3 Power plant simulators

(495) 360-47-77

Address: Semjonovsky per., 15, office 224, Moscow, 107023, Russia

Fax: (495) 360-09-26

Åmail: pps@edunet.ru

Home page  —  Polemics

Polemics with Russian competitors.

Assertion. A training of the operator’s motor skills is the main objective of the personnel training at any simulator.

Answer. We are sure that a training of the operator motor skills isn’t a main objective of the personnel training at the simulators. Any references to any documents that were somewhere approved by a someone could mean nothing in the question.

First of all in any working mode of a fossil power unit when a prompt simultaneous reactions on a few control devices are required in all the modern control systems the reactions are anyway not entrusted to any operator because it is considered to be obvious that any perfect motor skills of any human being are not able to guarantee such the instant reactions. The instant reactions are being entrusted to the interlock and protection systems and operators have no authority to disable the systems. A spare time has to be for a decision and/or action that are being entrusted to a human being. So the decision and/or action could be thought over. In such the situations the motor skills are an accessory.

Secondary, the motor skills itself could be understood much better then the intellectual skills. A classical example here is a car driver example. If you come to a foreign country and rented a car you with high probability shell obtain such a car with unknown for you console. But if you are a skillful driver you’ll adopt to the console (adopt the motor skills) in at most the hour while to adopt to the local transport system (adopt the intellectual skills) could require much more time.

The third. At many Russian fossil power plants even the similar power units could have different control rooms. A temporary transfer of an operator from one power unit to another similar one but with different control room is widely used in real life and causes no serious problems. At the same time the temporary transfer of an operator from a one type power unit (say, once-through) to a different type power unit (say, drum) is a very uncommon case.


Assertion. The full-scale simulators only that implement real control rooms have to be used for operator training, analytical simulators are harmful.

Answer. The assertion could be correct would the main objective of the personnel training be the motor skills. But if the main objective of the personnel training is the training of the intellectual skills how to run the power unit then from our point of view the following simulator features have the main significance:

  • the completeness of the information about the power plant current technological conditions
  • the convenience of the information acceptance and analysis
  • the power unit control convenience in the frame of the simulator
  • the adequacy of the power unit model
  • the availability of the modern service features such like the initial conditions loading, the freeze/run modes, the real-time/rapid running modes and so on
  • the availability of an automatic penalty system that is able to automatically estimate the quality of the power unit running by operators in the frame of the simulator

At present the control rooms of many power plants in Russia don’t have either “the completeness of the information” feature or “the convenience of the information acceptance and analysis” feature. Even taking into account this features of the real control rooms only there is a doubt that at present in Russia the full-scale simulators could be effectively used for the intellectual skills training. Of course if we are talking about the professional skills testing only the full-scale simulators could be potentially used for operator testing.

Would the vendors of the full-scale simulators for fossil power plants in Russia be able to provide all the enumerated features the full-scale simulators could be considered as an alternative for simulators of the “Power plant simulators” company. However all the efforts of such the vendors are seemingly being spent on the control room implementation only so the power unit simulation in such the simulators usually requires much improvement.

In such a case even a relatively inexpensive full-scale simulator turns out to be a vain toy.


Assertion. A simulator has to implement exactly the set of variables that exists at the real power unit.

Answer. According to our opinion those variables of a real power unit that mainly reflect the repair conditions of an equipment don’t need to be simulated in a simulator. For example, the turbine’s bearing vibration. How an operator with skillful or awkward actions could influence on the bearing vibrations? Really not at all. And what has to be done if an inadmissible bearing vibration has occurred? If the unit was shut-down it is not allowed to make a start-up. The unit has to be shut-down if the unit is working. The unit shut-down and safeguarding because of the bearing vibration is doing exactly the same way like the unit shut-down and safeguarding because of any other reason. So in order to train the power unit shut-down as a result of the bearing vibration the vibration simulation is not required.

From the other hand, in order to an inexperienced operator could realize how to run a power unit as a rule those data that are available at real control rooms are not enough. For example, as a rule there are no bleed steam flows to HP-heaters in the real control systems but to comprehend in all the details how to smoothly switch the HP-heaters on and off the bleed steam flows are very helpful. Another example. In order to comprehend how a turbine works it is very desirable to see how in one operation mode or in another the steam enthalpy is being changed through the turbine’s compartments. But such the date are in principle unavailable at real power units.

