Alarms are all around. They screech from cars, houses, stores, and machines. People hear them so often that they often ignore them. But how can they know if the warning is vital or just a nuisance? The answer is alarm management.
Without alarm management, businesses may not respond to an alarm in time, leading to rejects or even accidents. Furthermore, facilities won’t even know which alarms are working. False alarms will disrupt workflow.
How Alarm Management Works
Alarm management makes alarm systems more useable. It offers many benefits, including:
- More uptime
- Fewer losses
- Fewer unusual events
- Better monitoring of alarm system performance
- Reduced operator workload
What is LogMate®?
LogMate® is alarm management software developed by TiPS Inc. Since 1990, LogMate® has been the alarm management industry’s most reliable software solution. It offers five modules designed to work in numerous environments.
Capture is the module that collects data. Using Microsoft SQL Server, it can collect data from many systems. It also works in specific areas or even operator stations. Capture connects to various interfaces, including:
- OPC A&E
- ASCII file
Capture shows what data is relevant, and it filters and groups it into the database. With this module in place, employees can make the best use of their time. It requires little maintenance and automatically sorts data for ease of use.
Facilities need to know why alarms go off. One click on an alarm is all an operator needs. The netView module puts the answers on the screen. Using any web-based browser as an interface, users can check out current and past alarm reports. Being able to see the trends helps improve them.
ACE analyzes alarms, allowing companies to make changes that decrease problems. ACE will tell an operator:
- How many alarms went off
- When alarms went off
- Why alarms went off
- The priority of alarms
Using ACE will:
- Cut troubleshooting time
- Help users improve alarm design
- Improve alarm performance
ACE users can approve alarm changes or reject them if they aren’t effective; so over time, alarm setup gets better.
Signal monitors Capture, puts out calls to action, and calls for help. Single or groups of events spur Signal’s response. It can send a message to a cellphone, tablet, or computer. Additionally, Signal can:
- Deliver ACE analysis reports
- Launch .exe files
- Run apps
- Improve decision-making
- Aid in troubleshooting
- Standardize responses
- Help resolve issues
Like a guard that never takes a coffee break, Signal is always on watch.
To understand how well a facility runs, managers must track key performance indicators (KPIs.) To do that, they have to understand what the KPIs are. That’s where TRAC comes in. It generates KPIs based on alarms, events, and operator actions. TRAC uses both real-time and older data to:
- Help understand processes
- Identify problem causes
- Improve performance
TRAC shows a business how it did in the past, how it is doing now, and how to do it better.
Complying with Government Regulations
Pipeline companies use supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems to gather information and control their processes. When a major pipeline company grew through acquisitions, it ended up with a collection of SCADA systems. The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) regulations required that it quickly connect these systems. To comply with PHMSA requirements, it needed to collect alarm data. LogMate® was perfect for the job.
LogMate® allowed the company to identify:
- Nuisance alarms
- Chattering alarms
- Stale alarms
- Inhibited alarms
LogMate® also allowed the company to identify improvement opportunities, such as changing procedures to avoid alarm inhibition.
By using LogMate®, the company was not only able to comply with regulations, but it also reduced control room alarms by more than 50% for liquid and gas pipeline operations.
After a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) audit, a pharmaceutical company received Form 483, a warning letter that suggested quality improvements. The investigating team met with production and engineering and determined a large number of alarms contributed to quality issues. The alarms came so quickly that they prevented operators from correcting problems.
The company decided that alarm management software would cut down on the alarms enough to allow engineers to improve operation quality. In addition to decreasing alarms, they wanted a product that could:
- Connect to different systems.
- Give them a view of alarms in one place.
- Comply with government regulations.
- Be economical.
- Have a proven history of success.
After evaluating several types of alarm management software, the company found LogMate® to be its best choice.
Improving Consumer Confidence
1. Snack Food
Many consumers are wary of sweeteners. A food company was one of several sweetener suppliers to a snack company. After suffering contamination issues, the snack company required all its suppliers to prove quality by recreating production conditions.
The supplier realized that LogMate® would provide the proof it needed by tracking alarms. When the snack company examined the data LogMate® produced, it gave the supplier high ratings. By using LogMate®, the company became the snack business’s preferred sweetener supplier.
Murphy’s Law is universal – anything that can go wrong will. Many clients in multiple industries use LogMate® to track when and where a process goes wrong and get it back on the rails. These industries include:
- Oil & Gas
- Consumer Goods
- Pulp & Paper
To learn more about using LogMate® at your facility, click on the button below.