SCADA or Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition is a system of hardware and software components that enables industrial firms to:
- Monitor industrial processes onsite or at a distant location
- Supervise, collect and process real-time data
- Interact with devices like valves, sensors, motors, pumps etc. directly through HMI (Human-Machine Interface) software
- Note events in a log file
SCADA monitoring system is crucial for industrial establishments because they help in processing data for faster decisions, maintaining efficiency and communicating system problems to help reduce downtime.
The basic SCADA design starts with RTUs (remote terminal units) or PLCs (programmable logic controllers). RTUs and PLCs are microcomputers that communicate with a range of objects like HMIs, factory machines, end devices and sensors, and then direct the information from those objects towards computers having SCADA software. The software then processes, displays and distributes the data, helping operators and other staff analyze the data and take crucial decisions.
For instance, the SCADA system alerts an operator fast that a batch of product is displaying a high incidence of faults. The operator then stops the operation and looks at the SCADA system data through an HMI to find the cause of the problem. He reviews the data and finds that Machine 3 was faulty. Thus the ability of the SCADA system to alert the operator to a problem helps him to fix it on time and stop further loss of the product.
Who can Use SCADA?
SCADA can be used by companies and industrial organizations in the private as well as public sectors to control and continue efficiency, distribute data for right decisions and communicate system problems to help reduce downtime. SCADA system is very useful in several different kinds of enterprises since they can range from basic configurations to complex, big installations. Thus SCADA systems are the backbone of several modern industries, such as:
- Food and beverage
- Oil and gas
- Water and wastewater
- And many more!
Almost anywhere you turn your eyes today, you can see some sort of SCADA system running behind the scene, ensuring manufacture and safety at a refinery, maintaining the air-conditioning system at a local supermarket, or even tracking your usage of energy at home.
The cyber security company CyberBit adds – Efficient SCADA systems can lead to considerable savings of money and time. Modern SCADA systems enables instant information from the plant floor to be accessed from anywhere on the earth. This makes it easy for governments, businesses as well as individuals to make data-based decisions about improving their processes.