SCADA monitoring and control can save you a lot of money and increase profitability but your SCADA implementation can be a sinkhole of cost overruns, delays and limited capabilities.
This Tutorial will explain the essentials of SCADA technology, give you guidelines for evaluating SCADA technology and help you decide what kind of SCADA system is best for your needs.
Section I: What Is SCADA, and What Can It Do for You? 4
Where Is SCADA Used? 4
What's The Value Of SCADA to You? 5
Real-Time Monitoring And Control Increases Efficiency and Maximizes Profitability 5
Section 2: How SCADA Systems Work 6
The World's Simplest SCADA System 7
Data Acquisition 7
Data Communication 8
Data Presentation 9
Section 3: How to Evaluate SCADA Systems and Hardware 10
The Two Most Important Components of Your SCADA System 10
A Brief Note on Sensors and Networks 10
What to Look for in a SCADA RTU (Remote Telemetry Unit) 11
What to Look for in a SCADA Master 12
What Do Real People Who Use T/Mon NOC Say? 14
Why You Need Help With Your SCADA Implementation 14
I'm Ready to Take a Serious Look at T/Mon NOC - What Do I Do Next? 15
My Promise to You 15
DPS Telecom's Sales Department: Monitoring Consultants Who Put You First 16
T/Mon NOC Product Data Sheet 18
SCADA is not a specific technology, but a type of application. SCADA stands for Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition - any application that gets data about a system in order to control that system is a SCADA application.
A SCADA application has two elements:
1. The process/system/machinery you want to monitor a control - this can be a power plant, a water system, a network, a system of traffic lights, or anything else.
2. A network of intelligent devices that interfaces with the first system through sensors and control outputs. This network, which is the SCADA system, gives you the ability to measure and control specific elements of the first system.
You can build a SCADA system using several different kinds of technologies and protocols. This white paper will help you evaluate your options and decide what kind of SCADA system is best for your needs.
You can use SCADA to manage any kind of equipment. Typically, SCADA systems are used to automate complex industrial processes where human control is impractical - systems where there are more control factors, and more fast-moving control factors, than human beings can comfortably manage.
Around the world, SCADA systems control:
Electric power generation, transmission and distribution: Electric utilities use SCADA systems to detect current flow and line voltage, to monitor the operation of circuit breakers, and to take sections of the power grid online or offline.
Water and sewage: State and municipal water utilities use SCADA to monitor and regulate water flow, reservoir levels, pipe pressure and other factors.
Buildings, facilities and environments: Facility managers use SCADA to control HVAC, refrigeration units, lighting and entry systems.
Manufacturing: SCADA systems manage parts inventories for just-in-time manufacturing, regulate industrial automation and robots, and monitor process and quality control.
Mass transit: Transit authorities use SCADA to regulate electricity to subways, trams and trolley buses; to automate traffic signals for rail systems; to track and locate trains and buses; and to control railroad crossing gates.
Traffic signals: SCADA regulates traffic lights,
controls traffic flow and detects out-of-order signals.
As I'm sure you can imagine, this very short list barely hints at all the potential applications for SCADA systems. SCADA is used in nearly every industry and public infrastructure project - anywhere where automation increases efficiency.
What's more, these examples don't show how deep and complex SCADA data can be. In every industry, managers need to control multiple factors and the interactions between those factors. SCADA systems provide the sensing capabilities and the computational power to track everything that's relevant to your operations.
Maybe you work in one of the fields I listed; maybe you don't. But think about your operations and all the parameters that affect your bottom-line results:
Does your equipment need an uninterrupted power supply and/or a controlled temperature and humidity environment?
Do you need to know - in real time - the status of many different components and devices in a large complex system?
Do you need to measure how changing inputs affect the output of your operations?
What equipment do you need to control, in real time, from a distance?
Where are you lacking accurate, real-time data about key processes that affect your operations?
Ask yourself enough questions like that, and I'm sure you can see where you can apply a SCADA system in your operations. But I'm equally sure you're asking "So what?" What you really want to know is what kind of real-world results can you expect from using SCADA.
