Supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) software is a remote monitoring and control system that oversees automated processes in all kinds of factories. Manufacturers use SCADA to keep tabs on operations that require high-level supervisory control and real-time data acquisition.
SCADA benefits a wide range of industries and applications, and facility owners can seamlessly integrate SCADA systems with almost any production equipment. SCADA can even control some domestic applications, such as smart fridges and home security systems.
Some of the biggest industries that use SCADA include:
- Oil and gas
- Food and beverage
- Power and energy
SCADA’s Role in Data Collection
Instead of collecting and filing data by hand, SCADA automatically compiles and delivers information about your facility’s production processes to a central hub. This system sends digitized information in real time, and it also automatically compiles backlogs of all collected data for easy analysis later. This is known as a process historian and commonly uses a SQL database.
Collecting data regarding plant and machinery performance allows you to detect potential problems before they affect your workflow. At their core, SCADA systems rely on microcomputers called programmable logic controllers (PLCs) and remote terminal units (RTUs). PLCs and RTUs communicate with objects like machines and sensors within your factory and send gathered information to central processing hubs. These central processors analyze the data and distribute it to the appropriate parties.
Five Important SCADA Components for Data Collection
SCADA consists of five main components, outlined below:
Field instrumentation refers to the array of monitors and transmitters on the factory floor that SCADA applications use. These sensors detect changes in productivity or processes and send them to the central hub. Field instrumentation comes in a variety of forms, such as proximity sensors, temperature and pressure sensors, machine vision systems, energy monitors, and more.
Field controllers (RTUs/PLCs)
RTUs and PLCs collect and compile data supplied by field instrumentation, preparing it for display and analysis by the human–machine interface. RTUs rely on microprocessors to convert data collected from sensors into usable data for the central hub. PLCs operate more locally, allowing users to interface directly with sensors and make changes without affecting the entire SCADA system.
Human–machine interface (HMI)
HMI devices are master units that allow humans to supervise the SCADA data acquisition process. Serving as the system’s central processor, the HMI also allows users to regulate and modify the system as needed. Operators also use HMIs to interact with the gathered data through graphical user interfaces, usually computer monitors, and compile reports for later use.
Network connectivity (field buses, protocols, etc.)
The SCADA system relies on maintaining integrated network connectivity throughout its operation. Facilities can achieve this using both wired lines and wireless options, connecting conversion units to the master unit through either landlines or the internet. Most facilities have specialized networks on which they run their SCADA operations, securing their system from benign interference from other applications as well as unlawful intrusion. Edge gateway products can even provide secure access to authorized users or devices from a remote location.
Database or historian (cloud or on-premise)
After analyzing and processing the data gathered by your SCADA system, you need physically and digitally secure places to store it. Historian software collects time-stamped data within the HMI, helping you arrange it into an optimal format before storing it in a database. Most systems also use structured query language (SQL) or web-based applications to integrate manufacturing execution systems (MESs) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, making it easier to convert data between different parts of your network.
Top-Quality SCADA Solutions at Digitronik Labs
Digitronik Labs uses the power of Inductive Automation’s Ignition SCADA, a comprehensive and modern SCADA package that will benefit manufacturers in any industry, to help your facility thrive. Ignition SCADA greatly helps with your facility’s data acquisition, transmission, and presentation, allowing you to more quickly detect problems and find efficient solutions. Ignition provides modules for all manner of industrial connectivity, data storage, alarming and events, reporting, and even MES functionality.
With Ignition SCADA, monitoring critical factors within your organization and accessing the resulting data has never been easier. Contact us today to learn how Ignition will revolutionize your SCADA strategy.