Understanding The Basics Of SCADA And Telemetry

Finding it impossible to handle and maintain a network of remote substations without being burdened by the costs?

Many power and natural companies often struggled with this issue in the early 1990s. Therefore, a solution was developed that brought automation in this process – Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA). This mechanism allows for the central monitoring of remote operations and equipment.

SCADA and telemetry work together to provide a combination of data analytics, storage, acquisition, and reporting. Today you can find these systems in almost all the industries. For example, a municipal water management system would have required a technician who could travel from station to station to monitor the water levels and take control action, as needed. However, with SCADA, a central command center will help monitor and control the water stations with ease and efficiency.

What is the SCADA system made of?

Technically, the SCADA network gathers several datapoints from each remote station and puts them together into actionable information. Let us talk about various components of a SCADA system.

  • Instrumentation

It is the most basic element of a SCADA system, which is located with each remote station to monitor its condition and/or operation. Instrumentation can be both simple as well as complex, depending upon their requirement.

Sophisticated manufacturing plants may even use vision systems to check quality. In essence, any measurable parameter of your process or equipment can get integrated into the SCADA system.

  • RTUs and Telemetry

Instrumentation is fixed to the Remote Terminal Unit (RTU) which helps in converting signals from the equipment into a data stream that is then transmitted to a central location.

It is here that a data concentrator gathers all this information and send it to the operator terminal. Complex SCADA systems can have a large number of RTUs that reveal thousands of data points. The data stream from this RTU into the central system is known as telemetry.

Automated data loggers capture large volumes of telemetry data for use and review without the need for an operator. Sophisticated recording mechanisms, solid-state technology, and automated handling of the data have raised telemetry into modern monitoring and response systems.

SCADA System – How Does It Communicate?

Advancement in technology allowed improved signaling capabilities in full-duplex mode, allowing simultaneous transmission in both directions. Due to pulse modulation and computerization, today’s systems can produce and receive massive amounts of data that are fed into the modern SCADA system.

Wireless: Over the years, it became more expensive and less practical to use hardwire connections, and radio technology was born. This was a preferred method of communicating telemetry signals. However, cellular technology is gaining prominence these days as it allows RTUs to be positioned at the ground level without the need for lightning powered antennas.

Uses of SCADA

SCADA is a high-potential technology that is highly useful for business purposes. The good thing about SCADA’s functionality is that it can be integrated into different businesses, especially those needing to monitor and control processes and equipment that are not located within the facility.

One of the critical functions of the SCADA system is to set up an alarm schedule which helps you choose a safe range for a particular parameter and get notified when that parameter falls outside the range.

As the control systems become smarter, many can use the data collected by SCADA systems efficiently to adjust their data points and processes automatically. As such, it helps your system run more productively.

A professional service provider with the tools and equipment to handle SCADA systems should be consulted for proper implementation. Such advanced systems require technical supervision, so contact a certified electrical professional to find more on SCADA systems.

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