The Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant (BGCAPP) Automation Department saved the project more than $300,000 by using an existing computer system to train Control Room, or CON, operators.
“With the Facility Control System software developed and installed, we could utilize parts of the system for other purposes,” said Dave Richards, automation control staff lead, Bechtel Parsons Blue Grass (BPBG). “It is in excellent condition and provides the functionality and operability needed to give CON operators realistic, hands-on training with the control system without interrupting the ongoing plant systemization.”
The Automation Engineering Team used a development system to create and test the plant’s control system software before installation in the field. The team then developed an option so the equipment can function as a Control and Automation Training Simulator System to train operators.
“We ask our people to focus on cost management and reduce waste project-wide,” said Ron Hink, project manager, BPBG. “This is an excellent example of a team stepping up where they saw a need and providing a way to fill it, which saved procurement time and effort as well as money.”
Team members were enhancing software and planned to purchase training simulator hardware through a vendor, said Richards, when they realized their existing equipment could fit the need. They did research and collaborated with related departments and stakeholders to ensure the system would meet their requirements then presented their alternative to project leadership.
Existing support and spare parts are also on site to maintain the equipment, said Richards. This results in additional cost savings.
“Our light-off process is akin to someone trying to start their barbecue grill or gas fireplace for the first time in a season,” said Lee. “It might take several tries to get the gas to the burner and get everything properly set before it lights. And we run a 15-minute purge cycle after each attempt, so it’s not a very fast process.”
The workers are testing the repeatability of the light-off process with this activity, said Lee. Each TOX will need to demonstrate it can reliably start and stop its light-off before the next activity, the curing of the liner brick within each unit, can begin. Once the cure is complete, the TOX units can be tested at their full operating temperatures to get them ready to perform their essential jobs.