The Design of an Auditory Alarm Concept for a Paper Mill Control Room

Open Access
Conference Proceedings
Authors: Anna SirkkaJohan FagerlönnStefan LindbergKatarina Delsing

Abstract: Auditory alarms are common in industrial control rooms. Sound has certain advantages over other alarm modes. Salient auditory stimuli effectively capture and guide attention, regardless of the operators’ visual focus. Sound can also convey detailed information. However, auditory alarms are often carelessly implemented, utilising sounds that are too loud, too numerous, and too confusing. The aim of this work was to develop a concept to enhance the auditory alarms in a control room. Before the concept was developed, a study involving 21 operators evaluated the state of the alarm sounds. The results indicated a poor design and confirmed certain well-known issues with alarm sounds. The concept included new alarm sounds, spatial presentation of the sounds, and alarm repetition intervals. The sounds are based on a new design principle in which each alarm sound composes two parts. One conveys urgency information, and the other contains information associated with the section in question. The design process involved 24 control-room operators and 13 design iterations, which were used to refine the concept. An evaluation involving 20 operators was conducted to examine the appropriateness of the concept. The results demonstrate that the developed concept increases operator effectiveness and acceptance as well as the overall sound environment.

Keywords: Acceptance, Alarm, Auditory Icon, Control Room, Operator Effectiveness, Sound Environment, Urgency

DOI: 10.54941/ahfe1001301

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