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What is SCADA system?

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1. What is SCADA?

SCADA (Abbreviation of Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition) in the traditional sense is a control system that monitors and collects data. To assist people in the process of remote monitoring and control.

By definition, SCADA is a system of software and hardware elements that allows industrial organizations to:

+ Control industrial processes locally or remotely

+ Track, collect and process real-time data

+ Interact directly with devices such as sensors, valves, pumps, motors and more via the human machine interface software (HMI)

+ Log the event to a log file or database

SCADA systems are important for industry organizations as they help maintain efficiency, process data for smarter decisions and communicate system issues to help minimize downtime.

The basic SCADA architecture starts with a programmable logic controller (PLC) or remote terminal (RTU). PLCs and RTUs are computers that communicate with a variety of objects such as factory machines, HMIs, sensors and terminals, then route information from those objects to the computer using SCADA software. SCADA software processes, distributes and displays data, helping operators and other employees analyze data and make important decisions.

2. The basic structure of a SCADA system

All SCADA systems have the following main components:

+ Peripherals: including sensors, measuring devices, converters and actuators.

+ Intermediate data collection stations: are remote terminal units RTU (Remote Terminal Units) or PLC (Programmable Logic Controllers) that communicate with actuators.

+ Communication system: includes industrial communication networks, telecommunication equipment and multiplexing converters that transmit field-level data to control blocks and servers.

+ Monitoring control system: includes SCADA software and HMI (Human Machine Interface).

In the SCADA system, the data collection process is performed first in the process of RTUs scanning information obtained from actuators connected to them. The time taken to perform this task is called the internal scan time. Servers scan the RTUs (at a slower rate) to collect data from these RTUs.

For control, the server sends the request signal to the RTU, thereby allowing the RTU to send the control signal directly to the device executing the task.

3. When to need a SCADA system?

The SCADA system is used by industrial organizations and public and private sector companies to effectively control and maintain, distribute data for smarter decisions, and communicate issues. system to help minimize downtime

SCADA systems work well in many different types of businesses because they can range from simple configurations to large, complex installations. The SCADA system is the backbone of many modern industries, including:

+ Energy

+ Food and beveragem

+ Manufacturing

+ Oil and gas

+ Power

+ Recycling

+ Transportation

+ Water and waste water

+ And many more

Almost anywhere you see in the world today there are several types of SCADA systems running in the background, for example: maintaining supermarket cooling systems, ensuring production safety at the refinery. oil, quality standards at your wastewater treatment plant or even monitor your home energy use.

Effective SCADA systems can save considerable time and money. Many case studies have been published highlighting the benefits and savings of using modern SCADA software solutions such as :

  • Radiflow SCADA
  • Siemens WinCC Professional SCADA
  • Mitsubishi MC-Works64 SCADA
  • Omron CX-Supervisor SCADA
  • Intouch Wonderware SCADA
  • Rockwell Factory SCADA

3.1 Advantages of SCADA

With the above mechanism, a SCADA system will allow businesses to collect, manage data, interact and control the operation of machinery and equipment such as valves, pumps or motors, as well as storing all the information in server files. Thanks to superior features, SCADA system has been applied in many modern industries such as energy, food, oil and gas, transportation, water and waste treatment, etc. With some Outstanding advantages such as:

+ Improve productivity: thanks to the analysis of production processes, managers can use this information to increase production efficiency and technical improvement.

+ Improve product quality: also through the analysis of activities, managers can find ways to limit and prevent errors in the production process.

+ Reduce operating and maintenance costs: when a SCADA system is installed, businesses will not need too many personnel for the management and supervision of field equipment located in remote locations. Besides, businesses also do not have to pay for trips to check, maintain far, so the maintenance costs will also be reduced.

+ Capital preservation: when factory owners invest in upgrading their operations, they need to ensure that the upgrade is of long-term use. An openly designed SCADA system will allow the investor to modify, vary depending on the production scale, thereby helping to eliminate losses over time.

4. The formation of SCADA

To understand the origins of SCADA, we must understand the problems that industry organizations are trying to solve. Before the SCADA concept was introduced in the mid-20th century, many manufacturing floors, industrial plants and remote sites relied on personnel to control and monitor manually via buttons and analog dials.

As the industrial floor and the remote control site start to expand in scale, solutions are needed to control equipment over long distances. Industry organizations began using relays and timers to provide some level of surveillance control without having to send people to remote locations to interact with each device. While relays and timers solve many problems by providing limited automation, more problems start to arise as organizations continue to scale. Relays and timers are difficult to reconfigure, fault finding, and control panels take up a lot of system space. A more efficient and fully automated control and monitoring system is needed.

In the early 1950s, computers were first developed and used for industrial control. Control monitors began to become popular among the main utilities, oil and gas pipelines, and other industrial markets at that time. In the 1960s, telemetry was set up to monitor, allowing automated communications to transmit measurements and other data from remote control devices to surveillance equipment. The term “SCADA” was coined in the early 1970s, and the proliferation of microprocessors and PLCs in that decade increased the ability to monitor and control automated processes of businesses.

4.1 SCADA development

The first session of SCADA started with mainframe. Networks as we know them today are unavailable and each SCADA system stands alone. These systems are now called monolithic SCADA systems.

In the 1980s and 1990s, SCADA continued to grow thanks to smaller computer systems, LAN technology and HMI software developed on PC platforms. Early SCADA systems could be connected to other similar systems. Many LAN protocols used in these systems are proprietary, giving vendors control over how to optimize data transmission. However, these systems are not able to communicate with systems from other vendors. These systems are called distributed SCADA systems.

In the 1990s and early 2000s, building on a distributed system model, SCADA made a change by increasing the use of an open system architecture and non-home communication protocols. specific offer. This iteration of SCADA, called networked SCADA system, takes advantage of communication technologies such as Ethernet. Networked SCADA systems allow systems from other vendors to communicate with each other, reduce restrictions imposed by older SCADA systems and allow organizations to connect more devices with network.

While SCADA systems have undergone significant evolutionary changes, many industry organizations continue to struggle with access to industrial data from the enterprise level. In the late 1990s to the early 2000s, a technological boom occurred and personal computers and IT technology accelerated in development. Structured query language database (SQL) has become the standard for IT databases but has not been accepted by SCADA developers. This led to a rift between control and IT fields, and SCADA technology became obsolete over time.

Traditional SCADA systems still use proprietary technology to process data. Whether it’s a data historian, a data connection, or other data media, this solution is cluttered and extremely expensive. The modern SCADA system aims to solve this problem by making the best use of control tools and information technology.

4.2 Modern and future SCADA system

Modern SCADA systems allow real-time data from factories to anywhere in the world. This access to real-time information allows governments, businesses and individuals to make data-driven decisions about how to improve their processes. Without SCADA software, it would be extremely difficult to not collect enough data to make an informed decision.

In addition, most modern SCADA applications have rapid application development (RAD) capabilities that allow users to design applications relatively easily, even if they do not have extensive knowledge of software development.

The introduction of modern IT standards such as SQL and web-based applications into SCADA software has greatly improved the efficiency, security, productivity, and reliability of SCADA systems.

SCADA software uses the power of SQL database to provide great advantages compared to ancient SCADA software. A great advantage of using SQL database with a SCADA system is that it makes it easier to integrate into existing MES and ERP systems, allowing data to flow continuously through the entire organization.

Historical data from a SCADA system can also be written to SQL databases, allowing easier data analysis through data trends.

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