Organizational Review of Plant Automation Group

This essay Organizational Review of Plant Automation Group has a total of 1570 words and 11 pages.

Organizational Review of Plant Automation Group

It is intended that this organizational review, will provide the Districts with
a better understanding of the changing process computer hardware and software
support needs. Also to review the department location for the Plant Automation
Group (Group), and develop recommendations on the proposed reporting
relationships.

¨ Review the background information.

¨ Identify the primary and secondary functions of the Plant Automation Group

¨ Review possible location of the Plant Automation Group.

¨ Identify and review reporting relationships options

DEFINITIONS

Definitions used within this organizational review.

SCADA Supervisory and Data Acquisition System
PLC Programmable Logic Controller
HMI Human Machine Interface
ITD Information Technology Department
PAG Plant Automation Group
GM General Manager

BACKGROUND

When the Districts first began consideration to form a focal group with
responsibility for Plant Automation, a task force was formed to make
recommendations. The one recommendation this task was unable to come to
agreement on was the location of this new Plant Automation Group (PAG). An
executive decision was made by the General Manager to center the PAG in the
Information Technology Department (ITD).

In September 1994, the Joint Board contracted with Ernst & Young to produce a
"Management Review of the Proposed Plant Automation Group for the Sanitation
Districts of Orange County". Their report recommended the location be with ITD
but noted that for the duration of the J-31 project, some engineering-related
activities would be involved and require close coordination with the Engineering
Department. As late as July 1995 when Ernst & Young performed the Finance
Function Review (which included the Information Services Division), they echoed
their previous recommendation but provided a timeline of approximately two years
to revisit the issue of PAG\'s location. However, this was not a firm
recommendation.

Over the past several months, a number of problems have made it clear that the
two year time frame identified in the Ernst & Young report may have been
optimistic. The problems of budget management, close coordination and
communication have placed a strain on the existing management of the ITD,
creating frustration and numerous problems throughout many parts of the
organization.

Primary Functions

The charter of the Plant Automation focuses on:

¨ Support of the Operations Division

¨ Providing engineering integration assistance through software and hardware
analysis and the setting of standards

¨ Support of the Maintenance Division regarding system and software
modifications and changes

¨ Assisting in the roll-out of the J-31 contract so that a transfer of knowledge
between CH2M Hill and the Districts occurs

¨ Analyzing and the recommendation of system and network architecture, system
design, and integration proposals.

The Plant Automation Group is made up of a number of disciplines. Process
control programming is very different from the type of programming which
Information Technology has been doing and requires different education, skills,
and experience. These skill sets all need to be integrated and unified for the
purposes of process control. Skills required include the administration of VAX
computer environments, configuration, computer operations, data communications
for Ethernet and report generation.

The Plant Automation Group also covers PLC development and programming, HMI
development, and data communications required for PLCs. It is also necessary to
perform software development for process control systems, either personally or
by assuming oversight responsibility for contractual development. Once a system
is in place, this is a task which cannot be contracted out due to the highly
customized nature of the process control software (Square D, CRISP SCADA) design.


The Plant Automation Group is also required to be on-call 24 hours a day in
support of the Operations and Maintenance Departments; and is a resource to all
other departments, providing technical support which primarily focuses on
control system and data integration.

Secondary Functions

The Plant Automation Group was chartered with an additional task, outside of
their normal work responsibilities, the design of the J-31 Projects. These
projects were expanded to include the development of a set of working software
programming standards including CRISP, Human Machine Interfaces, Programmable
Logic Controller Ladder Logic, and documentation at the conclusion of this
project.

Location of The Plant Automation Group

Considerable debate has surrounded the location of the Plant Automation Group
and the J-31 Project. Each of the four departments has a vested interest in
this function:

A. Operation\'s interest is as a natural outgrowth of being the primary recipient
of our group\'s effort, and the department most concerned with its success.

B. Maintenance\'s interest is due to its existing responsibilities in PLC
maintenance through its Instrumentation Maintenance Division.

C. The Engineering Department\'s interest is due to their staff\'s concern in the
proper design of treatment processes, and facilities to optimize the treatment
of wastewater by the Districts.

D. Information Technology is concerned with the management

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