|If you are working out in the units
a Control Room Operator directing some of your work efforts many things
can be very straight forward.
All that is required of you to do is just reposition some toggle switches to get the desired result. The toggles are basically used to start and stop pumps and to open and close valves. Other devices are used to control flows and pressures etc.
That was the easy part. This career can be extremely easy at times and other times you can be racing around like a wild man. It comes and it goes. Don't get the idea that easy is business as usual. It isn't. It may look easy to an outsider watching a seasoned professional but, that's only because the professional has worked hard to know the facility they are working in. There are many days and nights where they really have to work very hard and use their noodle to do the right things, at the right time, at the right speed and in the prescribed order to keep the plant on line. They have to know all the ramifications of starting that pump. What happens upstream and downstream when they push the button. How it effects pressure, flows, temperatures, levels, vessels, exchangers in numerous systems that may be directly or indirectly influenced. It takes training, desire, talent, effort and years of dedication. Do you have what it takes to be the best you can be? If you do, this could be what you are looking for.
You really have to know and understand the operating principles of processes and equipment, what the dangers are and what the idiosyncrasies of the systems are. It takes many years of training and operating to get proficient at what we do here. It is not a cake walk.
When you watch a professional go through the motions they really make it look like it is easy. Just remember, it took years of effort for that operator to get to that point. Even though they may make it look easy, at the end of many shifts, an operator goes home very tired.
If you are working as a Control Room
it can be more complex and very nerve racking. It can also look rather
relaxing if you really have it all together and it's an unusually quiet
day. Again it may look easy and like the Control Room Operator is
but, he/she is constantly focusing on what is going on in every part of
the facility and mapping out in their mind, what they will do
the day as the day's priorities change. Again it takes years of
work to get there. For those who have the desire it comes with
If the control room is like this old
you see me standing in front of on the upper photo, it can be
easy to operate equipment via remote control. Not many of these
old analog systems still in use these days. Fact is, by the time I
left this facility the board behind me had been removed except for the
alarm lights at the top, and everything was on the computerized TDC
The other more complex device for controlling plant operations is a DCS or Distributed Control System or TDC. Behind me is a wall with most of the old analog system removed as it's operation has been transferred over to the TDC. As the years went on and more was transferred over more and more screens popped up to my right. There were a total of seven screens to view the process when I left.
This thing I'm sitting in front of is called a computerized control system or DCS or total digital control system TDC. Lots to know about this thing and that's because it does lots. Youíd have to have a wall of switches and controllers a mile long to keep up with everything this thing can do. So many tuning parameter items that can make system behave so much better. Once some Einstein figures out how to ingratiate artificial intelligence into the mix of things operating a control room and a plant could become a different animal. Fortunately there are other professionals on site that handle most of the technical items for this. All the Control Room Operator has to do is maintain surveillance, operate the equipment out in the units with it via the computer screens you see. As the years go on you get more and more comfortable with it. But again, there is lots to know about computerized control systems like this.
These computerized control systems are very reliable but, they do have their problems and you are expected to know how to remedy some of them. If it's 2 o'clock in the morning with no one around to help, you'd better be on top of your training so you know what to do. There are higher function and more complicated issues that do arise from time to time but, that will be for the specialists to deal with. When that happens, it's time to get some one out of bed. And it never matters how important the issues are, you'll never be totally comfortable calling people at 2 AM to remedy what looks like a computer problem.
The pay is more in the Control Room
never put you in the Control Room unless you want it and are capable.
ever get the idea they'll force you into it. That would be like you
a bus driver and your employer telling you that you are now going to be
a racing car driver. Not everyone is cut out to do it. I like it
it is a more challenging and cleaner work environment. Ya, I like the
pay scale too.
|TABLE OF CONTENTS
My P.E.T. Career
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MY P.E.T. CAREER
THE Power Engineer's E-Handbook
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