Alarm System Rationalization and Safe Operating Limit for Energy Production
A current client was adding a new energy production unit with an innovative process to an existing site and wanted to ensure the new design incorporated the site’s existing alarm management practices that were previously set up by the aeSolutions alarm management team.
Established facilities have the benefit of historical operating trends and data during a rationalization session to recognize whether setpoints are effective and which alarms might give troubles. Without any data to fall back on for the process with newfound sciences, however, the alarm program and rationalization process based alarm setpoints; on cause and effects, the site’s PHA, and research-based engineering design for this new innovative technology.
Setting up an alarm system for the new energy production unit with no real operating experience required relying on good engineering practices and experience. The alarm rationalization sessions required very proficient engineers, instrumentation personnel, and senior-level operators to ensure a knowledge base strong enough to appropriately identify alarms and the actions to be taken. A heavily experienced and technical team was necessary to understand the process hazards and responses to those hazards.
The project timeliness also presented challenges to meet all the schedule deadlines of the multiple vendors involved. There was a higher sense of urgency for the new energy production unit with reduced timeline flexibility as the alarm system needed to be completed prior to startup.
aeSolutions organized and facilitated team meetings to capture process knowledge and hazard identification with adherence to industry guidelines and standards. An engagement meeting was performed where previously developed templates were applied and new templates specific to the energy production unit were developed prior to the alarm rationalization activities.
During the alarm rationalization meetings, a checklist of specific questions was analyzed and documented for each unique alarm. The questions generated team discussion on alarm basis (e.g., setpoint, response time, etc.), characteristics (class, attributes, etc.), and whether alarms met the definition of the alarm specified in the alarm philosophy. Effective alarm points were established to mitigate identified hazards and inefficiencies for increased safety, environmental, and operability of the site.
The new energy production unit had a completed master alarm database able to be imported into the site’s alarm management software. The master alarm database included all ISA 18.2 required information as well as the site-specific alarm response requirements for the process. The alarm data deliverables had the ability to be converted and uploaded into the client’s existing alarm management software to provide consistency from previous rationalization activities.
Although the new energy production unit had an unfamiliar cutting-edge process, basic alarm management principles were effectively applied to effectively guide the team to a successful product.
Industry: Green Energy
Unit Operation: Alarm Rationalization, Alarm Management
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