If there’s any acronym that will be more than familiar to those in such industries as water and waste control, energy, oil and gas, telecommunications and transportation, it is SCADA, referring to supervisory control and data acquisition. This is the term for a computer system that gathers and analyses real time data from industrial processes, as has such fundamental importance in the monitoring and control of a plant or equipment. Certainly, Oriel Systems (http://www.orielsystems.com) is noted for the high standard of its own AWAX SCADA software, which is as cost-effective as it is cutting edge.
SCADA systems are types of industrial control system (ICS) that have been historically distinguished from other such systems by the large scale processes involved, potentially encompassing very large distances and multiple sites. Examples can include industrial processes like manufacturing, fabrication, production, refining and power generation, or public or private infrastructure processes like wastewater collection and treatment, oil and gas pipelines, large communication systems and water treatment and distribution.
Also potentially covered by SCADA systems are facility processes in various public and private buildings, ships, airports and space stations, with the likes of ventilation, heating and air conditioning systems being monitored and controlled. There are various subsystems that tend to make up a SCADA system, including the human-machine interface or HMI that presents the human operator with processed data, which enables the monitoring and control of the process. Other subsystems include a supervisory (computer) system that acquires data and sends demands, as well as the remote terminal units (RTUs) that connect to sensors, converting sensor signals into digital data that is then sent to the supervisory system.
When people talk about SCADA, they are generally referring to centralised systems for the monitoring and control of entire sites, if not complexes of systems of a large geographical spread. So the term could refer to the processes of one industrial plant, or an entire nation. It is the RTU at which the remote monitoring systems begin acquiring data, with the resultant meter readings or equipment status reports being communicated to SCADA as required. This is followed by the compilation and formatting of the data in such a way that supervisory decisions to override or adjust normal RTU controls can be made by a control room operator making use of the HMI.
Those with an interest in the most reliable, scalable and powerful telemetry systems – of which AWAX SCADA software can be a key part – are advised to get in touch with Oriel Systems’ (http://www.orielsystems.com) technical team. The company’s own SCADA software connects to its own range of remote units, as well as to most programmable logic controllers (PLCs)and various other hardware types, including the remote units of other vendors. Continual program development has seen the introduction of greater functionality to the software, so that it embraces the most recent technological advances and remains absolutely relevant to current needs.