6 min read
Alarm systems have grown exponentially more complex over the past 30 years. The industry went from the most primitive indicators to sprawling interconnected systems with numerous variables – and LogMate® was among the first products to tie it all together. TiPS has been diligently developing the LogMate® product suite to address a variety of alarm management needs that have evolved over time. Let’s take a closer look at each component.
The LogMate® product suite
1. CaptureOperators need good data for alarm management. But conditions change constantly with plant modifications and expansions, and maintaining data integrity is a continuous challenge. LogMate® Capture addresses this problem by collecting alarm and event data from a wide variety of control systems into a database. It is the cornerstone of the LogMate® alarm management solution.
- Extensive Connectivity Capability: One of the most complete connectivity portfolios in the industry.
- Flexible architecture: It is compatible with a wide range of interfaces.
- Easy configuration: Capture simplifies port configuration to jumpstart data collection.
- Intelligent data storage: It identifies, filters and groups data into database records.
- Standard Microsoft SQL Server database: It simplifies customization requirements.
2. SignalOperators not only want to know when an alarm goes off, but they also need to know immediately what steps to take in response. Signal can monitor collected alarm and event data for preconfigured situations, and then perform a list of preconfigured actions, including sending email notifications that may contain instructions
- Broad compatibility: It works with major distributed control systems (DCS), human machine interfaces (HMI), and supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems.
- Complex event trigger processing: Event triggers can be singular or be compounded with other events, or could be scheduled, or originate internally from a control system.
- Diverse action capability: Operators can choose the prescribed response to an event.
- Backup action configuration: If the action fails to properly process, Signal can reprocess the event to a separate preconfigured backup action if needed.
3. netViewThis module in the LogMate® product suite delivers the visualization of alarms by way of an easy-to-understand grid view that’s accessible in any modern browser. Without netView, alarms are simply a long list of messages that can quickly become overwhelming to an operator.
- Consolidated monitoring: This enables a holistic view of alarms from multiple interfaces in one place.
- Comprehensive viewing criteria: Operators can decide and program what they want to see based on their own priorities.
- Convenient accessibility: It uses a standard web browser for easy connectivity to almost any control system.
- Simple configuration: The operator can customize their view of the alarms using simple drop-down lists.
- Relevant information sharing: Operator advice, process notes and external documents are one click away.
- Displayed notes: To further enhance communication between operators, users can enter notes associated to specific tag and alarm records
- Alarm KB (master alarm database) attributes shown in the grid: With one click, users can consolidate alarm and event data and query the master alarm database. Time and labor are greatly reduced.
4. TRACRelevant KPIs and metrics are indispensable for alarm management. With TRAC, operators generate their own KPIs and then use its integrated graphics engine to display performance trending. TRAC also provides integration to OPC-Historical Data (OPC-HDA) servers to access archived historical data as well as process and visualize trends together with alarm and event data.
- Contextual analysis: Trending alarm and event data can be combined with process data and analyzed to determine the correlation between the three inputs. TRAC provides a complete, integrated picture of what was happening in plant processes when alarms went off, thus aiding root cause analysis.
- Pinpoint review of alarm and event records: This is a customization feature that allows operators to zero in on specific alarm and event records with their own record queries.
- Alarm performance benchmarking: Operators can evaluate the performance of their alarm management system by benchmarking against established KPIs.
- Flexible KPI calculations: To perform that evaluation, users can easily set up their own KPIs and metric calculations to measure alarms, events and operator actions against the KPIs.
- Standards-based solution: TRAC uses Microsoft SQL Server for its database, OPC-HDA access to obtain archived data and any commonly used web browser for user access. So, it is easy to integrate with most control systems.
- Robust KPI server and client: The KPI server can broadcast KPI calculations to other systems for operator use and communication to other servers. TRAC can also trend information from third parties by using OPC-HDA to contextualize KPIs with third-party factors considered.
