HAMMLAB

Introduction

HAMMLAB is IFE’s simulator-based research facility for studying operator crew behaviour and performance in complex operating environments. We study human-machine interaction and crew collaboration, and integrate the knowledge gained into methods for safety analysis, new designs and support systems. This way we help industries ensure safe and efficient operation.

HAMMLAB utilizes advanced research tools and methods and benefits from powerful simulator technology and flexible HMIs. To ensure industry relevance we engage professional operating crews in our studies and evaluations.

HAMMLAB serves two main purposes

  1. Enable realistic studies of operator crew behaviour and performance when controlling complex industrial plants or processes
  2. Provide a realistic environment to develop, test and evaluate prototype control centers and their individual systems such as human-machine interfaces, alarm systems, computerized procedures or plant automation

Outcome

Results from studies performed in HAMMLAB provide new knowledge into basic challenges for individuals and crews, such as factors affecting complexity in emergency scenarios. Topics such as the collaboration between automation and humans, teamwork, operating roles, the use of procedures, alarm systems, support systems, and different human-machine interface solutions are studied. This gives input to safety analysis as well as designs and support systems to optimise human performance. Results are used by instructors, plants, vendors and regulators and as input to national and international standards, guidelines and regulatory frameworks.

HAMMLAB provides principles, methods, designs and prototype tools that are relevant to nuclear, petroleum, power and various other industries, and to research and training simulators.

Facilities

HAMMLAB includes 3 full-scope nuclear power plant simulators. The simulators represent a typical Gen III PWR plant, a Swedish BWR plant, and an imagined future 12-unit Small Modular Reactor iPWR-type plant, respectively.

In the control room professional crews operate the selected simulated plant. From the gallery the experiment team controls simulator scenarios, observes crew behaviour, and evaluates performance.

Simulator HMIs can be operated remotely over the web, providing options to study the collaboration between control room crews and external parties, such as technical support centers.

IFE’s Virtual Reality Centre, Cyber Security Centre and FutureLab complements HAMMLAB with additional exploratory research activities.

Data collection and performance assessments

HAMMLAB’s research and development teams are multi-disciplinary and include people with expertise in nuclear power plant operation, industrial psychology, interaction design and computer science.

During scenarios we record audio from individual microphones; video from multiple cameras; trend plots of relevant simulator variables; and timestamped list of operator actions, inserted malfunctions, and alarms & events from the simulation. We can also record physiological data such as eye-tracking and electrical brain and heart activity. Finally, we collect subjective data from the participants through questionnaires and debrief-interviews.

Subject-matter experts evaluate different dimensions of crew performance on-line during the scenarios and can refine their ratings later using HAMMLAB’s replay features. Advanced tools for performance assessment and scenario replay allow for in-depth analysis of operator and crew performance.

Related products

ProcSee is IFE’s software tool to develop and display operator interfaces. It is provided free of charge to member organisations of the NEA Halden HTO Project, and as a commercial product to others.

STEAMS is a software product to record and play back simulator sessions. It integrates audio, video, screen content, data logs, instructor-initiated malfunctions, operator actions and plant responses into a combined, synchronised stream for post-scenario replay and analysis.

SCORE features structured and consistent evaluation of operating crew performance. SCORE supports instructors and evaluators in preparing schemas and in using these to evaluate operator and crew performance. SCORE can also be used by operators for post-scenario self assessments.