SCADA

The name SCADA stands for Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition. These systems are part of the automation process that governs practically any industrial sector at present.

To understand the functionality of SCADA systems it is necessary to first establish the hierarchical distribution of an automation system, at least of those elements that are below them in the hierarchy.

SCADA diagram

In this article the methods of communication between the different layers of this pyramid are briefly explained.

At the base of the pyramid we find the basic elements of any automatic system: sensors and actuators. These allow to detect situations and physical magnitudes that cause the system to intervene and adjust the process to the desired parameters, this intervention is ultimately executed by the actuators.

In the second level of the pyramid we find the Programmable Logic Controllers or PLCs. These are physical devices that read data from the sensors and send commands to the actuators through a logical algorithm defined by the programmer that runs cyclically to control the process.

In the third step we find the systems that are the subject of this article: SCADA systems . These systems are software elements that allow to collect in real time the state of the variables handled by one or several PLCs, allowing the user to monitor and control the automated processes.

To allow effective supervision, the crucial path is the design of graphical interfaces, in which data and process indicators are presented in real time. Therefore, any SCADA system must offer an IDE or interactive development environment that provides the necessary tools to schematically represent a process, following the basic lines presented by any graphic designer in the market. These information displays are called HMI (acronym for Human Machine Interface).

In addition, these systems allow a control over the process, this means that they must offer, in addition to the entry of information to the system, the sending of process orders to the PLC or PLCs monitored to modify the behavior in real time. This means that the designer of HMIs must provide tools that allow the sending of these commands (by pressing a button, for example).

IDbox: more than a SCADA system

In this sense, IDboxRT offers all these functionalities through the synoptic documents. However, IDboxRT can not be cataloged as a SCADA to use, since it is a system that offers a much broader catalogue of analysis, data representation and calculation capabilities. On the other hand, it is not an essential requirement for the system to be hosted in the process control network, providing much greater flexibility in terms of tool deployment.

IDboxRT offers an intuitive synoptic editing tool, in which the client can design their own process diagrams, adding information in real time or even historical data, together with graphic elements that exhibit dynamic behavior.

Of course, IDboxRT also offers the possibility of sending orders remotely to the control devices through synoptics. To date, multiple clients are using our tool as a method of remote operation of their facilities with satisfactory results.

In short, IDboxRT is a system that covers the main features that a SCADA can provide, also offering many more capabilities that will help in making operational and management decisions.

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