Siemens Burner Management Systems
Charles Fialkowski 01/06/2015
On June 11th, I"ll be in Kansas city, MO at the ISA POWID (power industry division) symposium, teaching the 1-day ISA boiler control course (ES 15C).
Preparing now, as the original instructor some how felt that 200 slides was appropriate for a 1-day course.
If anyone is interested in the material, let me know I"ll be happy to share the outline of the course.
Charles Fialkowski 14/04/2014
For years, I have always driven for complete seperation and independence for all PLC based burner management systems (BMS) as per my own personal interpetation (per NFPA 85 requirements). Below is an excerpt from the current NFPA 85 standard. I"m NOT talking about seperation between the control layer and the safety layer, rather, what to do when your plant has multiple boilers on site?4.11.7* Requirement for Independence.
188.8.131.52 Except as noted in 184.108.40.206, the burner management
system shall be provided with independent logic, independent
logic solving hardware, independent input/output systems,
and independent power supplies and shall be a device functionally
and physically separate from other logic systems
I was starting to question my own interpertation as beeing possibly too conservative.
We have been seeing a number of plants that have MULTPLE small package boilers (single burner, single fuel), looking to upgrade their existing BMS (PLC) to utilized safety PLC technology. The IO counts are small (less than 100), but based on the interpretation above, we continue to quote MULTIPLE SIL-rated, PLC based BMS systems to be compliant.
I posted this issue with some of my top consultants, and the responses were not very comforting? Meaning, I didn"t receive any consistency on their interpertations/opinions either?
I"d be interested in what others are considering when they are looking at updating their automation for multiple units?
Charles Fialkowski 08/01/2014
If you"ve ever wondered how you can acheive compliance on your BMS to the prescribed requirements in the NFPA standards (85, 86 or 87) you should attend my presentation on Tuesday, January 21st @ 3:20pm at the 69th Annual Instrumentation Symposium for the Process Industries, January 21-23, 2014 - Memorial Student Center, Texas A"M University, College Station, Texas.This paper was a great collaborative effort between myself, Michael Polagye, FM Global and Mike Scott, AEsolns.
. In addition to my presentation, there will be many other safety related presentations.
The program, registration and exhibitor information is online at: http://instrumentation-symposium.che.tamu.edu
If you have any specic BMS or SIS questions, feel free to look me up at the LARGE Siemens booth!
Charles Fialkowski 19/09/2013
A few weeks ago I attended a technical conference in Alaska where Mr. Mike Scott from AEsolutions was a presenter. Mike"s presentation title was "Safety Instrumented BMS" which of course I was extremely interested in hearing someone else"s take on this. Mike talked about the potential risks associated with any application with a flame (boilers, heaters, thermal oxidizers, process heaters, etc..) and in summary he concluded that all the applications he sees would require a SIL 2 BMS to reduce the risks to a tolerable level.
Ok, let"s think about that. Most prescriptive standards (i.e. NFPA) define a BMS protection layer that should provide the minimal level of performance required to manage the risks. This might be SIL 1 or maybe SIL 2, but it"s just not very clear.
I liked Mike"s point of designing towards SIL 2, and stop weaseling around with the prescribed standards that might or might not provided the amount of Risk reduction that your company requires.
I"d be happy to hear from Mike on this.....(stay tuned)
Charles Fialkowski 09/08/2013
When dealing with a prescriptive standards such as the NFPA 85, NFPA 86 or NFPA 87 standards, there are a number of prescribed requirements that often conflict with using modern performance based equipement (i.e. using an external watchdog timer for a Safety PLC, using hardwired relays,etc).
I have challenged these concepts since the start of my career in Industrial automation as I worked for a major manufacturer of combustion equipment and believed there had to be a better way.....
All NFPA standards employ the not so well known..."equivalency" clause, putting the responsibility on the designer to provide the technical argumentation to go outside the intent of the NFPA standards.
I"m proud to announce that I just recieved acceptance for my paper titled “Invoking the Equivalency Clause in NFPA Standards for Designing Compliant Burner Management Systems” will be presented at the 69th Annual Instrumentation Symposium for the Process Industries. The Symposium will be held January 21-23, 2014 in College Station, Texas.
Charles Fialkowski 02/08/2013
I"ve posted about this topic before, but I still see much confusion on the topic. So please.....let me explain....
In order to "predict" the level of "safety" your PLC would provide, one would need to know 3 key variables:
- Dangerous failure rate
this value will vary per manufacturere, is usually refered to as "lamda dangerous" (or simply ....lamda D)
- Manual Proof Test
can be adjusted per the enduser, and typically starts at 1 year.
The redundancy scheme that your PLC is designed will impact its ability to tolerate a potentially dangerous failure and still be able and capable to perform (we often here about 1oo1, 1oo2, 2oo2, 2oo3, etc....)
When it comes to determining the manual proof test of your PLC. What are you supposed to do? Most PLC manufactures claim that their system has high levels of diagnostics (some upto 99%). Meaining that the PLC will automatically run internal diagnostics with extremely high success.
I"m all for using the PLC to conduct tests on your field devices (sensors and final elements), but what I"m questioning is blindly taking credit for testing your PLC that its automatic diagnostics aren"t already testing for...
I presented my paper at the AICHE Global Congress on Process safety, and if your interested the presentation was recorded and can be viewed at (note they do charge a fee to view the presentation:
Charles Fialkowski 11/07/2013
If your in the Houston area next week, register to attend a 1-day Safety Instrumented System (SIS) seminar. Not only will you learn about the ISA 84 safety standard, you"ll also get a chance to have a first hand review of Siemens BMS 400F (A SIL 3 rated BMS solution).
The event is being hosted by Cimation, a local solution/engineering firm. The seminar will be lead by Siemens Process Safety and BMS expert Mr. Luis Garcia. More information on the event and to register please go to:
Charles Fialkowski 18/06/2013
Over the past several weeks, I"ve mentioned "gaps" in NFPA standards (NFPA 85, 86 and 87) regarding burner management systems.
The problem (as I see it) is that prescriptive standard committees such as NFPA are slow to adopt new (and proven) techniques and technologies. That"s the fact, and there is nothing we can do about it.....but there is a way to get around it.
All NFPA (BMS related) standards have an equivalency section (Section 1.5) that allows one to provide an equivalent (and/or superior) design that may not be accurately covered in current NFPA issues.
The problem is, that most folks don"t feel competent enough to provide the technical documentation (and arguements) to prove their design is superior.
When it comes to functional safety, the CFSE program is conidered the “gold standard” for functional safety personnel competency demonstration.
I"ll be using my CFSE credentials to provide the technical documentation against one of my pet peeve areas where the NFPA 86 standard actually limits the use of a Safety PLC over the selection of non-certified hardwired equipment.
If you"d like to see what it takes to gain CFSE status, exida is offering a free webinar tomorrow...
Charles Fialkowski 10/04/2013
This topic has been hitting the safety wire for some time now, and is the topic of my paper that I will present on April 30, at the AIChE pring Meeting and Global Congress on Process Safety in San Antonio.Attend the Siemens presentation: Take the Guess Work Out of Testing Your Safety Instrumented System
Charles Fialkowski 29/01/2013
One of the most confusing issues for those looking to upgrade old burner management systems (BMS) from relay or solid-state control to programmable technology (i.e. PLC) is what kind of information does the designer need to know about your process?
From NFPA 85 - 4.11* Burner Management System Logic.A.4.11 Utilizing the equivalency provision in Section 1.5, an alternative design to meet the requirements of the code can be accomplished where all the following are provided: