Minimizing the Risk in the Process Industry by Using a Plant Simulator: a Novel Approach

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, which are prone to higher risk, but also perceiving, training and practicing some key points, which can increase the reliability of both process and operators. Even a minor error or a misunderstanding of either control‑room or field operators may put the whole process at higher levels of risk. The paper presents a methodology for the anticipation and reduction to risks exposure in industrial plants. A replica of an industrial plant is developed within a virtual environment facilitated by 3D glasses for stereoscopic vision and 3D spatialized audio for higher immersivity. This arrangement is coupled with process and accident simulators that allow deploying the so called: Plant Simulator. Various normal and abnormal scenarios of industrial processes are developed, assessed, and discussed by means of the virtual environment tool. The operators are exposed to these scenarios through the Plant Simulator in order to perceive and be trained better against risky situations.