Farewell to CUTLASS
Drax Power Limited bid a final farewell to its CUTLASS plant operating system on Thursday 3 April at an official turn off event in the station’s control room. CUTLASS is being replaced in favour of the modern APMS (Advanced Plant Management System), changing the operation of the power station from the touch of a button to the click of a mouse. The event was attended by people past and present who had worked with CUTLASS throughout its lifetime not only at Drax but also from its birth in the 1970s.
CUTLASS (Computer Users Technical Language and Software System), was developed by the nationalised Central Electricity Generating Board (CEGB) in the 1970s. It was despatched nationwide and installed in the country’s power stations, including Drax in the 1980s.
The farewell to CUTLASS finalised the last step in a significant upgrade of the Drax operating system which has been in motion since 1995. The 13-year upgrade, which started on Unit 2, brings Drax fully into the ‘Microsoft generation’, completing the revitalisation of the power station’s control room with state-of-the-art software and computer screens.
The new APMS system brings with it the necessary flexibility, efficiency, extendibility and adaptability that plants in the 21st Century require. Power plants today face many environmental pressures and flexibility is key to meeting the increasingly stringent EU and UK environmental legislation, something the new APMS is well equipped to do.
Mick Atkinson the station’s longest serving unit operator who joined Drax in February 1967 was given the honour of turning the CUTLASS system off. The switch off not only symbolised a milestone in UK power plant history it was also the end of an era for Mick himself as he is due to retire in May this year.