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A Targeted Approach to Tackling Plant Alarm Management

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The alarm system at the Robert O. Pickard Environmental Centre (ROPEC) municipal wastewater treatment facility in Ottawa, Canada had over 250 standing alarms at any given time and a high frequency of nuisance alarms. A strategy to better manage them was needed. A multidisciplinary team involving staff from operations, SCADA, electrical and instrumentation, and process engineering identified several immediate needs including a guiding alarm philosophy, a tracking mechanism for changes, and a tool to identify nuisance alarms and problem areas. A Microsoft Excel-based tool was developed to guide performance monitoring and an alarm rationalization process was initiated - after three months the standing alarms were reduced to less than 50 and the average alarm frequency was cut in half. This paper outlines the tools and approach used to operationalize best practices in alarm management.
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Keywords: Excel; SCADA; alarm management; nuisance alarms; performance monitoring

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2009-01-01

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