SCADA is an acronym for Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition. SCADA is a computer system that was explicitly developed for gathering and analyzing real-time data. These systems are used in the monitoring and control of industrial equipment. They’re also used for plants such as water and waste control, telecommunications, energy, oil and gas refining, and transportation.
A SCADA system can be generally termed as any system that has an application that accesses real-time data about the system to control it. This technology has revolutionized the industrial sector since it can be used to automate almost any industrial process. In many countries, SCADA has spearheaded the adaptation of the industrial internet of things (IoT).
Today, there is a significant chance that you will come across a SCADA system if you work in fields such as the utility industry. Although there are several types of SCADA application software, most of them come with similar features. Whether you’re a key manager or an owner at an industrial company, it’s a smart idea for you to learn more about SCADA systems and how they work.
How SCADA works
The standard architecture of SCADA systems begins with RTUs or PLCs. RTU stands for remote terminal units, while PLC is an acronym for Programmable Logic Controllers. These two components are microcomputers designed to communicate and interact with different elements, such as factory machines, sensors, end devices, and HMIs. These communications are then relayed from the components to the computers that have the SCADA software installed.
The SCADA software receives and processes the information, which is then distributed and displayed. The operators or technicians analyze the displayed data and make informed decisions. SCADA can be used to analyze the condition of industrial equipment. The SCADA system also notifies the operator when something goes wrong in the production process, such as a product displaying a high number of errors.
Common problems encountered with SCADA
Even with the most sophisticated systems, malfunctions occur from time to time. The SCADA system may also indicate that it’s working during diagnostics, only to malfunction at a later date. This can be problematic if you’re trying to ensure your business or industrial plant is operating at its best. One of the most common problems encountered in the use of SCADA is the direct connection of the SCADA system to the external enterprise systems. This problem arises from the limited functionalities of these systems.
Even though most SCADA software comes with excellent storage systems, a vast number of them are incapable of supporting numerous external connections from third parties to the system. The performance of a SCADA system is decreased by the withdrawal of substantial amounts of data from the storage systems. A better data storage mechanism is to store the data directly to a process historian. Being isolated from the rest of the SCADA system allows for a more controlled data stream.
Other common problems include incorrect application, protocol stacking, application redundancy after the purchase of individual modules, and poor engineering. Most of these problems can be resolved by hiring a qualified SCADA maintenance company such as Telstar Instruments to service and diagnose your SCADA system.
Benefits of SCADA systems
SCADA systems can be used to automate several types of equipment that have to be handled manually by your employees. Switching to the SCADA software can help your workforce complete their tasks more efficiently. With the process analyzation features, SCADA systems can help in analyzing tasks that could be carried out more efficiently.
The initial cost of implementing SCADA systems is usually high. But you’ll save money in the long run by eliminating unnecessary expenses, such as medical bills of employees injured on the job. SCADA helps to make the workplace safer.
Money equals time for any business. SCADA helps you achieve more in less time and with less energy consumption. By automating the production processes, the systems eliminate human shortcomings such as fatigue.
Types of businesses that use SCADA
Many types of businesses can utilize SCADA systems for different applications. Electric utilities use SCADA systems to inspect line voltage and current flow in remote areas. These systems can also be applied in monitoring the operation of breakers.
SCADA can be used to regulate and control traffic lights and detect malfunctions. Managers and businesses also use SCADA software to monitor and control HVAC systems in their commercial spaces. The software packages can also be used in controlling other utilities, such as refrigeration and lighting.
Businesses can see huge benefits from SCADA systems. These systems come in handy for busy plant owners who can’t make regular visits to their industrial plants. To ensure that you benefit from your SCADA system, hire the best SCADA maintenance services. Industrial plant owners can also improve their businesses by adopting other innovations such as weighing technology.