What is SCADA?
SCADA, or supervisory control and data acquisition, is software used to locally and remotely monitor and control industrial equipment. The software works by gathering data that could affect performance and displaying that data as actionable information. While SCADA can become an integral part of operations, the software is installed over the top of a system and is not required for the system to work. Therefore, SCADA could shut down, but the machine, line, or facility can continue to operate normally.
The core functions of SCADA include:
- System monitoring
- Local or remote control of industrial processes
- Data collection and analysis
To perform these functions, SCADA is integrated into programmable logic controllers (PLC), as well as HMIs, sensors, and networked devices. The software then gathers data and displays the resulting information to operators and management. These displays could be in the form of dashboards, charts, tables, or animated graphics on an HMI or remote monitor. In addition, users can create historical performance reports over any time scale or process variables for all their equipment, devices, and facility.
For system monitoring and control, SCADA can be both local and global. This enables users to communicate with their machines locally or remotely in real-time. SCADA can also communicate with external systems such as enterprise resource planning software (ERP), manufacturing execution systems (MES), and historical databases.
SCADA Platforms & Applications
There are numerous SCADA platforms on the market; however, the most popular platforms include Rockwell Factory Talk, Siemens WinCC, Wonderware Systems Platform, and Ignition. Each of these systems can be integrated with modern web languages such as HTML5, Python, and PHP, along with generalized database software such as SQL.
Energy-use monitoring and metrics is a common application for a SCADA system. In this application, the software can analyze energy use data taken from connected equipment and use that data to cut costs and energy waste.
SCADA is also often used for statistical process control (SPC) and overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) analysis. For manufacturers who want software systems with more powerful functionality, Process Solutions has developed DAQuery Data Systems. While sharing much of the same functionality as a SCADA system, DAQuery adds cloud-based storage and data analytics, along with more in-depth reports and metrics, live data feeds, and machine learning capabilities.
Who is Using SCADA
Process Solutions has completed SCADA projects for clients across a wide range of industries:
- Food and beverage processing
- Water/Wastewater management
- HVAC and commercial building management
- Energy pipelines and utilities
- Seafood processing
- Sorting and fulfillment
- Energy management and refrigeration
How Can SCADA Help You?
Applying SCADA to your systems can decrease production waste and boost overall efficiency by accurately converting data into actionable information. In the hands of operators and management, the information derived from a SCADA system can facilitate data-driven decisions and lead to optimal production output.
Another benefit of SCADA is more efficient system alerts, which can help reduce equipment downtime. Through this process, the software essentially becomes a backup for your standard alarming.
Finally, the ability to control equipment remotely allows users to make real-time-factory floor adjustments that can lead to savings in both energy and production costs.
At Process Solutions, we have built a team of certified SCADA engineers that work with our clients to develop custom systems that can operate in any manufacturing environment. For more information about SCADA software or to request a software demonstration, please contact us to discuss your requirements.
About Process Solutions, Inc.
Located near Seattle Washington, Process Solutions is the Northwest’s largest control systems integrator. With 30+ years in business and over 100 engineers and technicians on staff, Process Solutions has the knowledge, experience, and capacity to take on almost any automation project. Process Solutions provides a wide range of automation services, including custom electrical control panels, PLC and HMI programming, industrial and collaborative robots, energy management and refrigeration systems, SCADA software, and data science and analytics. For more information, please visit www.processsolutions.com.