SCADA Systems

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 management, but uses other peripheral devices such as programmable logic controllers and discrete PID controllers to interface to the process plant or machinery. The operator interfaces which enable monitoring and the issuing of process commands, such as controller set point changes, are handled through the SCADA supervisory computer system. However, the real-time control logic or controller calculations are performed by networked modules which connect to the field sensors and actuators.The key attribute of a SCADA system is its ability to perform a supervisory operation over a variety of other proprietary devices.

Supervisory computers

This is the core of the SCADA system, gathering data on the process and sending control commands to the field connected devices. It refers to the computer and software responsible for communicating with the field connection controllers, which are RTUs and PLCs, and includes the HMI software running on operator workstations. In smaller SCADA systems, the supervisory computer may be composed of a single PC, in which case the HMI is a part of this computer. In larger SCADA systems, the master station may include several HMIs hosted on client computers, multiple servers for data acquisition, distributed software applications, and disaster recovery sites. To increase the integrity of the system the multiple servers will often be configured in a dual-redundant or hot-standby formation providing continuous control and monitoring in the event of a server malfunction or breakdown.

Remote terminal units

Remote terminal units, also known as (RTUs), connect to sensors and actuators in the process, and are networked to the supervisory computer system. RTUs are "intelligent I/O" and often have embedded control capabilities such as Ladder Logic in order to accomplish Boolean logic operations.

Programmable Logic Controllers

Also known as PLCs, these are connected to sensors and actuators in the process, and are networked to the supervisory system in the same way as RTUs. PLCs have more sophisticated embedded control capabilities than RTUs, and are programmed in one or more IEC 61131-3 programming languages. PLCs are often used in place of RTUs as field devices because they are more economical, versatile, flexible and configurable.

Communication infrastructure

This connects the supervisory computer system to the remote terminal units (RTUs) and PLCs, and may use industry standard or manufacturer proprietary protocols. Both RTUs and PLCs operate autonomously on the near-real time control of the process, using the last command given from the supervisory system. Failure of the communications network does not necessarily stop the plant process controls, and on resumption of communications, the operator can continue with monitoring and control. Some critical systems will have dual redundant data highways, often cabled via diverse routes.

Human-machine interface

The human-machine interface (HMI) is the operator window of the supervisory system. It presents plant information to the operating personnel graphically in the form of mimic diagrams, which are a schematic representation of the plant being controlled, and alarm and event logging pages. The HMI is linked to the SCADA supervisory computer to provide live data to drive the mimic diagrams, alarm displays and trending graphs. In many installations the HMI is the graphical user interface for the operator, collects all data from external devices, creates reports, performs alarming, sends notifications, etc.

We design and develop the SCADA systems as per the ANSI/ISA standards in a personal computer running on Windows Operating System(s) like XP/Vista/7/8/8.1/10. We design the SCADA Systems that have a scalable architecture (i.e. the system which can expand with increasing system requirements) and we also provide options for monitoring and diagnosing the overall process by implementing Trend plots and Historians plots. We build both large and small systems using the SCADA concept. These systems can range from just tens to thousands of process loops, depending on the application.