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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. The unique and complex software application of the SCADA system has been favored by many companies, such as water and waste control, energy, oil and gas refining, transportation, telecommunications industries, to automate their multifaceted processes and, at the same time, detect and correct problems, and measure projected trends. 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. Data acquisition, network data communication, data presentation, and control are the four main functions which the SCADA system is designed to perform. For the SCADA system to operate its functions, it is outfitted 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. Two types of devices, of which either one is employed, that are usually connected to the SCADA system to perform its control functions and these are: RTUs or Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs). Between these two devices, it is the RTUs which 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. It is therefore easy for operators to view the system alarms and information communicated by the HMI and from that, decisions are also easily made. For security reasons, SCADA information are kept 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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Because of the expensive cost of utilizing LAN, another network support system through NetGuardian 832A may be employed which can support existing communications methods at remote sites, instead of LAN. In the future, if the company expands their LAN network into their other remote sites, the cost will still be worth the expansion investment as there will be savings by the company on RTU replacements, which are usually employed to support the 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.