It is of great importance to our clients to continuously have safe and efficient business operations. Is it approriate to overloop alarms? That’s a big no! Possible safety risks arising form alarms must be adressed effectively and preferably before an alarm goes off.

One of our clients was looking for a solution that would give operators control over alarms. In this case we would like to take you through the project: alarm management. You can read more about our added value in the field of implementation and realisation.

Alarm alert

Alarm alerts arise from ‘alarms’ and are seen as a warning to take active action. During the operation, a lot of attention was paid to alarm alerts. As an operator, being able to quickly identify and prioritize alarms is a must. Due to certain process conditions or malfunctions, unclear or disruptive alarms are regularly triggered. This has a negative impact on the efficiency of the operators.

If an operator had to process too many alarms at the same time, there was a chance of overlooking alarms. In 2021, we worked with the client to find a solution to reduce the number of alarms to a manageable level. And thus restore peace and insight to the control room.

Peace in the control room

An alarm is a warning of something that is about to go wrong and that requires the operator to take action. The client and DWG worked together to reduce alarms. By looking at the necessity and cause of alarms with a multidisciplinary team, we managed to reduce the number of alarms.

By reducing the number of alarms, it is now possible for operators to take the right decisions and actions more quickly in response to an incoming alarm and thus operate the plant much more proactively.

Alarm management is now used to reduce safety and quality risks, to free up space to perform other tasks, but certainly also to create peace in the control room.

Our approach

DWG has developed a method for alarm management based on the ISA-18.2 standard. The first step in the process was a baseline measurement in which the number of alarms per month is displayed and broadly analyzed. Subsequently, a document with an ‘alarm philosophy’ is drawn up. This document establishes, among other things, the definition of the alarms, design standards and responsibilities.

In a biweekly meeting, where DWG acts as chairman, employees from the operational service, the technical service and process engineering review the most common alarms of the past period. The knowledge that DWG brings, and good cooperation between DWG and employees from different disciplines, play a crucial role in this process.

For each alarm or group of alarms, those involved look at the cause of the alarm that was triggered. It is also checked whether the alarm was received correctly or whether there is an error in the design of the alarm. After research and analysis, new information is available and action is taken. This may involve maintenance of instrumentation or adjustments to the system. This makes it clear to users what action is required and makes following up on problems a lot easier. After implementation of the alarms, DWG continuously checks the status of the project and the effect of the adjustments.


Safety and efficiency in the control room

By setting up a good alarm management process at the, the number of alarms per day has decreased, so that the number of alarms remains below the standard of 150 per day. The introduction of alarm management leads to a quiet environment with more attention to process management. Alarm fatigue decreases among operators, because they only receive the information that is relevant to them. DWG has set up the system in such a way that it recognizes which alarm is important. That system automatically shows the most important alarm, and not the most recent alarm, so that the operator is always looking at the correct alarm. This solution helps operators to become more involved in the process.

Spin off

In addition to the intended improvement in safety and efficiency, the project has also led to greater insight into (unnecessary) energy consumption at the terminal through the intensive analysis of the operational process. As a result, actions have been taken to reduce energy consumption.

The future

Optimizing and stabilizing the number of alarms requires continuous effort. Good insight into the number of alarms with a correct description can prevent many misunderstandings. DWG continues to work with the client to improve the process.

Interested in a meeting? We'll be happy to oblige!

Are you looking for specialists in the fied of alarm management? Or a consultant who takes the time to help you get to the bottom of your issues? We would love to hear your story! Simply contact us for a productive meeting over coffee.