Reacting to Alarms – How to Stop Swinging from High to Low

Some console operators are content with allowing a level or a flow to swing from high alarm to low alarm, then making adjustments when they get the alarm. Technically the unit is running, but ask yourself these questions:

  • What is causing the flow or level to swing?
  • How is the flow/level swing affecting product quality?
  • How is swing affecting the next unit downstream?
  • Is there an upstream unit with an operator that doesn’t know he/she is impacting you?
  • What other problems go unaddressed or masked while you are focused on chasing alarms?

The operator is there to make moves the automated systems can’t react to effectively. Sometimes, placing a valve in manual to stop the swing can improve your unit’s operation and reduce impact to the downstream unit’s production and quality. Then you can begin working to understand and correct the cause of the problem.

At Systran, we work with your console operators to increase their knowledge, skills, tools, and resources to understand the big picture. This helps your console operators recognize and control situations before they cost you, and your customers, money.

Written by: Gary Sproull, 37 years as an operator in the petrochemical industry

Interested in ways that Systran can help take your operators from good to great? Visit our Operations and Training Simulator Center page to learn more.