Here are few of the things you can do with the information and control capabilities you get from a SCADA system:
Access quantitative measurements of important processes, both immediately and over time
Detect and correct problems as soon as they begin
Measure trends over time
Discover and eliminate bottlenecks and inefficiencies
Control larger and more complex processes with a smaller, less specialized staff.
A SCADA system gives you the power to fine-tune your knowledge of your systems. You can place sensors and controls at every critical point in your managed process (and as SCADA technology improves, you can put sensors in more and more places). As you monitor more things, you have a more detailed view of your operations - and most important, it's all in real time.
So even for very complex manufacturing processes, large electrical plants, etc., you can have an eagle-eye view of every event while it's happening - and that means you have a knowledge base from which to correct errors and improve efficiency. With SCADA, you can do more, at less cost, providing a direct increase in profitability.
Learn SCADA in-depth in a totally practical hands-on class. The DPS Telecom Factory Training Event will show you how to make your alarm monitoring easier and more effective. You'll learn basic SCADA functionality, Derived Alarms and Controls, and how to configure automatic email and pager notifications. DPS training is the easiest way to learn SCADA, taught by technicians who have installed hundreds of successful monitoring and control deployments.
For dates and registration information, call 1-800-693-3314 today or
go to www.dpstelecom.com/training.
Building the right SCADA system for your business isn't simple.
It's easy to spend more than you need
but there are also
opportunities to save money and improve operational efficiency that you
don't want to miss. It's hard to learn everything you need
to know and still do your everyday job.
DPS Telecom can help you plan your SCADA implementation, with expert consultation, training and information resources. DPS telemetry equipment is built with the capabilities you need. And DPS is committed to helping you get the best SCADA system for your specific needs.
You're never taking any risk when you work with DPS Telecom. Your DPS SCADA system is backed by a 30-day, no-risk, money-back guarantee. Test your new system at your site for 30 days. If you're dissatisfied for any reason, just send it back for a full refund. We don't want your money unless you're completely satisfied. It's that simple.
A SCADA system performs four functions:
1. Data acquisition
2. Networked data communication
3. Data presentation
These functions are performed by four kinds of SCADA components:
1. Sensors (either digital or analog) and control relays that directly interface with the managed system.
2. Remote telemetry units (RTUs). These are small computerized units deployed in the field at specific sites and locations. RTUs (Remote Telemetry Units) serve as local collection points for gathering reports from sensors and delivering commands to control relays.
3. SCADA master units. These are larger computer consoles that serve as the central processor for the SCADA system. Master units provide a human interface to the system and automatically regulate the managed system in response to sensor inputs.
4. The communications network that connects the SCADA master unit to the RTUs in the field.
1. How many remote sites do you need to monitor?
2. Do you want video surveillance at those sites?
3. Do you want a building access control system to manage entry to those sites?
4. How many alarm points do you need to monitor at each site?
5. How much growth, in sites and alarms at each site, do you anticipate over the next 5 years?
6. Do you need any analog inputs (e.g., voltage, temperature, humidity, signal strength)?
7. How many ASCII device (e.g., switches, routers, etc.) will you monitor at your remote sites?
1. How do you currently connect to your remote sites? (LAN, overhead, digital or analog circuit, terminal server, microwave?)
2. Do any of your sites support an alternate path communications link?
3. What type of power do you have at the master and remote sites? (-48 VDC, 110 VAC, other?)
4. How do you want to mount your RTUs (Remote Telemetry Units)? (23" rack, 19" rack, wall, tabletop?)
5. Who will install your RTUs?
This is just a small sample of the DPS Telecom Remote Site Survey. The full Remote Site Survey is a complete 5-page guide to evaluating your network alarm monitoring needs. For your copy of the Remote Site Survey, call DPS Telecom at 1-800-693-0351.
The simplest possible SCADA system would be a single circuit that notifies you of one event. Imagine a fabrication machine that produces widgets. Every time the machine finishes a widget, it activates a switch. The switch turns on a light on a panel, which tells a human operator that a widget has been completed.
Obviously, a real SCADA system does more than this simple model. But
the principle is the same. A full-scale SCADA system just monitors more
stuff over greater distances.
