What is SCADA Software? Overview, Features, Application of SCADA Software

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In this blog, we are going to cover a depth overview of SCADA Software.

SCADA is the short abbreviation of Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition.

As the name suggests SCADA mainly does three operations:

  • Supervise real-time data in the form of graphical presentation
  • Control industrial processes locally or through Remote locations
  • Acquire real-time data as well as logs data

SCADA system is an important factor of the industrial organization as they help to monitor process data as well as control the processes and easily detect any issue within the process thus reduce downtime.

Let’s start the blog,


What is SCADA Software?

SCADA is defined by Subnet Solutions,

“SCADA is an acronym for Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition. SCADA generally refers to an industrial computer system that monitors and controls a process.”


Basic Overview of SCADA Software

Generally, SCADA is completely a software package that helps to monitor the entire area of the plant. The basic architecture of the SCADA begins with Programmable Logic Controller(PLC) or Remote Terminal Units(RTUs).

As we know, PLC or RTUs are microprocessors that communicate with the field devices such as valves, pumps, sensors, HMIs, other end devices, etc. These devices route all this collected data from end devices to SCADA computers.

Then SCADA software processes distribute and display the data on the monitor to better understand the operator about the field condition.

For example, In a cement plant, there are various weighing scales. The operator is allowed to change the specific set rate for each weighing scales according to plant requirements.

SCADA displays the real-time process value of each weighing feeder and also logs the data.

scada software

SCADA Architecture

Application of SCADA

Today, many industries use SCADA applications to monitor as well as control the industrial process, to maintain efficiency, to reduce breakdown time and to analyze historical data.

SCADA systems are the backbone of the many modern industries like,

  • Oil & Gas
  • Energy
  • Transportation
  • Manufacturing
  • Food and Beverage
  • Power
  • Wastewater treatment
scada software

SCADA Example

SCADA is running everywhere in a simple to complex format, as an example, we can see the energy usage of our home with the help of this, a quality standard can be achieved with the help of this software are some common examples.


History of SCADA

At the earliest generation, mainframe computer is used, at that time network is not evolved. Each SCADA system worked with their own.

If the mainframe system got failed, then there is another backup mainframe system that was there. This is called the monolithic SCADA system.

Later that in the 1980s and 1990s, the size of the computer became smaller. Thanks to Local Area Networking(LAN) technology and PC-based HMI software, SCADA was becoming popular.

Now they were connected with other SCADA systems. This system is called the Distributed SCADA system.

In the 1990s to 2000s, SCADA has adopted an incremental change, SCADA began to implement open system architecture with a communication protocol that was not vendor-specific.

SCADA system allowed that different vendor systems now can communicate with each other. With the standard protocol such as Ethernet and internet access, the vulnerability of the system was also increased. But some standard security features also improved with the time.

This system is called the Networked SCADA system.

By the late 1990s to the early 2000s, a rapid incremental occurs in IT technology. The structured query language(SQL) database became the default database.

SCADA developers didn’t implement this database and this results SCADA system became out of date in quickly growing technology.

 

Current Day

Modern SCADA systems have a great advantage over the older SCADA system with changing in technologies and adopting newer IT technology such as SQL and web-based application, it is now possible to monitor real-time data from anywhere around the globe through the SCADA system.

It would be extremely difficult to gather real-time information without SCADA software. Modern SCADA software is rapidly improving and now it allows to design application relatively easily, even if they don’t have knowledge of software development.

With the modern IT standards, protocols and web-based applications introduce in SCADA software, which greatly improved its efficiency, security, productivity and reliability of SCADA systems.

Data analysis from a SCADA software is greatly improved with the historical data logging using the SQL server in SCADA application.


Features of SCADA System

1) Control Feature using Graphical Representation

The main aim of the SCADA system is to establish the control of the different machines of ground level from the main control center. In an industrial process, it is necessary to start and stop a manufacturing or industrial sequence.

With the help of SCADA, the operator can start and stop the different industrial sequences from the control center as well as monitor the status of different equipment.

Monitoring and controlling equipment from a text-only interface are sometimes complicated. SCADA can display control in a graphical manner, it will become very easy to understand the status of any equipment.

SCADA Software

SCADA Graphical Control Example

2) Real-time/Historical Trend Feature

The next useful feature of SCADA is Trend. Many times it is necessary for any industrial process that needs to be monitored as well as logged.

Trends are essential for any industrial automation system. SCADA system is capable to store the real-time data from fields, retrieve historical data and present them in a graphical manner.

SCADA Software

SCADA Trend Management

3) Alarm Handling

An alarm system is a system designed to direct the attention of the operator to significant aspects of the current state of the plant. SCADA can perform this task with high accuracy.

It can track deviation in the rate of change monitoring for analog values as well as a change in the digital input/output values. It can display historical alarm also.

SCADA Software

SCADA Alarm Management

4) Report Generation

SCADA provides an amazing functionality – Report. The user has to prepare a format in which they want a report. The user can select an event that triggers a report. There is also functionality that a user can generate a report manually at any time.

SCADA Software

SCADA Report Management

Advantages of SCADA System

  • Reduce Breakdown time by continuous monitoring of equipment status.
  • Reduce manpower costs required for operating and monitoring equipment in different areas.
  • Flexibility to give report generation in an auto manner as well as manual.
  • Provide remote access to real-time display, alarm, trend and report generation.
  • Provide flexibility to choose equipment and system based on performance.

Popular SCADA software brands

Some of the most common company that provide SCADA systems, which are largely used in Industries:

  • Siemens WinCC
  • Allen Bradley RSView
  • Invensys Wonderware Intouch
  • GE Fanuc Simplicity
  • Elipse E3 SCADA

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