Secure with Scada? Part 2 - Operator Effectiveness

Posted by Mahendra Dissasekera

Feb 28, 2014 6:44:00 PM

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An effective control room should empower the operator to make smart and effective decisions based on information that is provided to them.

The plant operator should be the focal point of any control room design. They are called to make hundreds of decisions every day as problems with supply materials, equipment failures, maintenance programs and production demand high attention - they are the real experts on the daily operation of your plant. In the traditional control room, the control panel was the operator’s window to the process, through which he/she judged how the process was doing and how he/she would respond.  

Modern plants are designed wall to ceiling with the most reliable DCS/PLC control systems to control plant machinery but this loses this critical aspect of physical reliability and puts your operators at risk. Even the most technologically-refined operators would have trouble staying in control in the wake of a cyber attack on a software based system. The most serious threats are those that intend to either seriously disable the alarm system or generate false alarms so operators are unaware of developing problems. But when displayed clearly in a window annunciator, operators are unlikely to miss an alarm condition needing their immediate attention.

Without this secure warning offered by an annunciator, the operator is left at the mercy of their computer screen - blending critical alarms with other information and reducing their effectiveness to quickly respond. 

It's why we're still here...Plant Operator Annunciator

There’s a reason that Ronan is still in business after 50 successful years of keeping plants in the hands of safe and reliable products. We’re not talking about books vs. Kindle. Or LAN line vs. cell phone. This isn’t a case of old vs. new. This is a conversation about safety and reliability. When it comes down to it, what system can you trust when critical processes are at stake? 

Integration is key. DCS/PLC/SCADA systems have their place. But when it comes to your most critical alarms – there is no substitute for a clear alarm requiring an unambiguous human reaction. Hundreds of our customers can attest to that. As a leading annunciator manufacturer, we’ve seen the impact that software free annunciators (see X11SNX71) have in acting as a “watcher” for the DCS/PLC/SCADA system. Annunciators fill the gap and empower operators to run their plant effectively or lead the proper shutdown in the case of a DCS/PLC/SCADA system failure.

Leaving your plant’s safety solely in the hands of an imperfect software system is asking for trouble. 

Tell us - is it really worth it?

Written by Mahendra Dissasekera

Mahendra is a Sales Application Engineer for Ronan Engineering Company. Mahendra’s past experience as an I&C Engineer in a Power Plant provided him with valuable field expertise on Power generation and distribution, Electro mechanical field instruments, and PLC/DCS, SCADA distributed control systems. Further experience includes system improvements, alarm management, safety and critical infrastructure and high voltage applications. In addition to I & C experience he followed TPM, OSHA and SOP to improve system performance and MTBF.

Over 50 Years of Proven Knowledge and Experience

Ronan products are found in power plants, oil and gas refineries, medical buildings, metal processing plants, chemical plants, food and beverage plants, paper plants, mining operations, military vessels, hydrogen gas stations, and more. After over 50 years of providing thousands of Process & Power customers with custom solutions for their monitoring and measurement needs, Ronan has decided to expose these solutions to YOU.  

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