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SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) and Its Operations SCADA is a centralized monitoring and control system which is used to a specific plant site or equipment that is stationed at a long distance. Because of its unique software application, which is managing any type of equipment by automation, companies with complex operations processes, like water and waste control, energy, oil and gas refining, transportation, telecommunications industries, employ the SCADA system to automate their operations, detect and correct problems, at the same time, and measure trends over time. In order for the SCADA system meet its objective of monitoring and controlling a company’s operating process, the system first collects data and analyze them. There are four important functions which the SCADA system is programmed to do and these are: data acquisition, network data communication, data presentation, and control. To be able to perform these functions, SCADA system is equipped with the following components: sensors and control relays, Remote Telemetry Units (RTUs), master units, and a communication network, which consists of input/output signal hardware, networks, Human-machine Interface (HMI), controllers, communication, database, and software. Control devices, such as RTUs or Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs), are either utilized by the SCADA system. Comparing the two devices, the RTUs has a more advanced functionality feature allowing for a more efficient and secure monitoring system.
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HMI serves as the master station that communicates all of the analyzed operations data and collected information to the human operator. Since all pieces of data taken from the entire complex unit are collected by the HMI, operators can easily view the system alarms and information through the HMI and through that decisions are made based on the communicated readings. Security measures are also considered such that SCADA information are kept back on closed LAN (Local Area Network) or WAN (Wide Area Network) networks in order to prevent any sensitive data from being exposed to outsiders over the Internet.
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Since LAN is an expensive communication network, there is a support system provided by NetGuardian 832A which helps support the existing communication set up, such that this can be used at remotes sites instead of LAN. Later, if the company intends to expand their LAN network, the cost of investment on this will still be worth it due to the fact that there won’t be RTU replacements which are usually utilized to support a new network. Although its functions/features are specified by a company, the following are the overall features and corresponding functions of the SCADA system: performs the work of an OPC Server or Protocol Translator, translate between any number of available protocols, includes a protocol analyzer, built in equation editor supports the creation of new data points based on raw data points and /or other equation points, OPC Certified, Conformance tested per DNP3 Intelligent Electronic Device (IED) Certification Procedure Subset Level2, report by Exception (RBE) is supported (transmitting only data changes, saving communication channel bandwidth), supports DNP3 Secure Authentication, supports selective logging of event data into a time-stamped Sequence of Events (SOE) log file, the Communication Protocol Analyzer Window displays and decodes transmitted and received messages, allows translation between data types and control methods from different protocols, supports mapping of points between Master and Slave, two Master, and/or two Slave protocol components.