October 2007

Special Report: Process Control and Information Systems

Probabilistic alarm management

A procedure using Markov chains provides insights based on HAZOP report information

Larraz, R., University of La Laguna

Given the impact of alarm management in process units, alarm system design has a paramount role and deserves major effort from the plant staff and process licensors. An alarm system should direct the operator's attention toward plant conditions requiring timely assessment or action to help the operator to: Prevent plant trips and, hence, improve availability Provide more economical production by avoiding off-spec conditions Prevent environmental or safety incidents. There is not too much room for a plant operator to manage the plant during an upset; during normal operation all variables are managed by the control system close to the desired process values defined

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