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"Systems and Methods for Configuring Analog Process Alarms in Control Devices" in Patent Application Approval Process

February 12, 2014



By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Electronics Newsweekly -- A patent application by the inventors Grubbs, Robert William (Salem, VA); Childs, Lester D. (Salem, VA); Rhode, Timothy Joseph (Salem, VA), filed on July 23, 2012, was made available online on January 30, 2014, according to news reporting originating from Washington, D.C., by VerticalNews correspondents.

This patent application is assigned to General Electric Company.

The following quote was obtained by the news editors from the background information supplied by the inventors: "Operators of certain digital control systems for some power generation equipment or processes may receive warnings when such equipment or processes are out of expected operational ranges. Such equipment may include machinery in power plants, oil refineries, pipeline pumping stations, manufacturing facilities, and many other appropriate applications. These notifications commonly take the form of 'alarms' that are announced to the operators through means such as horns, indicator lights, and alarm lists on human-machine interfaces (HMIs). In some conventional digital control systems, there is a particular class of alarms called 'analog process alarms.' Analog alarms can be configured on any analog process variable and can generate alarm states for a number of conditions. For any given analog alarm, there can be numerous enables, set-points values, time delay values, and alarm flag variables.

"Configuring a number of analog alarms in certain conventional systems may be time consuming, as each analog alarm can be configured in the corresponding analog process variable. Moreover, configuring analog alarms in such as manner may result in a lack of consistency and uniformity between analog alarms.

"In certain conventional systems, function blocks in the controller runtime can be used to generate analog alarms. However, this can introduce a layer between the process variable and its analog alarm configurations, which makes maintenance and changes to the system relatively more difficult.

"Additionally, in some cases, naming conventions in the control system and at the customer facility may differ. For example, the primary name for an 'exceeds high limit' variable in the control system may be '00AI1000.H' while the customer name for the variable may follow, for example, the Kraftwerks Kennzeichnungs System (KKS) naming convention. In this instance, to display variables in a familiar way, operators may need to manually assign KKS names to each alarm variable resulting in a substantial effort.

"Thus, the conventional systems do not provide for configuring analog process alarms in digital control systems that allows managing the configuration and documentation of an analog alarm from a single point within control logic and to provide automation and cross-referencing of the variables associated with an alarm. Furthermore, the existing solutions do not provide for a centralized template-based naming mechanism for analog alarms in digital control systems."

In addition to the background information obtained for this patent application, VerticalNews journalists also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent application: "The present disclosure relates to computer-implemented methods for configuring analog process alarms in control devices. According to one embodiment, a method is provided. The method can include creating, within the digital control system, one or more templates, wherein each template includes one or more alias names for corresponding one or more analog alarm sub-variables associated with an analog process variable, providing to a user, via a human-machine interface, an analog alarm virtual block diagram visualizing processing logic associated with the analog process variable within the digital control system, receiving, from the user, a request to select a template from the one or more templates, and based on the selection of the template, automatically generating the one or more alias names for the corresponding one or more analog alarm sub-variables of the analog process alarm, wherein the one or more alias names are defined directly on the analog process variable.

"According to another embodiment, a system is provided. The system can include a logic editor configured to create, within the digital control system, one or more templates, wherein each template includes one or more alias names for corresponding one or more analog alarm sub-variables associated with an analog process variable, a human-machine interface configured to provide to a user, an analog alarm virtual block diagram visualizing processing logic associated with the analog process variable within the digital control system and to receive, from the user, a request to select a template from the one or more templates, and a template generator configured to automatically generate, based on the selection of the template, the one or more alias names for the corresponding one or more analog alarm sub-variables of the analog process alarm, wherein the one or more alias names are defined directly on the analog process variable.

"According to yet another embodiment, a non-transitory processor-readable medium is provided. The medium can have instructions for configuring an analog process alarm in a digital control system, which when executed by one or more processors, cause the one or more processors to create, within the digital control system, one or more templates, wherein each template includes one or more alias names for corresponding one or more analog alarm sub-variables associated with an analog process variable, provide to a user, via a human-machine interface, an analog alarm virtual block diagram visualizing processing logic associated with the analog process variable within the digital control system, receive, from the user, a request to select a template from the one or more templates, and, based on the selection of the template, automatically generate the one or more alias names for the corresponding one or more analog alarm sub-variables of the analog process alarm, wherein the one or more alias names are defined directly on the analog process variable.

"Other example embodiments and aspects will become apparent from the following description taken in conjunction with the following drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

"FIG. 1 depicts a block diagram illustrating an example environment and system, in accordance with an embodiment of the disclosure.

"FIG. 2 depicts an example digital control system in accordance with an example embodiment of the disclosure.

"FIG. 3 depicts a block diagram illustrating various modules of the system for configuring an analog process alarm in accordance with an example embodiment of the disclosure.

"FIG. 4 depicts a block diagram illustrating wrapping of configuration attributes of analog alarms in the system for configuring an analog process alarm in accordance with an example embodiment of the disclosure.

"FIG. 5 depicts a schematic representation of automated generation of an alias name for an analog alarm sub-variable based on created templates in accordance with an example embodiment of the disclosure.

"FIG. 6 depicts a flow diagram of a method in accordance with an example embodiment of the disclosure."

URL and more information on this patent application, see: Grubbs, Robert William; Childs, Lester D.; Rhode, Timothy Joseph. Systems and Methods for Configuring Analog Process Alarms in Control Devices. Filed July 23, 2012 and posted January 30, 2014. Patent URL: http://appft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-adv.html&r=4205&p=85&f=G&l=50&d=PG01&S1=20140123.PD.&OS=PD/20140123&RS=PD/20140123

Keywords for this news article include: Electronics, Digital Control, General Electric Company.

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Source: Electronics Newsweekly


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