Monitoring Unmanned Facilities

Situation:

A company is a worldwide leader in providing slurries to its customers’ industrial operations.  The company adds value to its slurries by creating an embedded facility at each customer’s plant and performing maintenance on the embedded facility.  OSIsoft PI is used to monitor the status of the facilities via the PITag data gathered from facility PLCs and the plant control system.

Issue:

Especially for the smaller unmanned facilities, how can an engineer know when to take action remotely or by visiting the plant?  And what is the list of open, less-serious issues to be addressed when visiting the facility?
Note: the situation described herein is just one example of where Omicron helps its clients develop a picture of the status of remote facilities. A more unusual example is an Omicron client with many dozens of PI servers scattered around the globe: Omicron used PI and SharePoint to monitor the detailed health of the worldwide network of PI servers.

OSIsoft provides significant capabilities for using PI data to immediately recognize detrimental events and out-of-limit conditions.  But how can the reporting of these events and conditions be organized to give the engineer and management a picture of the overall health of the facility? Plus, how can management judge how well the engineer is responding to changing conditions at the facility?

Solution:

Omicron has decades of experience helping companies organize the reporting of events and conditions to serve the needs of both the engineer and management.  Such reporting has to provide a coherent picture of the timing and severity, plus the current status of efforts to resolve the events and conditions.  [In fact, OSIsoft’s Process Book had its genesis in early work that Omicron and Omicron’s current CTO did in the 1980’s to provide multiple oil refineries with a concise PC-based graphic image of the total refinery status]
At the first level of monitoring and resolution, Omicron typically uses SharePoint to organize the open events (often called alarms, incidents or warnings) and conditions onto a single webpage where the engineer and management can see all that OSIsoft PI is aware of that needs to be addressed for the facility.  The severity of each item may be determined programmatically or input by the engineer.  By automatically sorting these detail entries according to criteria established by the company, the engineer and management now have a common detailed picture of the facility status that includes how long the various conditions have existed.
Omicron uses OSIsoft PI to organize alarms and send email alerts for remote unmanned sites.

Portion of a Detailed Events Status Report for a Facility.  The report is sorted by Priority, indicated by red, yellow and green dots for High, Medium and Low priorities, respectively.

This becomes a tool for the engineer to plan his or her work.  For remote facilities, the engineer can see at a glance whether it is time to visit the plant and which events and conditions need to be cleared while there.  Plus, seeing all open items on a single page may enable the engineer to call the plant control staff and identify adjustments that can be made via the plant control system to ameliorate the situation.


Omicron’s customers depend on us to reduce complexity, slash maintenance, improve reliability and enhance reporting.  Our experienced PI and SharePoint team has dealt with many situations similar to this over more than 20 years.  Call us at (609) 678-0110 to discuss your OSIsoft PI and SharePoint needs.

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