself though the TAR is over. I am currently on a train on my way to Cardiff for a training course next week ...