SCADA: Operations and Benefits

Published On February 19, 2019 | By Lisa Patterson | Online World

SCADA stands for Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition. It is a system of software and hardware components which allows industries to monitor and control processes locally and remotely.

It is a system of software and hardware elements that work together to allow industrial organizations to monitor, record and process real-time data and directly interact with devices like valves, pumps, sensors, motors, and others through Human-Machine Interface (HMI).

WHAT DOES SCADA DO?

SCADA software manages and monitors industrial processes. SCADA systems are used to monitor and control plant equipment in industries.

A SCADA system monitors activities at a plant or manufacturing floor. SCADA systems could be really simple. It could monitor the environmental conditions of a small office building or monitor car movements to synchronize traffic light. Or it could be incredibly complex, like a system that monitors activities at a nuclear power plant.

The system does these things throughProgrammable Logic Controllers (PLCs) and Remote Terminal Units (RTUs) which are basic SCADA components. These two, PLCs and RTUs, are microcomputers that can interact with an array of objects and route information from those objects to computers with SCADA software. An operator can then use this information to make data-oriented decisions.

SCADA ICS Security systems have been extensively used in the following industries;

  • Oil and gas
  • Water and waste control
  • Utilities
  • Food and beverage
  • Transportation.

For instance, in the oil and gas industry, a SCADA system can be set up to monitor a leak. When there is, for instance, a gas leak, the SCADA system does what it has been programmed to do; which could be to either send an alarm to the operator at the HMI or to quickly close the supplying valve to minimize damages.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF SCADA SYSTEMS?

SCADA systems have proven their worth to industries over the years and its applications continue to grow globally. In the mid-20th century, before SCADA was introduced, many industrial plants and manufacturing floors relied on manual control and monitoring of equipment. However, this soon became a problem as manufacturing floors and remote sites grew. A solution was urgently needed. Hence, SCADA.

The benefits of SCADA are shown below;

  1. SCADA allows operators to control equipment from virtually anywhere globally. With the advent of mobile Human-Machine Interface, plants can be monitored from long remote distances.
  2. SCADA improves decision-making. In a typical SCADA system, data can be recorded and when it is needed, input into a historian, which is built on a commodity database management system. This allows operators to carry out trending and other analytical auditing.
  3. SCADA increases equipment life through real-time knowledge of system performance.
  4. SCADA helps with 24/7 real-time data surveillance from plants and remote sites.
  5. The system is customizable. There are various settings a client may apply to a SCADA system based on their preferences.

CONCLUSION

SCADA systems have completely revolutionized our industries in this modern age. Its applications are numerous and its capabilities are wide-reaching. Do more today, with SCADA.

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