Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Helping meet standards and regulations

Integrated program helps process plants measure, report, analyse and optimise alarm systems and responses; eliminates nuisance alarms while meeting industry best practices, government safety requirements

DeltaV Analyze software generates
reports that measure alarm system
performance
Emerson has released DeltaV™ Analyze V2.0 software to help process automation operators manage alarm system performance to new industry standards. Concurrently, the company announced an alliance with automation safety certification and consulting firm exida whose alarm rationalisation software can optimise Emerson’s DeltaV process automation system alarms.

An early DeltaV Analyze user, Steve Elwart, Systems Engineering Director for Ergon Refining, noted, “After just six weeks using Emerson’s DeltaV Analyze software, we had identified and eliminated nuisance alarms for an overall 40 per cent reduction in alarms seen by our operators.”

Nuisance alarms are a common problem in industrial plants since the application of digital computers to process control in the 1980’s. The ease with which alarms can be implemented has led to alarm overload, alarm floods, and incorrectly prioritised alarms, all of which diminish control room operators’ effectiveness.

“New industry standards that define good alarm management engineering practice, combined with heightened scrutiny by safety, health and environmental regulatory agencies and the insurance industry are making plant managers take notice,”
says Emerson’s Kim Van Camp, making reference to ANSI/ISA18.2-2009 Management of Alarm Systems for the Process Industries and the forthcoming complementary IEC standard, IEC62682.

The DeltaV Analyze V2.0 software provides out-of-the-box reports that measure alarm system performance as prescribed by the new standards, such as peak and average incoming alarm rate and priority distribution. Reports contain “top 20” lists of nuisance alarms of various types, such as the sources of the most frequent occurring alarms and those that remain active for the longest time.

Emerson’s alliance with exida has led to exida’s SILAlarm™ alarm rationalisation software being used to optimise the DeltaV system’s alarm performance. “Alarm rationalisation is one of the key activities in the alarm management lifecycle of ISA-18.2 and is critical to create a sustainable and effective alarm management program,” says exida’s Todd Stauffer, director of Alarm Management services. “SILAlarm delivers benefits to operations that previously would have considered rationalisation too burdensome and expensive. The results include reduced alarm load on the operator, no more nuisance alarms and improved operator response.”

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