Knowledge Management for Plant Shutdown in Collaborative Virtual Reality


Oil refineries run nearly continuously twenty-four hours a day. The process of doing routine maintenance, adding or rebuilding refinery process rigs and powering down is referred to as "shutdown". Refineries are extraordinarily complicated and shutdowns are therefore very problematic and expensive. Poorly planned or executed shutdown can result in loss of life and millions of dollars of lost productivity. There is also an important collaborative and knowledge management aspect in that all shutdowns involve many people and are executed by temporary contractors who are often unfamiliar with the details of the plant they are shutting down. Commonly, text and two dimensional drawings are used in preparation for a plant shutdown and exchanging of information. However, with the advent of new technologies it is now possible to also exchange knowledge three dimensionally including multimedia and dynamic files. One technology that enhances the knowledge exchanging and management is Collaborative Virtual Reality Environment (CVRE). CVREs allow users to interact with a computer-simulated environment, be it a real or imagined while using the Internet to collaborate and interact with possibly many other users that may be spread over large distances. Virtual Reality has been widely applied in various forms to plant shutdown planning but the knowledge management aspect of the process is not being addressed by these technologies. In this paper we describe the early use and underlying details of an innovation implantation of a Collaborative Virtual Whiteboard (CVW) inside of an CVRE


Andrew Strelzoff

Tulio Sulbaran


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