5. Alarm Configuration Expert (ACE)The complexity and rate of change in process control systems require frequent audits, evaluations and reconfigurations of alarms. Their parameters and reaction scripts must be reviewed, justified and updated. This process, called alarm rationalization, can be time-consuming and requires strong analytical support. ACE is an advanced alarm analysis tool that provides that crucial capability.
- Complete, straightforward analysis: A wide array of flexible reports for operators to use is available (click here to see examples). Reports are easy to set up and individually configurable by operators according to their own criteria.
- Standard browser interface: Any standard browser can access ACE. It does not require additional client software.
- SQL Server reporting services integration: ACE can produce custom reports for presentation within the TiPSView website.
- Centralized alarm information: In order to properly structure and document alarm rationalization, ACE provides a process knowledge database (see KB) of alarm configuration settings, along with alarm removal/addition history and rationale, once again with customizable views.
- Simplified rationalization: ACE includes an innovative, patented alarm limit calculator to help operators tailor appropriate alarm limits so that alarms communicate what they need to for as long as they need to do it.
- Efficient change management: ACE allows operators to view proposed alarm changes for approval/rejection, along with comments and a timestamp to document changes.
- Easily accessible audit trail: The history of changes approved by the MOC (management of change) process is documented as described above, and users can audit by query based on a specific point or time. Automated reports are available.
6. KB AgentOngoing alarm rationalization requires frequent repopulation of revised alarm databases. The KB Agent component of the LogMate® product suite automates the importation of alarm configuration data to facilitate this process.
- Easy installation: This is particularly useful where there are multiple control systems in place. As of the latest version 5.0, KB Agent is now compatible with 29 different third-party control systems.
- Simple error logging: KB Agent records errors to a simple flat file with import run history and processing errors from past rationalization work included.
- Built-in tools: Alarm rationalization requires prompt access to the relevant database. KB includes tools to speed up database reinitializations.
7. Inhibit ManagerOperators need to know which alarms are inhibited (on the system but set to be suppressed). Inhibit Manager monitors the alarm and event data, tracks the inhibited points and updates the associated alarm records.
- Multiple control system support and database processing: Plants can have different types of control system platforms. Inhibit Manager can support multiple different systems and databases simultaneously.
- Easy identification: Inhibit Manager quickly identifies all inhibited alarms, which helps operators determine whether they have issues for simplified rationalization projects.
- Precise reporting: Operators can easily filter chattering alarms and find out which alarms disappear on the console but exist in reports.
8. OPC Client for KBThis interfaces and communicates with control system Open Platform Communications Data Access (OPC DA) servers. When OPC databases change, the Alarm Knowledge Base is updated automatically with no human involvement.
- Flexibility: Operators can select which specific attributes are to be updated in the KB database when MOC-approved changes occur.
- Compatibility: OPC Client for KB is compatible with DCS, HMI and SCADA platforms that employ an OPC DA interface.
- Granular detail: Users can track MOC process events with a high level of control.
9. LogMate® High Availability (LMHA)This protects alarm database integrity during and after disaster recovery. LMHA connects with two Capture servers to enable them to communicate with each other. One is primary, and the other is on standby. If a failover is required, the Capture system on standby will take over from where the primary system stopped. Once the primary system is working again, things resume as normal, all without data loss.
- Efficiency: Manual failovers, if done incorrectly, can take hours or even days. LMHA saves the time, effort and risk of manual failovers.
- Transparency: The LMHA Capture module collects precise, real-time alarm data in the main and secondary servers to prevent data loss in a failover. Metrics and analytics help measure performance in failovers.
- Continuity: LMHA parses data to enable the clean transfer of data between primary and backup servers without glitches. LMHA keeps primary and backup Capture servers in sync at all times to further ensure data integrity on transfer.
- Communication between servers for status checks: This is completed through “soft handshakes” between primary and secondary servers.
- Operator control: Operators can actively manage failovers, or if deemed necessary, force a manual hard failover.