ECS Solutions, Inc. shared an update PostedFriday, November 13,2015 at 11:12 AM "When assessing risk, the first response to an issue should be to mechanically design it out, followed by mechanically guarding it, says Randy Otto, vice president of ECS Solutions, Inc. and CSIA member. The company also should control the issue. For ECS, this means developing a process control solution to minimize the need for an operator or technician to engage with or be around the physical equipment. “We do not design the physical equipment, but that does not mean we are not concerned about the operator’s safety or that we cannot do anything about it,” Otto says. “We like to think that we are virtualizing the equipment and allowing the operators to work on the virtual equipment.” Some programmers focus on developing a user interface to give the operator the minimum controls required, reducing an operator’s programming time, effort and cost. But Otto says ECS uses a standard solution to simplify screens while allowing the user to drill deeper for virtual access to the equipment. “We place every piece of information within the process control system into data and present it in filtered views to the operator to maintain simplicity,” Otto explains. Through this approach, Otto says operators can dedicate their focus to the process instead of the equipment, reducing mistakes and increasing quality. “The operators’ time around the physical equipment is minimized by allowing full access to the equipment virtually; our software can warn operators of dangers and prevent mistakes from happening.” ECS’s solution, the S88 Builder, is a program that runs any process. Otto describes its use in pipe animation: “We show when a pipe is charged and when the material is evacuated. The operator not only knows if the pipe is not clean, but also what material was run through it last. We give the operator every piece of info we can about the state of the equipment so he or she can stay in the control room where it is safe.” The program uses a process-focused HMI for intuitive operation. The solution is also consistent from one device to another and contains a built-in alert feature that navigates the operator to the alarm or event requiring attention. “Safety and ergonomics should be evaluated in every circumstance. However, designing a solution into the equipment always seems to be the best choice to protect the operators,” Otto says."