Clean Currents 2022

Control Room Design: The Challenges and the Solutions

Technology is rapidly evolving, creating new environmental and industrial challenges that must be considered. Let’s explore key human factors within the control room, their potential impact on costs, efficiency, output, and the environment, and how to properly plan for now and the future.

Technology continues to focus on the demands of industry to increase efficiency of overall operations and at the same time increase production output. Industry must quickly adapt to these new advances in technology yet must be aware of the need to mitigate environmental impact. Recent studies indicate that automation in the workplace will nearly double by 2025. The focus on industrial disasters in terms of financial impact as well as the technology (that at times fails) has resulted in losing sight of the fact that disasters involve people. Little focus has been on the humans that control this technology as well as the associated impact of human error.

With Industry 4.0 focusing on the newest technology, a concern is that the capacity for, and inherent risks of, human error in the context of innovation will be overshadowed by the innovation itself. If we combine this with a focus on sustainability, the design of the control room is critical. One mistake can result in huge, and in some cases, irreversible environmental damage. The challenge in today’s industrial control room environment is not only with the transition to more technologically advanced operations, but also to the need for more technologically advanced operators as a result. What is being lost in the rapid changes of this new phase of the industrial revolution is the impact of the control room environment on the human, and the resulting potential negative impact of the human on the environment. Proper planning involves having a full understanding of the priorities not only in today’s control room, but the control room of the future.

Presenter Information

Brett Walmsley

Brett Walmsley
Account Manager, Process Automation, Energy Industries Division
ABB Inc.
Poster Presenter