Industries That Use SCADA Systems
Supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems play a critical role in a number of industrial applications. Some of the industries that use SCADA in their daily operations include water and wastewater systems, electric generation, transmission and distribution systems and oil and gas systems. Manufacturing plants, food production facilities and mass transit systems also rely heavily on SCADA.
Modern SCADA systems are able to do more than simply collect data and operate devices. They use artificial intelligence (AI) to analyze data and make decisions without the help of humans. They are able to operate in a cloud environment so that SCADA monitoring and control can be accomplished remotely by using tablets and smartphones. Here are some additional details concerning what you can do with a SCADA system in various industries:
Water SCADA systems monitor and control the water being pumped at well sites and treated at water treatment plants. They also use it to fill overhead storage tanks. Additionally, water SCADA systems control booster pumps to regulate water pressure being delivered to customers.
Wastewater SCADA systems monitor and control lift stations that are used to pump wastewater to treatment plants. Once the wastewater reaches the treatment plant, the treatment process is controlled step by step using SCADA. Wastewater SCADA monitoring is also used to document operations and prepare reports that verify compliance with governmental regulations.
Electric Generation, Transmission and Distribution Systems
Electric generation SCADA software is used to monitor every phase of generating electricity from fuel input to electrical output. Such plants have to be able to respond instantaneously to fluctuations in demand. Electric transmission utilities use SCADA to monitor and control the amount of electrical power being transmitted over long distances.
SCADA is also used for safety and protection purposes. When a transmission line experiences a fault, the system will quickly attempt to clear the fault and restore power. Electric distribution systems also use SCADA to monitor and control electrical substations and distribution lines.
Oil and Gas Systems
Unlike electric and telecom systems, oil and gas SCADA systems move a physical substance through their infrastructure over a vast area. Oil and Gas SCADA is used to monitor well and pumping sites plus distribution pumping pressure and pipeline flow. In addition to using SCADA to monitor and control compressor stations, SCADA software is also necessary from a safety standpoint because it is used to detect anomalies and prevent catastrophic events from occurring.
Manufacturing Plant Systems
Manufacturing plant SCADA precisely control all plant operations. For instance, SCADA can be used to monitor and control temperature, pressure and humidity. It can also be used to monitor production lines to ensure that output goals are being met. SCADA can also control assembly line robots and monitor parts usage so that just-in-time inventory control can be implemented.
Food Production Systems
Food production SCADA applications are used to ensure food quality and meet production goals. All phases of food preparation are typically monitored and controlled. SCADA can be used to control the exact mix of ingredients as well as the time and temperature required to process foods. This prevents foods from being spoiled due to a heating process that was off by a few degrees. SCADA applications are also important in food production to document the fact that the production process meets industry standards and complies with governmental regulations.
Mass Transit Systems
Mass transit systems also rely heavily on SCADA. Railways, subways and tramways use it to time their operations and control their switches so that engines and cars can safely pass each other. Railroad crossing signals are also controlled remotely. Traffic control systems also rely on SCADA to improve traffic flow and maximize safety.
SCADA systems are indispensable components in a number of industries. However, they need to be updated from time to time to take advantage of new features. If you are operating a water or wastewater system without a SCADA system or with an old SCADA system, you owe it to yourself to check out some of the newer SCADA features. The right SCADA system can make your system more reliable as well as more profitable.