Is “alarm inflation” a problem?

The sensors are busy and the alarms are keeping you awake. Or are they? Thousands of sensors exceed their limit values and alarms frequently go off in all kinds of systems controlled by sensors, whether it is in the process industry, power production or other any sectors. Very often these alarms do not warrant action, which means that those people whose job it is to react end up becoming frustrated and passive. This is very understandable! But what should we do about it? How can we get rid of the unnecessary alarms?

For a process, exceeding a single limit value is unlikely to be a critical problem. What matters is when several factors co-occur and so-called phenomena arise. Understanding these phenomena and the correlations within them is the key to improving the situation. This is where analytics takes the stage.

Launch Pad - surveying the current situation

The journey towards a better operating model based on identifying phenomena should start with a survey of the current situation and a specification of needs. Launch Pad is a method for surveying potential and is used to identify the datasets that are in use, which in this case is the available sensor data and its potential. Analytics can be used when the decision-making points and the datasets in use are known. It is the key to replacing “alarm inflation” with a better and more efficient operating model.

Analytics identifies phenomena

Analytics is used to outline the core of the issue or the process-critical phenomena that consist of several individual factors. When the phenomena are known, a foundation can be laid for models that forecast and optimise operating continuity, which add time and precision to process control. Identifying phenomena and using them in process control is the best way to ensure optimal process operation.

This is the beginning of a post-alarm inflation era!