Alarm Management Goes Global

Monday, November 17, 2014 @ 11:11 AM gHale

By Todd Stauffer
There is now a common alarm management document that anyone can use across the globe.

The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) just published the first edition of IEC 62682 “Management of alarm systems for the process industries,” a global standard on alarm management.

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This new global standard ended up developed based on the ANSI/ISA-18.2 standard of the same name, first published in 2009.

To solidify the importance of the guidelines defined in IEC 62682, many of the recommendations from ISA-18.2 ended up removed or changed to requirements. That means when comparing the two documents, one will find more requirements in IEC 62682 than in ISA-18.2.

One case in point would be alarm shelving (manual suppression) ended up changed from a recommendation to a required capability that DCS suppliers shall provide. On the other hand, recommended alarm deadband settings ended up removed as material that would be more appropriate for a technical report.

Other similarities and differences include:
• There were no changes to the alarm management lifecycle or to the operator response model.
• There were no new topics added to the standard, but some topics ended up deleted (e.g., the process condition model).
• Some content underwent modification to improve simplicity (e.g., latching alarms ended up removed from the alarm state transition diagram)
• Some of the training requirements for Highly Managed Alarms extended to all types of alarms.
• Significant effort went into ensuring a consistent use of terminology throughout the document.
• Selected alarm system performance metrics/KPIs ended up removed.

Click here to purchase a copy of the IEC 62682 standard.

In the U.S., the ISA18 committee started work on the second edition of ISA-18.2. That update process will consider the differences from IEC 62682 as well as the lessons learned from its first five years in circulation.
Todd Stauffer, PE, is exida’s alarm management director and is an editor and voting member of the ISA-18.2 standards committee on alarm management and currently is the co-chair of ISA-18.2’s Working Group 3 (Basic Alarm Design).

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