DPS Articles: Our Top 16 Online SCADA Resources

#1 - SCADA Tutorial White Paper
SCADA Tutorial: A Fast Introduction to SCADA Fundamentals and Implementation by Bob Berry. You already know that SCADA 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 guide shows how you can use SCADA effectively and profitably - including concrete applications and examples... Download White Paper...

#2 - SCADA Tutorial White Paper
Excerpt from video script: "I'll give you an example of the worlds simplest SCADA system. Imagine a fabrication machine in a factory that produces widgets. Every time the machine finishes a widget, it activates a switch that turns on a light. That light tells a human machine operator that a widget has been made. Obviously a real SCADA system does a lot more than that but the idea here is the same. A full-scale SCADA system just monitors more stuff over much greater distances. Now lets talk about the two elements involved in a SCADA system. All you need are the system or machine you want to monitor and control, and a data collection system made up of sensors and control outputs used to monitor and control the first system. Now you know the basic concept of SCADA, lets look at the different industries that use it. Here are just a few examples. Electric Utilities. Power plants use a SCADA system to detect current flow and line voltage, monitor circuit breakers, and even take sections of the power grid on and off line. Water utilities monitor and regulate water flow, reservoir levels, and pipe pressure. Building and facility managers use SCADA to control HVAC, refrigeration units, lighting, and building access systems. Mass transit authorities use SCADA to regulate electricity to subways, trains, and trolly buses. Rail systems even use it to automate traffic signals and control railroad crossing gates. This very short list is just the tip of the iceberg. SCADA is used in nearly every industry and public infrastructure project because automation increases efficiency..." Watch SCADA Video...

#3 - SCADA Introduction
A SCADA system performs four functions: 1. Data acquisition 2. Networked data communication 3. Data presentation 4. Control 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. Read Full Article...

#4 - Discussion of SCADA Systems
SCADA systems (Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition systems) are used in industrial environments to monitor critical equipment and environmental values. SCADA systems can be used to monitor many different kinds of equipment in many different kinds of environments. In fact, you're likely to find SCADA technology in public utilities, refining operations, major telecoms, transportation/transit companies, and more. NOTE: "SCADA systems" is a synonym for "SCADA Solutions". If a company has a computer network that's spread out across a wide-area, they'll use a SCADA system to monitor and control important aspects of that network and the revenue-generating processes that it supports. In short, SCADA helps smart companies to monitor, manage, and control their facilities -- on-time, on budget, and with increased profitability. Imagine what it would be like to manage a large-scale operation without the advantages provided by SCADA systems. You'd instantly be reduced to guessing. You wouldn't know the temperature, humidity, fuel levels, and equipment status you need to keep your operation running smoothly. This is exactly what makes SCADA systems so critical. No matter what the... Read Full Article...

#5 - Online SCADA Knowledge Base
Collection of articles discussing various elements of SCADA. Access Knowledge Base...

#6 - Web Article: What is SCADA?
A SCADA network consists of one of more Master Terminal Units (MTUs), which are utilized by operators to monitor and control a large number of Remote Terminal Units (RTUs). The MTU is often a computing platform, like a PC, which runs SCADA software. The RTUs are generally small dedicated devices that are hardened for outdoor use and industrial environments. As we saw earlier, there are several parts of a working SCADA system. A SCADA system usually includes signal hardware (input and output), controllers, networks, user interface (HMI), communications equipment and software. All together, the term SCADA refers to the entire central system. The central system usually monitors data from various sensors that are either in close proximity or off site (sometimes miles away). Functions performed by a SCADA system A SCADA system performs four functions: Data acquisition Networked data communication Data presentation Control These functions are performed by several kinds of SCADA components: Sensors (either digital or analog) and control relays that directly interface with the managed system. Remote telemetry units (RTUs). These are small-computerized units deployed in the field at specific sites and locations. RTUs serve as local collection points for gathering reports from sensors and delivering commands to control relays. 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... Read Full Article...

