Earlier this year, I wrote about the importance of evaluating your current SCADA platform or other SCADA platforms in the market to align with the specific needs of your pipeline operation. Another important consideration is ensuring that your SCADA platform is aligned with the forthcoming update to API 1165 for HMI displays.
Throughout this year, our team has talked to pipeline operators and midstream companies who are weighing their options of migrating to a new SCADA platform or upgrading to the latest version of their current platform.
Before your team starts traveling down that path, it’s critical to evaluate whether your current or prospective SCADA platform will be harmonious with the updated API 1165 best practices.
The Most Important Elements of the Updated API 1165 RP
From an IT/SCADA perspective, the most important elements of the updated API 1165 recommended practice include the following:
- The SCADA system is configured to support high-performance HMI
- The SCADA system is configured to support different operational contexts
- The SCADA system is configured for proper alarm management
- The SCADA system is configured to support the use of GIS
- The SCADA system is configured for authorization checks and balances
Element #1: SCADA System Should Support High-Performance HMI
At its core, HMI is a user interface that allows pipeline controllers to view activity to make actionable decisions.
High-performance HMI represents the next level of taking available data collected in the SCADA system and converting the data into useful information to help the controller understand present and future pipeline operating state.
The update to API RP 1165 seeks to support the industry in moving toward the high-performance HMI. The goal is to update the guidelines for acquiring data, contextualizing the data, and delivering enhanced visual information to the control room. This results in controllers and support personnel more rapidly understanding operating condition.
Element #2: SCADA System Should Visibly Support Different Operational Contexts
Each pipeline operator needs to evaluate the quality of their HMI Philosophy, Style Guide, and Design Guide in advance of the API 1165 update.
- The HMI Philosophy defines the policies for using high-performance HMI.
- The HMI Style Guide defines the graphical elements, system behaviors, and animations used in high-performance HMI as they are implemented in a specific SCADA tool.
- The HMI Design Guide defines the SCADA architecture, security measures, network topology, and information dataflow to present accurate information to the control room.
What is the purpose of reviewing these HMI elements? The goal is to ensure that controllers and support personnel have a clear understanding of the graphical hierarchy to facilitate HMI requirements for different operational contexts.
The hierarchy applies not only to the HMI display, but also to the graphics used and the purpose of the display. For example:
- Level 1: Situational Awareness display
- Level 2: Process, Task, and Geographical Overview displays
- Level 3: Detail and Working displays
- Level 4: Diagnostic and other detailed displays
The goal at each level is to provide the most accurate, reliable, and actionable information available with a minimal amount of interpretation required. Visually, this includes the use of universally-understood graphics, objects and data points, tags, labels, and colors.
Element #3: SCADA System is Configured for Alarm Management
Another key function for the SCADA system to align with AP 1165 is providing an alarm summary that has at least the following functionality:
- Sorting – by priority and/or timestamps
- Filtering – by area or unit
- Individual acknowledgement
- Page acknowledgement
- Ability to freeze a scrolling alarm list
Each defined alarm priority should be associated with an alarm color that immediately identifies Critical, High, Medium, or Low (and poor quality). The alarm colors should be supported by icons, labels, or text that indicates action to take.
Additionally, the system should be configured for alert and alarm limits to only display the data that is critical for simple interpretation. Again, the goal is to present contextualized information in a manner that allows controllers to quickly and accurately achieve situational awareness. Any constraints should be identified, evaluated, and removed.
Element #4: SCADA System Should Utilize GIS for Accurate Locations
One of the most important considerations in the update to API 1165 is the use of GIS (Geographic Information Systems) to gather, manage, and analyze data that is presented to controllers in the form of actionable information.
GIS combines the power of advanced technology and advanced data collection capabilities to present a more accurate and reliable visual representation of the location of a pipeline event.
For example, in a Level 2 display, the displays should be much more relevant to geographic location. Typically this will be an overview of a particular area, system, or facility. The display should contain sufficient detail to safely operate the entire displayed area, as well as any vital upstream and downstream information impacted by the operation of the facility.
The update to API 1165 will provide guidance on how to integrate advanced GIS technology into operations to provide controllers with an actual view of activity, advancing from the current standard of providing a representation of activity. This will ultimately enhance controller understanding and pipeline safety by achieving understanding of the bigger picture and how specific actions affect the entire operation. For example, a Level 3 display.
Element #5: SCADA System Should Support User Checks and Balances
Another critical element for pipeline safety is ensuring the SCADA system is properly configured for appropriate user activity.
For example, during Control Inhibit, an icon will indicate that controls for a relevant graphic have been inhibited. The SCADA system will not allow any control actions to be sent to the affected remove device. This is set up to be enabled or disabled by a user with appropriate privileges.
The goal is to support a checks and balances system that ensures the following:
- Controllers react appropriately to the information presented to them on the HMI display.
- Supervisor or other authorized personnel can override a controller during a specific operating condition.
- Actions are recorded and authenticated to capture compliance.
Consider Support from EnerSys to Align SCADA and HMI
A review of each of these elements could lead to questions about whether your current or prospective SCADA platform will align with the HMI guidelines outlined in the revised API 1165 RP.
We would like to discuss the capabilities of your current or prospective SCADA platform to support this critical evaluation. Our team is deeply involved in the API 1165 update and can help match up the information contained in the update with your operation.
We also support pipeline operators and midstream companies with our POEMS IOC (Intelligent Operator Console) software. POEMS IOC supports advanced HMI capabilities by aligning operations with the API 1165 RP and providing an HMI philosophy, style guide, and design guide.
To schedule a consultation or educational demo of the POEMS IOC software with your SCADA or IT team, contact our company. Complete our Contact form, email us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call us at 281-598-7100 to talk to a knowledgeable member of our team.