Cobre Panama

Operator and Maintenance Interfaces (HMI)


Mipac was engaged to design, engineer and deploy a world class plant wide control system for the Cobre Panama mega project. It was identified early that there would be a lack of previous exposure to industrial remotely operated plants among the future operations team. Consequently, the visualisation system associated with the new control infrastructure was identified as an element of critical importance to the project.

With this focus at front of mind, Mipac leveraged the standard Siemens PCS7 system graphic libraries and then added our own custom graphic sets to provide the most robust, intuitive and upgradeable interface possible to the operators. 

Contemporary operator interface principals and standards were melded with Mipac’s 25 years of process plant commissioning and operational experience to produce high quality visual displays with ease of navigation, rich diagnostic information and sophisticated alarm handling and minimisation functionality inbuilt.

Abnormal Situation Management (ASM)

Leveraging over 10 years’ experience with the deployment of ASM implementations worldwide, Mipac tailored a system that was intuitive and focussed for the operators. 

An absolute necessity was that the operators were empowered by data to diagnose problems and make the right decisions on what actions to take as fast as possible. Development of standards with client involvement and approval was key. 

Enabling client understanding of when the operator experience is enhanced by diversions from a rigid ASM approach led to the best possible outcome.

Diagnostic Tools

Cobre Panama is a latest generation digital plant with vast amounts of data available from many sources. Smart instrumentation, intelligent motor control centres, virtualised control systems with comprehensive monitoring and IEC61850 based electrical network interfacing. The quantity of data was immense and without careful planning could have created negatives that far outweighed the potential for improved plant performance. The key was to present the right data to the right people on an exception basis. 

To achieve this Mipac developed an overall plan, leveraged standard tools and developed additional bespoke diagnostics. The aim was to ensure the operator was advised of what was important within a few clicks of the mouse. The end result was the presentation of data that that was relevant, concise and correct.

Alarm Management

In a control system with 50,000 I/O, proper management of alarms is essential, and this must start when the control system is being designed. Embracing the principals of EEMUA publication 191, Mipac produced a philosophy that encapsulated best practice and lessons learned from years of experience. Alarm definition, configuration, monitoring and maintenance are all essential elements that were addressed through out all phases of the project.


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