Visualisation of Plant Data for Alarm Management



The debut of Distributed Control System ( DCS ) and technological promotions paved the manner for easy constellation of 1000s of procedure variables and the interactions among them. A distributed control system ( DCS ) is defined as a control system where the accountant elements are distributed throughout the full system where each constituent of the sub-system are controlled by one or more accountants. The complete system of accountants have a web based connexions for communicating and monitoring. DCS are used in assorted different industries for monitoring and control of equipment. The major portion of DCS are the input and the end product faculties. The processor receives the information from input and sends the information to end product of the system.

Therefore, if a mistake occurs in one constituent, it leads to inconsistent end products and it further affects the healthy portion of the works as the end products are connected to different new inputs. This type of interconnectednesss may take to cascaded mistakes in a system which will finally ensue in works failure or disturbance. Due to hapless public presentation and care of the dismay systems, figure of risky incidents takes topographic point in the procedure industry taking to works harm, loss of production, etc.

Alarm systems play a cardinal function in the procedure industry. An dismay is a presentment bespeaking a mistake or an unnatural event that has occurred in a system or works. Alarms are by and large raised when the procedure variables exceed their corresponding dismay bound ( a safety boundary of the operation scope which is set based on several factors related to the works ) . Once an dismay has been initiated, an operator must take appropriate action at the right clip to acquire back the works to safe province. There are two ways by which an dismay can be announced to the operator. They can be either in audile signifier ( horn ) or ocular signifier ( blinking visible radiations on the operator’s screen ) based on the type of dismay. In instance of some serious and extremely of import dismaies, they use both agencies of presentment at the same time. Alarm messages are stored in the database in the signifier of text messages. Alarms autumn under the 2nd and 3rd out of the eight independent beds of protection harmonizing to safety protection bed doctrine. Operators are given the elaborate process about the causes, effects and the disciplinary actions along with the response clip for the dismaies that are configured in the works system. Based on the operators apprehension of the procedure and the written dismay response processs, operators must take appropriate action to avoid works harm.


The promotion in control systems and engineering led to many important alterations in the works operations which were adapted by the procedure industries. In order to hold uniformity in the definitions, pattern and public presentation, two major organisations were formed which were widely accepted by most of the industries across the universe. They are theInternational Society of Automation ( ISA )and theEngineering Equipment and Materials Users Association ( EEMUA ). The International Society of Automation ( ISA ) has provided criterions in mechanization for over 70 old ages. A important milepost in dismay direction was announced by the ISA through the publication of ISA 18.2 Standards, “ Management of Alarm Systems for the Procedure Industries ” , which was approved by the ISA Standards & A ; Practices Board and American National Standards Institute ( ANSI ) . The primary intent of ISA 18.2 is to supply criterions in pattern of dismay systems including definitions, design, direction, installing, and effectual processing to run into high quality in public presentation in an dismay direction lifecycle. A similar guideline on dismay direction was published by EEMUA entitled “ Alarm Systems: A Guide to Design, Management and Procurement ( EEMUA 191 ) ” . EEMUA 191 provides guidelines to reexamine, design, and prioritise dismaies in industry.

Both ISA 18.2 and EEMUA 191 have discussed assorted attempts required for effectual design and care of dismay systems. This includes phases in dismay direction life rhythm, design rules, execution issues, and public presentations of dismay systems, care, and betterments. It is shown in [ 1 ] that an norm operator takes about 10 min to treat and react to an dismay, so the EEMUA ( 2007 ) and ISA ( 2009 ) criterions suggest that an operator should non have more than six dismaies per hr.


The procedures in dismay direction are given in the signifier of a lifecycle theoretical account by ISA 18.2 Standards. This theoretical account has different phases which are represented pictorially in Fig.1 with the corresponding interconnectednesss. Harmonizing to the ISA 18.2 Standards, there are 10 phases in the dismay direction lifecycle. They are

  1. Alarm Doctrine
  2. Designation
  3. Rationalization
  4. Detailed Design
  5. Execution
  6. Operation
  7. Care
  8. Monitoring and Appraisal
  9. Management of Change
  10. Audited account

Fig.1: The Alarm Management Lifecycle ( ISA 18.2 Standards )[ ]

Alarm Doctrine:

This is the first phase in the dismay direction lifecycle. This phase contains the comprehensive papers where the aims of the dismay systems are set. This includes the basic definition, rules, precedences and work procedures that are required to plan, implement, and maintain an dismay system.


Designation is the 2nd phase of alarm direction lifecycle. This phase involves in finding the location of the dismay points in the works system.


