Process Technology Troubleshooting

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9780130279378: Process Technology Troubleshooting

Simulating workplace conditions that process operators can be expected to troubleshoot, this book offers simple process incidents with a sense of urgency to solve. It emphasizes workplace organization, communications, teamwork, a workable problem-solving process, and problem prevention. Chapter topics include the troubleshooting team, communications for troubleshooters, detection and management of problems, climates for problem development, problem solving as a process, troubleshooting in the team environment, prevention of process upsets, and troubleshooting exercises. For novice process operators in training.

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The Gulf Coast Process Technology Alliance leads the movement within the chemical and related industries to employ process operators who complete an education in process technology. The Alliance, with input from academia and industry, has specified the subject matter for use in the study of process technology. The specifications are very inclusive, permitting a broad adaption of course materials that complement the technology in use by potential employers. Petrochemical and oil-refinery operations are major targets. The study of process technology troubleshooting in an academic setting is supported by two pragmatic concepts. First, the physical and chemical principles at work in the unit operations that make up a petrochemical plant are well defined. Industrial products are produced by the creative application of well-known process technology. Secondly, the process operator is trained on the job to carry out specific physical and chemical changes on selected feedstocks through the operation of a carefully selected mix of equipment.

The subject material is selected so that the novice process operator can put this knowledge to use as soon as he starts on the job. Emphasis is placed on how the process-operator job fits into the overall team effort needed to run a petrochemical plant safely and productively. An important responsibility in process troubleshooting in teams is effectively communicating with those assisting in the management of process problems.

Community colleges, with industry support, have introduced two-year programs that earn an Associate of Applied Science degree in process technology. Process technology troubleshooting well deserves a place as an advanced offering in the program. The integration of the process operator position into overall technical resources is a troubleshooting plus.

The student enrolled in process technology troubleshooting has completed a carefully chosen mix of academic and technical courses but likely has limited experience with plant operations. This creates a challenge: writing course material that simulates workplace conditions that the student can be expected to troubleshoot. The objective of this material is to offer simple process incidents with a sense of urgency for the students to solve and troubleshoot. A heated debate on probable cause within a team of student troubleshooters is a productive environment in which to teach the steps in the problem-solving process. Another reasonable goal is for course material to present the problem-solving process through exercises that the student can attack based on his previous studies.

The material selected here places emphasis on workplace organization, communications, teamwork, a workable problem-solving process, and problem prevention. Specific to the needs of a novice process operator as a troubleshooter in training, the material teaches the following:

  • The responsibilities of the process operator as a troubleshooter on a technically oriented troubleshooting team.
  • The application of process technology to the detection, definition, and communication of the effects of process problems.
  • Typical problem categories called climates for problem development; an unexpected problem, to the dedicated troubleshooter, is simply an expected problem left undetected.
  • The importance of the role of primary communicator of process conditions to other troubleshooters.
  • A rational problem-solving process and how it is a natural part of a successful troubleshooting effort.
  • Problem prevention, which is the ultimate accomplishment of the process operator as troubleshooter.

The masculine pronoun he and adjective his are used throughout the text to represent both sexes. The repetition of he or she in the sentence, "He or she make a good troubleshooter" is tiresome, so the masculine he has been selected to aid in readability.

Thomas D. Felder

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