Human Performance Track Overview - A challenge for our times |

Human Performance Track Overview - A challenge for our times

September 212012
September 24-27, 2012
ISA Automation Week, Orlando, FL
Track Chair: Maurice Wilkins
Over the past several years, human performance has been in the news almost constantly, from the aging “Baby Boomer” workforce to the “Gen X” and “Gen Y” generations that will ultimately replace them. The technologies they will use have created almost as much news. Who could have foreseen the iPhone and iPad and the impact they would have on our day to day lives and eventually on the process industries. Will control rooms as we know them still exist in 20 years time?
As there will be fewer people replacing the retiring Baby Boomer engineers and operators in the process industries, how will improved automation, mobility, and social media help the new workers? How will we be able to provide the training and certification they need to take on tomorrow’s process operations—will we be able to do it fast enough? What innovations will these new generations bring that will impact the way we work in the future?
In fact, another question to consider is: “Are operators necessary at all?” With increased automation and remote operations, how many operators do you need, if any? How reliable are they compared to automated systems? There is an old adage that goes “the airplane of tomorrow will be flown by a pilot and a dog.” The pilot is there to feed the dog, and the dog is there to bite the pilot if he touches the controls. We all know that airplanes almost fly themselves, and as we have seen with the latest drones, they can even be piloted remotely; so what about process operations? Could they be the same?
In the Human Performance Track at ISA Automation Week in Orlando, these questions and more will be answered.
The first session, “The Role of Humans in Effective Process Operations,” takes a look at some of the questions and issues above, such as the need for operators in a crisis, improvements in remote operations, and ways to ensure that new engineers and operators can become effective in a shorter time.
In the second session, we will take a look at operator performance, starting with staffing operator consoles, then looking at how we can measure their performance followed by display formatting guidelines—a topic explored again on Wednesday.
The first day closes on the engineering side. “Good Projects Need Good Management” looks at the positive impact that good management and recognition of human factors can have on the success of automation projects.
The second day starts with a focus on good human machine interface practices—getting the who, what why, where, when, and how right. First, we will look at the HMI being compliant, then the role that wide screen displays are playing in today’s control rooms, and finally looking at the reduction of operator errors.
The focus then moves to motivation and collaboration as we explore ways of mentoring engineering professionals and then using virtual collaboration to motivate young engineers.
We close the second day by moving to “The Cloud.” What impact will the cloud have on future operations and engineering? Three presentations will look at how virtualization, dashboards, and real-time decision support may change the way we engineer and monitor projects.
The final day starts by exploring the impact that social media will have on the automation industry in the future and how we can harness it to improve operations—with one caveat that we also need to be aware of security issues that this may bring.
The second session looks at the aspiring engineers and operators of the future. The first presentation examines innovation as a key drive for the technology workforce of tomorrow. But this may not be achieved without partnerships between industry and academia, as shown by the second presentation in this session.
The final session of the track starts by looking at ways of managing innovation as a way to develop and encourage an effective workforce. Then the Automation Federation (AF) closes the track with two presentations about programs AF is sponsoring—workforce development and the vets initiative.
Over a three-day period, the Human Performance Track explores all aspects of the process industries from a human perspective from how things are done today to how they may be done tomorrow and also some ideas about how to get in on the act.
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