Control rooms are the nerve center of any power plant. Two recent control room upgrades at U.S. facilities highlight the logistical challenges and solutions to issues that come with improving an important workspace.
VTI Security is an industry leader in designing, installing, and supporting a full range of advanced security technologies. VTI has worked with many companies for almost 40 years across a number of sectors, including utilities, to form software and hardware security solutions.
1. The upgrade to a power plant control room operated by a Midwestern utility needed to incorporate workspace for an enterprise resiliency department, along with a security team. Courtesy: Winsted
One of VTI’s recent projects came with a unique challenge. A large, Midwest-headquartered utility that serves several states needed to update a control room (Figure 1) for its security team while making room for a new group to use the workspace. The new space would house an enterprise resiliency department, in addition to a security team, responsible for incidents involving major catastrophes, natural disasters, executive travel, and more.
VTI turned to a longstanding partner, Winsted, to collaborate on the project. “We did look at other manufacturers at the client’s request,” said Jerry Klapak, senior account manager for VTI Security. “But after looking at other lines, we found that the [other companies’] cost, level of service, and attention [wasn’t comparable to what] we received from Winsted.”
The consoles VTI was helping its client replace were original Winsted furniture, which had been in the space for more than 20 years. “It really spoke to the longevity of the equipment,” said Klapak.
Winsted let the client drive the solution. “They took the time to set up several meetings in the beginning to find the right furniture for the space,” said Klapak. “Once they understood what the needs were, they rolled that into a design that fit the physical space.”
A Space for Everyone
VTI doubled the space for the shared area to 2,300 square feet. To create cohesiveness in the space, Winsted was able to customize furniture for the smaller enterprise resiliency department space. Although the furniture was different, it had the same look, feel, and function as the primary security operation.
The new space includes eight Impulse dual sit/stand consoles split into three workstations—six for the security operations, and two for the enterprise resiliency department. Each workstation features a Winsted clamshell credenza. Winsted also retrofitted the space with 38 custom lockers for staff.
Klapak also noted Winsted’s service across a project’s lifecycle. “Their attention to detail and high focus before, during, and after installation is key,” said Klapak. “It’s one thing to provide that level of service to get a sale, but after the sale the staff came out and made some adjustments to fine-tune and polish the installation.”
New Control Room for New Era of Clean Energy
RED-Rochester LLC supplies energy for the Eastman Business Park in Rochester, New York. Eastman Business Park is a 1,200-acre industrial campus with more than 16 million square feet of multi-scale manufacturing, distribution, lab and office space, interstate rail, and highway access.
The business park is powered with five new natural gas-fired boilers, after all coal-fired units in the park were recently retired. The park is now entirely coal-free for the first time in 127 years, and CO 2 emissions have been reduced by 50%.
2. A New York business park’s energy center control room needed to be updated after the power plant switched from burning coal to firing natural gas. The space was retrofitted, giving staff more-efficient workstations. Courtesy: Winsted
RED-Rochester currently supplies 110 customers in the Eastman Business Park through a suite of 16 utility services. To help effectively and efficiently control the output of energy to the park, RED-Rochester turned to Winsted for a needed update to its control room (Figure 2).
“Our existing room was from the 1960s, and the current furniture needed an upgrade,” said Ken Gerew, senior project manager for RED-Rochester. “We also needed to consolidate everything in the same room.”
With consolidation and efficiency in mind, Winsted proceeded to retrofit the control room space with a series of Impulse dual sit/stand consoles. The consoles provided an ergonomic update to the furniture, giving operators the freedom to easily adjust their desks to a sitting or standing position. The room layout was improved, having the consoles form a “U” shape around a conference table.
With improved furniture and layout, RED-Rochester’s new control room embodies the forward-thinking mindset of the energy provider. As RED-Rochester continues to make strides in clean energy, it will do so with a control room of operators working on state-of-the-art equipment to help the energy provider run as efficiently as possible.
—Randy Smith is president of Winsted, a global leader in command and control room consoles, desks, and furniture for 24/7 mission-critical applications.