Control systems engineers work on processes that can be incredibly complex. The interactions of process, operator, environment, and control systems can produce at time a dizzying and bewildering array of outcomes.
"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough." - Albert Einstein
There is a scene in the screen adaptation of Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged” where a struggling businessman comes to speak with the protagonist, Hank Reardon, in his office and the following exchange takes place:
When you see a talk about safety, your first expectation is probably something on proper PPE, procedures or other aspects of safety that are typical fodder for safety “toolbox talks.” What I’d like to discuss in this post, at least in a very general way, is how to design safety into your process control system.
If you’ve been in controls long enough, it’s happened to you: a project that seemed to be going well suddenly hits a wall that was unforeseen and whose effects threaten to derail it irreversibly. My Waterloo came with a project to automate a press that made abrasive bars for honing pipe welds, compressing sand-like material into rectangular “sticks” that were then baked to produce the final product.