Alarm Management Challenge 2: Managing a Diverse Infrastructure
Only in very few cases, are plants and facilities built from the ground up with a single turnkey solution that provides both the controls as well as HMI/SCADA. In well-developed markets, many manufacturers have a diverse infrastructure of different PLCs, HMIs, and a general mixture of new and old technology. Each PLC program or HMI system follows its own unique conventions which only adds to the problem.
A good alarm management system must be based on a solid, efficient, and a reliable communication foundation to bring these components together. In a production facility where alarms are provided to operators who must make critical decisions with serious operational or safety implications, the quality of data must be called into question. The fact is that many existing HMI/SCADA systems still rely on additional software components (e.g. a middleware OPC Server) or PLC head stations which adds additional complexity and extra components which may fail.
zenon’s alarm management solution: A software solution for any hardware
With more than 300 native drivers and communication protocols – actively developed and maintained by COPA-DATA – zenon has the unequaled ability to be installed in a production facility that has a mixture of old PLCs, new PLCs, proprietary PLCs, and PLCs supporting standardized communication protocols (Modbus, BACnet, OPC UA, etc.).
Since zenon uses its direct communication drivers, the alarms are always derived from a variable that is being mapped to the logic controller. The zenon variable list provides an overview of all variables at all times, and in Runtime there are 64 dedicated status bits to ensure the communication status and the quality of data.
The functionalities of the core zenon alarming system require no extra configuration, settings, databases, or a dedicated server. When a new zenon project is created, alarming is activated by default, and all the engineer needs to do is define the alarm states and implement the alarm screens.
See “Alarm Management Challenge 1: Too many alarms” here.