13 Mar

Critical Measurements in a Process Plant

Critical Measurements in a Process Plant

Measurement is often part of the intelligent HMI discussion from the process industry to boiler systems; the measurement and balance of all materials involved is essential. The list of measurable elements in a plant can seem endless, which begs the question; what measurements should you prioritize in order to have the most efficient process?

This question was posed to Marc L. Hunter, our Vice-President, the other day, to which he replied, “That’s not quite the right question to ask.”

He went on to explain that measurement of anything is dependent on two questions. What is going to happen and what should I pay attention to?

The multitude of factors acting in a plant is indicative of the many different activities being performed. Many of these processes can be easily managed by automation and machines. The most important measurement of a plant then becomes alarms.

Alarm management is vital and should be made as proactive as possible. This requires strategic prioritization of alarms. No alarm should be completely ignored, but a smoothly running system must alert engineers to the most pressing alarms first.

Measurement in a plant therefore boils down to ISA 18.2 Alarm Management Standards. A system made to meet these standards alerts plant engineers of any issue using a prioritized list of alarms. This organization allows for the easy identification of the most critical issues. On days where few high risk problems occur, the less important alarms can be dealt with.

How many priority levels you need to adequately measure the performance of your plant requires a detailed discussion with an engineering consultant with alarm management expertise. The alarm management market offers a substantial variety in terms of the number of priorities levels. There isn’t much of a limit to the number of priority levels you can have. An alarm management expert will help you define just what you need to meet your business goals.