SCADA stands for Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition. It’s essentially a system of software and hardware elements that allows industrial organizations to perform key functions, such as:
- Monitor, gather and process real-time data
- Control industrial processes locally or at remote locations
- Record events into a log file
- Directly interact with devices such as sensors, valves, pumps, motors and more through human-machine interface (HMI) software
SCADA systems are crucial for industrial organizations. SCADA helps to maintain efficiency, process data for smarter decisions, and communicate system issues to help mitigate downtime.
Programmable logic controllers (PLCs) and remote terminal units (RTUs) form the basic SCADA architecture.
PLCs and RTUs are microcomputers that communicate with an array of objects such as factory machines, HMIs, sensors and end devices, and then route the information from those objects to computers with SCADA software.
SCADA software processes, distributes and displays the data, helping operators and other employees analyze the data and make important decisions.
An example of how a SCADA system works would be in the gas and oil industry for monitoring pipelines. When a leak occurs, a SCADA system gathers information, such as where the leak in the pipeline occurred, then transfers the information back to a central site. This sets off an alert to the home station that a leak has taken place. SCADA also performs necessary analysis and control, including a determination if the leak is critical and then displaying the information in a logical and organized way.
SCADA systems can be relatively simple, such as one that monitors environmental conditions of a small office building, or incredibly complex, such as a system that monitors all the activity in a nuclear power plant or the activity of a municipal water system.
There’s much more to learn about SCADA. Tonex offers several different SCADA training courses.
Additionally, Tonex offers nearly 400 classes, seminars and workshops in close to four dozen categories of systems engineering training.
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