PLCs or programmable logic controllers have been in use in diving systems since 2010 and its development is currently rising rapidly in commercial diving industry.
The IMCA (International Marine Contractors Association) has decided to conduct a workshop regarding PLCs to be held in Amsterdam come March 11, 2015. The main agenda to be discussed are the issues incorporated with the usage of PLCs.
The workshop projected to last for the whole day is free of charge however, those who are willing to participate in the said event must register beforehand. The registration link can be found here.
IMCA Technical Director Jane Bugler said, “The workshop will be a great opportunity for members using PLCs in diving systems to get involved, it could shape future guidance. PLCs are digital computers used for the automation of industrial processes. Since the mid-1980s industry has placed increasing reliance on programmable safety-related systems and PLCs are now used in many industries including the offshore oil and gas industry.”
“For example, they may be found in vessel DP systems, drilling machinery, offshore cranes and offshore diving systems. They have been used in the past to control bell mating and launch and recovery systems, but are now being found in almost every aspect of some saturation diving systems, including dive control, life support systems, and chamber environments.”
“It is clear that in the future the use of PLCs in dive systems and the number of dive systems reliant on them is only going to increase – yet the diving industry as a whole knows little about the implications and impact these developments may have. It appears that most of the information and operational experience is held by just a few companies, and there seems to be very little guidance available about how they work, how to audit/monitor the systems and the consequences of failure. Recent incidents have only emphasised this point – hence the need for our March workshop.”
The purposes of the workshop are for the PLC experts to come together in order to discuss the design and operation of the device, analyze the influence of the PLCs, training and development, monitoring of PLC based diving systems, determine the necessity for standard guidance and share best practices.