A natural gas public utility becomes compliant with the Department of Transportation (DOT) before the mandated date


A natural gas public utility needed to achieve 49 CFR compliance through development of an Alarm Response Management (ARM) system by August 2012.  As part of the control room management directives set forth under 49 CFR, pipeline operators were directed to implement a set of alarm management best practices.

Unique Challenges

After thorough evaluation of several off-the-shelf products, E-Merge Systems found that there wasn’t any single product to implement the solution. Instead, there were disparate applications from several automation vendors in place at the customer site, making it an interoperability challenge. Additionally, only 4 1/2 months remained before having to go live!


E-Merge performed rapid prototyping and, in collaboration with the end customer and its stakeholders, came up with a viable working solution. The team then went into methodical overdrive. E-Merge performed custom configuration and programming to implement an interoperable solution that included iFIX SCADA, Wonderware System Platform, Wonderware Workflow, Microsoft SQL Server and SQL Server Reporting Services. E-Merge also worked with the end customer to virtualize the entire environment using VMware – resulting in significant savings not only in the number of physical servers required to meet design requirements but also in energy costs over time.


The end result was a system that delivers and tracks alarm behavior and responses by delivering data across multiple applications operating in a tightly integrated hardware and software architecture. Although requiring a great deal of coordination between the end customer, E-Merge and several software vendors, the ARM system solution went from paper to production in less than 4 1/2 months, achieving 49 CFR compliance before the mandated date.