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Predictive Alarm Management: Low Hanging Fruit and Pareto

Solving the Alarm System Problems

Once an alarm philosophy document has been created and the benchmarking activity is done, we work with you to create an action plan specific to your needs. The first part of this plan is deciding what needs immediate attention. When determining where to start, there are two principles we will consider with you: the “low-hanging fruit” and the pareto.

Low Hanging Fruit

alarm management blog 4 low hanging fruit

"Low-hanging Fruit" has been around since the 17th century, and implies that one should focus on the "easier" or "less-effort" yield increases. In the Alarm Management Philosophy, this refers to alarm bad actors that can be fixed with little resources. Often, a small modification to a chattering alarms setpoint and you can reduce the Alarms per hour by 100 or more.

When working with a new client, our team will look at the alarm log to identify the most active alarms. The small alarms that go off because the setpoint range was not set up correctly on the onset can cause the majority of an operator's headache. By removing the chatter, operators feel the immediate effect. 

The focus of "Low-hanging Fruit" can take the pressure off of the consistent alarms, and give light as to what the possibilities are with a fully predictive alarm management system.

Pareto Principle

alarm management blog 4 pareto

The Pareto Principle was developed based on the research of economist Vilfredo Pareto. The principle states that "Roughly, 80% of the effects come from 20% of the cause". While not something you can plug into excel, the principle has stood the test of time in many verticals to include economics, software programing, manufacturing, and even in 2020 where it is estimated that “20% of positive COVID cases were responsible for 80% of local transmissions."

One of the ways we help our clients is to take the alarm log and analyze the frequency of certain alarms or equipment. Our engineers are able to input the alarm log into a BI tool and then visualize the areas that require the most attention on a dashboard.


Like the Low-Hanging Fruit, the results of the Pareto Principle provides relief to the operators.

Deciding a Path

So which is better? Well that depends. Together our team works with you to determine if the laundry list of small easy to solve alarm problems or the small number of large and complicated alarm problems are causing the most stress on the operators.

While we could share our physics-related alarm acceleration equation and law of diminishing returns of how we determine which principle is best for your needs, we will save you on the geek-out discussion.

All math aside, ensuring that you have a structured action plan is key. Casne Engineering has over 40 years of success in professional engineering and technology integration services for major utilities, process industries, and critical facilities. Our team of capable engineers and technologists develops and supports engineered solutions using the best of breed products and technologies. Contact us here to get started on solving your alarm management needs. Let us do the math for you.


Topics: Alarm Management



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