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Performance Assessment and Systematic Design of Industrial Alarm Systems Open Access


Other title
Alarm Management
Detection Delay
Alarm Systems
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Adnan, Naseeb A
Supervisor and department
Chen, Tongwen (Electrical and Computer Engineering)
Examining committee member and department
Tavakoli, Mahdi (Electrical and Computer Engineering)
Gopaluni, Bhushan (Chemical and Biological Engineering, UBC)
Shah, Sirish L. (Chemical and Materials Engineering)
Zhao, Qing (Electrical and Computer Engineering)
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
In process plants, alarms are configured to notify operators of any abnormalities or faults. However, in practice a majority of raised alarms are false or nuisance and create problems for operators as they face an increasing number of alarms to handle. In the past, many catastrophic incidents happened only because of poor performance of alarm systems. Therefore, a dependable and efficient alarm system is needed to ensure plant safety and uninterrupted operation. To assess performance of a plant's alarm system, it is necessary to evaluate various performances indices. Motivated by this, this thesis develops quantitative relationships among commonly used alarm attributes and performance indices. Alarm design techniques, like, deadbands and delay-timers can significantly reduce false and nuisance alarms. However, these techniques introduce some delay in raising the alarm (detection delay). In this thesis, detection delays are calculated using Markov processes for deadbands and delay-timers. A design procedure is then proposed that compromises between detection delay, false alarm rate (Type I error) and missed alarm rate (Type II error) for an optimal configuration. Inclusion of these indices in alarm design makes the system more reliable and effective in nature. Filtering is another widely used alarm design technique in industries. Two most commonly used filter types in industry are the moving average filter and the exponentially weighted moving average filter. However, the effect of filter parameters on the alarm detection delay is not well known. We investigated this relationship for the moving average filter and proposed a method to design filter order. We proposed a generalized delay-timer framework where instead of consecutive n samples in the conventional case, n_1 out of n consecutive samples (n_1 <= n) are considered to raise an alarm. For the generalized delay-timer, three important performance indices, namely, the false alarm rate (FAR), the missed alarm rate (MAR) and the detection delay (EDD) are calculated using Markov processes. Also the performance and sensitivity of generalized delay-timers are compared with conventional delay-timers. All theoretical development and alarm design technique proposed in this thesis are validated through simulations and several case studies are conducted to illustrate industrial applications.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
Citation for previous publication
N. A. Adnan, I. Izadi, and T. Chen, "Computing Detection Delays in Industrial Alarm Systems", in proceedings of the American Control Conference (ACC 2011), pp. 786-791, June 29 - July 1, 2011, San Francisco, CA, USA.N. A. Adnan, I. Izadi, and T. Chen, "On expected detection delays for alarm systems with deadbands and delay-timers", Journal of Process Control, vol. 21, no. 9, pp. 1318-1331, 2011.N. A. Adnan, Y. Cheng, I. Izadi, and T. Chen, "A generalized delay-timer for alarm triggering", in proceedings of the American Control Conference (ACC 2012), pp. 6679-6684, June 27-29, 2012, Montreal, QC.N. A. Adnan, Y. Cheng, I. Izadi, and T. Chen, "Study of generalized delay-timers in alarm configuration", Journal of Process Control, vol. 23, no. 3, pp. 382-395, 2013.N. A. Adnan, and I. Izadi, "On detection delays of filtering in industrial alarm systems", in proceedings of the 21st Mediterranean Conference on Control and Automation, pp. 113-118, June 25-28, 2013, Crete, Greece.

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