Series, Five Ways a CEMS DAS Improves Monitoring and Reporting

This is the third in a series of five articles about key ways that having a full-featured CEMS Data Acquisition System (DAS) installed can improve monitoring, reporting and the ability to withstand an audit or compliance evaluation.

We talked about averaging data in an earlier post in this series and that is a good example of a quality assurance requirement that can be automated. Other examples of automated data processing would be applying calculations or reason and action codes. Or it might mean creating totals and averages across extended spans of time or from multiple emission sources in facility-wide calculations. Reports can also be compiled and printed or distributed on a schedule, along with a variety of other data management activities.

Depending on the CEMS controller used, a DAS can also control automation of physical processes. Examples might be probe blow-backs, periodic testing or calibrations. Let's look at calibrations as an example.

Automated Calibrations

A DAS can have performance specification limits programmed into it, along with sequences and durations. Some can also release the gases and control all parts of the process to complete the calibration, without oversight. Calibration checks can be kicked off daily at a certain time, or in response to a trigger like a certain number of hours after startup. Every time the calibration takes place each sequence is repeated the exact same way. Depending on the DAS in place it may also automatically record the results and cylinder information, associate PGVP certificates, flag data and generate reports or alarms as appropriate.

Why should you care?

Being able to easily prove that you have quality assurance procedures in place, and that they are being adhered to precisely, gives you firm ground to stand on when facing an audit. On a day-to-day basis, a quick review of a few displays or scheduled reports in the morning can tell you the state of your system and let you plan your day. If a monitor is drifting toward being out of control you can respond. If a calibration has failed you can act quickly to fix issues and reduce downtime. If you see anything that could be heading your system toward a problem then you will have more time to investigate, since so much of what used to tie up your time is automated.

Don't worry, though, automation doesn't mean that the process is out of your control. A good DAS should allow you to configure the system to fit your needs and to achieve whatever level of automation that is correct for you. You should also be able to use the software to dig into your data, see charts comparing factors, edit operational data and add notes, codes and flags to clearly explain any unusual situation.

Automation frees your time and puts you in proactive control. In the next article we'll talk about how alarming can give you even more control.

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, or use our online form.

...    Published: 2/15/2017 1:21:49 PM

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