Total Recall for your HMI

  • September 15, 2009
  • Feature
September 15, 2009 by Rick ZabelHave you ever wished you could look back at what your operator was seeing at some point in history? Now you can. The Console Recorder from Longwatch is a virtual time machine - a software package that lets companies see what the operator was watching on the HMI when the plant blew up. It records the video signal to the HMI and archives it, so companies can see exactly what happened during an alarm, explosion, plant upset, leak or any other event. If three monitors are available, the company can put archived plant video on one screen, display what the operator was watching on another screen, and show data from the historian on a third screen—in other words, the company can reconstruct the EXACT situation as it occurred in the control room at the time of the incident. Consider what this might mean in terms of legal implications, accident investigations, event reconstruction, regulatory concerns, training, operator procedures and process control/automation in general.For example, once OSHA, EPA, FDA or other government agencies find out that it's possible to record everything that's going on in a control room, they might require that such recordings be made for regulatory purposes. Insurance companies could require the same. Cyber-security is on everyone's mind these days, and some evidence shows that viruses get in when operators cruise the Internet or bring in a program or CD from home. The Console Recorder will spot when operators are watching a video instead of the alarm summary screen (see our cartoon this week).If you are not yet familiar with Longwatch, you might be interested to know that its founder is Steve Rubin. As you may recall, Rubin is also the founder of Intellution, who introduced the first PC-based HMI/SCADA software to penetrate the industrial market 30 years ago. So here’s a guy who really knows the HMI/SCADA market. Has Rubin come out with another game changer?

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