The day has finally arrived. FAT and SAT tests are complete. All punch list items are closed.
The commissioning engineers are about to leave your site, handing over the keys to your new automation system as they depart.
This is as nice and as good as the system will ever be, when you think about it.
If there are no plant-specific procedures for keeping track of changes or problems with a system, perhaps this is the best time to invest a little time and a little money to come up with some.
It can be as simply as a Spiral-ring binder, with the machine name on the front, and a pen attached, and hung near the main panel.
Audit Trail, Change Log – give it a name and watch things get entered into it as the system gets put through its REAL paces, with real product and real operators.
What things should you be doing before they do that? After all, even though they will only be a phone call or remote connection away, you are still the first line of defense.
So, on the assumption that some preparation has already taken place, this is a good time to reflect on the things that might have been missed.
Run / Connect / Open / Modify / Close / Disconnect / Stop.
You should know, or should be able to observe or interview the on-site commissioning engineers to make sure that you know the exact steps to:
- Run the application monitoring software
- Connect to the equipment
- Open the application files
- Modify the program or data values
- Close the application file (and save)
- Disconnect the application monitoring software (and cable)
- Stop the application monitoring software
While these steps might be written in manufacturer’s documentation, the commissioning engineers are a good resource to have for all the things that the manufacturer does not include in their documentation.
You will learn any special things that need to be done in advance, or after the action.
Service Packs, application extensions…the commissioning engineers already have all this up and running on their laptops, and you should too.
If time allows and contract terms are so written, perhaps a shoulder-to-shoulder informal training session, for one person on your staff along with a mobile-phone video, or other recording.
You know you’ll need all this as soon as the plane take off.
Jeffrey D. Brandt