In Adven’s central control room, safety always comes first

Sami Naukkarinen has just recently switched from the role of control room operator to control room supervisor. He joined the company 20 years ago, and over the years has taken care of the control room systems’ maintenance and assisted the control room supervisor.

“At first, I started filling in for people during holidays and gradually learned the ropes. My job description has changed a lot since then,” says Naukkarinen with a smile.

Together with the control room manager, the control room supervisor must keep many moving parts in check. The tasks include preparing work-shift lists, guidelines and material. Naukkarinen says the best part of his job, however, is the variety of the tasks:

“Sometimes it means being a jack of all trades. Every week, new things come up and the chance to always learn something new keeps the work interesting. Of course, there is a lot of routine work, such as drawing up reports, but when analyzing the data, you learn a lot.”

Learning the ins and outs of new plant systems

Commissioning a new plant also requires measures from Vantaa’s central control room.

“We establish a connection with the new plant, perform tests and draw up precise guidelines for monitoring the plant,” explains Naukkarinen.

The control room staff’s grasp of a plant is not, however, limited to the control room’s view. When a new plant is commissioned, the control room staff also learn about the system at the plant itself.

“Without on-site training, staff would only have a superficial understanding of the new system. A local plant operator, who knows the plant like the back of his hand and can offer the best information, is also always on hand to support the control room,” says Naukkarinen.

An experienced operator knows how to read and interpret systems

The job of a control room operator is clear: the most important thing is to keep the customer’s energy production running, as safely and cost-effectively as possible.

According to Naukkarinen, working in the control room is also gratifying. Resolving problem situations brings a sense of accomplishment. With increasing experience, the control room operator becomes adept at interpreting the signs and alarms and can predict the start of a problem situation well in advance.

“Although an alarm that is building might not seem dangerous or likely to cause a disturbance, it is always nice to be able to prevent it. It saves money every time or prevents equipment from breaking,” Naukkarinen points out.

In the control room, safety is key

It is always better to play it safe in the control room, as there is always the chance that an alarm concerns personal safety or environmental risks.

“Due to the sensitivity of the systems, there can also be false alarms, but critical alarms must be addressed immediately,” stresses Naukkarinen. If necessary, a technician will be sent to the plant to inspect the situation and sort it out.

For example, if an alarm indicating that a water well is overflowing goes off, the situation must always be investigated and, in many cases, an expert will be sent to check out the matter.

“In addition to leaks, an alarm could also be caused by minor issues, such as a faulty sensor, but we can’t leave anything to chance,” says Naukkarinen.