So the simulators ought to display much more information compares with the real power unit. Of course it could be helpful if the simulator is very realistic only. Otherwise the additional variables are not needed.

There could be 2 working modes with the additional variables in the simulators developed by the Russian “Power plant simulators” company. In the first of the modes an operator could watch all the required for training variables including those ones that are unavailable at the real power unit. In the second of the modes the additional for the real power plant variables has been removed from the operator interface of the simulator.

The 1st mode was intended to be used for operator training while the 2nd mode was intended to be used for operator testing. From wide experience of our customers we know that really even to test an operator professional skills all our customers are mainly using the 1st mode. It is stipulated by the fact that in the simulators developed by the “Power plant simulators” company there are automatic penalty systems that are intended to be used for automatic estimation of operator’s professional skills. And the automatic estimation system is so powerful that for customers there is no need to delete any additional variables.


Assertion. The “Power plant simulators” company has developed a good “tool” to conduct competitions to compare professional skills of the fossil power plant operators. OK, let the “tool” be used for competitions but an order to develop a training simulator ought to be made to a different vendor. For training their simulators are harmful.

Answer. All the our experience and all the information on the web-site have proved that all the our simulators have the following features:

  • the completeness of the information about the power plant current technological conditions
  • the convenience of the information acceptance and analysis
  • the power unit control convenience in the frame of the simulator
  • the adequacy of the power unit model
  • the availability of the modern service features such like the initial conditions loading, the freeze/run modes, the real-time/rapid running modes and so on
  • the availability of an automatic penalty system that is able to automatically estimate the quality of the power unit running by operators in the frame of the simulator

What else do you need to effectively conduct operator training at a simulator? What harm do you see here?


Assertion. While developing a simulator for a fossil power plant a reasonable accuracy principle ought to be used. Too much advanced models are not required.

Answer. All our experience speaks about a different thing. There isn’t a surplus conformity. And at the same time there is a tendency that the more conformity a simulator has the more conformity the customers would like to have and the more painfully they react on any small conformity violations.


Assertion. Simulators developed by the “Power plant simulators” company are too expensive for Russia. There are other more cheap simulators and the simulators ought to be ordered.

Answer. Of course, there are cheaper simulators in Russia. But it isn’t possible to effectively train people at the simulators.


Assertion. We know that a Russian power plant has a simulator developed by some other vendor, not by you. The power plant has been successfully training people at the simulator for a few years and the plant is very pleased with the simulator.

Answer. We some time hear the similar assertions from someone. But having knew the technical level of all the Russian vendors of simulators for fossil power plants we can affirm that such the assertions just can’t conform to reality. Every time, when there is a chance to unofficially speak with an operator from such the power plant it for some reason turns out that this particular person either has a negative estimation for the simulator or he never seen it.

Of course, to purchase a simulator from other vendor – it could be done. A personnel training on the simulator could be organized – we can’t argue with it. But the training is limited by the operational instructions studying only, in other words the training is limited by knowledge acquisition only but not the professional skills improvement.

The power unit managers who made a decision to pay for the simulator could be publicly pleased with the simulator no matter what opinion about the simulator the ordinary operators have. And what also such the managers could do? To confess that they have paid a plenty of money for a piece of shit? Such confession could cost them their working positions.


Question. Do you want to say that you were able to develop a something that the other best Russian scientists and engineers were not able to do?

Answer. Look at our history. We have been working in the field for more then 30 years now. For the first 20 years the work didn't promise a success – it was a research for a future without a hope for a prompt success. We had time and we went along the most fundamental way. It enabled us to ground our software with the perfect and only possible basic principals. But during a development of a simulation technology (not a simulator yet but a technology how to develop simulators) the developer has a temptation to follow a relatively short course that seems could soon lead to a first result. But along the short course the next results after the first ones shell never come.

From our point of view all the other vendors in Russia decided to follow one or another short course. We can’t blame them. They started relatively not long ago and they had to have first contracts as soon as possible. But it is for sure that any short course in the simulators for fossil power plants industry comes to nowhere. What we have at present achieved nobody could also achieve would they don’t repeat our way to some extent.


Question. But may be all your simulators are exactly the same you have described here: nobody is satisfied with your simulators except the managers that made a decision to purchase your simulators? May be your simulators are used as a furniture only but you tell to everyone how good they are?

Answer. A pledge that our simulators are different could be the following facts that no other vendor has in the aggregate: