Smarter SCADA Alarming

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There are three main events in the life cycle of an alarm: becoming active, becoming clear and being acknowledged. An alarm becomes active when the value it’s attached to goes outside of its normal range, which is defined by high and low setpoints. An alarm becomes clear when a value returns to its normal range, at which point it drops out of the alarm system.

An alarm is acknowledged when the operator takes some action to indicate he or she is aware of it. The steps of clearing and acknowledging can vary in order. In the traditional concept of alarming, the system sends an alarm notification when an alarm goes active or is about to go active, often in the form of a one-way email to the operator.

Depending on the size of the operation, there are hundreds or even thousands of alarms that can potentially go off, and not all of them are valid. Alarm problems can also arise because of poor work habits such as enabling all alarms by default, having inconsistent alarm practices between departments in the same company, and routinely using alarms to perform status checks rather than to bring attention to abnormal situations.

This white paper discusses how you can turn these types of situations around and get alarms under control again.