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Advanced Analysis and Redesign of Industrial Alarm Systems Open Access


Other title
Alarm systems
Multivariate alarms
Alarm Management
Markov Chains
Alarm similarity
Chatter index
Event analysis
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Kondaveeti, Sandeep Reddy
Supervisor and department
Shah, Sirish (Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering)
Examining committee member and department
Huang, Biao (Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering)
Prasad, Vinay (Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering)
Shah, Sirish (Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering)
Soroush, Masoud (Department of Chemical & Biological Engineering, Drexel University)
Chen, Tongwen (Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering)
Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering
Process Control
Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
In the process industry, the alarm system acts as a layer of protection between the Basic Process Control System (BPCS) and the Safety Instrumented System (SIS). The BPCS is designed for automatic regulation of day to day process operation and SIS comes into picture when emergency shutdown is required. There are specific standards worldwide that define how BPCS and SIS system are to be designed and expected to work. However, not many well defined standards are available for design and management of industrial alarm systemsmainly due to the heavy involvement of human factors. Alarm management has gained complexity mainly due to increasing size of process plants and also due to the Distributed Control System (DCS) that presents little motivation for limiting the number of variables on which alarms can be configured. Alarm management lifecycle for maintaining an efficient alarm system as suggested by the International Society of Automation standards (ISA SP18.02) is discussed in this work with emphasis on monitoring and assessment and design stages. In this work, novel tools for assessment of alarm system based on routinely collected alarm event data are proposed and demonstrated. The primary focus of these tools is to identify nuisance alarms such as chattering and redundant alarms. Alarm event data is represented mathematically and indices are proposed to calculate the extent of similarity between two alarms and also to estimate the extent of chattering in an alarm. Two of the most commonly used techniques for reducing alarm chatter, delay timers and latches are discussed in detail. Effect of varying the size of on-delay, off-delay timers and latches on the accuracy of detection is discussed in the Receiver Operating Characteristic (ROC) framework from a theoretical view point by modeling them using Markov chains. Use of Return to Normal (RTN) information in addition to alarm events information in designing delay timers is also discussed. Finally, advantages of multivariate techniques such as Principal Components Analysis (PCA) based T2 and Q statistic as opposed to univariate monitoring are discussed in the same framework using simulation examples and an industrial case study.
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
• Kondaveeti, S.R., Izadi, I., S.L. Shah, Black, T. and T. Chen, 2012. Graphical tools for routine assessment of industrial alarm systems. Computers & Chemical Engineering 46(0), 39-47• Kondaveeti, S.R., I. Izadi, S.L. Shah, D.S. Shook , R. Kadali and T. Chen, Quantification of Alarm Chatter Based on Run Length Distributions. Accepted for publication in Chemical Engineering Research and Design, Elsevier Publication• Kondaveeti, S.R., S.L Shah and I. Izadi. Application of multivariate statistics for efficient alarm generation, In Proceedings of the 7th symposium on Fault Detection, Supervision and Safety of Technical Processes, IFAC Symposia, July 2009, Barcelona, Spain. pp: 657-662• Kondaveeti, S.R., I. Izadi, S.L. Shah and T. Black Graphical representation of industrial alarm data, In Proceedings of the 11th Symposium on Analysis, Design and Evaluation of Human-Machine Systems, IFAC Symposia, Aug 2010, Valenciennes, France.• Kondaveeti, S.R., I. Izadi, S.L. Shah, D.S. Shook and R. Kadali, Quantification of alarm chatter based on run length distributions , In proceedings of the 49th IEEE Conference on Decision and Control, December 15 - 17, 2010, Atlanta, USA. pp: 6809-6814• Kondaveeti, S.R., I. Izadi, S.L. Shah and T. Chen, On the use of delay timers and latches for efficient alarm design, In proceedings of the 19th Mediterranean Conference on Control and Automation, June 20 - 23, 2011, Corfu, Greece. pp: 970-975

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