Process Simulation: Bridging the Knowledge Gap, 20PEERS Conference
The retirement of senior operators, the changing employment market, and the investment of time necessary for junior operators to gain knowledge and practical experience represents a widening gap in the availability of skilled operators across North America and the world. One chief difficulty in addressing this risk is coordinating operators’ time so that junior operators can work with and learn from senior operators and their experience. Using a simulator to train junior operators is an effective way to bridge this gap.
By employing computerized process modeling and control system emulation, a high‐fidelity simulated plant can provide an environment for less experienced operators to learn in and a means for seasoned operators to pass on their knowledge to future generations of operators without needing access to the physical process. Adding a classroom interface to the simulator allows for the staging of many scenarios including upset conditions, startups, and shutdowns that can be paused and reset to allow operators to practice real‐world scenarios with no risk to actual plant operations.
By developing a realistic simulated plant, incorporating a classroom interface, and involving experienced operators in the planning and vetting of scenarios, their knowledge and experience can be effectively transferred to the next generation even after they have left the workforce, and with minimal impact to mill operations.
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