SCADA…What is It?

SCADA…What is It?

Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) allows you to easily monitor all your equipment and processes from one convenient location.

By: Allan Evora

SCADA, or Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition, is a platform that gives operators, owners, and other stakeholders an inside look at what’s happening inside a plant, facility, or process.

An integral piece in the Industrial Internet of Things, SCADA takes the data captured from your facility’s intelligent electronic devices and displays it inside an advanced visualization monitoring and control system. This user interface shows operators what each process is doing and allows them to react to alarms, change settings, and run reports.

A SCADA system actually helps increase facility safety. Other than the initial integration, engineers and operators no longer need to enter hazardous areas in order to collect equipment data. Instead, all data is able to be monitored on a computer in a secure location within the facility. Depending on how a SCADA system is configured, it might also be accessed remotely via mobile devices.

Essentially, the data inside a SCADA system provides the critical information necessary to run a facility more reliably, safely, and efficiently.

 

What can you do with SCADA?

SCADA often includes a historian to track a facility’s process data over time. With that trended data, operators can identify problems with devices and processes, or identify possible adjustments to run things a bit more efficiently.

Here are a few more examples of what you can do with a SCADA system:

  • Investigate a potentially crippling generator battery charger alarm after being tipped off by a mobile notification alert.
  • Create a data report that demonstrates your plant’s efficiency progression and KPIs over the past year.
  • Monitor energy production in real-time, and watch as the process automatically adjusts based on customer curtailment requirements.

 

3 key aspects of SCADA

Three things in particular make SCADA an invaluable asset to any facility.

Alarming

The point of SCADA alarms are to alert operators when a fault or abnormal condition occurs (or is likely to occur). SCADA operators can set alarms to go off when parameters go above or below certain setpoints. This allows them to avoid watching their SCADA screen 7x24x365, instead relying on alarms to alert them of unfavorable conditions.

Related: Smart SCADA Alarm Management: Prioritizing Alarms

KPI trending

Running a facility is not an exact science. There is no magical efficiency equation or recipe for success. Each environment is dynamic with many pieces coming into play. A SCADA system measures the particular performance of each system part. The KPIs and trending you configure within your system are what show the high-level overview of those individual data pieces.

Through real-time and historical trends, operators can see the high-level impact of decisions and changes they’ve made, such as running specific pieces of equipment or changing setpoints. Trending and measuring KPIs helps quantify if your asset is on track to meet performance goals.

 

Reporting

SCADA reporting helps owners and operators conduct accurate performance analysis. Reporting capabilities vary, but most have the ability to compare dates with similar conditions to see how facilities differ and change over time.

Operators most often use standard templatized reports that provide hourly snapshots and summary reports. Typically, these are automatically generated and sent to facility managers and other stakeholders. However, the ability to create custom reports should not be overlooked. Custom reports can be tailored to delve into specific details which helps operators investigate issues they find through trending or alarming.

 

So, where does Affinity Energy fit in?

We use some of the industry’s best software, like Wonderware, VTScada, and Cimplicity to provide a turnkey SCADA service that includes designing, programming, testing, installing and commissioning and even training end users.

We mostly work in mission-critical industries such as hospitals, manufacturing, and utilities.

With SCADA, Affinity Energy can help you operate your facility a little more efficiently.

Contact us today for a no-obligation consultation.

 

Allan Evora - Founder | Affinity EnergyAllan 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.