Safety Data Put into Proper Context

Thursday, April 7, 2011 @ 09:04 AM gHale

The data hitting the plant floor every day continues to rise, but the idea of what all that information means still remains a mystery. Operators need that data put in context, especially in a safety environment.

That is where Machu Picchu comes into play as ACM Automation Inc. and Invensys Operations Management inked an exclusive deal to bring a process safety support solution to market. Invensys will now offer ACM Facility Safety’s process safety decision-support software, Machu Picchu, to the global process industry.

Despite all the moves toward safety, “the incident rate in process safety continues to increase,” said Steve Elliott, environment & safety excellence principal for Invensys. “We want to help our clients become better in terms of operational safety management.”

Designed to work with a plant’s process automation, control and safety systems, the Machu Picchu decision-support tool provides visibility into process risks, as well as contingency plans and detailed instructions on how to address abnormal situations.

Designed to work with a plant’s process automation, control and safety systems, the Machu Picchu decision-support tool provides visibility into process risks, as well as contingency plans and detailed instructions on how to address abnormal situations.


The whole idea is to capture safety information early on in the design phase and then when the user gets to operations and maintenance, they will have help in maintaining decision making, Elliott said.

“ACM takes data from HazOps, adds its own expert knowledge, and puts it into the HMI. When an event or trigger happens, it takes the information and contextualizes it and then gives the possible consequences,” Elliott said. “It looks at the safeguards taken out of service and looks at the consequences.”

In a safety situation, data is coming at operators in all directions, and sometimes they can become overwhelmed with the information.

“Part of it is having the right contextual impacts and understanding the consequences,” Elliott said. “There is no shortage of data. The challenge is putting it in context for better decision making. This helps people understand what the consequences are in the decision making before they say yes or no.”

This tool does not replace alarm management at all, said Constantine Lau, global marketing director at Invensys. “We are providing additional value to the system by giving a complete holistic view of things.”

The tool is able to give guidance to mitigate and minimize the process risk. Additionally, it can capture enough knowledge to enlighten newer workers coming on board after the Boomers start the retirement phase. It will build all the experienced workers knowledge into the system for all to work with.

This new tool should enhance Invensys’ Triconex safety software.

Machu Picchu provides visibility into process risks and combines expert knowledge of the plant’s risk parameters, diagnostic alarms and historical operator observations to monitor the integrity of all safeguards it then calculates the level of risk caused by a deviation and provides operators a set of pre-engineered contingency plans or detailed instructions on how to address abnormal situations.