Using SCADA with Automated Irrigation Systems

Industrial automation has taken over a lot of the time-intensive work that many companies have had difficulty maintaining over the years. With the advent of the personal computer approximately 40 years ago, computerized sensors and controls have become ever more sophisticated, leading to the vast array of automated control devices available today. 

This remote monitoring capability has ushered in a new era of data collection, equipment functionality, and operator efficiency. 

While automation can be used in a variety of industries, such as wastewater and natural gas, it is also particularly helpful in small-scale and large-scale irrigation systems. Whether an individual owns a single farm or has thousands of acres of crops for commercial use, an automated, remote-controlled irrigation system using SCADA can save the owner from headaches, lost revenue, and broken equipment.

What Is SCADA?

SCADA, or Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition, is a comprehensive communication and control system that can be used in all types of industries. For example, it is frequently used in utility plants and in manufacturing where the need for intricate monitoring is important. It can even be used to record important data and to control machinery. 

Over the years, SCADA has been improved to take advantage of newer technologies that can further ease the supervisory processes. Today, cell phone controlled irrigation systems provide a vast range of benefits for everyone from farmers to municipalities.

How Is SCADA Used in Industrial Automation for Irrigation?

Many irrigation systems are vast and include hundreds of miles of pipes depending on the size of the operation. Some systems are located in sparsely populated areas that would take individuals hours to travel to for monitoring. 

Others are located in zones that see extreme temperature changes, leaving the system open to freezing or scorching temperatures and the costly problems that could ensue. Irrigation automation can get rid of these problems while freeing workers to focus on the real issues at hand.

SCADA technology can be used in many ways when it comes to an automated irrigation system. First, it can sense water levels in the soil and trigger irrigation or send a shut-off message to the system. 

Second, it can determine when freezing temperatures and frost can become a problem by calculating wet bulb temperature automatically. By watering crops before a frost, delicate plants can often be saved. 

Third, it can use delicate sensors to determine not only when to water but also how much water to use.

Types of Automated Irrigation Systems Using SCADA

An automated irrigation system can be as simple or as complex as is needed for the area. Very small operations may only require radio-based automated irrigation systems while large-scale operations can benefit from cell phone controlled irrigation systems that rely on cellular modems for real-time information. 

A minimalistic open-loop system sends applicable information to the controller who will set up the desired irrigation schedule. On the other hand, the closed-loop system uses a defined strategy to irrigate automatically based on information gathered from sensors.

A computer-based system uses software to monitor sensors and automate tasks based on wind speed, temperature, soil conditions, and much more. This takes some of the work-load away from employees, letting them focus on other work while still ensuring that soil and crops are getting the water and the protection that they need.

Benefits of SCADA for Irrigation Automation

Remote-controlled irrigation systems using SCADA give owners numerous benefits that can translate into great savings in time and money for them. First, SCADA lets operators view and control all of their equipment at one time and in one place. Not only do they not have to travel from site to site, but also they do not have to log into a variety of different systems to get a real-time view of their irrigation systems.

Second, SCADA helps irrigation managers solve any problems quickly by sending alarms and emergency notifications. Some problems are immediately addressed using pre-set directions. Others can be solved remotely using a programmable logic controller (PLC).

Third, SCADA ensures that crops are kept healthy using the right amount of water at all times. Intricate systems reduce the possibility of under-watering or over-watering and can also eliminate fertilizer runoff.

Flexible Remote Monitoring Solutions from High Tide Technologies

Clearly, SCADA can help operators save plenty of money and time, as they no longer have to drive from location to location. No matter the time of day or night, they can control their irrigation systems with the press of a button, helping them avoid costly problems. Plus, they can save money by not having to hire such a large crew to manage the irrigation system.

Field managers and operators who are looking for a smart way to automate their irrigation systems can turn to the flexible remote monitoring solutions offered by High Tide Technologies. 

As the leading cloud-based SCADA expert, High Tide enables individuals to access system data anywhere they are, providing help for systems that are located far from the office. Consider a solution from High Tide today as you look for better ways to monitor your irrigation system.