ISA-18.2 defines an alarm as “an audible and/or visible means of indicating to the operator an equipment malfunction, process deviation, or abnormal condition requiring a response.”.
When we entered the digital revolution Distributed Control Systems were a benefit to the industry. The Console operator could now control the process without having to understand the equipment necessary to perform the control functions. Pre DCS era creating an alarm in an operational alarm panel was expensive, but now alarms can be configured on DCS at nearly zero incremental cost.
Through the efforts of ISA-18.2, IEC 62682 and EEMUA and other such professional groups, a large amount of best practice information exists to aid the control system engineer in designing effective alarm systems.
An inefficient / poorly performing alarm system manifests itself in alarm frequency and it may lead to reduced production, leading to indecision, confusion and console operator overload. What happens if they miss a critical alarm? may lead to reduce production or it can end up with unplanned shutdown, also it can trigger environmental damage or safety incidents.
Schneider Electric’s Workflow to resolve Alarm Problem in a plant
Figure 1: Schneider Electric Alarm Management Work flow
How Schneider Electric’s System Advisor Resolve the Alarm Problem
Schneider Electric’s Alarm Management tools are designed to comply standards. EcoStruxure System Advisor for Process Control is a knowledge management application to centralize the various functions related to Electronic documentation, Alarm management and other day to day management of EcoStruxure Foxboro Distributed Control Systems. System Advisor improves Engineering productivity, Efficiency, and Effectiveness.
Figure 2: EcoStruxure System Advisor
System Advisor Alarm Management module help to
Analysis of both Alarm Dynamics and Alarm Configuration
Analyze alarms such as Most Frequent Alarms, Chattering Alarms, Standing Alarms, etc.
Help to prioritize alarms management
Help to eliminate redundant alarms, not required alarms etc.
Documentation and Rationalization Features
Rationalization process based on the finding and make a documentation of the alarms to be used for the daily operation, next cycle of rationalization process
Master Alarm Database (MADB) can be called from DCS HMI to provide the Operator with alarm information
Provides Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
Any changes as the result of the rationalization process will be capture and easily can be filter to see what changes has been done.
Alarm Shelving (Foxboro DCS Only)
Dynamic Shelving and Auto Un-Shelving base on logic or time.
To help operation to temporary Shelve alarm as the alarm is not required to some reason, such as under maintenance, testing etc.
Complete Audit trail of Shelved alarms
Schneider Electric Alarm Management Consulting Services are grounded in the findings and recommendations of the Abnormal Situation Management consortium (ASM) and follow the Engineering Equipment and Material User Association (EEMUA) Publication No. 191 Guidelines and the ISA SP-18.2.2009 standards.
Figure 3: Alarm Lifecycle Management
Figure 4: Schneider Electric Alarm Management Model
System Advisor Benefits
Improve Plant Safety
Increase operator productivity
Improve process performance
Reduce potential for a “missed” alarm within an alarm burst causing a safety, environmental or economic incident
Reduce audit costs for regulatory compliance
Reduce costs associated with managing documentation updates
Help ensure correct database configuration and optimize resource utilization and system performance
Centralize Alarm Shelving management
Complete change tracking
Complete MOC workflow process with email alerts
This Service and Alarm Management tools are DCS vendor agnostic.