Software Makes Sense of Alarm Data

July 16, 2003
TiPS' Alarm Configuration Expert
Modern DCSs and HMIs gather and store massive amounts of alarm data, but provide little or no data analysis. Most alarm analysis software products have steep learning curves, require considerable system resources, or have limited end user access points.

TiPS Inc. has launched browser-based Alarm Configuration Expert (ACE) to provide intuitive yet powerful alarm analysis. ACE was developed using Microsoft .Net and SQL Server and is compatible with every major DCS and HMI.

ACE is installed on an end user server, and clients access ACE through a browser. There is no client software to install, and the browser interface provides a common look and feel regardless of the data source.

"As easy as browsing a web page, a few clicks of the mouse generate analysis graphics and details that are easy to understand," says Chris Wilson, marketing manager for ACE. "The ability to quickly visualize and act on alarm strategy weaknesses immediately generates tangible results."

Each alarm analysis can be filtered to return desired results. Users can develop a personal library of analysis configurations through a simple, mouse-driven process, all within a browser.

ACE analysis tools include four categories: frequency, duration, chattering, and related. The frequency category performs alarm record counts and might indicate the most active single alarm, the most active shift or hour, or the most active instrument in an area.

The duration category looks at the time that passes between alarm activation, acknowledgement, and clear. This analysis might show alarms that operators are slow to acknowledge or that remain active for an unusually long time.

A chattering analysis finds alarms that toggle between active and clear status many times in a short period. This is usually a clear indicator of a failing instrument or an alarm trip point that is configured too closely to normal operating limits.

The related analysis finds alarms that are potentially redundant or duplicate by looking for recurring sequences in alarm activity. Using this analysis might uncover two or more alarms that react to the same condition or a chain of alarms that can be traced back to the same root.

ACE is a read-only client and does not transmit data to other applications, but it can provide real-time analysis information within any ActiveX-compliant user interface. Because ACE is a true web browser client, a standard web browser control can be pointed at the ACE server, making ACE available within the DCS or HMI interface framework.

For more information call 800/242-8477 or see

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