SCADA - Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition
SCADA stands for Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition, a term which describes the basic functions of a SCADA system. Companies use SCADA systems to control equipment across their sites and to collect and record data about their operations. SCADA is not a specific technology, but a type of application. Any application that gets operating data about a system in order to control and optimise that system is a SCADA application. That application may be a petrochemical distillation process, a water filtration system, a pipeline compressor, or just about anything else.
SCADA solutions typically come in a combination of software and hardware elements, such as programmable logic controllers (PLCs) and remote terminal units (RTUs). Data acquisition in SCADA starts with PLCs and RTUs, which communicate with plant floor equipment such as factory machinery and sensors. Data gathered from the equipment is then sent to the next level, such as a control room, where operators can supervise the PLC and RTU controls using human-machine interfaces (HMIs). HMIs are an important element of SCADA systems. They are the screens that operators use to communicate with the SCADA system.
The major components of a SCADA technology include:
- Master Terminal Unit (MTU). It comprises a computer, PLC and a network server that helps MTU to communicate with the RTUs. MTU begins communication, collects and saves data, helps to interface with operators and to communicate data to other systems.
- Remote Terminal Unit (RTU). RTU is used to collect information from these sensors and further sends the data to MTU. RTUs have the storage capacity facility. So, it stores the data and transmits the data when MTU sends the corresponding command.
- Communication Network (defined by its network topology). In general, network means connection. When you tell a SCADA communication network, it is defined as a link between RTU in the field to MTU in the central location. The bidirectional wired or wireless communication channel is used for the networking purpose. Various other communication mediums like fiber optic cables, twisted pair cables, etc. are also used.
Objectives of Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition system
- Monitor: SCADA control system continuously monitors the physical parameters
- Measure: It measures the parameter for processing
- Data Acquisition: It acquires data from RTU, data loggers, etc
- Data Communication: It helps to communicate and transmit a large amount of data between MTU and RTU units
- Controlling: Online real-time monitoring and controlling of the process
- Automation: It helps for automatic transmission and functionality
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F.A.Q about SCADA - Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition
Who Uses SCADA?
SCADA systems are used by industrial organizations and companies in the public and private sectors to control and maintain efficiency, distribute data for smarter decisions, and communicate system issues to help mitigate downtime. Supervisory control systems work well in many different types of enterprises because they can range from simple configurations to large, complex installations. They are the backbone of many modern industries, including:
- Food and beverage
- Oil and gas
- Water and waste water
- And many more
Virtually anywhere you look in today's world, there is some type of SCADA monitoring system running behind the scenes: maintaining the refrigeration systems at the local supermarket, ensuring production and safety at a refinery, achieving quality standards at a waste water treatment plant, or even tracking your energy use at home, to give a few examples. Effective SCADA systems can result in significant savings of time and money. Numerous case studies have been published highlighting the benefits and savings of using a modern SCADA software.
Benefits of using SCADA software
Using modern SCADA software provides numerous benefits to businesses, and helps companies make the most of those benefits. Some of these advantages include:
Easier engineering: An advanced supervisory control application such provides easy-to-locate tools, wizards, graphic templates and other pre-configured elements, so engineers can create automation projects and set parameters quickly, even if they don't have programming experience. In addition, you can also easily maintain and expand existing applications as needed. The ability to automate the engineering process allows users, particularly system integrators and original equipment manufacturers (OEM), to set up complex projects much more efficiently and accurately.
Improved data management: A high-quality SCADA system makes it easier to collect, manage, access and analyze your operational data. It can enable automatic data recording and provide a central location for data storage. Additionally, it can transfer data to other systems such as MES and ERP as needed.
Greater visibility: One of the main advantages of using SCADA software is the improvement in visibility into your operations. It provides you with real-time information about your operations and enables you to conveniently view that information via an HMI. SCADA monitoring can also help in generating reports and analyzing data.
Enhanced efficiency: A SCADA system allows you to streamline processes through automated actions and user-friendly tools. The data that SCADA provides allows you to uncover opportunities for improving the efficiency of the operations, which can be used to make long-term changes to processes or even respond to real-time changes in conditions.
Increased usability: SCADA systems enable workers to control equipment more quickly, easily and safely through an HMI. Rather than having to control each piece of machinery manually, workers can manage them remotely and often control many pieces of equipment from a single location. Managers, even those who are not currently on the floor, also gain this capability.
Reduced downtime: A SCADA system can detect faults at an early stage and push instant alerts to the responsible personnel. Powered by predictive analytics, a SCADA system can also inform you of a potential issue of the machinery before it fails and causes larger problems. These features can help improve the overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) and reduce the amount of time and cost on troubleshooting and maintenance.
Easy integration: Connectivity to existing machine environments is key to removing data silos and maximizing productivity.
Unified platform:All of your data is also available in one platform, which helps you to get a clear overview of your operations and take full advantage of your data. All users also get real-time updates locally or remotely, ensuring everyone on your team is on the same page.