Alarm Management: 7 Steps to Maximize Operator Effectiveness

A good alarm system will give operators actionable information, in time for them to take action to avoid upsets, off-spec product, shutdowns, and similar situations. A proven approach to creating such an alarm system exists and has resulted in thousands of vastly improved alarm systems.This approach is grounded in the widely adopted 7‐step methodology for alarm system improvement developed by PAS. This methodology has been... Read more

Are You in Control of your Control Loops?

Control loops are the first line of defense for safety and process stability, and act as an engine for profitability. With hundreds or thousands of loops in operation in a single facility, it is complex to monitor, analyze, assess and diagnose potential issues. Over time, basic control loop performance can deteriorate significantly, leading to sub‐optimal operations and even unplanned shutdowns. Continuous monitoring of... Read more

Operations Risk Management

Operations Risk Management: What is Your Plant Really Doing?

Plant management sees risk control as a top priority. However, the means available are often a hodgepodge of undocumented, disconnected, and problematic methods. The good news is that new approaches and a convergence of technologies, all building on the foundation of alarm management best practices, can enable the real-time visualization and monitoring of operations risk. Now, plant operators, engineers, and managers can... Read more

Camouflage – Why Some New HMI "Improvements" Are a Step Backwards

Process Control HMI improvement continues to be a hot topic. Since PAS wrote The High Performance HMI Handbook in 2009 and the ISA-101 HMI standard was issued in 2015, many companies have revised their HMI practices, many case studies have been published, and many presentations have been given at technical conferences. Many people now “claim” to be experts in HMI design. The reality is very different.  ... Read more

Fixing Your Nuisance Alarms Just Got a LOT Easier

The most popular alarm management presentation we have ever done has been the one on fixing “Bad Actor” alarms. I like it because I get to refer to some of my favorite schlocky sci-fi movies – and it turns out that lots of engineers like those as well!   Nuisance alarm reduction is an important step. We recommend it at the beginning of an alarm improvement effort because it is easy, fast, cheap, and... Read more