Implementing alarm management per the ANSI/ISA-18.2 standard

Summarizing the standard’s 10 stages into four general tasks can simplify implementation and speed up the schedule.

08/27/2013


Figure 1: The stages in the ISA18.2 lifecycle model of alarm management are depicted in this diagram. Courtesy: YokogawaIn process industries, alarm systems are used to notify operators and other plant personnel of abnormal process conditions or equipment malfunctions. Alarm systems help operators operate the process safely under both normal and abnormal conditions, and the alarm system needs to be designed correctly to provide the best opportunity for safe and efficient operation.

Before the wide adoption of distributed control systems (DCSs) and other PC-based human machine interfaces (HMIs), visual and audible indications of process plant operations were normally provided by a panel board, with the number of alarms restricted because of space limitations. In addition, alarm points had to be selected with care, because these points were hardwired and expensive to change.

But with a modern automation system, the number of alarms is virtually unlimited, as additions and changes are made simply by reconfiguring software. This ease-of-use provides the opportunity to improve alarm systems, but can also make alarm management more challenging.

In particular, there is a temptation to alarm every possible deviation, even when the deviation doesn’t present a problem requiring immediate attention. In the event of a serious incident, this practice can generate a huge number of alarms simultaneously, commonly referred to as alarm flooding. When this occurs, operators may not be able to ascertain and act on the important alarm(s), causing the incident to escalate in terms of severity.

In the worst case, alarm flooding can cause serious environmental damage, production loss, injury, or even death to plant personnel. Proper management of alarm systems is essential to deal with alarm flooding and other related issues.

Poor alarm management can lead to serious consequences in process plants, as noted in the book “Alarm Management for Process Control” by Douglas H. Rothenberg, and by others in various documents and publications.

For example, poor alarm management caused one incident that resulted in $80 million damage and injured 26 people. Another process plant incident resulted in 15 deaths, 170 injuries, and significant economic losses. To avoid these types of incidents, proper alarm management is essential.

To improve alarm management, the International Society for Automation (ISA) issued standard ANSI/ISA-18.2-2009, “Management of Alarm Systems for Process Industries.” When issuing this standard, ISA considered other existing documents including the Engineering Equipment and Materials Users’ Association (EEMUA) standard 191 “Alarm Systems: A Guide to Design, Management and Procurement.” The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) is using ISA-18.2 as the basis for international alarm management standard IEC-62682.

This article gives an overview of ISA18.2, and shows how it can be used to improve new and existing alarm systems in process plants.

Role of alarms

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.” This means an alarm is more than a message or an event, as it indicates a condition demanding quick operator action.

Ideally, each alarm will provide the operator with related information such as priority, possible root cause, and a recommend response procedure. The operator can then respond to the alarm quickly and effectively. Limiting alarms, prioritizing alarms, and providing alarms with necessary related information can reduce the chance that an operator will delay response to an alarm, or even ignore the alarm.

What is alarm management?

Figure 2: Activities associated with the stages in the ISA18.2 lifecycle model of alarm management are shown. Courtesy: YokogawaAlarm management is the proper implementation of documentation, design, usage, and maintenance procedures to construct an effective alarm system. ISA18.2 defines the processes and procedures required to create an effective alarm management system. Figure 1 shows the ISA18.2 lifecycle model of alarm management. This model can be applied to a new or an existing alarm system. 

As shown in Figure 2, stage activities logically follow one another, and correct completion of all activities will result in a properly designed and effectively operating alarm management system. The lifecycle model also includes stages for ongoing maintenance of the system, essential for sustaining effective operation.

The 10 stages in the lifecycle model can be roughly categorized into four general tasks. To perform these tasks, it’s essential that a process plant create a cross-functional team that includes all relevant plant functional areas including, but not limited to, management, engineering, safety, operations, and maintenance.


<< First < Previous 1 2 Next > Last >>

Jonas , , 11/10/13 09:37 AM:

Over and above process alarm rationalization, also consider rationalizing device diagnostic alarms.

ISA 18.2 does define the term "Instrument diagnostic alarm" as "An alarm generated by a field device to indicate a fault (e.g., sensor failure)." but does not speak much about the specifics. This will be the scope of the ISA108 standard which is under development. In the mean time, learn more from the tutorial and guide found here:
http://www.eddl.org/DeviceManagement/Pages/DeviceDiagnostics.aspx#Institutionalizing

The NAMUR NE107 recommendation is key here:
http://www2.emersonprocess.com/siteadmincenter/PM%20DeltaV%20Documents/Whitepapers/WP_Configuring_FF912_Alarms.pdf
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2015 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
Strategic outsourcing delivers efficiency; Sleeve bearing clearance; Causes of water hammer; Improve air quality; Maintenance safety; GAMS preview
World-class maintenance: The three keys to success - Deploy people, process and technology; 2016 Lubrication Guide; Why hydraulic systems get hot
Your leaks start here: Take a disciplined approach with your hydraulic system; U.S. presence at Hannover Messe a rousing success
Flexible offshore fire protection; Big Data's impact on operations; Bridging the skills gap; Identifying security risks
The digital oilfield: Utilizing Big Data can yield big savings; Virtualization a real solution; Tracking SIS performance
Getting to the bottom of subsea repairs: Older pipelines need more attention, and operators need a repair strategy; OTC preview; Offshore production difficult - and crucial
Applying network redundancy; Overcoming loop tuning challenges; PID control and networks
Putting COPS into context; Designing medium-voltage electrical systems; Planning and designing resilient, efficient data centers; The nine steps of designing generator fuel systems
Package boilers; Natural gas infrared heating; Thermal treasure; Standby generation; Natural gas supports green efforts

Annual Salary Survey

Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

Read more: 2015 Salary Survey

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
This article collection contains several articles on the vital role that compressed air plays in manufacturing plants.
This article collection contains several articles on the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and how it is transforming manufacturing.
This article collection contains several articles on strategic maintenance and understanding all the parts of your plant.
click me