A Data Acquisition System can make quality assured data available for immediate response, periodic reporting and later audits.
This is the first in a series of five articles describing key ways a full-featured CEMS Data Acquisition System (DAS) can improve monitoring, reporting and the ability to withstand an audit or compliance evaluation.
Since this is the first article, let’s step back and look at the basic structure of a Data Acquisition System, because it has a lot to do with how a DAS can protect you and improve your monitoring. A DAS is normally composed of both hardware and software. CEMS controllers (hardware) are connected to a server which has DAS software installed. Operational and monitoring values are acquired and validated by the controllers then continuously passed to the server.
A copy of the data is retained in the controller for at least seven days, providing protection from data loss. Many configurations can store data much longer, several months to a year, and some controllers can be configured to make alarms, flags or calculated values available directly to the plant automation system / DCS for operational response.
As you might expect, the server automatically generates compliance reports and provides long-term storage. It also makes quality assured data and calculated values available immediately after collection from the controllers. Displays, alarms and reports can give you awareness of the historic, current and near future status of the system, which can give you a chance to respond or make corrections.
Continuous monitoring regulations require that data acquisition, QA procedures, and operational limits be met at all times. Reports must be filed periodically and typically records must be accessible for at least five years. A dedicated CEMS DAS helps you stay in compliance across the full range of these requirements by making quality assured data easily available for each step.
Are you using a combination of your plant historian and the DCS to try to meet these needs? Then you know that reconciling the different systems of record, tracking down root causes of issues, adding reason and action codes and applying and re-applying calculations following changes can eat up a lot of time. Manual data processing can also lead to untraceable errors and, critically, doesn’t give you current access to the actual compliance status of your system.
Data availability in both the short and long-term is at the heart of a good data acquisition system. Quality assured data, with compliance calculations applied automatically, gives you real insight into the state of your system at all times.
Whether you just want to learn more about what a DAS can do for you, or would like to arrange for a complimentary data system review, we'd enjoy hearing from you. Contact us at 512-250-7902, firstname.lastname@example.org or use our online form.
... Published: 1/31/2017 1:00:00 AM
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