Exploring the Top SCADA Integration Components of Each Instrumentation and Control Subgroup


The most capable systems run with the best components.


The digital revolution is transforming the way we operate. Operational systems and processes in businesses bear many resemblances to systems in our own bodies. Like a human body, however, these systems can be prone to failure. Similar to our biological systems with their many capabilities, these tech systems can operate with pristine outcomes - or sometimes, can be hampered with inherited deficiencies.

Just as some people require glasses to see, struggle with their cognitive abilities, or have compromised interpersonal skills; the characteristics of instrumentation and controls can also be destined for success or otherwise — because not all are created equal.

 

At T&T Power Group, we aim to design and create the strongest, most efficient systems we can - using only the best and most capable components.

Following are the top integration components and technologies that help our experts deliver a superior product for a superior product for integrated control and automation systems:

Current HMIs (Human Machine Interfaces)

The Human Machine interface is a vital component of any automated system. As the primary point of contact between the operator and the machine, the HMI is where the information is displayed and how the operator can make the appropriate decisions. Having the data clearly displayed and detailed enables the operator to make the correct decisions the first time; creating a system that operates the most effective.

When dealing with the installation of such systems, these are the top 4 companies whose components tend to reign supreme over their competitors:

  1. Allen-Bradley
  2. GE
  3. Siemens
  4. Schneider Electric

When integrating HMIs to their PLCs, Allen Bradley is very robust and user-friendly. They are the most common that we see in our industry, and amongst operators and integrators. They often have less down time and are known for fast and effective troubleshooting capabilities. The SCADA/HMI components are programmed using the same software making it easy to integrate different components into the same process.

With these systems, a VPN (virtual private network) connection can be set up to allow operators to remotely dial in and conveniently control the computer/SCADA application from the comfort of their home, or wherever they happen to be.

Following are the top 5versions of HMI software that are widely used throughout industrial automation within SCADA control mainframes:

  1. FactoryTalk Site Edition / Machine Edition – Allen Bradley
  2. Proficy Machine Edition / iFix - GE
  3. Wonderware InTouch – Aveva
  4. TIA Portal – Siemens
  5. Ignition – Inductive Automation

Typically, Ignition is the most cost-effective for smaller to medium installations, with some of the others more suited for larger projects such as municipal water works.

With systems such as Ignition, the operator has full control and monitoring capabilities of any electrical equipment/data. This includes alarming, starting and stopping of equipment, and setpoint controls for their automation processes. Data can also be backed up and analyzed so that operators can go back and see data from previous days. This is usually through a desktop computer, but more frequently through a tablet or even a smartphone. Ignition is particularly suited for web-based connections, as it’s based on java. Furthermore, alarms can be sent via phone, e-mail or text message to inform the operator.

The future of HMIs is brighter than ever

As technology continues to advance, the interactivity of these devices will become more efficient and easier to use. Networks will become stronger, leaving less room for errors and communication issues. Data will be able to be printed daily and recorded as consistently as needed - from every 30 seconds to every 5 minutes.

Data will likely become accessible by anyone with the correct security clearances. There is also the possibility that the data will be presentable via 3-D visualizations, allowing the users to interact with the representations in a virtual experience. As technological advancements keep thriving, the possibilities are truly endless.

Current PLCs (Programmable Logic Controllers)

In order to ensure that generators, pumps, motors, analog devices, gas detection devices, thermometers, and relays are operating appropriately, the programmable controller is a vital component.

Within this space, Allen Bradley PLCs tend to be the most common. These specific controllers include the Control Logix, Compact Logix, Micro Logix and SLC-500. Schneider Electric’s Modicon PLCs are also quite popular and can be a little more cost-effective. The Modicon system can communicate and control drivers operating on different frequency, and can communicate in different programming languages - including Modbus, EtherNet/IP among others.

In order to decide which PLC is best suited for a company, it’s important to gauge the size of the facility in addition to the number of items that need to be controlled and monitored.

Following are the top 5 PLC manufacturing companies widely used throughout industrial automation systems:

  1. Allen-Bradley
  2. Schneider Electric
  3. Siemens
  4. GE
  5. ABB

The role of SCADA systems in operations

SCADA systems store the data on a server. The PLCs provide analog and digital values, displayed by the HMI, and the SCADA system is utilized as a database using the drivers developed for each PLC in order to manage the operations.

At T&T Power Group, we primarily use SCADA systems like Ignition and SQL servers. With these systems and most centralized databases, security and passwords are critical. Fiber internet connections help maintain a strong network compared to that of wireless, which can oftentimes become glitchy and make real-time data analysis cumbersome.

As the PLC collects and monitors the processes of a facility, the SCADA is the central hub in which this information is stored and can be called upon whenever needed.

At T&T Power Group, we’re a team of compliant and competent component champions.

Try saying that fast ten times! But it’s true. Our team works with our clients to develop custom systems capable of operating in any corner of any industrial process.

The most capable system has the best parts. Contact T&T Power Group today to learn more about integrating the best industrial software, hardware, or integration technology on the market.

 

Posted by Reuben Siebenga | Feb 7, 2020 | Categories: Automation & Controls