The Role of Alarm Management within a World Undergoing Digital Transformation
Digital Transformation & IIoT
We are entering the next industrial revolution and digital transformation is prominently upon us. Real time data is coming to us non-stop from sensors, devices, machines and the need for intercommunication between these systems is bigger than ever before. System wide, end-to end interoperability is no longer optional - it is now mandatory.
Industrial IoT breaks down silos of disparate data sources. Data at all layers, across all devices is now centralized combining with machine learning algorithms and predictive analytics, it promises to offer unprecedented benefits of on-demand accessibility whilst also unlocking powerful insights into plant processes and operations.
With the digital transformation evolution, we are however confronted with a dilemma that is inherent with the ‘Big Data’ phenomenon. More is not always better; the overwhelming sea of data can pose to be contentious. It is therefore essential that data is relevant, contextual, non-confusing, but above all meaningful! Without doubt, artificial intelligence is the holy grail in this digital transformation journey, but as any pure mathematician will tell you the efficacy of the chosen algorithms is paramount. After all you wouldn’t use a sledgehammer on a small nail with the option of a hammer at your disposal, right?
But what does this mean for Alarm Management?
Alarms by their very nature play an extremely key role in the day to day lives of plant operators and engineers. At the surface, they alert us that an undesirable event is about to occur (or has occurred). Delving deeper, we can associate previous corrective action undertaken, combined with relevant contextual historical data allowing us to extract far greater value and meaning, answering the following difficult questions:
- Why did these alarms occur?
- How can we prevent them in future?
- What insights can we unlock on process and operations, and what are the subsequent improvements which will help us achieve operational excellence?
The EEMUA (European body) 191 along with the ISA (USA body) 18.2 alarm management industry standards provide us with firm guidelines and mandate that the operator should not be overwhelmed with more than 10 alarm annunciations within a 10-minute time window (on average).
In today’s industrial automation world which seeks to collect more data than ever before, from more systems than ever before, what does this mean for the operator? What impact does ‘Big Data’ have on today’s operator? How can they effectively navigate through the sea of data; remaining in control of their operations ensuring they make appropriate decision in maximizing operational efficiencies? After all this is a key objective for any successful organization.
With all that being said, the topic of Alarm Management in many respects becomes an integral part of the digital transformation journey within the automation industry. The importance of alarm analysis techniques such as the identification and elimination of nuisance alarms along with any unwanted noise now becomes a non-negotiable first step of this journey.
Alarm Adviser achieves exactly that – it uniquely consolidates and aggregates volumes of data from alarm data sources located virtually anywhere! It then cuts through the noise, identifies unwanted nuisance alarms which on a daily basis serve no significant purpose other than to distract the operator. With Alarm Adviser’s powerful widgets, the operator is always kept informed with how various sections of their plant are performing and tracking with respect to the prescribed industry alarm management standards. With Alarm Adviser’s powerful and interactive analysis charts the engineer is alleviated of tedious and cumbersome work using traditional manual and custom reporting techniques, saving hours of valuable time and effort.
To learn more about the power of Alarm Adviser and how it can awaken the hero within your organisation visit the Alarm Adviser page.
How will you cope with the overwhelming flood of alarms and empower your operators to make critical operational decisions? The choice is yours!
Con is a customer-centric industrial automation professional based at Schneider Electric’s global R&D headquarters in Sydney Australia. With more than 10 years’ experience within the Schneider Electric R&D team Con has amassed a wealth of expertise within the HMI/SCADA portfolio development, with particular emphasis on software quality assurance, system validation and product requirements analysis.