Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) is a control system architecture that uses computers, networked data communications and graphical user interfaces for high-level process supervisory & control management. In doing so, it also uses other peripheral devices such as programmable logic controller (PLC & PAC) and discrete PID controllers to interface with the process plant or machinery in and out of the environment.
In short, SCADA is a system of software and hardware elements that allows industrial organizations (also other operational projects) to:
* Control industrial processes locally or at remote locations
* Monitor, gather, and process real-time data
* Directly interact with devices such as sensors, valves, pumps, motors, and more through human-machine interface (HMI) software and also from a remote area
* Record events into a log file for analytical purposes.
Effective SCADA systems can result in significant savings of time and money.
How it was introduced
Before the concept of SCADA was introduced in the mid-20th century, many manufacturing floors, industrial plants, and remote sites relied on personnel to manually control and monitor equipment via push buttons and analog dials. The first iteration of SCADA started off with mainframe computers. Networks as we know them today were not available and each SCADA system stood on its own.
As industrial floors and remotes site began to scale out in size, solutions were needed to control equipment over long distances. Industrial organizations started to utilize relays and timers to provide some level of supervisory control without having to send people to remote locations to interact with each device. But as time goes, relays and timers proved to be unsuitable for modern manufacturing. In the 1990s and early 2000s, building upon the distributed system model, SCADA adopted an incremental change by embracing an open system architecture and communications protocols that were not vendor-specific. This iteration of SCADA, called a networked SCADA system, took advantage of communications technologies such as Ethernet. Networked SCADA systems allowed systems from other vendors to communicate with each other, alleviating the limitations imposed by early SCADA systems, and allowed organizations to connect more devices to the network.
Traditional SCADA systems still use proprietary technology to handle data. Whether it is a data historian, a data connector, or other means of data transfer, the solution is messy and incredibly expensive. Modern SCADA systems aim to solve this problem by leveraging the best of controls and IT technology. For the modern SCADA, Iot and Artificial Intelligence modules will be connected to give it a certain level of autonomy.