SCADA

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What is SCADA System?

SCADA stands for Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition.  SCADA system is a software system that helps the users monitor and control the industrial processes from a control room. SCADA systems optimize the process, reduce cost, increase efficiency, and improve quality.

Where is SCADA used?

Industries like Oil and Gas, Effluent Treatment Plant, Food and Beverages, Buildings, and other Manufacturing sites use SCADA systems.

SCADA use cases

  • SCADA in Effluent Treatment Plant
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Manufacturing facilities use water as one of the raw materials in the production or for other purposes. Wastewater is one of the outcomes of a Manufacturing Process. As per the government guidelines, Factories have to teat the wastewater before sending it back to the environment. So, Wastewater treatment becomes a critical process to monitor using a SCADA system. 

Check how Effluent Treatment Plant works.

Check how Daacoworks offers a software solution for ETP plant

  • SCADA in Oil and Gas
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Operators monitor the pipelines in the oil and gas industry using the SCADA system. SCADA system notifies the user of any critical issues found in the pipelines. Pipelines are laid in miles distance. So, a centralized SCADA system is a must for the oil and gas industry.

  • SCADA in Power Distribution
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SCADA software controls peak hour demand, maintains power factor, controls the Feeders and Breakers, maintains the quality of Harmonic Distortions.

  • SCADA in Food and Beverages

Food and Beverages industry uses the SCADA system extensively to monitor the temperature of the food process, mixture of solid ingredients, change of recipe and formula. 

  • SCADA in Buildings

The Facility Management Team uses SCADA to monitor the functions of the HVAC devices and control them. Controlling Air Handling Unit and Fan Coil Unit, Maintaining Temperature are some of the functions the operator will perform on SCADA. Duct air temperature, AHU Filter status, Status of Fan Motor are some of the parameters to monitor in the SCADA interface. 

Evolution of SCADA System

There is always a demand for low cost, good quality, and high productivity no matter which era we are in. SCADA system has evolved over a while due to a consistent demand for cost, quality, and productivity. 

  • First Generation SCADA: Mainframe based 

Mainframe Computer and COBOL programming language were introduced in the 1950s for computing certain complex tasks. During the same time Manufacturing industry introduced Remote Terminal Units to automate production activities.

Remote Terminal Unit (RTU) is a logic controller with a built-in Human Machine Interface(HMI) which controls the automation logic. A site operator used to stand next to the RTU to monitor the operation and control it.  Timers and Relays were used in the RTU to perform the automation logic. Analog Dial was used in the HMI to display the current status.  

 

Manufacturers were adding more production lines to increase the supply and beat the competition. They realized the need for a control center to control the production lines from a central location. Mainframe Computer was introduced into industrial automation to monitor the production line from a central location. Mainframe Computer was having a direct connection to each RTU.

  • Second Generation SCADA: PC based 

To reduce the cost of SCADA implementation, the industry wanted to leverage the benefit of IP based LAN network. SCADA functionality was distributed to individual PCs. The PC and RTU/PLC were connected in a LAN network. The cost and Complexity of SCADA were reduced significantly. In both the First and Second Generation, proprietary communication protocols were widely used.

 

In the late 1970s, Modicon had published the specification of the Modbus protocol. Initially, Modbus was introduced as Modbus RTU a serial communication protocol to use in the RS232/RS485 serial ports. Modbus follows the client and server or Request and Response standard. Remote Terminal Unit or PLC implements Modbus Server functionality. PC-based SCADA used Modbus Client functionality to poll the RTU to get real-time data about the production line. Modbus also was evolved from a serial network ( 3 layers) to OSI network (7 layers) to adapt to the Local Area Network. Modbus TCP, Modbus UDP, and other variants of Modbus protocols were introduced. 

There are plenty of Modbus Implementations are available on the internet. We also have implemented Modbus TCP and UDP in Java to increase throughput as there were some gaps in the existing implementations that are available on the internet. Check the performance benchmark of our Modbus implementation.

 

Like Modbus, many more industrial standard protocols were introduced by various vendors. For example, Ethernet, BACnet, Profibus, etc. 

 

SCADA software was having multiple responsibilities within a PC like Data polling and logging, Data Visualisation, Data Historian, Control, and Monitoring.  

 

With the advent of low-cost PC, functionalities of SCADA is distributed across LAN network. Microsoft technologies were mostly used to build SCADA software. C and Python programming languages were used to develop the protocol layer.

  • Third Generation SCADA: Network based 

The need for a SCADA solution was increasing to monitor and control the industrial process beyond the LAN network as automation took place at multiple locations. For example, in Oil and Gas industry, Pipes were laid miles distance. The user wants to monitor the state of the valves and control the same from a remote location. Wide Area Network was used to connect the SCADA system with RTUs deployed at remote sites. Users can close and open the valves on the SCADA interface from a remote location. This helps them save costs and improve productivity. 


Open Source technologies like Linux, Java were used to build SCADA solutions. HMI Software and User Interface were developed as desktop-based applications.

  • Fourth Generation SCADA: Internet based

In this phase, SCADA leverages the benefit of the internet.  With the help of the internet, any field device like Sensors, PLC, Robots, CNC Machines, HVAC devices, etc. can be monitored and controlled from a remote location.  Cloud-based SCADA and web-based HMI are the new trends now. People want to monitor from anywhere, anytime, and any device.

Daacoworks joined in this phase of SCADA evolution. We offer Prism, an IIoT platform that comprises SCADA, Data Historian, Alarms, Notifications, and Remote Access. Prism is available as an On-Premise, Hosted, and Cloud-based IIoT solution that suites any industry and addresses customer's needs at various scales. 

 

Check the Prism's IIoT Solution Architecture.