Safety system providers join efforts

Invensys Operations Management signs technology partnership with ACM Automation Inc., to become the exclusive provider of its safety-related decision-support software in manufacturing and infrastructure operations industries.


Invensys Operations Management, a global provider of technology systems, software solutions, and consulting services to manufacturing and infrastructure operations industries, today announced that it will be the exclusive provider of a process safety decision-support solution from ACM Facility Safety, a division of ACM Automation Inc. Under the terms of a new partnership agreement, Invensys will now offer ACM Facility Safety’s process safety decision-support software, Machu Picchu, to process industries world-wide.

“Together, Invensys and ACM are embarking on a new path to make industrial plants safer,” said Steve Elliott, environment & safety excellence principal for Invensys Operations Management. “Invensys will take responsibility for the delivery of new solutions that enable customers to track deviations between the plant’s designed risk profile and the actual operating risk profile continuously in real time. Using dashboard displays, plant operators will be able to identify, mitigate, minimize, and potentially eliminate process risks. This expanded solution capability enhances our Triconex safety software and systems to help our clients achieve sustainable environment and safety excellence.”

Designed to work with a plant’s process automation, control, and safety systems, the Machu Picchu decision-support tool provides visibility into process risks and combines expert knowledge of the plant’s risk parameters, diagnostic alarms and historical operator observations to monitor the integrity of all safeguards 24x7. Designed to work with a plant’s process automation, control, and safety systems, the Machu Picchu decision-support tool provides visibility into process risks and combines expert knowledge of the plant’s risk parameters, diagnostic alarms and historical operator observations to monitor the integrity of all safeguards 24x7. It then calculates the level of risk caused by a deviation and provides operators a set of pre-engineered contingency plans or detailed instructions on how to address abnormal situations.

Given the unconventional nature of this type of approach, Elliott added some explanation of the system’s functionality for a company going through a risk assessment process. “When an end user is doing the risk assessments of the hazards, the consequences, the impacts, the probability, and the frequency of incidents that they need to design the safety layers of protection and risk reduction factors, typically there is a wealth of knowledge from process engineers, chemical engineers, operators, and maintenance, that gets captured in that process,” he says. “That information is often used once to design the systems, then it gets shelved. But if you take that information and put it into an operations and maintenance environment whereby operators can now use that information to understand consequences of any potential actions that they take, they can start to understand the total context of a seemingly small decision that they’re about to make for decision support.

“It’s basically contextualizing information and knowledge that the company has already invested in, and puts it into an operations and maintenance environment for decision support. So it’s understanding, not necessarily why something has happened, it’s now understanding more what the consequence could be, and then in the context of that information, it provides a set of contingencies that can be used to mitigate or reduce the risk that the operations and maintenance people are trying to manage. It’s not an alarm management tool as such. An alarm may actually trigger the decision support tool to contextualize the consequence of that information and guide effective decision support in the knowledge of the environmental impact, the commercial impact, the safety impact, or any combination of those. So it’s putting more context around the consequence of the operational risk that the operators are trying to manage.”

While this type of analysis applies when a process plant or unit is new, it can also be used to reexamine brownfield sites after they have been operating for some time. Elliott suggests, “During the analysis and assessment of the risks, people may say, ‘OK as a result of that risk, I will take credit for the alarm as a risk reduction method.’ So I’m reducing my risk from say, 1,000 to 100, taking a credit of 10. That was a design assumption at the start, versus the reality of where they are now. Does the same reasoning still apply? There are now multiple alarms deployed and they’ve evolved over time. Do I still have the alarms that were providing the risk reduction that I took credit for and designed in the first place? What happens if the alarms have been suppressed, or if somebody’s changed the configuration of the alarm? So what we’re saying is to use the alarm as the trigger point, and then take the relevant contextual information from there.”

Murray Macza, general manager for ACM Automation Inc., said, “We are extremely pleased to be working with Invensys to extend our global reach and bring our safety offerings to the chemical, petrochemical, refining, oil and gas production, power generation, and manufacturing industries. Today’s end users are under tremendous pressure to run their plants at maximum throughput without limiting their commitment to safety and the environment. By working closely with Invensys, we can accelerate the introduction and adoption of revolutionary new technology that will help process manufacturers improve their business performance, as well as achieve safety and overall operational excellence.”

Visit the Control Engineering Process Control Channel.

Edited by Peter Welander,

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