Alarm management software can improve operations, says Yokogawa


When a process doesn’t perform as expected, associated software can notify the appropriate persons, so they know what needs attention, where, why, and perhaps even when and how. As applied in applications, functionality for managing alarms and other advanced operator assistance varies, according to Fred Woolfrey, a Yokogawa Corporation of America systems solutions consultant.

Alarm effectiveness is rooted in control system design and implementation, and software can help organize the correct response and improve operations with better use of process control, machine control, and human machine interfaces. Woolfrey discussed new alarm-related software coming in 2007 from Yokogawa at the company’s Technology Innovations Fair, held Nov. 29-Dec. 1, 2006, in Houston.

Woolfrey noted that alarm-challenged customers often install Exaplog (say: exa-p-log), Yokogawa’s event and analysis package. If the challenge is extreme, AAASuite is recommended. This Advanced Alarm Administrator suite reduces nuisance alarms, re-notifies operators on long-standing alarms, predicts high-high or low-low alerts, has a dynamic alarm and static alarm settings, and offers advanced alarms and alerts. At present, it only works with Yokogawa Systems.

Exapilot often is used independently of either of those, said Woolfrey, to help implement process changes more smoothly. In March 2007, Exapilot 3.40.50 will add ActiveX for the Yokogawa HIS (Human Interface Station) display and a comment display in the procedure tree view. It also will work with non-Yokogawa systems.

CAMS (Consolidated Alarm Management System) is expected in first-quarter 2007 to replace existing alarm panels of Yokogawa CS-3000, ProSafe, Stardom, and PRM systems. It’s built on more than 100 pages of knowledge in the 2006 revision of the alarm systems best practices guide, Engineering Equipment & Material Users’ Association (EEMUA) Publication No. 191, said Woolfrey.

The beta version of CAMS demonstrated at the fair included sophisticated reporting, configuration, sorting by category (including timestamp, source, description, purpose, icon, priority, time to respond, and other functions), filtering, folders, ability to create a temporary “shelf” for certain alarms, and a nesting function (called “eclipsing”). CAMS for HIS (Human Interface Station) was announced in October. Woolfrey says a future CAMS version will serve as the migration path to incorporate Exaplog and AAASuite.

Mark T. Hoske , Control Engineering editor in chief

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