#7 - Introduction to SCADA Programming
This is why SCADA programming plays such a crucial role in the system's development. It can also be used for facility processes in private or public facilities, including: buildings, airports, ships, or space stations in order to monitor and control: HVAC, access control, and energy consumption management. The possibilities are endless. A Practical Approach To SCADA Even with all this being said, SCADA systems are being implemented with a greater regularity in today's ultra-competitive manufacturing environments. While SCADA systems are used to perform data collection and control at the supervisory level, HMI's are typically seen as local user interfaces that allow operators to manipulate the machine or process locally, and perform SCADA programming work to customize the system. Data collection begins at the PLC level and includes readings and equipment statuses that are... Read Full Article...

#8 - "All SCADA Masters are Not Created Equal - 13 Ways to Pick the Best One"
Did you think carefully when you picked your SCADA master, or did you just pick the first one you found? Maybe you "inherited" a manager when you changed jobs. Whatever the reason, you're probably not positioned as well as you should be when it comes to SCADA. Think for a second about how much easier it would be with your SCADA master working constantly to help you. This list of 13 Key SCADA Master Functions teaches you how to select the best possible SCADA master: Assign severity to your alarms. The device that you're monitoring might not embed a severity in the trap, or you might not agree with the level they assigned. Categorize the alarms by types. Also, allow access to those types to be selectively given to authorized people. Too many alarms going into one large pile is never a good thing. Differentiation and selective routing is key when multiple people and/or multiple departments are involved in alarm management. Maintain history that can be queried by many different criteria so network events can be analyzed after-the-fact. Have a "strong" notification system. A must for those companies that don't have 7x24 NOCs, strong notifications also comes in handy if you step away from your... Read Full Article...

#9 - DrSCADA Intelligate Application Diagram
The DrSCADA Intelligate remote is an example of a Discrete, Control, or Analog RTU (Remote Telemetry Unit) Maximize DrSCADA Intelligate Monitoring With a Modern Alarm Master Your DrSCADA Intelligate remote terminal units are an important link between your legacy modern network elements and your network alarm monitoring system. To get the most visibility out of your DrSCADA Intelligate RTUs (Remote Telemetry Units), you need a modern alarm master. Find a Modern Master Compatible with Your DrSCADA Intelligate RTUs With a modern alarm master, you will be able to better monitor your legacy equipment, as well as modern equipment you will purchase as your network grows. By finding a master that is compatible with DrSCADA Intelligate and modern protocol devices, you will be able to bring alarms from all of your network equipment into a single master browser window. An advanced master makes monitoring convenient by pulling all of your DrSCADA Intelligate and other alarms into one workstation browser window. This will save you money by eliminating the need for additional system masters, workstations, and operators. With all of these savings, you'll also enjoy better network visibility and responsiveness to network problems. Receive Automatic DrSCADA Intelligate Alarm Notifications By deploying an advanced SCADA master with your existing DrSCADA Intelligate RTUs, you will enjoy convenient features such as automatic alarm notifications via pager or email. Instead of polling your network to troubleshoot problems, your modern master will provide you with an update every time you there is a problem with your DrSCADA Intelligate RTUs or other network devices. View Application Diagram...

#10 - The Basics of DNP3 Protocol Communications
DNP3 communications take place in the Distributed Network Protocol format. The DNP3 protocol is a protocol that is widely used in the water and electric utility industries. DNP3 communications are a key part of how process automation systems and devices on networks in these industries work together. DNP3 Communications are a Key Part of Your SCADA System The DNP3 communications are commonly used within SCADA (Site Control and Data Acquisition) systems. The various components of these systems communicate using the DNP3 protocol. These devices include the SCADA master (or HMI), the RTU's (Remote Terminal Units), and IED's (Intelligent Electronic Devices). In many SCADA networks, different equipment vendors manufacture this equipment. In the days before the DNP3 communications protocol, the inability of these devices to communicate presented a problem for large utility companies who were unable to effectively manage their network of devices. DNP3 Communications Connect Devices from Different Vendors DNP3 was developed specifically to meet these communications needs. Using the base of another protocol in development, IEC 60870-5, the open-source protocol was introduced to provide for an open means of DNP3 communication between SCADA network devices of varying vendors. DNP3 communications take place on layer. 2 This provides for data fragmentation, multiplexing, checking... Read Full Article...

