by Todd Bowolick
If automation is the brain of your industrial process, then your Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system is the neurons — the cells that collect and transmit information to every part of your body and ensure it is functioning properly. Your SCADA software interconnects all your process operations, allowing you to monitor and control every aspect across various remote sites from one master dashboard.
A properly designed SCADA system saves time and money, protecting your investment in your process today and optimizing it so that it can adapt to future challenges. That’s why it’s essential to select the right system for your organization.
Selecting and designing an optimal solution should happen during the development of your software process, rather than as an afterthought. This selection process can be lengthy, and project managers and engineers may be presented with a multitude of options. Where do you start, and how do you ensure you are making the right choice?
Considering the following essential criteria can make the process easier and ensure you’re getting what you need for your organization.
- Security — Is your system secure? Consider conducting a vulnerability assessment in your SCADA system and close any gaps not considered best practices, mitigating any potential security risks.
- Existing hardware — Consider whether the new SCADA system will work with your existing hardware. What type of equipment is currently in place at all sites, including remote areas? What new equipment will be added as you expand your operations?
- Needs — Does the system support current and future needs? If you’re planning to add another plant in the future, will the system support that type of growth? How many data-dependent users are on the present system? What’s missing from your current system?
- Cost — Always remember that you get what you pay for, and remember that initial cost may not reflect the total cost of operating your system over time. Depending on your organization and industry, you should also consider current and potential inspection, maintenance, and repair costs. How might those current costs change to be cost-effective? Will the proposed SCADA system positively affect your total operations costs?
- Service and support — Remember to do your homework not just on the solution itself, but on the vendor. Is that provider stable and reputable? Will that provider be available and responsive to help with troubleshooting, upgrades, and ongoing support? Do you have appropriate service level agreements (SLAs) in place?
IDM has a qualified, licensed, and trained field service group that can help design and implement an appropriate SCADA system for your business. We can provide automation with SCADA and manage your entire SCADA system — allowing you to have all the power and control you need without worrying about the complexity of management.
IDM provides innovative solutions to ensure success for all your industrial processes.