By: Allan Evora
Our most-loved SCADA blog posts
We’ve published over 50 blog posts on a variety of subjects, ranging from mastering DCOI, how to install current transformers, and prioritizing SCADA alarms, to submetering, SCADA implementation schedules, and more.
To give you an inside look into what others are reading, we pulled together a list of our most-loved SCADA blog posts to inspire you.
It’s interesting what our most popular SCADA blog posts say about our readers. All three posts about alarming are in the top 7 list, definitely signaling alarming as a trend and big concern to readers. The remaining posts in our top SCADA blog post list revolve around the logistics of SCADA, why you should upgrade, and how long it takes.
Looking for PV solar-specific SCADA blog posts? Here’s our list of top 7 most popular solar SCADA blog posts.
Finding the right control system integrator can be a challenging process. You want to make sure your integrator is the best choice to address all your needs and goals in a prioritized manner. You want to ensure the systems they integrate are reliable and operate correctly. Choosing the wrong integrator can result in delays, miscommunication, longer downtime, and long-term problems.
Here are five key questions from Affinity Energy’s own engineers to help you determine if a potential integrator is a good fit before signing your next contract.
Some companies have budgets and processes for routine SCADA software and hardware upgrades, but there are a lot of reasons that might necessitate an upgrade before reaching that point. There are a many things to consider, like scarcity of replacement hardware parts, mobile support, and security upgrades. Upgrades might require reconsidering what you actually want your SCADA system to do.
But down to the big question…is upgrading an old SCADA system even worth it? Turns out, regular upgrades to your SCADA system may actually wind up saving your organization time, resources, and money.
Because a SCADA engineer is so far down the food chain, we often don’t have a lot of say in backups or disaster recovery plans. It’s usually up to our customer to decide priorities. But the way I see it, there is an unacceptable amount of critical data that is one error away from being totally lost. Why aren’t data centers backing up SCADA? It might simply have to do with poor processes.
SCADA data should be part of an IT department’s preventative strategy, but it’s not. Companies embracing the OT/IT merge are starting to realize some of IT’s most typical processes (like backups) aren’t being done or do not work on the OT side.
More and more of today's modern control systems are moving towards a model that does not involve operators watching control system screens 7x24x365. Automation and intelligent systems allow industries to do more with less. Operating and maintaining facilities and equipment are no exception. Smart alarm management has allowed owners and operators to interact with their assets on an exception basis. By this, I mean operators are notified when a fault or abnormal condition occurs (or is about to occur) and then interrogate their automation systems to understand how to respond.
The proper design, configuration, and installation of an alarm management system is no longer optional; it is a must.
Unfortunately, SCADA alarm handling systems don’t always get the design attention they deserve. It’s imperative that both control systems integrators and SCADA end users both understand the importance of proper alarm management. With today’s shrinking O&M budgets, managing by exception makes alarm handling one of the most important functions in a SCADA system. If it is designed properly, it can make your life easier. If done poorly or left to chance, you can put your facility at risk and even decrease employee morale.
All actionable conditions warrant attention, but some carry more weight than others. To efficiently manage alarms, your SCADA system needs an alarm priority scheme.
How long does SCADA implementation take? That’s definitely a loaded question and a difficult one to answer, because it really depends on your environment, other subcontractors, and system complexity.
SCADA architecture must be meticulously planned to ensure it integrates seamlessly with your existing systems. It can take a few weeks to a few months to initially build out a system in-house before onsite integration. Shipping the newly configured equipment to your location means waiting for schedules to coordinate, whether it’s waiting for a good maintenance window to shut off power (during a retrofit project) or planning timing around your other subcontractors (during new construction).
Design of alarm handling is not as high of a priority as it should be in SCADA. There is a big emphasis on points (how we integrate them, how we historize them), but insufficient attention is paid to alarm handling design.
Most of the time, alarm specifications aren’t detailed out for the designer. Alarm design criteria such as classification (alarm or event), prioritization, grouping, message formatting, and routing get little to no attention, which leads to inefficient operation and maintenance of equipment and facility.
We look forward to bringing you even more helpful insights in our coming blog posts. Stay tuned!
Check out a list of our top solar SCADA blog posts!
Allan D. Evora is a leading expert in control systems integration and president of Affinity Energy with over 20 years of industry experience working in every capacity of the power automation project life cycle. With a background at Boeing Company and General Electric, Allan made the decision to establish Affinity Energy in 2002. Allan is an alumnus of Syracuse University with a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering, graduate of the NC State Energy Management program, and qualified as a Certified Measurement & Verification Professional (CMVP).
Throughout his career, Allan has demonstrated his passion for providing solutions. In 1990, he developed FIRST (Fast InfraRed Signature Technique), a preliminary design software tool used to rapidly assess rotary craft infrared signatures. In 2008, Allan was the driving force behind the development of Affinity Energy's Utilitrend; a commercially available, cloud-based utility resource trending, tracking, and reporting software.
Allan has been instrumental on large scale integration projects for utilities, universities, airports, financial institutions, medical campus utility plants, and manufacturing corporations, and has worked with SCADA systems since the early ‘90s. A passion for data acquisition, specialty networks, and custom software drives him to incorporate openness, simplicity, and integrity into every design in which he is involved.