Let's look at what is added to our simple model to create a full-scale SCADA system:
First, the systems you need to monitor are much more complex than just
one machine with one output. So a real-life SCADA system needs to monitor
hundreds or thousands of sensors. Some sensors measure inputs into the
system (for example, water flowing into a reservoir), and some sensors
measure outputs (like valve pressure as water is released from the reservoir).
Some of those sensors measure simple events that can be detected by a straightforward on/off switch, called a discrete input (or digital input). For example, in our simple model of the widget fabricator, the switch that turns on the light would be a discrete input. In real life, discrete inputs are used to measure simple states, like whether equipment is on or off, or tripwire alarms, like a power failure at a critical facility.
Some sensors measure more complex situations where exact measurement is important. These are analog sensors, which can detect continuous changes in a voltage or current input. Analog sensors are used to track fluid levels in tanks, voltage levels in batteries, temperature and other factors that can be measured in a continuous range of input.
For most analog factors, there is a normal range defined by a bottom and top level. For example, you may want the temperature in a server room to stay between 60 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. If the temperature goes above or below this range, it will trigger a threshold alarm. In more advanced systems, there are four threshold alarms for analog sensors, defining Major Under, Minor Under, Minor Over and Major Over alarms.
When you're planning your alarm monitoring, think about the future. You don't want to get locked into an alarm system that's inadequate for your future needs - but you don't want to spend too much for alarm capacity you won't immediately use, either.
The NetGuardian 832A remote telemetry unit expands its capacity as your needs change. Install a NetGuardian at your remote site now, and get exactly the right coverage for your current needs.
Then, as your remote site grows, you can extend your alarm monitoring capabilities by adding NetGuardian DX Expansion units. Each NetGuardian DX adds 48 more alarm points, and you can daisy-chain up to three NetGuardian DXs off each NetGuardian 832A base unit.
Base NG 832
In our simple model of the widget fabricator, the "network" is just the wire leading from the switch to the panel light. In real life, you want to be able to monitor multiple systems from a central location, so you need a communications network to transport all the data collected from your sensors.
Early SCADA networks communicated over radio, modem or dedicated serial lines. Today the trend is to put SCADA data on Ethernet and IP over SONET. For security reasons, SCADA data should be kept on closed LAN/WANs without exposing sensitive data to the open Internet.
Real SCADA systems don't communicate with just simple electrical signals, either. SCADA data is encoded in protocol format. Older SCADA systems depended on closed proprietary protocols, but today the trend is to open, standard protocols and protocol mediation.
Sensors and control relays are very simple electric devices that can't
generate or interpret protocol communication on their own. Therefore the
remote telemetry unit (RTU) is needed to provide an interface between
the sensors and the SCADA network. The RTU (Remote Telemetry Unit) encodes sensor inputs into
protocol format and forwards them to the SCADA master; in turn, the RTU (Remote Telemetry Unit)
receives control commands in protocol format from the master and transmits
electrical signals to the appropriate control relays.
How do you find the right RTU (Remote Telemetry Unit)? Here's 5 essential features to look for
1. Discrete alarms: Monitor device failures, intrusion alarms, beacons, and flood and fire detectors.
2. Analog alarm inputs: Monitor voltage, temperature, humidity and pressure.
3. Control relays: Operate remote site equipment directly from your SCADA master.
4. Redundant backup communication: Backup serial ports and/or internal modems will keep your monitoring online even during a LAN failure.
5. Redundant backup power inputs: Dual power inputs and battery backup keep monitoring online, even during power failures.
DPS Telecom offers RTUs that meet all these requirements - and offer local visibility via Web browser, email and pager notification, and more.
For more information about DPS RTUs, see us on the Web at www.dpstelecom.com/rtus.
Installing LAN connections at remote sites is a significant cost - but you can spread if over several budget cycles through LAN migration. Here's how:
First, install an RTU (Remote Telemetry Unit) that supports both LAN and your existing dial-up or serial transport, like the NetGuardian 832A
When it fits into your budget, install a LAN connection at the remote site. The same NetGuardian unit can be immediately switched to reporting over LAN with minimal configuration - and you don't have to rewire any alarms.
Gradually migrate different sections of your network to LAN, as your budget and installation manpower allows.
