A lot has been written about the need for better console operator training. With today’s units and plants being integrated and interconnected, console operators need to know and understand more than their own unit, they need to know and understand the big picture.
- An upset at an Olefins unit in one plant disrupts the hydrogen supply at a refinery 20 miles away
- A refinery in Texas loses an LPG treater and a pipeline controller in Oklahoma gets a low flow alarm
We work in a highly integrated operating environment where upsets in one unit not only affect other units in the same plant, but may impact downstream plants and customers miles away. This makes the need to know, understand, and control your unit more important. A console operator who is proactive, instead of reactive, can save their company and its customers millions of dollars.
But it’s not just making moves and silencing alarms; it’s about understanding those moves and their larger impact. Seeing a valve going open but the flow stays the same indicates that something is happening that needs attention. If missed and the valve goes 100% open, the flow can no longer be controlled. Having the right knowledge and skills is the difference between identifying an issue and fixing the problem. The difference between losing the unit and affecting a plant downstream. If your unit goes down, it could be hours, if not days, before every unit downstream gets back to running on-spec.
A good console operator knows their unit. A great console operator understands the impact their actions have on upstream and downstream customers, and proactively control situations before they become an upset.
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