When prospective pilots begin their training, they are put through rigorous flight simulation. A virtual flight environment allows them to go through situations of malfunction and they build tangible experience on how to solve problems and avoid crises. No one can predict the future, but being able to navigate stressful scenarios, while ensuring safety for everyone involved is a vital prerequisite before they can take flight.
So, what is the connection between airplanes and process plants? They both operate in an environment where safety and risk mitigation are an element in almost every activity. This makes visualization of operations in a virtual process plant environment extremely valuable to plant operators – in terms of staff training and optimization perspectives.
In process plants, each employee naturally has a different level of knowledge and experience. Some may have experience navigating stressful situations, some have not. The only way to ensure each employee feels confident to handle such situations, is to train on these scenarios virtually. With so much at stake, training through visualization of virtual plant environments gives operators assurance that situations will be handled effectively, minimizing risk to plant operations and staff safety.
Another benefit of simulating plant operations, is the ability to test changes to the process sequence, ensuring no damage is caused before implementing. The simulation uncovers most of the problems prior to a trial run. It helps to make sure that the functional test and TÜV approvals are successful.
This is helpful in the operational phases, as well as during start-up or shut-down. In reality, start-up phases can sometimes take two to three weeks. A virtual testing environment allows teams to train on key stages of the process in fast motion. Crews are able to practice how the start-up phase can be carried out in a cost-effective manner and without problems, so that production can be started as soon as possible, avoiding unnecessary downtime.
Optimization of process plant economics are also straightforward in a virtual environment. Control parameters can be tested, to ensure the plant is always operating at a safe limit, while also realizing how to maximize economic efficiency.
Improving process plant efficiency, economics and safety is a reality when utilizing HIMA’s Operator Training System (OTS) Safety Simulator. Utilizing its simulation environment with OPC UA coupling to your virtual process plant is part of our SILworX software.
Approaching 20 Years of OTS Safety Simulation
HIMA launched the first safety simulator which could support plant simulation back in 2003. Fast forward to 2008 and the HIMax was launched. Since then, the goal was to enable simulation capabilities in all its safety controllers – HIMax, HIMatrix, and HIQuad X. Extensive expertise and years of experience with simulation went into the development of OTS. Ten years of experience and many years of cooperation with the manufacturers of process simulation systems mean that the HIMA’s OTS solution provides optimal practicality and a high level of efficiency.