Installation costs are spread over several budget cycles
Buy just one RTU (Remote Telemetry Unit) for both LAN and legacy transport
Deploy SCADA NOW at all your locations
More Info Resouces on the Web
The DPS Telecom White Paper Series offers a complete library of helpful advice and survival guides for every aspect of system monitoring and control.
The only display element in our model SCADA system is the light that comes on when the switch is activated. This obviously won't do on a large scale - you can't track a lightboard of a thousand separate lights, and you don't want to pay someone simply to watch a lightboard, either.
A real SCADA system reports to human operators over a specialized computer that is variously called a master station, an HMI (Human-Machine Interface) or an HCI (Human-Computer Interface).
The SCADA master station has several different functions. The master continuously monitors all sensors and alerts the operator when there is an "alarm" - that is, when a control factor is operating outside what is defined as its normal operation. The master presents a comprehensive view of the entire managed system, and presents more detail in response to user requests. The master also performs data processing on information gathered from sensors - it maintains report logs and summarizes historical trends.
An advanced SCADA master can add a great deal of intelligence and automation to your systems management, making your job much easier.
Unfortunately, our miniature SCADA system monitoring the widget fabricator doesn't include any control elements. So let's add one. Let's say the human operator also has a button on his control panel. When he presses the button, it activates a switch on the widget fabricator that brings more widget parts into the fabricator.
Now let's add the full computerized control of a SCADA master unit that controls the entire factory. You now have a control system that responds to inputs elsewhere in the system. If the machines that make widget parts break down, you can slow down or stop the widget fabricator. If the part fabricators are running efficiently, you can speed up the widget fabricator.
If you have a sufficiently sophisticated master unit, these controls can run completely automatically, without the need for human intervention. Of course, you can still manually override the automatic controls from the master station.
In real life, SCADA systems automatically regulate all kinds of industrial
processes. For example, if too much pressure is building up in a gas pipeline,
the SCADA system can automatically open a release valve. Electricity production
can be adjusted to meet demands on the power grid. Even these real-world
examples are simplified; a full-scale SCADA system can adjust the managed
system in response to multiple inputs.
The same alarm can instantly go from minor to critical if something else goes wrong. For example, a low battery might not be a big deal until AC power and the backup generator both fail, and then it's an emergency.
T/Mon NOC's Derived Alarms feature gives you the power to instantly track these kinds of changing alarm conditions. Derived Alarms combine inputs from multiple alarm points into a single, software-configured alarm, using simple Boolean logic.
Let's say your low battery is a minor alarm. Low battery AND an AC power failure OR generator failure is a major. Low battery AND AC power failure AND generator failure is a critical alarm.
T/Mon NOC's Derived Controls are even more useful, correcting problems before any human operator even knows something is wrong.
If critical network equipment fails, T/Mon NOC can automatically start backup equipment and notify a service tech. If a security door is breached after-hours, T/Mon NOC can automatically lock security gates, turn on lights, and page security staff.
SCADA can do a lot for you - but how do you make sure that you're really getting the full benefits of SCADA? Evaluating complex systems can be tricky - especially if you have to learn a new technology while still doing your everyday job.
But you've got to be able to make an informed decision, because the stakes are incredibly high. A SCADA system is a major, business-to-business purchase that your company will live with for maybe as long as 10 to 15 years. When you make a recommendation about a permanent system like that, you're laying your reputation on the line and making a major commitment for your company.
And as much as SCADA can help you improve your operations, there are also some pitfalls to a hasty, unconsidered SCADA implementation:
You can spend a fortune on unnecessary cost overruns
Even after going way over budget, you can STILL end up with a system that doesn't really meet all your needs
Or just as bad, you can end up with an inflexible system that just meets your needs today, but can't easily expand as your needs grow
So let's go over some guidelines for what you should look for in a SCADA system.
Although you need sensors, control relays and a communications network to make a complete SCADA system, it's your choice of a master station and RTUs that really determine the quality of your SCADA system.
Sensors and control relays are essentially commodity items. Yes, some sensors are better than others, but a glance at a spec sheet will tell you everything you need to know to choose between them.