#11 - SCADA Solution for Water Treatment: Alarm Retrofit "Could Save Millions" at De Anza Moon Valley
With the important responsibility of providing clean, safe water for his Sonoma, Calif. community, Chris LaVay was looking for a better SCADA solution for his water treatment plant. Maintaining high-quality water at De Anza Moon Valley is not a job LaVay takes lightly. "We're on a well, a 600-foot deep well -and I'm in charge of all that," said LaVay, the facility manager. He spends a lot of his time physically monitoring his water-treatment equipment, which primarily consists of analog sensor data. "We do have an existing alarm system, but frankly, it doesn't hold a candle to DPS equipment. I mean, it's not even close..." Since this tedious process often eats up much of his time, LaVay said water mishaps can still occur at night. "If I see high flow rates in the middle of the night and it's outside the parameters that I've set, I'll know we've got a massive leak somewhere," he said. "In waiting a few hours, the community probably gets flooded and I finally get a phone call, but the damage is done." Constant Equipment Monitoring Kept Him From Other Job Responsibilities... A key part of LaVay's job of providing safe drinking water is to disinfect in accordance with the Department of Health Services regulations. A mountain of data from different sensors must be collected during this process. "It takes up a lot of my time going down there and monitoring - physically monitoring the equipment, getting the outputs, velocities, flow rates, injection rates, dosages, chlorine residuals and all that," LaVay explained. "I get paged and BOOM - I go out there and take care of it..." SCADA and Analog Implementation Are... Read Full Case Study...

#12 - Overview of a SCADA Monitoring System
Your SCADA system will most likely monitor thousands of individual sensors throughout your network. If two different sensors sent major alarms through the monitoring system, your SCADA master would be alerted. If, for example, one of these alarms indicated a power failure at a site, and another alarm indicated a battery failure at the same location, the RTU would receive these inputs, translate them, and forward them to the master. The monitoring system master would then react to this critical alarm combination with a user-specified control relay, such as activating the back-up generator at the related site, preventing a network failure. Effective monitoring saves significant expenditures on repairs and lost revenue due to network downtime. These benefits make it crucial for operators to employ a system to thoroughly monitor their network. However, older SCADA systems are not capable of these control processes. Older systems can monitor the network, but they cannot respond to these monitored alarms using control relays. Instead, a network operator employed to monitor the network would have to manually respond to these alarms, which often involves substantial time and expense. NetGuardian Allows Operators to Effectively Monitor Their Network Deploying a SCADA system with NetGuardian 832A RTUs allows operators to monitor their network more effectively utilizing the most advanced monitoring technology. The NetGuardian supports up to 32... Read Full Article...

#13 - Modbus HMI Concepts
Along with DNP3, Modbus is one of the core SCADA protocols. A Modbus HMI works jointly with a Modbus Master. A Modbus Human Machine Interface (HMI) is the interface of a Modbus system that allows the operator to interact with the system equipment. This interface is a type of software that presents the Modbus messages in a human readable form. It is a critical part of the Modbus master. Modbus HMI Translates Bits into Human-Readable Form A Modbus HMI is necessary for an operator to be able to interpret alarm polls and status reports from their Modbus system. As Modbus communications take the form of packets of word bits, it would be extremely difficult and time consuming for an operator to manually interpret even a single Modbus message. With thousands of alarms and response messages coming in every day, it would be impossible for an operator to monitor their network without a Modbus HMI. Typically, a Modbus HMI is a type of browser screen. In this screen, network operators can view their Modbus alarms and other messages in their English form. The Modbus HMI simply uses the codes programmed into the system to retrieve the information from the packets of bits. Look For a User-Friendly Modbus HMI When looking for a Modbus HMI, it is important to find the most user-friendly interface you can. With familiar Windows controls, you can be certain your operators will quickly become comfortable with your new Modbus HMI. You should also look for a Modbus HMI that provides for alarm grouping by user-defined categories. This will allow you to categorize your Modbus alarms based on severity, geographic location, or any other criteria that will help your operator to most efficiently dispatch your network technicians. Advanced monitoring systems can provide a Human Machine Interface for all of the protocols within your network. These systems combine your Modbus alarms with alarms from all of your other protocols. By bringing your Modbus alarms into a single screen with your other network alarms, you will... Read Full Article...

