I remember the first time I ever saw a spreadsheet program. It was called “VisiCalc" and ran on a Commodore PET computer. My first thought was, “What is that good for?” Then I tried it and was totally hooked. I conclude that the creation of the spreadsheet has changed engineering forever. I can now do amazing types of analyses. It was so exciting that I started using a spreadsheet for almost everything. I was addicted. I would strongly argue that it was less expensive and better for my company to pay me to do spreadsheets than buy expensive ($1000+) engineering tools. Then I hit the wall. Enhancements were needed. Macros stopped working with each new operating system release. So I learned the concept of Life Cycle Cost the hard way. I still think spreadsheets are an amazing tool, but not for complex engineering tools needed for critical repetitive tasks – like process safety. Think about it: How much does it cost to maintain that PHA spreadsheet across multiple versions of Windows and Office? How much does it cost to keep up with the advancements in research and methods? How much does it cost to not keep up?

Still using the spreadsheet Joe did in 2001 for PHA, LOPA, or SIL verification? Think about it.

Tagged as:     SIL verification     PHA     LOPA     Dr. William Goble  

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