An IP LAN/WAN is the easiest kind of network to work with, and if you
don't yet have LAN capability throughout all your facilities, transitioning
to LAN is probably one of your long-term goals. But you don't have
to move to LAN immediately or all at once to get the benefits of SCADA.
The right SCADA system will support both your legacy network and LAN,
enabling you to make a graceful, gradual transition.
With the NetGuardian 832A, multiple transports are no problem. The NetGuardian supports LAN, dial-up and serial connections simultaneously. So as your network upgrades from legacy transports to LAN, you can use the same NetGuardian units at all your sites.
You can use one RTU (Remote Telemetry Unit) at all your remote sites, no matter what transport is available.
You don't have to install new transport to collect alarms.
As your network changes, you don't have to buy new remotes for new transports.
You only have to maintain one set of spare units and spare parts for your entire network, for great cost savings and convenience.
Your SCADA RTUs need to communicate with all your on-site equipment and survive under the harsh conditions of an industrial environment. Here's a checklist of things you should expect from a quality RTU:
The NetGuardian RTU (Remote Telemetry Unit) family scales to fit your needs
Full-featured NetGuardian 832A:
32 discretes, 32 pings, 8 analogs and 8 controls
8 terminal server serial ports
NEBS Level 3 certified
Web browser interface
Pager and email notification
Dual -48 VDC, -24 VDC or 110 AC
1 RU for 19" or 23" rack
Heavy-duty NetGuardian 480
80 discretes, 4 controls
Dual -48 VDC
1 RU for 19" or 23" rack
Economical NetGuardian 216
16 discretes, 2 analogs, 2 controls
1 terminal server serial port
For SNMP , TL1 or T/Mon NOC
Single or dual -48VDC or 110 VAC
2 compact form factors for rack or wall mount
Your SCADA master should display information in the most useful ways to human operators and intelligently regulated your managed systems. Here's a checklist of SCADA master must-haves:
T/Mon NOC has many features to make your alarms more meaningful, including:
1. Detailed, plain English alarm descriptions include severity, location and date/time stamp.
2. Immediate notification of COS alarms, including new alarms and alarms that have cleared
3. Standing alarm list is continuously updated.
4. Text message windows displaying specific instructions for the appropriate action for an alarm.
5. Nuisance alarm filtering, allowing your staff to focus its attention on serious threats.
6. Pager and email notifications sent directly to maintenance personnel, even if they're away from the NOC.
7. Derived alarms and controls that combine and correlate data from multiple alarm inputs and automatically control remote site equipment to correct complex threats.
For more information, check out T/Mon on the Web at
T/Mon NOC can meet all the criteria I've listed for a superior SCADA master and can do a whole lot more.
T/Mon NOC provides a single, one-screen view of all your monitored equipment. T/Mon NOC will tell you 100% for certain whether anything has gone wrong with any of your monitored equipment, so you can be absolutely sure there are no secret problems anywhere in your system.
T/Mon NOC can monitor up to 1 million alarm points, giving you ample capacity to monitor everything in your facilities.
T/Mon NOC presents information in simple, plain English, including detailed text messages telling system operators exactly what to do in case of an emergency.
T/Mon NOC's Derived Alarms and Derived Controls let you automate every aspect of your systems using simple Boolean logic.
You can filter alarms for the needs of different users. You can select which alarms are immediately forwarded to technicians via pager and email, which alarms can be viewed locally on the T/Mon NOC console, and which alarms are just logged to a history file for recording and later analysis.
At every level of your organization, people can see the information they want without being bombarded with nuisance alarms.
1. It's a single unit solution.
Instead of replacing every RTU (Remote Telemetry Unit) in your network, you can immediately deploy T/Mon NOC and start using SCADA monitoring NOW.
2. Minimal installation costs.
A DPS installer will set up and configure your T/Mon NOC for you compare that to the manpower costs of installing new RTUs at all your remote sites.
3. Replace RTUs when YOU want.
With T/Mon NOC, your legacy RTUs are just fine doing what they're currently doing until you decide to replace them. You can keep them until they die or replace them whenever replacement will have the smallest impact on your budget.
5. No vendor lock-in.
When you upgrade to T/Mon, you're not trading in one closed system for another you're trading up to a true multiprotocol alarm system.
