Understanding a Monolithic SCADA System
System control and data acquisition (SCADA) technology helps facilities of all sizes monitor and adjust complex processes. The ability of SCADA to communicate data has improved with every iteration of networking technology. While the first generation of these systems was better than previous technology, monolithic SCADA needed to be more extensive by modern standards.
The Purpose of SCADA
SCADA systems evolved to solve the problem of keeping track of complex industrial processes. As plants grew in the 1900s, it became challenging to streamline multi-step manufacturing. It took time and labor to pass information from one step to another, and poor communication often led to interruptions.
SCADA systems improved this situation by using sensors to monitor operations at a central location. Now, a manager could sit at a terminal and see what was happening in real-time throughout the facility.
The Development of the First Generation of SCADA
Rudimentary system control solutions began to develop with industrial computers in the 1950s. Links between components allowed for better coordination. However, it was in the 1970s that the first actual SCADA systems came online. Instead of a series of connections between steps, the first generation involved centralized connections to a mainframe.
Monolithic SCADA Architecture
The jump to SCADA technology involved the creation of a dedicated monitoring system. In these early days, a SCADA network diagram was simple. Hardwired connections from sensors fed information to a mainframe computer. This device then sent data to nearby terminals for user access.
The equipment was specifically designed and dedicated to the monitoring system. Terminals produced by the vendor could serve no other purpose than working within the SCADA system.
Monolithic SCADA Examples
Several industries saw the benefits of the emerging system control technology, and the wide range of early SCADA examples points to its popularity.
SCADA in Manufacturing
The new technology improved operations in complex manufacturing processes. Managers could see the current equipment status and make adjustments accordingly. This ability led to improved quality and reduced delays.
Power Plants and SCADA
Power plants always need careful observation to maintain safety and a steady electricity supply. New SCADA systems allowed plant managers to see changes in conditions like temperature in plenty of time to make adjustments and prevent emergency shutdowns.
SCADA in the Petroleum Industry
Leaks in petroleum facilities have both financial and environmental impacts. SCADA sensors made it easier to observe pressure changes that indicated a problem. As networking abilities improved, the technology could observe and report conditions on long pipelines, leading to faster response times.
Modern Types of SCADA Systems
New types of SCADA systems emerged as information technology improved. The advent of local-area and wide-area networks increased the scalability of monitoring systems. SCADA sensors could now give reports on regional systems instead of just single facilities.
Locally Networked SCADA
Companies began implementing LAN technology in the 1980s. Connections within the network were still hardwired, but the speed of data transfer allowed for more emphasis on the data acquisition side of SCADA technology.
SCADA on a Wireless Network
WAN technology increased the reach and flexibility of SCADA. Designers no longer needed to wire terminals directly into the system. The new design possibilities gave greater access to data throughout the facility.
Cloud-Based SCADA Architecture
Modern SCADA systems are now taking advantage of cloud computing technology. Instead of a mainframe or server in a facility, data goes to cloud-based servers for sharing and storage. This new design allows SCADA systems to cover broad geographic areas, a helpful feature for utilities looking to monitor their operations.
Developing Innovative SCADA Technology
At High Tide Technologies, we design cutting-edge SCADA systems for municipal water collection, distribution, and treatment facilities. Our cloud-based model streamlines operations by supporting faster response times, intentional maintenance plans, and simplified troubleshooting. Organizations that install SCADA technology will quickly see the benefits of their investment in lowered costs and increased customer satisfaction.
To learn more about our innovative approach to SCADA, contact us today.