SEP-OCT 2017

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14 INTECH SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2017 WWW.ISA.ORG By Richard Slaugenhaupt Should there be fewer alarms, more alarms, or just the right number? Look to ANSI/ISA-18.2 From managing to optimizing alarms pelling reason. As a result, the selection process was largely self-regulating. With the advent of modern control systems, it was much easier, per- haps too easy, to make alarms for everything. Soon, operators faced dozens of alarms dur- ing an upset, and were often unable to deter- mine which were important and which were not (figure 1). The alarm management industry was born out of a need to bring this problem under control. Early efforts generally assumed there were too many alarms and they needed to be evaluated one by one, getting rid of those caus- ing more trouble than they were worth. With virtually every major automation sup- I f you have been doing much research on alarm management lately, you will have found that most of the discussion centers on reducing the number of alarms control room operators must deal with in a normal day or during a process upset. This trend follows the conventional wisdom that too many alarms are enabled simply because it is so easy to do so in computer-driven process automation systems. It presupposes that many alarms are poorly chosen or too easily triggered. As we are often reminded, adding an alarm in the days of pneumatics and panel boards in volved some effort and cost, so there had to be a com-

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