If you’re considering implementing API 1165 on your SCADA screens, you’re in the right place.
Implementing API 1165 means your organization will develop highly effective processes. Aside from promoting safety to operate pipeline systems, you’ll be ahead of your competition. After all, when your workflow is clearly defined, there are fewer places for errors.
This article is the third and final part of our blog series about API 1165. In part 2, A Complete Guide to API 1165 Recommended Practices, we talked about the API 1165 best practices in detail. But here, you’ll learn how to implement API 1165 RP in your SCADA system with a simple framework.
While implementing API 1165 will look different for each company, this article provides a basic framework that will allow you to follow an organized process to ensure you don’t miss anything.
#1. Evaluate if API 1165 Works for Your SCADA Platform
If you’ve been following our blog series, you already know that API 1165 isn’t all-inclusive of all SCADA or real-time systems. So, to implement API 1165, you must evaluate if your current system is able to support these best practices or consider investing in a new SCADA system.
To know if API 1165 works for you, identify PHMSA’s requirements. You’ll need to have a system that allows personalization for an HMI philosophy and a style and design guide.
#2. Identify Your End-User
Who’s the end-user? Pipeline controllers, supervisors, or developers?
To guarantee an effective UI (user interface), you must identify who’s the end user. Your end-user will operate your HMI, so their feedback and perspective are important.
Key elements to consider that make identifying your end-user crucial for design are:
- Specific actions the user performs in the HMI
- The context in which the user will operate the HMI
- Knowledge of the user about your organization’s workflows
- Physical and/or interface limitations
For example, if you have an HMI touchscreen, consider the size of the buttons. If the buttons are too small, the chances of your operators making an error when trying to press buttons increases.
#3. Determine the Workflows of Your Organization
Clearly understanding the workflows of your organization will help you determine what needs to go on the different screens of your HMI. In the previous installment of this blog series, we mentioned that there’s a hierarchy for the HMI screens. Some of these screens include:
- A pipeline map or overview screen
- Operational overview screens
- Secondary screens
- Detail/grid screens
As you may have already guessed, this list is sorted from a low level of detail to a high level of detail. Which of these screens your pipeline controllers or operators use depends on what part of the system they need to work with.
#4. Set and Document Your Company Guidelines
Once you identify the end user, your workflows, and the screens that need to be developed, it’s time to set the guidelines that you’ll be following. Of course, these guidelines must be based on API 1165.
This is where you set the HMI philosophy and a style and design guide for your company. Also, make sure to build a document with the software development and release and change management processes.
#5. Get Approvals
This is one of the steps where you may get stuck for a while.
Getting approval from the higher-ups at your company can be difficult, as they may have a lot on their plate already.
Still, having a robust approval process helps you:
- Avoid making multiple changes after you develop the UI
- Avoid explaining the design process to executives multiple times
- Ensure everyone agrees with the new guidelines
A good way to shorten this process and get feedback from everyone is to schedule a meeting to explain the new guidelines and answer questions. If you don’t get general approval on the first go, don’t get discouraged. Take as much feedback as possible from the meeting, refine things, and try again.
#6. Develop and Test Your New UI
Execute the code for your new UI.
To ease the development of your HMI, we recommend using templates for the different screens. This will save you hours of work that you can use to focus on improving the design of the objects within the UI.
Let’s say that you have 100 compressor stations. That doesn’t mean you have to develop 100 different screens. Assuming these stations share similar data, you can use a template for the general layout and then add/edit things to accommodate variations from station-to-station. This also helps SCADA administrators manage changes more easily.
In some cases, your testing and development phases may run parallel to each other. Whether or not this is the case will depend on the framework your organization uses. But make sure you test for bugs or errors to meet the guideline requirements.
#7. Train Your Pipeline Controllers
After deployment, you’ll have to train your operators (end user) on the new design of your HMIs. This step of the process is also time-consuming, as you’ll have to come up with a training schedule for the following weeks.
Some tips to make the training process more effective are to:
- Provide the end user with documentation and resources ahead of the training.
- Have posters near workstations with key steps to perform certain actions and/or important conventions.
- Be available if your end user group has any questions.
Expect mistakes in the early stages of implementing API 1165. There’s a learning curve your operators must overcome. Be understanding and ready to help.
Be an Industry Leader
Implementing API 1165 can follow any framework associated with software and design development, from analyzing requirements to execution. But following the steps outlined in this article will prove useful if you’re unsure how to start.
We hope this blog series helped you decide whether or not you want to implement API 1165 on your SCADA system or at least allowed you to stay informed with the latest buzzwords of the oil and gas industry.
If you’re considering anything from migrating to a new SCADA system, implementing API 1165, or have a few specific questions, we’re here to help. Contact us at email@example.com or fill out the form below.
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