In this phase of alarm direction lifecycle, the dismay points that are set are reviewed and checked with the dismay doctrine papers whether the dismay points meets the demand that have already been described in it. Alarm prioritization and categorization besides comes under rationalisation phase.

Detailed Design:

The dismay efficiency is improved in this phase of alarm direction lifecycle. Particular or advanced techniques are besides used for doing an efficient dismay system. This phase besides ensures that the dismay set points meets the demands determined in the dismay doctrine and the rationalisation phase.


In this phase, the alterations that are made are brought to execution and the system is brought to operational position. Operational preparation, proving and commissioning activities may besides be carried out in this phase of alarm direction lifecycle.


Operation is a phase where the dismay system that has been installed is active. In this phase of the rhythm, refresher preparation can be included if necessary.


Care or the repairing phase is an inactive phase of the lifecycle. In this phase the dismay system is tested and assessed continuously for its public presentation by comparing with the designed criterions.

Monitoring and Appraisal:

This phase includes uninterrupted monitoring and appraisal of the public presentation of the dismay system by comparing with the ends described in the dismay doctrine. The study extracted from this phase might take to maintenance or alterations to the bing dismay system.

Management of Change:

The alterations that are done at all the phases from designation to execution are approved and documented in the Management of Change phase.

Audited account:

This phase involves periodic reappraisals of the dismay system which could give manner for new betterments and updates to keep the unity of the dismay system. The updates and betterments should be started from bettering the dismay doctrine and the remainder of the stairss are followed as given in the lifecycle theoretical account.

There are three get downing points in this lifecycle. They are alarm doctrine, monitoring and appraisal and audit. For any betterments in bing dismay system, monitoring and assessment phase is a good entry point and the rhythm is continued. Alarm direction system is a uninterrupted procedure and periodic monitoring and appraisal is an of import factor which needs to be done to hold a healthy public presentation of an dismay system.

Due to promotions in the engineering, modern DCS have introduced package dismaies which helps in puting up dismaies at different points in a works wherever needed with minor alterations in the DCS system. Many dismaies might be raised at the same clip because of excessively many dismay points that are set up in the works. This leads to improper sequence in the dismaies. Using the works connectivity which is extracted from control system information and piping and instrument diagram ( P & A ; ID ) , the right sequence of the dismay can be identified from the dismay logs.

In this thesis, importing the works informations into MATLAB, the graphical visual image of the industrial works informations with the aid of MATLAB utilizing assorted information that are extracted from the DCS and the application of this visual image in dismay direction are discussed. The combined usage of these informations and information in organizing the works connectivity will enable the applied scientists to do illations that will back up the betterment of the works. One of the major measure involved in this is a proper representation of the constituents and their relationship between them. Plant connectivity serves as a basic platform for a proper dismay direction survey.


Plant connectivity gives a elaborate construction of the physical or informational linkage between the procedure units/equipment which gives a qualitative procedure cognition without utilizing the constructs of first-principle theoretical accounts. The resources that are needed for set uping the works connectivity are process flow diagrams ( PFDs ) and shrieking and instrumentality diagrams ( P & A ; IDs ) . P & A ; I – diagrams gives a elaborate information sing the stuff and informational flow of the constituents of a works and their dependences and relationship in a graphical mode.


In order to hold a formal representation of the constituents, information from the DCS system, Process Flow Diagram ( PFD ) and P & A ; ID are used. The input files that are being used in this thesis are the technology informations, logic charts and the in writing files that are taken from the DCS. The technology informations and the in writing files that are used here are in “.mdb” format. This type of file can non be straight imported to MATLAB. The first measure in the procedure of visual image of the works informations is importing the informations file to MATLAB.

Importing Files TO MATLAB:

In order to import “.mdb” file to MATLAB, database tool chest has been used. Database tool chest is one of the tool chests that is present in MATLAB. Database tool chest is chiefly used for importing and exporting informations between databases and MATLAB. Using a database tool chest, informations can be brought into MATLAB from an bing database and these consequences can be stored back in the database or in another database. These informations are read from the database and are stored in the MATLAB workspace.

Connection of Database to MATLAB:

To link a database to MATLAB, there are two methods. One is the usage of Ocular Query Builder which comes with the tool chest and the other is to utilize MATLAB maps. The first measure to utilize this database tool chest is to put up a information beginning for Open Database Connectivity ( ODBC ) / Java Database Connectivity ( JDBC ) drivers. ODBC is by and large used for Windowss platform and JDBC is used for UNIX systems. In order to link the database tool chest with the database, a information beginning demands to be set up. A information beginning is created manually for the file that needs to be accessed by the tool chest to the MATLAB. This ODBC driver serves as a span that connects the database tool chest and the database. A pictural representation is given below.