#14 - SCADA Security
SCADA security is a topic of increasing concern for network operators. As SCADA systems can be utilized to transmit sensitive data, it is important to develop the system in a way prevents that this information from being released onto the Internet. To better understand why SCADA security could be a concern for an organization, it is important to understand how SCADA communications are sent across a network. SCADA Communication Moves From Sensor, to RTU, to HMI At individual sites, individual sensors collect values from inputs and outputs, which are referred to as SCADA points. These values are sent from individual sensors to the RTU (Remote Terminal Unit), which forwards these SCADA communications to the Human-Machine Interface (HMI), or master station. SCADA networks utilize a number of means for conducting these communications. Early SCADA communication took place over radio, modem, or dedicated serial lines. In today's SCADA systems, it is much for common for these communications to take place over SONET using Ethernet or LAN. Expanding the LAN is an Expensive SCADA Security Solution To ensure SCADA security, network operators could potentially extend their secure LAN to all of their remote sites. However, this is a very expensive technique, as extending LAN all the way out to remote sites just to achieve SCADA security can be an extremely expensive process. An additional solution to alleviate operators of their SCADA security concerns is to employ NetGuardian 832A RTU devices at their remote sites. These advanced RTU devices can provide many monitoring functions not found in other systems, allowing for the interpretation of both discrete and analog alarms, providing for more extensive and complete network history reports. The NetGuardian also provides for Derived Controls, which allow the operator to program specific, automated responses to... Read Full Article...

#15 - SCADA Control
SCADA Control is a core component of a SCADA Monitoring System Advanced SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) systems support control functions. SCADA control functions are what enable a system to automatically respond to certain situations with a programmed response. Sensors cannot generate or interpret protocol communications. RTU devices along the network interpret the information from these sensors, and translate it into a language the master can understand. Control Relays That Automatically Respond to Change-of-State Events The master can utilize the information it receives from various inputs to enact control relays at the RTU level. This means that whenever a user-specified combination of alarms occur, the RTU will automatically respond with a SCADA control relay that has been programmed into the system, securing the network by responding to the Change-of-State (COS) event indicated by the alarm. "Derived Controls" provide for instant reactions of the monitoring system in the event that user-specified alarm combinations occur. For example, if two individual alarms occurred at a single site, indicating that there was a power failure and a battery failure, a Derived Control would be activated, powering on a back-up generator. These SCADA controls prevent the interruption of mission-critical operations, even when a network operator is unavailable to manually respond to an alarm notification. Lesser monitoring systems do not provide SCADA control functions. They simply... Read Full Article...

#16 - SCADA Integration: Bringing SCADA and Telecom functions together...
Telecom SCADA integration is the process of integrating SCADA capabilities into a telecom system, such as a network alarm monitoring system. You Must Deploy a Master That Supports Both Telecom and SCADA Protocols The process of telecom SCADA integration can only occur when you have a master that supports both telecom and SCADA protocols. To allow for telecom SCADA integration within your network, you must find a master that can support SCADA in addition to telecom protocols. Advanced monitoring platforms support many different communication protocols through a single master, allowing for complete telecom SCADA integration. Integrating alarms from these devices of varying protocols allows you to easily view all of your alarms on a single screen. T/Mon NOC Supports Over 25 Protocols The DPS T/Mon NOC is one such example of an advanced monitoring master. T/Mon supports over 25 protocols, including SNMP, DNP3, TL1, ASCII, and more. This advanced telecom SCADA integration solution provides for the most effective network monitoring by accepting alarm inputs from all of your devices of varying protocols. T/Mon also supports legacy equipment and proprietary protocols from other manufacturers, allowing you to develop a cost-effective monitoring system without having to purchase all-new devices. T/Mon Allows You to Achieve a Successful Telecom SCADA Integration... Read Full Article...