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Overview

Alarming is a core feature of the Ignition platform. It provides the functionality and flexibility to configure your alarms, provides up-to-date status of alarms, stores alarm history, builds the logic for how, why, and when alarm notifications are delivered, manages alarm notifications for user groups, and sends Email, SMS or Voice notifications. With all these features and functions in Alarming, you can easily create alarms, and design and manage your alarm notifications any way you choose.

You can set up alarms quickly, or you can customize an entire alarm notification process with features such as pipelinesschedules, and rosters. The Alarming features and functions translate to convenience and flexibility for your site's alarms and notifications. 

  • Alarm Settings - There are a host of alarm settings so you can build and change the behavior of your alarm.
  • Alarm Status - Displays current status of alarms.
  • Alarm Journal - Stores historical information about alarms.
  • Alarm Notification - Lets you select the delivery channel for how alarms notifications are sent via Email, SMS, or Voice.
  • Users, Schedules, and Rosters - Defines the users who will receive alarms based on user schedules and on-call rosters.
  • Alarm Notification Pipelines - Lets you define how alarm notifications are sent out and acknowledged.

Alarms can be configured on Tags or OPC items in SQL Bridge (Transaction Groups). The different Tag types that you can configure alarms on include Memory Tags, Query Tags, Expression Tags, as well as Tags inside of a UDT. You can also put alarms on System Tags that Ignition inherently provides such as the Gateway Performance, CPU Usage, and more. 


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Configuring Alarms

Alarm configuration in Ignition is flexible and highly customizable to your needs. You can configure alarms with one alarm on a Tag or multiple alarms on a Tag. You can add alarms in UDTs so every instance of that Tag will automatically have alarms configured when a new instance of your Tag is created. You can use the alarm settings to create alarms that equal or don't equal a setpoint, above or below a setpoint, between setpoints, outside setpoints, dynamic setpoints, out of range, bad quality, etc. Alarms can be configured for any alarm condition imaginable. 

More information about configuring alarms can be found in Alarming Properties and Configuring Alarms pages.

The image below shows an alarm configured on an OPC Tag. You can see that an alarm has quite a few properties including alarm mode settings where you can set specific alarm attibute values. 

 

How to Monitor Alarm Status 

Setting up the Alarm Status Table is quick and easy. Drag the Alarm Status Table component onto your window, and the current alarms are displayed immediately into one view. The Alarm Table is highly customizable and alarms can be configured to show active, unacknowledged, cleared, and acknowledged alarms. You can Acknowledge or Shelve, and you can filter on Alarm Status properties, show or hide alarm property information, reorganize columns, or view alarm details, notes, and history of an alarm.

Alarm Status Tags

Ignition provides a set of System Tags to view information about the Ignition server which includes four Tags that count the number of alarms in each state. A quick way to see if any alarms are currently active and get an alarm count is to add a Label component on the Navigation window. The four system alarm states are:

  • Active and Unacknowledged
  • Active and Acknowledged
  • Clear and Acknowledged
  • Clear and Unacknowledged

In the Tag Browser of the Designer, scroll down to the System > Gateway > Alarming folder. You can see all four of the system Tags that Ignition provides. You can also see how many alarms are currently Active and AckedActive and UnackedClear and Acked, and Clear and Unacked.  

These system Tags can easily be used to visualize all alarms in the system

 

How to View Alarm History

The Alarm Journal stores historical information about alarms in a database. It stores basic data about alarms that have occurred, such as their source and timestamp, associated data on an alarm, and the values of an alarm's properties at the time the event occurred. It captures all status changes for each alarm, as well as acknowledgement to an external SQL database of your choosing. To begin viewing alarm history, all you need to do is create an Alarm Journal Profile in the Gateway webpage.

Like the Alarm Status Table, the Alarm Journal enables you to filter on alarm history properties. The alarms are color coded so you know what each status represents. The Date Range is a very common filter type since users typically want to filter for alarm events within a specific period of time.  

 

Alarm Notifications

Alarms can also generate notifications that are delivered to users allowing Ignition to immediately communicate events and problems to your users. Alarm Notification Pipelines control how and when notifications are sent to users. You can select the delivery channel for how alarms are sent: EmailSMS, or Voice. The notification system has access to Ignition's Authentication Profiles so users can easily be added to notification On-Call Rosters. Schedules can be created allowing users to receive notifications only when on-schedule, so there is no need to worry about notifying a supervisor or manager when they are not on-site, or if it's in the middle of the night. Pipelines coupled with on-call rosters and schedules allow you to build your own custom alarm notification process. 

On-Call Rosters

The On-Call Roster is a collection of users that are notified when an alarm occurs. When an alarm is triggered, a notification is sent to a designated On-Call Roster where it evaluates the users schedules, and only notifies those users that have an active schedule. 

Roster Management from the Vision Client Window

Schedules

Schedules define the times of users on-call availability and unavailability. You can set up a schedule for each user in the alarm notification system so users only recieve notifications when they have an active schedule.

Schedule from the Vision Client Window

Alarm Notification Pipelines

The Alarm Notification Pipeline feature is an innovative tool that lets you easily create routes for your alarms. By designing your own alarm notification routing, you have control of what happens when an alarm goes active, when an alarm is sent out, and who receives the alarm notification.

The alarm notification pipeline has a simple drag-and-drop interface so you can build various types of alarm logic. Its built-in pipeline block functionality lets you delay sending alarm notifications, escalate higher priority alarms to a different group of users, consolidate multiple alarms so recipients aren’t flooded with messages, and distribute specific alarm types to different contact groups.

Alarm notification pipelines can be very simple to very complex. In this simple notification pipeline, when an alarm is triggered, the people listed in the On-call Roster are notified via Email. If no one acknowledges the alarm in 20 seconds, the alarm notification is routed back to the same users listed in the On-Call Roster. 

 

In this more complex alarm notification pipeline, if an operator doesn't respond to the alarm after three attempts, the pipeline jumps it to another pipeline (possibly an escalation pipeline).

 To learn more about building your own pipelines, go to Alarm Notification Pipelines.

 


 

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