The task of routinely supervising machines and industrial processes can be extremely exhausting. And these are processes that cannot be done without precision and perfect coordination. With so many assets to keep track of, finding the proper information can be difficult.

This is why engineers created equipment and sensors to reduce the frequency of these frequent checks, if not remove them entirely. Control systems and their various offshoots, such as SCADA systems, were born as a result. SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) makes it easy to keep track of sensors that are placed at a distance.

A Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system is used by many industrial enterprises. It enables operators to manage equipment and gain access to actionable data. Let’s have a look at how SCADA systems work.

SCADA Explained

SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition) is a sophisticated control system for gathering, analysing, and visualising data from industrial machinery. The system operates by using signals that connect over channels to provide the user remote control over any component in the system.

While these systems make a given infrastructure easier to manage, their components are rather intricate. A SCADA system is made up of five fundamental components including

  • Remote Terminal Units (RTUS)
  • Communication Infrastructures
  • HMI or Human Machine Interface
  • Supervisory System
  • Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs).

Core Functions of SCADA System

SCADA systems are critical in a variety of industries, including energy, oil and gas, water, and power. The system has a centralised system that monitors and controls whole sites and as a result, they help to maintain efficiency, process data to make better decisions, and notify system faults to save downtime.

Here are the core functions that a SCADA system performs:

  1. System monitoring & control

SCADA systems can be used to monitor industrial machinery, systems, or structures, such as power plants. This process can be begun either automatically or by operator commands.

Usually, different switches are used in SCADA systems to run each device and display the status in the control room. The switches can be used to turn on or off any portion of the process from the control station.

  1. Data collection and analysis

SCADA systems now collect digital data, which may include alerts, and pulse data in real time from sensors spread throughout a business. They then make this information available to authorised personnel via local servers or over the Internet. These improved data collecting, and administration capabilities enable businesses to take use of today’s powerful data analysis technology.

Furthermore, SCADA systems allow the operator to communicate with the connected devices. Thousands of components and sensors make up real-time systems, each of which collects data and ensures that every portion of a facility is functioning properly.

  1. System Notifications

Another advantage of SCADA is the automatic warning and response to system alarms. Operators and backup systems can respond faster to faults in the production process because they have instant information of the problem. This reduces equipment downtime and product waste.

  1. Reporting

SCADA systems combine with measuring equipment such as sensors across the infrastructure of industrial and manufacturing companies. It captures data in either analogue or digital format, then feeds it to RTUs or PLCs to be converted into actionable and useable data. The data is subsequently delivered to an HMI or other display, allowing operators to examine and interact with it.

SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition) is a sophisticated control system for gathering, analysing, and visualising data from industrial machinery. It will continue to play an important role in industrial operations as organisations increasingly focus on advancement in technology. As a result, SCADA will develop into a more open, secure, flexible, and accessible system, accelerating the digital transition.

Mick Pacholli

Mick created TAGG - The Alternative Gig Guide in 1979 with Helmut Katterl, the world's first real Street Magazine. He had been involved with his fathers publishing business, Toorak Times and associated publications since 1972.  Mick was also involved in Melbourne's music scene for a number of years opening venues, discovering and managing bands and providing information and support for the industry. Mick has also created a number of local festivals and is involved in not for profit and supporting local charities.        

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