Publications


S. Nazir, S. Colombo, D. Manca

Chemical Engineering Transactions, 32, 109-114, (2013)

The advancement in technology, automation, and mechanization has revolutionized the industrial sector as well as the specific activities of operators. The need for understanding, perceiving and assessing the risk from merely focused on equipment and process, to human (operator) and human machine interaction (HMI) is the aim of this work. The proposed solution allows the operator not only understanding the sensitive zones of the plant,...

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S. Colombo, D. Manca, S. Nazir

SPE European HSE Conference and Exhibition 2013: Health, Safety, Environment and Social Responsibility in the Oil and Gas Exploration and Production Industry; London; United Kingdom; 16 April 2013 through 18 April 2013; Code 98713, ISBN 978-162748284-4, 405‑416, (2013)

The use of Immersive Virtual Reality (IVR) for training is an idea that is around since long time; the real, unclarified doubt about its use is whether it does really increase performance with respect to traditional methods such as classroom and on-the-job training. The most critical point of traditional training methods is the difficulty to train operators about system’s deviations from nominal conditions. But even the more advanced...

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D. Manca, S. Colombo, S. Nazir

SPE European HSE Conference and Exhibition 2013: Health, Safety, Environment and Social Responsibility in the Oil and Gas Exploration and Production Industry; London; United Kingdom; 16 April 2013 through 18 April 2013; Code 98713, ISBN 978-162748284-4, 394‑404, (2013)

The significant impact of human errors on the operation of industrial processes calls for improved methodologies and tools to train both control-room and field operators. Common Operator Training Simulators (OTSs) meet almost exclusively the needs for the formation of Control-Room Operators (CROPs). On the Field Operators (FOPs) side, few contributes have been carried out to improve their training level. The paper presents and...

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D. Manca, S. Brambilla, S. Colombo

Advances in Engineering Software, 55, 1–9, (2013)

This paper discusses a training solution based on Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented‑Virtual Reality (AVR), specifically tailored for the (chemical) process industry, and a related proof-of-concept experiment. The suggested approach, compared to traditional training systems, has the potential to improve operators’ cognitive readiness by addressing the three components of situation awareness, namely (i) “experiencing” the plant and its...

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D. Manca, S. Brambilla

Journal of Loss Prevention in the Process Industries, 25, 6, 950-957, (2012)

The paper investigates the causes and simulates the dynamics of the events that led to the catastrophic explosion on March 23, 2005 at the British Petroleum (BP) refinery in Texas City (USA) where 15 people died and 180 were injured. The paper follows the timeline of the accident, investigates the premises that characterized its phenomenology, and performs a critical analysis to fill the gaps that can be found in the scientific...

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S. Nazir, A. Gallace, M. Bordegoni, S. Colombo, D. Manca

Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, Europe Chapter Annual Meeting 2012, October 10‑12, 2012 Toulouse, 1.3, 1-19, (2012)

Training is considered as one of the most important component in the process industry. The progress in development of training methods with respect to the increased complexity of industrial processes has not been significantly aligned. The role and cognitive tasks of operators are intensified with automation, computerization and mechanization, thereby, increasing not only the complexity but also the sensitivity of the consequences of...

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Davide Manca, Roberto Totaro, Salman Nazir, Sara Brambilla, Simone Colombo

Computer Aided Chemical Engineering, 31, 825-829, (2012)

The sensitivity and significance of operator training increased profoundly with the increase in automation of industrial plants. The paper proposes and discusses the use of Virtual Reality and Augmented Virtual Reality to train industrial operators. A detailed and immersive 3D model of the plant allows the operators understanding the details of equipment and operating conditions. Both the dynamic behavior and the control strategies of...

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S. Colombo, S. Nazir, D. Manca

Computer Aided Chemical Engineering, 31, 295-299, (2012)

A fundamental challenge and opportunity for risk and operational managers to improve significantly their activity is to adopt a holistic approach to decision-making by grounding their decisions on the effective knowledge, experience and capabilities of operators and their organization. The paper explains why accounting for human and organizational factors is fundamental to strengthen decisions and why doing it in an experimental...

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D. Manca

Computer Aided Chemical Engineering, 31, 1306-1310, (2012)

A feasibility study of a new plant or even of a revamped one bases the forecast for incomes and outcomes on a discounting back approach. This means that both prices and costs of commodities are assumed constant for long periods. The paper tries to solve the “discounting back” problem that sees a coming apart between the dynamics of real market prices/costs (subject to fluctuations, volatility, and the “supply and demand” law) and the...

