Automated alarm systems have been standard in power plants for decades. Their driving philosophy is to provide operators with as much feedback as possible to make informed decisions. But with so much information available, it has become a significant challenge to discern minor alarms from potentially catastrophic ones.

Thanks to advances in technology, manufacturers of sensors and analyzers provide instrumentation that offers not only a measurement, but also ways of setting a range of alarming values that could be optimized for each application. The power industry has quickly adopted the new technology and utilized many of these alarm functions. However, this additional data has also added a higher level of complication, sometimes to the point where the added benefits can actually become a detriment.

By using sensors and analyzers with Intelligent Sensor Management (ISM®) technology, plant management can trust that sensors are providing their Smart Alarms system with the most reliable measurement input for every parameter.

If a technician receives an alarm that there is a significant increase in pH, a Smart Alarms strategy could validate that the pH sensor is working properly in multiple ways. If the pH sensor offers ISM diagnostics such as an Adaptive Calibration Timer, it can tell the technician if the sensor is past its scheduled calibration. If the sensor is working properly, you can validate the measurement against calculated pH from digital conductivity sensors. Each of these steps is designed to help identify the problem and recommend the best action to take to solve it.

Get the white paper to learn more about how Smart Alarms and ISM can support the reduction of false alarms and provide better alarm management in your plant.


• Methods of alarm qualification: pros and cons

• Qualifying measurements through intelligent sensors and transmitters

• The importance of input integrity and a simplified operator interface

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Check out the Video:

This video provides an overview of the role that analytical equipment can play in a power plant’s Smart Alarm system. It discusses Smart Alarms as a method to support technical teams in validating alarms, and managing labor resources to respond to the most critical alarms first.

Smart Alarms, a key part of Alarm Management Guidance, uses technology, plant operation experiences, and common failure analysis data to create Distributed Control System (DCS) logic that looks at possible causes for an alarm, and recommends actions that should be taken to help mitigate it.

A properly set up Smart Alarms system will use this logic to validate alarms against other inputs. For example, if a reading from a pH sensor in the condensate stream begins dropping, the DCS can take that information and compare it to the calculated pH from a conductivity sensor and transmitter. If calculated pH is not falling, the Smart Alarm system could advise that there is a problem with the pH sensor.

As a next step, if pH sensors with Intelligent Sensor Management (ISM®) technology are installed, technicians can check the sensor’s predictive diagnostic tools, such as the Adaptive Calibration Time (ACT) and Dynamic Lifetime Indicator (DLI), to verify that the probe is performing accurately or servicing is required. Therefore, with ISM you receive alerts and clear guidance on actions to take if problems with sensors arise.

If the DCS finds that the calculated pH from the conductivity sensor is also dropping, you may receive other guidance from the Smart Alarms system. The decision-tree logic set up as part of the Smart Alarms system is designed to help validate alarms and make sensor management easier.

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