Directing Alerts to Plant Operators

I saw a post by Emerson’s Jonas Berge, over at the EDDL LinkedIn Group referencing device diagnostics and asset management. Jonas’ work has been highlighted on this blog in many industry standards-related posts.

He references a Control Engineering article by Herman Storey, Device Diagnostics And Asset Management. Jonas cites this passage:

Once an appropriate data collection system is in place and you are working on setting up your work processes, you need to determine where the data stream goes. The traditional question is if it goes to maintenance or operators. This isn’t a difficult process if you follow some simple principles: Send alerts to operators as well as maintenance if immediate operator action is required. The alert philosophy for operators is you’re dealing with individual events as they come up. You want a limited number of alerts that the operator can take some unique action on in real time.

Jonas agrees with the importance of getting alerts from field devices such as pressure, temperature, flow, and level transmitters requiring immediate action over to the operators. He notes how the electronic device description language (EDDL) standard:

…is a device integration technology for intelligent device management software part of asset management solutions, based on non-interfering compressed text files (not based on software drivers) and therefore permitted on the DCS operator consoles.

He points to an article on the EDDL.org website on device diagnostics, which describes this integrated operation between field devices supporting the EDDL standard and automation system operator consoles also supporting the standard:

EDDL enables diagnostics from critical devices to be integrated in DCS operator consoles to be accessed in less than three clicks, displayed as intended by the device manufacturer. Since operators are not forced to come and go between workstations to understand what is happening in their plant, device diagnostics becomes a natural part of daily predictive maintenance work practices.

An important aspect of the alert philosophy is to ensure that operators are not flooded in alerts. Device diagnostic alerts should be classified and prioritized such that operator only get the alerts requiring immediate action.

The EDDL LinkedIn group currently has 60 members, and they have diverse backgrounds including process-manufacturing professionals, consultants, industry analysts and press members, automation suppliers, standards-body representatives, training professionals and more. If you have interest in intelligent field device management such as calibration, configuration and setup, device diagnostics/troubleshooting, managing new device revisions/versions, and the communication of alerts and diagnostic information between field devices and control systems, join this group and share your thoughts, questions, and ideas with the group.

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