What is SCADA and How is It Used?

Pronounced SKAY-dah, SCADA is the acronym for Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition. It’s a part of daily life in every industry around the globe. SCADA systems offer an intelligent way of monitoring and controlling machinery, equipment and processes at multiple sites from a central, remote location in real time.

Building the Three-Layer System

SCADA systems rely on constantly updated quantitative data typically processed through three levels, or tiers:

  • Sensors and control relays measure equipment performance or a process that you want to monitor or control.
  • Remote terminal units (RTUs) serve as mediators. These small, computerized units collect outgoing quantitative data, process it and send it to the master unit. They also distribute incoming instructions from the master unit to the control relays.
  • The master unit is the brain. It’s a more extensive computer designed to make decisions and issue commands by responding to the data it receives from the RTUs. It also allows human interface so that a person hundreds or thousands of miles away can easily make immediate adjustments.

Together, the intelligent network allows one point of control to instantaneously manage or regulate hundreds to thousands of exacting processes around the globe remotely 24/7.

Using SCADA Effectively

As you’ve probably already guessed, this technology is especially useful to companies because:

  • Many locations are too impractical, harsh, demanding or remote to support workers by constantly monitoring or adjusting equipment.
  • The number of processes and tasks that can be measured, tracked, regulated and analyzed is unlimited.
  • The system can correct problems immediately, either automatically or through remote human direction, preventing downtime.
  • Safety systems can prevent errors, issue alerts or even shut down operations if necessary in high-stakes environments.
  • Automatically logged data allows for long-term analysis identifying trends and problem areas.
  • Expanded tiering can include multiple levels of decision-making.

As technological equipment has grown increasingly complex, many industries have incorporated SCADA into their operations. Industries such as manufacturing, mass transportation and public utilities use it to regulate everything from robotic production systems and vehicle tracking to quality control.

Likewise, SCADA technology offers many advantages to the oil and gas industry. Considering most oilfield companies are located in remote areas without immediate access to land resources, SCADA provides services tailored to those needs.

For more information on SCADA services and offshore navigational safety, call (337) 837-3774 or visit our site.