The automation and the development of process control, that happening these days influences the operators working in power plants as well. A few decades ago, the control systems of every apparatus were managed separately by valves, and each control station was responsible for each different block of the powerplant. Nowadays, it has changed.
The operation stations have been merged, and almost every single machine can be controlled from a distance. The number of power plant employees are continuously being reduced still. Today, the number of the employees of the Budapest Power Plant Ltd. is around 300 people, while 10 years ago this number was around 2000 people. The expectation towards operators has increased, also their job become more complicated.
The other issue regarding the job of the operators is that, while most of the time is monotonous, in case of a malfunction, it requires quick decision making. That is why, there are not many people suitable for this job. Before the applicant gets into work, we need to measure the person's ability to perform that task for several hours, how reacts to a sudden change and how safe to makes a decision in an emergency.
The first part of my thesis is about the details of the job of power plant operators. My plan is to design an “operator simulator” that can be either used to practice the tasks of an operator, also to improve several skills required in the job, such as monotony resistance, calm decision making under stress.
Industrial environment is simulated to the subject, and from time to time it is interrupted for psychological examinations and exercises. According to these results, it can be determined whether the subject is capable of the job or not. In addition to this, the simulator will be able to help operators to improve missing abilities, thus it will be possible to be used for operator training as well.