September 21, 2011 | Barb Carr

Design for Reliable Performance

If you are interested in human performance and behavior change and/or safety, process safety and risk management, don’t miss the best practice session, “Design for Reliable Performance” at the 2012 Global TapRooT® Summit.

Topics that will be presented in this informative session include “Automated or Manual Control?  Mining Examples” presented by Dr. Joel Haight, Branch Chief, Mining Injury Prevention, Centers for Disease Control, and “Design for High Reliability in Extreme Conditions: Eliminate Unrecoverable Errors” presented by Marco Flores, President of TECMEN.

Automated or Manual Control?  Mining Examples

Dr. Joel Haight

As the mining industries continue their quest to get miners out of harm’s way and move more towards automated control systems, a question is raised … what then will the miners do? When a machine or computer takes over the operation (automated haul trucks, etc.) in an industrial processes, does overall system performance improve? Do we humans move on to higher order thinking, planning or decision-making from a safe location? Or do we just shut down and switch to “habits of the mind” type thinking (such as when you suddenly realize you’ve driven the last 5 miles, but don’t remember it) … thus, losing intimate knowledge of system performance over time? This presentation will cover what is already known about this subject and address some of the questions still remaining.

Dr. Haight, an expert in safety engineering and human factors engineering, will present this session.  Prior to joining the CDC, he served as an Associate Professor of Energy and Mineral Engineering at Penn State. Prior to joining the faculty at Penn State, Dr. Haight worked as a safety engineer for the Chevron Corporation for 18 years. He is board certified by the American Board of Industrial Hygiene and the Board of Certified Safety Professionals. He has a B.S. degree in Safety Sciences, and a Master’s degree and Ph.D. in Industrial and System Engineering.

Design for High Reliability in Extreme Conditions: Eliminate Unrecoverable Errors

During the development of new technology in a competitive environment, there are many threats and temptations that the project leader has to face.

The first one is to hide what is not known in the belief that any unanswered question will have power to shelve the project.

The other one is to avoid presenting results until all questions are answered.

During the last decade of the last century, Marco Flores had the privilege of leading a team of scientist and engineers in the pursuit of an ambitious endeavor:  the pneumatic transport of a large highly-reactive, fragile, abrasive solid at high temperatures, 1500 ºF.

After the initial test showed that the concept was feasible, additional requests were added to tie the conveying system to a chemical reactor without the use of a lock hopper, further complicating the overall plant balance and control.

After 8 years of intensive testing, the system was finally approved for industrial scale-up, a factor of 20,000 percent. The system was installed and has been operating 24/7 for about 15 years without any mishap, conveying above 1 million metric tons/year.

This session will not elaborate in proprietary process numbers that are kept until today as trade secret, long after many of the patents have expired. Marco Flores will talk about the human performance, project planning and how a series of minor findings became a breakthrough in direct reduction of Iron ore, achieving what was believed to be impossible at its time. Participants will examine component testing and how a sound failure analysis allowed for the rapid development of valves and piping that can seal 1500ºF gases with a sizable solids load without requiring a double valve system, or the replacement of the piping every few months, eliminating the potential scenario of an unrecoverable error that always threatens new technology.

Marco Flores

Marco Flores is the President of TECMEN, a consulting company dedicated to develop solutions material handling and process under extreme conditions that go from automated “taco” shell handling, to high temperature components applied to chemical and nuclear processes. He has dedicated 25 years to the the worldwide development of technology, start-up and troubleshooting.

He has been a TapRooT® instructor for seven years and is co-translator of the TapRooT® course materials into Spanish and Portuguese.  He has frequently applied the TapRooT® method for innovation, project planning, and systematic failure and accident analysis.

Read more about best practice sessions planned for the Human Performance and Behavior Change track and the Safety, Process Safety and Risk Management track on the Summit Schedule page.

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