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Start by
Eero Hakkinen
10-22-2013 09:24 PM

Realtime intelligent alarming and guidance system for production process control

What is available in this field? I want a "Process Expert" that not only reports on deviations but gives recommended actions to be taken by the control room operator to rectify the deviation. The decision will be based on previous operational experience and condition based monitoring.
10-23-2013 12:03 AM
Top #2
William Geoghegan
10-23-2013 12:03 AM
Are you looking for a consultant to develop something custom for you or something "off the shelf"?
10-23-2013 05:21 AM
Top #3
Ed Driscoll
10-23-2013 05:21 AM
There are many "off-the-shelf" systems for this.
The most important critera, is the actual control equipment.
The available products are useful to you, only if there are drivers.
If you want custom...There are unlimited possibilities.
What MES do I have to report to...are you SAP ?
meaning, there is a layer above, to consider as well.

We are available, and willing to consult or contract,
to help you define the requirements of your system
10-23-2013 07:26 AM
Top #4
Bill Hollifield
10-23-2013 07:26 AM
Wow - this is a very complex subject dependent on a lot of information that is not yet provided. It may require more than one post to frame the issue.

The type and capability of the control system in use is the first factor. Is it a DCS? What brand/model? Is it SCADA? Same thing. Is there OPC read-write capability to it? Does it have its own computational engine and programming language? These are the first considerations for doing any type of advanced alarming.

Is the BASIC alarm system in good shape? (You have to get the basics in place and working before overlaying advanced stuff. This is similar to implementing advanced process control). Is the alarm system used ONLY for events requiring the operator to taks action in order to avoid a consequence? Many alarm systems are improperly used as a "dumping ground" for miscellaneous status information Are the alarm rates under control? Is the alarm prioritization correct? Are all alarms rationalized and documented with cause - consequence - corrective actions?

Does the operator HMI display alarms correctly? Can the operator recall the alarm rationalization information relevant to a specific on demand?

Is the alarm system protected from inadvertant change of alarm settings?

Basic and Advanced alarm applications are generally in the following types, and these are commercially available for any control system with OPC capability:
Automated reporting: Various alarm system metrics and process metrics are automatically calculated and reported to company websites and other means such as email. These can easily incorporate custom KPIs and deviation respoting such as you mention.
State-based alarming: Alarm settings are dynamically changed to be proper for the current detected process state.
Alarm Shelving: The temporary suppression of alarms in a safe manner with several administrative controls, such as time limits, access permissions, and automatic unshelving.
Flood Suppression: Fast acting state-based solutions that adjust alarm settings automatically in the event of an equipment trip.
Automated alarm setting audit and enforcement: Ensures that inappropriate or unauthorized change is not being made to alarm settings.
Data Integration: provide operator access to relevant alarm documentation, control system configuration, procedures, checklists, and similar information into the operator's HMI.
Operator Alert System: a system separate from the alarm system to accomodate operator-created alerts that do not qualify to be alarms.

The above advanced solutions are straightforward and not difficult. While embedding the original "expert system" concept of your question into a "few" specific alarms via custom logic may be practical, to do it for a complex process with hundreds or thousands of I/O points is an undertaking of a different magnitude! The overlay of any "expert system" or "artificial intelligence" or similar type of thing is "bleeding edge," and is very custom, expensive, and has many implementation issues. It would require many manhours of input from your company's process experts.

You would be amazed as to how much process improvement can result from something much simpler - proper alarm management, and improvements to the operators HMI. For alarm management, we recommend reading The Alarm Management Handbook, the recent ISA-18.2 standard on alarm management (I can send you a summary paper on that if you like), and the EEMUA 191 document. For HMI improvements, The High Performance HMI Handbook is recommended. See www.pas.com or Amazon.com for these.

Bill Hollifield
Principal Alarm Management Consultant for PAS, and co-author of two of the books mentioned (full disclosure!)
10-23-2013 09:40 AM
Top #5
Eero Hakkinen
10-23-2013 09:40 AM
Thanks Bill

Very helpful and enlightening comments. Left me with a bit to think about, read up, investigate and reconsider.

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