EEMUA 191 Alarm Management

 

Over 90% of all SCADA HMI installations have some kind of alarming configured but the vast majority suffer from a common set of problems:

EEMUA 191 Alarm Management in Adroit

Too many nuisance alarms!

A large diamond mine customer of Adroit was known to have over 10 000 alarms configured. This is information overload for operators. According to EEMUA 191 guidelines, an alarm is an event to which an operator must knowingly react, respond, and acknowledge – not simply acknowledge and ignore. No plant should have more than 6 such alarm occurrences per hour, i.e. no more than one every ten minutes.

Alarms simply ignored

Nuisance alarms are simply ignored by most users because they are considered inconsequential, as a result of too much information

Alarm viewers underutilized

Mostly, process faults are adequately displayed by graphical components on a mimic display. These are used as a starting point to initiate the correction process, making a “noisy” alarm viewer redundant when it should be the most important global view indicating the current health of the process

Mass acknowledgment

Alarms on alarm viewers tend to be acknowledged blindly

Lack of real information

Alarm systems tend to focus on the events/alarms themselves without taking into account the context and dynamics of the process

Over the years, there have been numerous catastrophic accidents attributable to these kinds of problems:

  • Sevesco, Italy, 1976
  • Three Mile Island, 1979
  • Chernobyl, 1983
  • Union Carbide, India 1984
  • Phillips 66, California, 1989
  • Westray, Canada, 1992
  • Texaco, Milford Haven, 1994
  • Olympic Pipeline, Bellingham, 1999
  • BP, Grangemouth, 2000
  • BP, Texas City, 2005

 The Solution – Alarm Management

The Adroit Smart SCADA answer to this very important and widespread set of problems is Alarm Management, by means of which users are able to analyse data from existing “noisy” alarm configurations statistically. The information thereby created is used to remove purely nuisance alarms, adjust overly sensitive alarm limits, identify problematic process areas and equipment, etc.

At the heart of Adroit’s alarm management is a relational database containing both raw alarm data as well as inferred context data

  • Raw data includes:
  • Tag name
  • Tag description
  • Tag value
  • Time of occurrence
  • Time of acknowledgement
  • Time of clearance
  • Inferred data includes:
  • Plant name
  • Plant area
  • Logged-on operator name
  • Values of other process variables

By appropriately utilizing the generated information, alarm management improves process efficiencies as a result of:

  • Enterprise-wide, centralised alarm and event collection into a single relational database
  • Elimination of nuisance alarms through conditional alarming and post analysis repair
  • Elimination of alarm printers because no-one looks at them anyway
  • Fast and thorough incident reviews recording time parameters and application of reasons and custom notes
  • Improving existing alarm configuration iteratively
  • Identifying process bottlenecks and impact on operator workload and efficiencies

The methodology:

  • Incidents are categorized to improve SQL queries based on equipment, process area, physical area, etc.
  • Incident records include time of incident occurring, clearing, and being acknowledged
  • Incident records can be enabled for alarm reasoning using pre-configured reasons, sub-reasons, and free-format comments
  • Incident database is accessible to 3rd party MIS applications for custom reporting and analysis
  • Allows for configuration, post-reasoning, and viewing of incidents in tabular or graphic form

Alarm Management Reports

Report Suite is a freely-distributed Adroit add-on that reports on data logged to SQL databases. It contains, inter alia, a Report Pack specifically tailored to visualizing, exporting, and printing information contained in an Adroit alarm management database.

Based on SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS), reports are all web-based, meaning no front-end software is required. You can drill through from summary reports into more detailed reports at the click of a button. All reports are exportable to Excel, Word, PDF, etc., and are also schedulable. Report parameters and settings are defined on an individual user basis depending on their reporting requirements.

The alarm management report pack is therefore optimally structured to enable you to assess, analyse, and iteratively improve your alarm configuration as described above.

The following images show screenshots of some reports from the alarm management pack: