scada systems

What is a SCADA System?

With a SCADA system, manufacturers, operators, supervisors, and engineers can collect and analyse real-time data, automatic program responses, monitor and manage alarms, enabling them to improve processes.

SCADA, or Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition, comprises hardware and software components used to monitor and control industrial processes. With a SCADA system, manufacturers, operators, supervisors, and engineers can collect and analyse real-time data, automatic program responses, monitor and manage alarms, enabling them to improve processes.

All about SCADA Systems!

How do SCADA systems work?

SCADA includes sensors and other measuring devices (integrated either in an analogue or digital manner) to collect data. This is followed by translating raw data into usable and absorbable information by transferring the data to programmable logic controllers (PLC) or remote terminal units (RTU). Finally, the translated information is transmitted to a human-machine interface (HMI) for the operators to examine and interact with.

How do SCADA systems help businesses?

With a SCADA system, you can automate the management of industrial processes and machines that are otherwise complicated for manual human management. The sensors and measuring devices in the SCADA system detect unusual parameters or signals and automatically counter with a programmed control function, reducing equipment downtime and product wastage. For instance, if an alarm indicates high pressure in a line, the SCADA system would trigger a programmed response to release a pressure relief valve and reverse pressure levels to an average amount. Applying a SCADA system in your plant can help minimise production waste and heighten overall performance by providing relevant production insights. 

The core functions of SCADA include:

  • System monitoring
  • Automated control of processes and machines
  • Data collection and analysis
  • Event and Alarm Notifications
  • Reporting

What are the applications of SCADA systems?

SCADA is used in many different applications, varying in functionality based on businesses using them. In the oil and gas industry, the main applications of SCADA are to include monitoring and control of pipelines, remote monitoring and control of pumping, storage, and production locations, the monitoring of offshore platforms, and the management of refineries.

For wastewater plants, SCADA is utilised to monitor and control water treatment centres and wastewater collection and treatment facilities. 

Some other industries where SCADA systems have applications include: 

  • Seafood processing
  • Food and beverage processing
  • Pharmaceutical or Bio-tech
  • Energy pipelines and utilities
  • Energy management and refrigeration
  • Water and Wastewater management

The SCADA Timeline

  • A brief history of SCADA System

Before the introduction of SCADA systems, industrial businesses relied on manual controlling and monitoring by operators. With the expansion in the industrial site and remote sites, industries demanded more efficient ways to equip themselves. They introduced relays and timers to increase control over long distances without manual interaction with each device.

Though relays and timers added some automation capabilities to a certain extent, they became difficult to reconfigure and troubleshoot. With increased industrial operations, companies needed a more efficient and dynamic system that rendered more extensive automation functionality.

With computers coming into existence, industrial control and automation capabilities improved. Telemetry technology was also introduced, which enabled the automatic analysis and delivery of data. As microprocessors and Programmable Logic Controllers became more prevalent, these monitoring and control systems became known as sophisticated SCADA systems.

  • SCADA Systems today

With technological advancement, SCADA systems gain new functionality and play a pivotal role in IoT enabled smart factories and cities.

Today's SCADA systems can automatically assemble data in real-time from sensors located across buildings, making this data available to authorised employees via local servers or the Internet. These improved data acquisitions and supervision capabilities allow businesses to benefit from the advanced data analysis technologies available today. 

  • The future of the SCADA system 

With companies focussing on industry 4.0 technologies, SCADA systems will continue playing an indispensable role in industrial operations. Interconnections between different business systems and devices will increase with SCADA systems in times to come. As an outcome, SCADA will emerge to grow into a more open, reliable, adaptable and convenient method, driving the digital transformation.

Hopefully, now you understand what SCADA systems are and how carefully they need to be run to improve performance and maintain complete security of the facilities

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