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S. Nazir, S. Colombo, D. Manca

SRA Europe Annual Meeting, “Anticipating Major Risks”, Zurich, June 18-20, 2.1, 1-24, (2012)

The advancement in technology, automation and mechanization has revolutionized the industrial sector and as well as the jobs of concerned operators. Process industry (including the oil and gas sector) are saturated with complex equipment, sensitive parameters, variables, precise flow rates and given set of conditions; fulfillment of those are necessary for smooth, continuous, profitable and most importantly hazard free processes. A...

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S. Nazir, R. Totaro, S. Brambilla, S. Colombo, D. Manca

Computer Aided Chemical Engineering, 30, 1398-1401, (2012)

The need for developing an improved methodology to better train operators is crucial since their performance directly influences the process in terms of productivity, quality, profitability, stability, and controllability. Meanwhile, human machine interfaces have intensified the complexity faced by operators in modern plants, where a human error may result in significant financial and resource losses. This paper proposes the...

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D. Manca, S. Nazir, F. Lucernoni, S. Colombo

Computer Aided Chemical Engineering, 30, 1422-1426, (2012)

This paper presents the development and implementation of a computer program to assess and judge the operator performance both for control-room and field operators. In order to evaluate the performance of workers, several Operator Performance Indicators (OPIs) are defined and relevant human factors are carefully attributed. In this work, a number of operator skills based and depending on physics, emotion, technique, equipment, plant...

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S. Nazir, S. Colombo, D. Manca

Chemical Engineering Transactions, 26, 303-308, (2012)

Situation awareness (SA) is commonly described as the challenges encountered by an operator and it appears during the course of interaction with either the process itself or a human machine interface. Application and significance of SA is well established in different production sectors such as aviation, armed forces, and air traffic. The importance and significance of SA for Field Operators (FOPs) and for Control-Room Operators...

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D. Manca, S. Nazir, S. Colombo

Chemical Engineering Transactions, 26, 285-290, (2012)

The performance assessment of industrial operators is a challenge faced by the scientific community in last decades on account of the subjectivity involved, lack of quantitative methods and complex trainer-trainee- relation. This paper presents a methodology to evaluate the performance of a control room operator according to operator performance indicators based on relevant human factors, which allows a quantitative and as well as...

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S. Colombo, D. Manca, S. Brambilla, R. Totaro, R. Galvagni

Proceedings of the ASME 2011 World Conference on Innovative Virtual Reality, WINVR 2011, June 27-29, 2011, Milano, Italy, 67-76

Human errors during operations, probably more clearly referred to as human or action failures, play an important role in causing industrial accidents. The assessment of human performance, through the identification and measurement of human failures, is a complicated, but essential, task to accomplish in real process plants. Virtual Reality (VR) provides a suitable mean to identify human failures, measure human performance and train...

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D. Manca, A. Fini, M. Oliosi

Computer Aided Chemical Engineering, Volume 29, Pages 336-340, (2011)

The paper proposes and discusses a methodology to quantify the economic potential of a plant subject to market variability. Price fluctuations and marketuncertainty are analyzed and modeled. The manuscript assesses the variability of raw and product prices (i.e. hydrocarbons in the HDA process) related to a reference indicator (i.e. crude oil). Afterwards, it proposes a methodology to forecast a series of economic scenarios to...

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D. Manca, S. Brambilla, A. Villa

Computer Aided Chemical Engineering, Volume 29, Pages 1266-1270, (2011)

This paper discusses the causes and reconstructs the dynamics of the catastrophic accident occurred at the BP refinery of Texas City in 2005. Dedicated sections describe the hypotheses and models adopted in the analysis. Inconsistencies and omitted points in existing reports are also examined.

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S. Brambilla, D. Manca

Journal of Loss Prevention in the Process Industries, Volume 24, Issue 4, Pages 344-355, (2011)

When a chemical accident occurs, the release depends on the status of the substance(s) in either the damaged process unit or carrier, i.e. the accident dynamics differs in presence of a compressed gas, a refrigerated liquefied gas, a compressed liquefied gas, or a subcooled liquid. In addition, the release properties (e.g., flow rate, liquid and vapor fractions, temperature, and momentum) may vary dynamically due to the modification...

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