OPERATIONAL ERGONOMICS FOR DOMINION ENERGY
Headquartered in Richmond, VA, Dominion Energy is considered one of the county’s largest producers and transporters of energy. To help operate massive amounts of electric and gas generation, Dominion employs 16,200 people, helping power their communities.
Dominion’s Bear Garden Generating Station, a natural gas facility located in Buckingham County, VA, is responsible for powering 146,000 homes in the area. Within the station sets an operations room, where a team of operators and engineers work 12-hour shifts to ensure the station runs safely and effectively.
These strenuous shifts hinge on a sharp attention to detail. As such, the operations room at the station needed to reflect an environment where employees could safely and comfortably perform their duties.
“I had been pushing for an operations room console upgrade for a while,” said Jay Postak, PE, Bear Garden Generating Station. “Our primary objective was to provide a healthier environment for our operators.”
A Familiar Partner
When searching for a company to help create a more ergonomic environment for the Bear Garden operators, Postak didn’t have to look far. Having recently upgraded Dominion’s Clover Power Station control systems, Winsted came recommended by Postak’s manager, who told him to, “check these folks out.” The upgrade was about to begin.
Well off to a Good Start
After taking a look at Winsted, Postak hit the ground running with WELS Software. A Winsted exclusive, WELS Software allows users to digitally design 3D control rooms with Winsted consoles and furniture. With the software, Postak could begin to layout the custom console setup his operations room needed.
“It proved useful helping me get better use of the space we had,” said Postak. “With the room’s dimensions, we were able to re-adjust the console and present it to the operators for their feedback.”
Once the design was finalized, Postak engaged Winsted to find the right products for the layout. To maximize the control room space, a large “L” shape desk would be placed in the center of the room, allowing a central location for 24 display monitors. An operations supervisor station would oversee the activity of the main desk, and an engineer’s desk would be placed on the far end of the room to allow operators and engineers to work seamlessly in the space.
Postak referenced features of the Clover Power Station when deciding on the configuration of the space – highlighting ergonomics and comfort-ability.
“My main priority was making the space comfortable for the operators,” said Postak. “I learned the Clover station had inset monitors, which is a more natural display.”
With any Winsted project, success hinges on smooth installation. This particular project provided its own set of installation challenges. The amount of equipment being installed and the large “L” shaped desk would require a hands-on approach.
Winsted arrived to the site for the install. The “L” shaped main desk was delivered in three sections. To secure everything in place, Winsted super glued blocks onto the sections, also placing glue in the cracks between the sections – finally using c-clamps to anchor everything together.
Once the materials were dried, the installation team returned to remove the blocks and buffed the entire desk surface, rendering the desk as one continuous surface.
“I was thinking, what is this going to look like when it’s done?” said Postak. “In the end, you couldn’t tell. There was no seam.”
To ensure that Bear Garden’s budgetary requirements were met, Winsted worked to fulfill the product order, and installation in a matter of a couple months.
“I didn’t sign off on the final design drawings until middle of November,” said Postak. “They started construction and everything was onsite by the end of December.”
During the process, Winsted and Postak were able to quickly navigate a question regarding the desk height, leading to no loss in downtime.
“After all the effort I put into making sure the displays were below the operator sitting position, I didn’t add a desk height dimension,” said Postak. “I was actually able to visit Winsted onsite and they quickly addressed the issue. We quickly had all the 3D renderings done and got the desk height just the way I wanted.
Success in Bear Garden
With new ergonomic equipment lining the engineer and operation room at Bear Garden, Postak has a space where his team can comfortably thrive. Despite the large scale of the project and installation, creating this ergonomic environment became a smooth undertaking.
“It was really remarkable,” said Postak. “Winsted was very accommodating, and we have a great space as a result.”