T/Mon NOC is not a new or untested product. T/Mon units have been in the field for years, successfully performing for clients who need stable, bulletproof monitoring and control to support their mission-critical operations.
"DPS Telecom gave us a reliable way of accessing a variety of equipment, regardless of the brand or provider. We now have a common interface for our existing system."
Harold Moses, KMC Telecom
"DPS told us we didn't have to pay if it didn't work. It works and it's sweet."
Glenn Lippincott, Southern Company
"It's hard to find companies with the intelligence and aptitude to meet the customer's exact needs, and I believe that is what DPS is all about."
Lee Wells, Pathnet
Implementing an SCADA system can seem deceptively easy - you just look on the Web, find a few vendors, compare a few features, add some configuration and you're done, right?
The truth is, developing a SCADA system on your own is one of the riskiest things you can do. Here are some of the typical problems you might face if you don't get expert advice when you're designing your system:
1. Implementation time is drawn out: It's going to take longer than you think. Network monitoring is a highly technical subject, and you have a lot to learn if you want a successful implementation. And anytime you are trying to do something you've never done before, you are bound to make mistakes - mistakes that extend your time and your budget beyond their limits.
2. Resources are misused: If you're not fully informed about your options for systems integration, you may replace equipment that could have been integrated into your new system. Rushing into a systemwide replacement when you could have integrated can cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars.
3. Opportunities are missed: If you install a new SCADA
system today, you're committing your company to that system for
as long as 10 to 15 years. Many companies design what they think is a
state-of-the-art SCADA system - and then find that their technology
is actually a generation behind.
| Bob Berry
Chief Executive Officer DPS Telecom
In my experience, clients who think hard about cost justification have a more important concern than just price. They want to make sure that they're not spending their company's money on a system that doesn't work as advertised.
That's smart. You have to be careful when working with equipment vendors, especially on protocol mediation projects. Most vendors can't support all your legacy equipment, and they don't have the development capabilities to make integration work.
Some vendors will charge you large NRE (non-refundable engineering) fees up front for custom work, and give no guarantee that the resulting product will meet your performance requirements.
Personally, I think that's a lousy way to do business. I give all my clients a 30-day guarantee: If my product doesn't completely satisfy you, return it for a full refund. If I can't give you a solution, I don't want your money. If I'm doing custom work for you, I don't expect you to pay for it until I've proven that it works to your satisfaction.
Very few vendors will make that guarantee. But you need to demand the
best level of service from your vendor to ensure that your SNMP implementation
is 100% successful.
Call Ron Stover at 1-800-693-0351 or email him at email@example.com and ask for a free consultation on T/Mon NOC SCADA solutions. Ron will be happy to discuss your specific requirements and answer any questions your have.
There's no obligation to buy. You won't be bothered by high-pressure
salesmen. You'll just get straightforward information to help you
make the best decision about your network monitoring.
You'll get complete information on hardware, software, specific applications, specifications, features and benefits ... plus you'll be able to ask questions and get straight answers.
I don't think you should have to take any risks to get the SCADA capabilities you need. If you decide to work with me, I won't let you fail.
If my solution doesn't solve your problems 100%, I don't want you to have it. I have three goals: I want to sell my product, I want you to use my product, and I want you to be completely satisfied with my product.
If my product doesn't fulfill those goals, I will fix it, improve it, or give you your money back. If my stuff doesn't wow you, I don't want your business.
So here's my guarantee to you: if you buy a DPS Telecom solution, you can test at your site, under real-world conditions, for 30 days. If you're dissatisfied with it, for any reason, just send it back and you'll get a full refund, no questions asked.
So please - if you're interested in SCADA, do yourself a
favor and call us today at 1-800-693-0351 . Your network's needs
can't wait. I promise you - we'll deliver a solution
to your problems, at no risk to you.
I wish you the best of success!
Chief Executive Officer
SCADA can save you a lot of money and increase profitability β¦ but your SCADA implementation can be a sinkhole of cost overruns, delays and limited capabilities.
This guide shows how you can use SCADA effectively and profitably - including concrete applications and examples.
Request More Info
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