Use of ODBC drivers with the database tool chest for Windowss platform[ ]

Ocular Query Builder:

The Ocular Query Builder ( VQB ) is a graphical user interface which is chiefly used for recovering informations from the database. It is an easy-to-use tool which comes with the database tool chest. With VQB, questions are built and the necessary information are selected from the lists and the informations needed can be retrieved. The VQB gets the information from the database and puts them into the MATLAB workspace where the datatype can be a cell array, construction, or numeral matrix. Before get downing the VQB, informations beginning must be set up. To get down the Ocular Query Builder, the bid “querybuilder” must be typed at the MATLAB prompt. A screenshot of the Ocular Query builder foregrounding the selected Fieldss that are necessary to be retrieved, the question and the workspace variable is shown in fig below.

Using the Ocular Query Builder, the retrieved information as cell arrays can be displayed in the signifier of tabular arraies, charts and studies. Ocular Query Builder is really user friendly and has a batch of advantages. There are few disadvantages of VQB. The chief disadvantage of Ocular Query Builder is that it can non entree the information if the information in the tabular array contains infinites. Using VQB, the information from the database can merely be imported. Exporting the information from MATLAB to a database is non possible utilizing a Ocular Query Builder.

Ocular Query Builder

To get the better of this challenge, Database tool chest maps are used alternatively of the Ocular Query Builder.

Database Toolbox Functions:


There is a broad scope of application for the works connectivity. The possible application of connectivity in a large-scale complex industrial procedures are listed below.

  • Topology Modelling and Closed-Loop Identification
  • Root Cause Analysis
  • Hazard Analysis: HAZOP
  • Consequential Alarm Designation
  • Plant-Wide Control Structure Design

Topology Modelling and Closed-Loop Identification:

For set uping a topology theoretical account for complex industrial procedure, connectivity can be applied. Give a procedure information, and if a known system construction is assumed, so appraisal of parametric quantities can be done with many methods. In multivariate instances, construction designation should be done before gauging the parametric quantities. Related plants are done by Jiang et Al. [ ] to gauge the orders and parametric quantities of the way in Closed-Loop system. Here a single-input-single-output model is used. But when it comes to a complex analysis, a multiple-input-multiple-output model is required. This will take to high computational burden. In order to cut down this computational burden significantly, topology patterning based on connectivity would assist.

Root Cause Analysis:

When a system finds an unnatural state of affairs, there can be one or more constituents demoing an unnatural effects. If the unnatural state of affairs is found merely in one component, so designation of the mistake is rather easy and can be corrected. When it comes to multiple elements, so it could be because of some interaction which consequences in mistake extension. So the operator must take a proper action by happening the root cause for the mistake. Once the root cause is resolved, all other related issues will be corrected. When a particular works connectivity is given, a backward traverse along the way can be done in order to place the root cause that is to happen the existent component that led to the unnatural state of affairs of all other related constituents [ ] . In the work done by Jiang et Al. [ ] , they used a control cringle digram to explicate the topology of control cringles, and by farther scrutiny, the list of possible root cause for the oscillations were predicted. Therefore, connectivity has a good usage in foretelling the root cause for any unnatural state of affairs in an industry.

Hazard Analysis: HAZOP:

Hazard analysis is a method to analyze a procedure for designation and rating of jobs that may stand for hazards. A qualitative attack, jeopardy and operability survey ( HAZOP ) is normally applied to planned or bing procedures in a structured and systematic manner. This procedure can be done in an easy mode utilizing the topology or the connectivity of the works. The chief intent of this HAZOP analysis is to happen all the possible effects for the false mistakes in a system. Several surveies have been done utilizing the connectivity theoretical account for HAPOZ survey [ ] .

Consequential Alarm Designation:

In complex industrial procedures, a batch of dismaies tickets are set up for all sorts of variables for elaborate monitoring intent. When an unnatural state of affairs occurs in one constituent, an dismay will be triggered. However, due to redundancy and interactions between the variables, it consequences in Annunciation of several dismaies. Since the mistakes propagate in a procedure, the dismaies show up in a specific order. The back-to-back dismaies that are dependent are called eventful dismaies. These dismaies might take to dismay inundations in which happening a root cause is hard for an operator. Plant topology can be used in this state of affairs as it describes the relationship between the dismay ticket. When some dismay inundation occurs, the dismay sequences are recorded and they are compared with the known sequences to happen the possible root cause for that abnormalcy and they are corrected. Several surveies have been done based on this [ ] .

Plant-Wide Control Structure Design:

Connectivity can be used in design of control constructions because procedure topology determines the natural construction of the distributed plant-wide control [ ] .