Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Get More Descriptive with your Alarms in DeltaV v12

Sometimes it’s easier to get your point across with less; other times you wish you had more time or room to explain yourself.  Submitting an abstract for Emerson Exchange is like that – you end up having to be creative to get your point across in the limited number of characters you’re allotted.

One place you hate to be limited is in your alarms.  The more information you can provide your operators, the better they’ll be able to respond.  Back in version 11 of DeltaV, we added Alarm Help functionality, to capture and display detailed information about an alarm, what to do when the alarm comes in, and what might happen if no action is taken.

And while you can get this detailed information for any individual alarm, it would be nice if there was more information available when you look at the Alarm Banner, the Alarm Summary display, or Process History View.

So in version 12 of DeltaV, we’ve added a new feature called Alarm Descriptions.  You’ll find the Alarm Description field on the Advanced tab when configuring an alarm in a control or SIS module:

When you configure an Alarm Description, the text you enter gets concatenated with the module description for use in the Alarm Banner:

Alarm Banner without a configured Alarm Description
Alarm Banner with a configured Alarm Description 

In the Alarm List screen, the Description field will contain the module description or the new Alarm Description, if one exists:

Alarm List without a configured Alarm Description


Typically a control module would contain process information associated with a single process signal or control loop.  In this case, using DeltaV Alarm Types can provide an acceptable level of detail associated with an alarm.  While this may be adequate for single analog control or monitor type control modules, additional descriptive information for discrete types of alarms and SIS SIF modules are necessary.

The description shown in the alarm banner and alarm list is associated with the module itself, not the process variables used within the module.  Because this information can be critical for the operator to troubleshoot an interlock or safety trip, engineering workarounds have been developed.  These include adding additional Alarms Types or new, separate modules to the system whose sole purpose is to provide more descriptive information to the operator when one of these events occurs.

Alarm Descriptions remove the need to create these extra components and all the work associated with them while providing the operator with the additional information he needs.  Now if I could just get additional information into my abstract submission…

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