Oil and gas operators often receive over 50 alarm notifications in just one day. This number of notifications can seem unmanageable to most. That many alarms in one day could mean one of two things: either the organization is understaffed, or the alarms are not being managed properly.
When individual operators receive hundreds of alarm notifications in one day, data is not only being missed, but also being abused. As a result, operators are experiencing alarm fatigue at the highest rates the oil and gas industry has ever seen.
In a traditional SCADA setting, there is no overall visibility of alarm performance. Many operators have a "set it and forget it" mentality towards Alarm Management. With traditional SCADA, there is no way to see which alarms are noisy or to discover opportunities for improvement.
Twenty years ago, all alarm management systems were capable of doing was bringing things to people's attention. There are better ways to surface data to our attention now. With these simple steps, your operations team can manage alarms efficiently.
The eLynx Alarm Management Dashboard gives operators an overview of all alarms being sent to personnel. There is a breakdown of recipients, set points, and assets. Having access to this information can highlight if mistakes were made when the alarm was set up.
For example, one operator had mistakenly set up their alarms to go to every recipient twice. This can occur when a name is added to the notification list as well as the direct notification list. When the operator moved their alarms to the eLynx system, the Alarm Dashboard surfaced the misconfiguration immediately. The operator experienced an immediate reduction in alarms by 50 percent.
The Alarm Management Dashboard can help operators pinpoint “noisy” assets. Noisy assets are constantly going in and out of alarm within a short time. It is toggling in and out of an alarm state.
The solution is easy: put a time delay on the alarm or remove the alarm altogether. If the alarm has not cleared after a designated time period, then an alarm notification will be sent out. Incorporate a component of time as a part of the alarm criteria to reduce the number of alarms staff receive on noisy assets.
Alarming engines are being jerry-rigged into an event-logging system. Every alarm is an event, but every event does not have to be an alarm. An alarm should be something that operators can take immediate action on.
Technology has evolved, but most oil and gas companies have not changed their alarm management strategies for decades. The energy industry is bringing in a lot more field data than ever before. Operators are being inundated with information.
Alarm Management systems should function like a traffic cop and aggregate multiple conditions into one issue. The eLynx Rules Engine is a multivariate alarm system that helps operators minimize alarm fatigue and alarm more efficiently. The Rules Engine provides the capability to alarm when multiple conditions are met. Because alarms are more specific to a diagnosis than a symptom, the system increases operator response time and offers oil and gas operators a real-time diagnostic tool.
The eLynx Rules Engine allows operators to utilize multivariate alarms. The Rules Engine creates events, reduces alarm fatigue and improves diagnostics.
The Alarm Management Dashboard can highlight when meaningless thresholds are being used. You know your assets better than anyone. When a threshold needs to be adjusted, the Alarm Dashboard will bring it to your attention.
The eLynx Rules Engine has a unique feature that lets you simulate rules on historical data. Quickly verify that your new thresholds will give you the desired outcome.
The eLynx Alarm Management Dashboard highlights when alarms are going out to multiple people at the same time. This indicates that alarm escalations need to be put in place to reduce alarm fatigue.
A large group of people do not need to be notified on a single alarm. Alarms should be delivered to whom is necessary. Utilize alarm escalations, or tiers, to determine who it goes to and when. Utilize Alarm Schemes to notify different subgroups when alarms are unacknowledged. For example, the first alarm notification can be a text message to the lease operator. If the lease operator doesn’t acknowledge the alarm within a specified timeframe, then another notification can be sent to the backup lease operator. If the backup does not acknowledge the alarm, then a notification can be sent to the foreman. Using escalation like this can significantly reduce the number of unnecessary notifications going out to individuals.
The eLynx System allows users to customize schedules. Alarm schedules prevent personnel from being disturbed by alarms on their day off. Diminish alarm fatigue and increase employee satisfaction with Alarm Schedules.
Modifying a threshold or setting a time delay on an asset alarm is not the right solution for every asset. No one knows the assets in your field better than you do. With high-producing, crucial assets, every alarm is critical. Not every alarm can be muted with wide thresholds or long time-delays.
Keep a close eye on the critical assets by knowing which member of your team is receiving alarms for each set point. Having the right tools to manage your alarms will help you and your team relieve the symptoms of alarm fatigue and improve operations.
September 18, 2023