Plant’s Safe Operating Limits

Wednesday, March 28, 2012 @ 06:03 PM gHale

By Nicholas Sheble
“Operators need immediate access to a multitude of process design limits,” said engineer Mark Carrigan during a PAS webinar Wednesday. “One can’t rely on memory.”

Carrigan is vice president at PAS, a provider of software and professional services for the process industries. He introduced the company’s new alarm management product – inBound, which is part of their PlantState Suite alarm management software.

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Alarm management is necessary in a process-manufacturing environment where an operator is monitoring/running the process using a control system like a DCS (distributed control system) or a programmable logic controller (PLC).

These systems have hundreds of individual alarms that often only have limited consideration of other alarms in the system. Since humans can only do one thing at a time and can pay attention to a limited number of things at a time, there has to be a way to ensure alarms go off at a rate that a person can properly assimilate.

Alarms need to be capable of directing the operator’s attention to the most important problem that he or she needs to act upon, using a priority to indicate degree of importance or rank.

inBound, Carrigan said, is alarm management software that aggregates, validates, and displays physical, design, and safe operating limits. It shows a plant’s safe operating limits and proximity of the current operating point to those limits to improve safety and compliance.

The specific benefits are the product:
• Aggregates, validates, and displays safe operating limits in real-time
• Presents safe operating limits in context within your control system graphic displays
• Allows operators to instantly determine a plants’ current state relative to its safe operating limits
• Provides visibility to violations of safe operating limits
Here is an information sheet on the product.

Nicholas Sheble (nsheble@isssource.com) is an engineering writer and technical editor in Raleigh, NC.