How the SCADA System Works?

Published: 17th August 2011
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SCADA is a term that abbreviates Supervisory Controls and Acquisition System. It is a System used for acquiring data from several sources and managing and controlling the information. The system is useful to various industries as it helps in the control in the processes such as generating power, fabrication, refining, etc. As a system SCADA is easy to configure and efficient since it has been evolved through three generations:
The first one is the Monolithic generation: Mainframe computer was used for the processing, without any connection to other systems.
The second generation was the Distributed generation. Connections were made through LAN and information and processing was thus distributed through different stations.
The third and current generation is the Networked generation: WAN protocols are used for connectivity. Also, it is much easier to connect the system to peripheral devices. With the advancement and ease of linking the systems the odds of interruption and cyber attacks has also increased.
It consists of several subsystems that ameliorate its functions.
The Human Machine Interface displays the information to the human operator in the form of figure and diagrams that schematically outline the processes being carried out. This is where a human operator intervenes and specifies the commands.
Another subsystem in the supervisory system which acquires information from various sources and sends it to be controlled and processed. Remote Terminal Units make up another subsystem. In fact it is an arrangement of points which are basically sensors. RTU converts these sensor signals into digital form which is accessible to the human operator as well. Then, there is the PLC (Program Logical Converter).
Most of the computation and control is done here. The PLC is economically feasible and easy to operate as a system. It is also flexible as new site can be added to the existing ones, thus expanding the subsystem. Also, it works fine at a range of temperatures and has many channel sites to gather information from different sites.
The control systems such as PLC work as the controller of data independently, performing mathematical and statistical functions. The supervisory system is connected to the Remote Terminal Unit (RTU) through Communication infrastructure.
Some SCADA systems use control units, such as CR510, CR800, and CR10X, etc can be linked through Ethernet, and they function as PLC and RTU. These units can be programmed for the functions of mathematical nature which are crucial to the entire system of controlling the data.

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