Thursday, May 30, 2024

Back to Basics -- On-Site DBDOC Training

After a lengthy hiatus kicked off by the pandemic, we at GMCL are back to providing in-person classes and training for DBDOC users.  That being said, over the last four years we have become quite expert at providing online training as needed -- typically through Teams sessions -- and that is also a very effective way of providing one-on-one support and even introductory sessions for multiple DBDOC users.  But fundamentally, nothing compares with being on-site and in-person, in terms of the quality of interaction which is possible

In late April, Geoff and I were delighted to present an on-site Hyperview course to participants at Merck in West Point, Pennsylvania.  The day-long course was run three times, with about half a dozen students on each day.  There was a good mix of attendees -- mostly operators and technicians. but also engineers, managers, and contractors, all interested in getting a better understanding of how DBDOC could be useful to them.  Our contact Joe was a tremendous resource in organizing the sessions, and took an active role in helping to relate Hyperview's capabilities to areas of practical interest at the plant.

Speaking as lead Hyperview developer, teaching a class like this one is an exceptional opportunity for us as well -- our team is constantly trying to improve the usefulness and usability of the software, and there is no better reality check than observing a group of fairly novice DBDOC users getting off the ground with respect to basic functionality -- what works well, and where might there be opportunities for improvement.

This class was actually a lot of fun.  To begin, we introduced DBDOC, and how it fits into the context of the Harmony INFI 90® DCS system -- not everybody attending was familiar with the configuration layer (function blocks, CLDs), so understanding the framework of how DBDOC connects graphics to the hardware via the logic was essential.  We then introduced the DBDOC applications and how they work together, and then proceeded to teach basic Hyperview functionality interactively.  Participants had laptops with Hyperview installed, and were able to try for themselves the techniques being demonstrated.

Probably the best and most meaningful part of this particular class was the "quiz" that Joe had put together for the participants.  It consisted of practical questions about operations that could be answered quickly and easily using DBDOC -- this was an invaluable contribution to the group and to the effectiveness of the training.  Here are a couple of the questions:

  • If boiler feed water pump 9 is yellow on the graphic, what are the 4 feedbacks that could be causing this?
  • How long will the waste neutralization tank discharge if the pH is too high or too low?

Halfway through the day, the attendees worked through these questions and others, individually at first, and then collaboratively, using the DBDOC approaches they had just been introduced to.  Joe, a highly experienced DBDOC user, reviewed each question with the group afterwards, and the ensuing discussions with us and within the group were extremely effective at relating DBDOC's capabilities to the kinds of  tasks and questions that come up in practice.

In the latter part of class, we presented some of the more advanced Hyperview capabilities, and engaged in question & answer and discussion with participants. All in all, it was a very productive three days. It was also quite a wonderful leap forward into spring.   Up in the Great White North, April is still pretty much winter, but in Pennsylvania, it was green and stunningly beautiful -- blue skies and flowering trees of every description. 

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