This Handbook of Control Room Design and Ergonomics was first published in 1989 by Taylor & Francis. The first edition, produced nearly 20 years ago, was based on rather classic approaches to ergonomics, as was the concept of design. However, in spite of this we noticed that this book, although long out of print, was still selling surprisingly well on the secondhand market. The first edition was based on solid practical research on control room work from most areas of industry. This information is still relevant and has inspired us to produce this new, extensively updated edition.
This new edition has two functions. First, it covers more extensively the use of the control room and its related computer system beyond the traditional tasks of process monitoring and supervision. Second, it describes the use of the control system for optimising and developing the existing systems and processes. The control room can also be used for the purposes of education, learning, and simulation training. But at the utmost, the control room of the future should become a high-ceiling environment for creativity and innovation. By ‘high ceiling’ we mean an environment that has a high tolerance for error and is thus a suitable environment for learning from error. Over the past year, we have jointly and separately been researching in areas of relevance with a view to updating and rewriting this classic handbook. This second edition still aims to be a practical handbook of guidelines and cases.
The concept of ‘control rooms’ has changed and expanded enormously during the time between the first and second editions. In composing this new edition, we have catered to these developments. Accordingly, this new edition has a section describing this new situation and also includes a new taxonomy/paradigm. Nowadays, as their roles and functions have greatly expanded, it is often more appropriate to talk about control centres. A modern approach for looking at work in control rooms uses recent concepts of creativity and learning/developing environments. We have incorporated such concepts into the current text. Additionally, we have included new ideas and philosophies about organisational design and job design as these are applied to control room-related work. We therefore include and describe some creative organisational designs of the future. Learning organisations and learning at work are integral parts that utilise the information and communication technology (ICT) potential of modern control systems. In this respect, we have added some theoretical background about learning, learning in the workplace, and lifelong learning. Today, process control encompasses a new generation of computer systems that have enormous capabilities, including the potentials of new display technologies. In other words, advanced technologies are today, to a very large extent, integrated and interrelated with human factors and organisational development.
We consider some basics of ergonomics of controls and displays to be very important and for this reason we have retained these concepts and models. But we have added a major part related to all new innovations in large-scale information displays. These new features also influence the design and layout of the control room. They will also help the reader develop a better understanding and insight, particularly for
relevant creative work. In the course of writing this second edition, we approached leading-edge companies for ideas and suggestions, and they generously assisted us in providing a number of exciting design examples. We are grateful for the helpful insights from these colleagues from industry.
Concepts of knowledge management, data mining, and artificial intelligence (AI), including the use of logistics, queuing theory, and so forth, also have high potential in the creation of the control processes and control rooms of the future. Ideally, control room work of the future is no longer a tedious or boring, monotonous task solely focused on low vigilance of work processes. It is now a stimulating creative design for optimising system performance and shaping the future as part of business development efforts to improve competitiveness while conserving scarce resources and saving the environment.
ToniIvergard Brian Hunt