I need a way to better manage operator alerts that are not alarms but are still important information for my operator. How can LogMate® be used for operator alerts?
Take a Load Off (Your Operators)
Many alarms added to a control system are there simply to inform, to assure an operator that something that was supposed to happen – did. While this is good information to be aware of, an alarm is not the ideal tool to use.
Extra “information alarms” are still additional alarms and contribute to the problem of “too many alarms”. On a case-by-case basis, they seem to serve a useful purpose. In an upset situation, they can cause clutter and confusion, perhaps causing an operator to miss important information hidden by unnecessary alarms.
Instead of adding another alarm to the system, consider an “alert”. An alert uses the same activation logic as an alarm, but it does not display as an alarm. Essentially, an alert is an alarm configured in the DCS that is a low enough priority that it does not trigger a visible or audible change in the control room.
By not diverting the attention of the operator, you help them focus on more important issues yet still provide confirmation and additional information if needed. Using an alert informs the operator, without adding noise to the control room environment.
Triggering alerts is only part of the solution. You also need to provide some kind of alert screen or interface. The alert screen should not be invasive, but it should be easily accessible and intuitive.
- Eliminates disruptive “information alarms”
- Improves information clarity during upset conditions
- Ensures operators are aware of normal process changes without cluttering the main control interface
- Clearly differentiates between what is normal and what is abnormal
LogMate as an “Alert System”
While a DCS provides excellent facilities for triggering alerts, displaying them can be a different story. Better alert system designs clearly separate alarms and alerts. On a DCS with a journal type alarm display, this can be difficult.
An ideal alert message display is clear and conspicuous during normal operations but can be quickly moved from view and forgotten during upset conditions.
As a solution to the need to display alerts in a separate but accessible screen, LogMate® can be easily configured to display alert messages in a web browser. LogMate® displays messages in a familiar list-style format. Messages in the list can be colored, highlighted, sorted, and filtered for ideal “at-a-glance” viewing.
Implementing LogMate® as your alert system means an operator can instantly view current alerts in a commonly-used browser. A continuously updated list of alerts will scroll across the screen, keeping the operator aware without disturbing the main control interface.
Step One: Configure DCS to send alert category messages. This may mean classifying them as very low priority or using a particular message class for alerts only.
Step Two: Add a Criteria to LogMate to display only alert messages. This could be anything from identifying the message priority, i.e. “Priority is 5” to a word in the alert message, i.e. “Content contains alert”.
Step Three: Open a commonly-used browser on the operator workstation, log in to LogMate®, and select the alert Criteria to view alerts.
What Do I Need?
All you need is the basic LogMate® package including Capture and netView. Alerts will be collected into a standard LogMate database, then displayed in netView after opening a browser and selecting to view alerts only. Depending on your LogMate® license, the alert screen can be viewed on multiple workstations. Different operators can even choose to see only alerts that apply to their areas of responsibility.