The acronym SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) refers to the supervision, control and data acquisition that takes place in remote industrial processes. It is a type of software application program for process control. SCADA systems are used to monitor and control equipment in the industrial process including manufacturing, production and development. A SCADA system collects the meter reading and verifies the status of the sensors at regular intervals so that the least possible human intervention is required.
In an industry a large number of processes take place concurrently and each of the processes that need to be monitored because both the information and the results they require are very diverse. The SCADA system collects data from specific sensors and instruments at a certain remote location, the team processes that data and offers it in the most appropriate way for better process control.
SEVEN ASPECTS TO CONSIDER
When choosing the optimal SCADA system for each industrial company, you have to think about both the present and the future of the company. Ideally, the solution chosen meets the more requirements that are better than those outlined below in order to provide greater competitiveness, lower costs and increased productivity.
Universality and compatibility
In order to have greater flexibility and not have to rectify the time after having made the investment, it is best that the SCADA is chosen both compatible and universal. For example, if a SCADA system only works in a Windows environment, it is not a recommended solution.
SCADA must be a multiprotocol system and cover most known PLCs or RTUs and their protocols to maintain versatility. If it is not possible to connect a SCADA to a PLC, the error can be very expensive both in time and economically. Communication with existing hardware in the industry is an essential element when making the decision of what to invest in.
Although there are several protocols that a SCADA system should support (OPC UA, Modbus, ProfiNet and EtherNet / IP), the most suitable in the long term is the OPC UA of unified architecture. It guarantees the best connectivity to PLCs and RTUs and most PLC manufacturers will secure the power to provide a native OPC UA controller for PLCs in the future.
Secure access is one of the key elements of the quality supervision system. The system must protect against unprotected users, cyber criminals and any other threats that may occur. Security is one of the parameters of the SCADA system that not only cannot be waived, but must not be spared during the selection process.
It is also very important to choose the correct SCADA system that allows future expansion, in aspects such as access to an unlimited number of clients or the possibility of having a connection for more PLCs, even from multiple providers.
The concept of the SCADA system to choose must be linked to that of Industry 4.0. At the end of the day, from the same industry new products are developed, it will push that the supplier with which it is going to count, must also be involved in the improvement and updating of its services.
A customized solution
When it comes to having a SCADA system that is as personalized as possible and that adjusts to the corporate identity strategy of the industrial company, there is nothing better than a medium or small-sized supplier, which usually adjusts much more than large companies to when meeting customer requirements.
Services and costs
Buying a product is the beginning of a process. Software installation, professional maintenance training, personnel, process optimization, or periodic inspections may or may not be included in the price. And in any case, it is necessary to know how these aspects are contemplated in each alternative, both in terms of prices and availability to avoid delays in production.
In principle, a SCADA system with a higher or lower price does not have to be better. The variety is so wide and the casuistry of the offer too, that it should not be a decisive factor at first glance. Also keep in mind that many of the small and medium-sized providers compete with the big ones without the biggest problem. Unlike what happens in other aspects of the industry, in the SCADA system, more expensive does not mean that it is better.
One of the services to take into account when making the screen to choose the ideal SCADA system is the possibility that the supplier offers a mobile application with which to connect with the factory at any time from the desired location. It is both the present and the future of factory monitoring, but not all potential vendors yet offer an optimal mobile solution.