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COAST - Alarm System Toolbox

Alarm systems are essential elements for achieving safe, reliable and efficient operation of complex, dynamic processes. Based on long experience in design and implementation of alarm systems, IFE has developed the Computerized Alarm Systems Toolbox, COAST, which offers improved flexibility in configuring plant-specific alarm systems. COAST combines proven methods and technology in a design approach that results in an object-oriented alarm system.

Hoffmann, Mario



Using COAST in conjunction with IFE's competence in process understanding, human factors engineering, and computer technology, industry partners are offered a unique opportunity to design and implement an efficient, reliable, and user-friendly alarm system.

Alarm system design
The definition language, COLA, is object-oriented and declarative, which provides fast implementation and a good overview of the alarm definitions and structuring logic.

  • Alarm generation facilitates:
  • Process measurement limit check
  • Model based alarms for early fault detection and condition based maintenance
  • Function oriented alarms for surveillance of critical process systems

Alarm structuring facilitates:

  • Filtering and suppression
  • Easy retrieval of non-standard alarm lists for diagnosis
  • Combining different types of alarms utilising diversity
  • Cause-consequence relations

Utilisation of alarm system implementation
COAST acts in its final environment as an add-on module to conventional process control systems. In practice, COAST receives information from a control system, e.g. alarm information and/or measurements, and returns structured alarm information to the control system for presentation on the operators' interface. COAST is easily connected to different control and graphical systems through the COAST API, the Application Programmer's Interface.

COAST supports any graphical system with the required alarm information, e.g. Picasso-3, IFE's user interface management system.

COAST supports alarm presentation in large overview displays, process mimics and alarm lists.

COAST runs on UNIX and Windows platforms.