Operational networks can be vast for many industries. To carefully control and monitor the network within a facility, companies invest in a supervisory control and data acquisition system, or SCADA system.
Think of SCADA systems as industrial-grade real-time tools that incorporate multiple industrial control systems for optimal control and total supervision from a centralized system. The SCADA system allows for the live monitoring of real-time data across the entire network through a graphical interface. If detecting any anomalies, this system provides alarms and meaningful descriptions so workers know exactly what the issue is and where it is located to perform remediation. SCADA systems are built to be long-lasting and durable.
The key capability of a SCADA system is that it allows remote access to control equipment and systems. Workers don’t have to go to each individual equipment station to manually input or monitor functions. Instead, SCADA systems centralize the plant operations in one convenient location.
However, you may currently face problems with your SCADA control systems. Use these 7 reasons to learn about when it is time for new SCADA upgrades.
The Top 7 Reasons to Upgrade Your SCADA System
While OEM equipment may last for over a decade, facility owners may invest in newer technologies and systems to increase overall operational efficiency. Since these newer machines and equipment use updated technologies, the existing SCADA system may not fully integrate with the current technologies. Updating or replacing SCADA systems with new custom control systems ensures reliable connectivity to all systems.
Difficulty Using Current System
When your system operators try to interact with the current SCADA controls, older systems may function slowly or be difficult to use because they were not designed to complement the current equipment within the facility. This problem becomes further exacerbated when not having consistent Human-Machine Interface (HMI) design standards. This dashboard provides workers with greater monitoring and control of system functions throughout the facility.
Here at Turned Integrated Systems, our system manufacturing capabilities focus on providing high-performance HMI design standards for easier user control and more robust operations.
Poor Security Features
Since technology is constantly evolving, so are cybersecurity hacks and data breaches. Older SCADA systems simply do not have the newer security and encryption protocols in place to keep data from being mined, deleted, or held for ransom. New SCADA custom control systems have upgraded security protocols as well as two-step authentication, encryption, and secure remote access features.
Fewer Replacement Parts Available
As technologies evolve, fewer system manufacturers will stock older replacement parts for legacy SCADA systems. Your facility may have to go to the OEM to obtain the right parts, which could increase costs when sourcing materials. In time, even the OEM may start to phase out their replacement part inventories to only offer more current SCADA products and software.
Noncompliance with IT Standards
Companies constantly modify existing IT standards or institute new standards. The current SCADA system may no longer meet these standards, making a full upgrade or replacement of the system necessary. The IT standards may also change due to a previous data breach to shore up security gaps.
Unreliable Connectivity & Inconsistent Functions
Disparate system controls lead to various issues, including spotty connectivity during peak times of operation. Another issue involves trying to get the systems and equipment to perform optimally. Unfortunately, older SCADA systems can have inconsistent functions and capabilities, which can cause issues when trying to access and maintain systems across multiple facilities.
Lack of Newer Features/Functionality
Older SCADA features and functions may slow down operations. Your company may lose its competitive edge against rival companies that have newer SCADA systems. By upgrading your SCADA system, you can gain features such as access to 3D graphics, built-in reporting, forecasting, and even mobile support.
Custom Control Solutions from Turner
Experiencing any of the above issues may be indicators that it is time to either replace or upgrade your SCADA system. With a newer SCADA system, you can increase your competitive edge with greater operational efficiency and reduce redundant functions. Here at Turner Integrated Systems, we offer expert SCADA programming and industrial control designs for your specific operations. Contact our company to learn more.