Reader Feedback: Know Your Whole Operating System

A Reader Agrees With Our Editor That Owners Must Be Educated on the System, Not Just the Control

By Clark Dodge

I retired as the senior staff chief engineer for Washington State Ferries, and my last project was being a part of the design, construction, commissioning and operation of the three Jumbo Mark II ferries. They had 16,000 hp, cycloconverter ac drive, and were 470 ft long. We had so many things designed to prevent being without power and being dead in the water. Some systems were 24 Vdc and dual-battery power, some with multi-cable power and others with redundant systems. This is where the design and operations teams need to work closely together. Next we worked directly with Siemens to have them design and build systems for us. The result was a very good system.

One of the most important aspects of your article "Don't Be Left In the Dark" (June 2012) is to educate the owners and operators to know there is more to purchasing and forgetting the system until the power goes out and the system fails to operate.

When Hawaii suffered the earthquake, many systems failed to operate and the power was out for many hours. A good reason was the way the system controls were designed and built. Other reasons were some owners failed to set up a test program, and some failed to have a fuel scrubbing and filtering program, and the fuel system failed to operate.

The point is that the owners must be educated on the system, not just the control. Good article.

Clark Dodge,
CED Consulting,