Five letters are decisive for the success and future perspective of many companies. It is a matter of monitoring automated processes as completely and clearly as possible. In energy companies and manufacturing companies, for foodstuffs manufacturers and pharmaceutical companies. It is a matter of the control of different machines as directly and accurately as possible. Often in heterogeneous environments with very different "languages". It is a matter of acquiring data quickly and correctly. From machines and control units, from ERP systems and MES. From different sources from simple text lists and tables through to proprietary software. Five letters that open whole worlds: SCADA – in whole words: Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition. Or to put it another way: Visualization, control and collection of operating data.
SCADA – vertically integrated
SCADA already applies to the lowest level of automation. For example, data is collected by means of sensors and measuring devices, settings are requested. A level above this, SCADA systems allow the monitoring of pre-set values, the entry of set values and other controlling interventions. The values collected in the lowest level are presented as clearly and understandably as possible and allow user interventions. And one level higher, Engineers get an overview, plans, document and safeguard the regulated processes. Physical and calculated data points form the framework of the SCADA system. They provide values and a time stamp, which allows the monitoring and control, as well as reporting, in real time or with historic data.
SCADA and communication
For communication with different machines, devices and software products, SCADA systems must master a range of technologies. Starting with simple serial connections, through field bus systems to complex redundant network constructions. SCADA systems are often operated in conjunction with HMI applications and production-level reporting. SCADA systems should master not only all common norms and standards such as OPC UA, various IEC protocols or Modbus, but also proprietary systems and different hardware.
Evolution of SCADA
SCADA – Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition – is in a state of constant development. SCADA systems increasingly ensure more flexible processes, take the strain of users, take on more and more routine tasks in an automated manner, "think" along with the task and increase the quality of the industrial workplaces of automotive engineering and machine building through to pharma and F&B to energy and building services. This is how SCADA systems improve production environments and building automation.