Essential HMI/SCADA Software: Increased Connection

Essential HMI/SCADA Software: Increased Connection
Essential HMI/SCADA Software: Increased Connection

In today’s rapidly changing industrial landscape, manufacturers and utilities must embrace modern human-machine interface/supervisory control and data acquisition (HMI/SCADA), and digital transformation to keep up with the pace of change, meet growing operations challenges, and remain competitive. HMI/SCADA software runs industrial plants around the world, helping operators make critical decisions to run machinery. These technological innovations are reshaping the industrial landscape.

Industrial organizations also are dealing with high rates of retirement of aging workers who have deep knowledge and expertise. These individuals are being replaced by younger workers who lack the same knowledge but are digital natives with skills and experience with mobile devices and web-based technologies.

Technology suppliers in the automation ecosystem have the challenge and opportunity to help industrial companies cope with these changes while achieving their desired outcomes. The starting point for many companies is the implementation of a modern HMI/SCADA software solution.

An HMI/SCADA is a category of software-based control system architecture that uses networked data to provide operators with a graphical user interface (GUI) that allows them to monitor the performance of many pieces of equipment and issue process commands and settings.

It allows operators to improve situational awareness, the mobility of visualization anytime and anywhere, and important equipment control, which provides a centralized view of operations. HMI/SCADA collects data from remote terminal units (RTUs), programmable logic controllers (PLCs), and other control devices. This data is presented to an operator using an HMI, which allows the operator to see what is going on in the plant in real time.

HMI/SCADA also can be connected to other technologies such as a data historian to allow historical trending and other analysis. In fact, the foundation starts with capturing industrial data, combining it with other meaningful data sources for context, and managing a historic record. It is data, turned into information, that provides the basis for meaningful outcomes. HMI/SCADA lets you guide newer operators through the right steps to take, and users can enable mobility and remote monitoring for greater efficiency.

The advent of connectedness has brought about incredible opportunities for industry.

Operators in manufacturing environments often have oversight over many pieces of equipment. HMI and SCADA solutions allow them to precisely monitor, control, and visualize every aspect of their operations in a centralized manner.

With the increased visibility that HMI/ SCADA affords, there are many applications for its use. Industrial processes such as those in manufacturing or power generation, infrastructure processes like water treatment or oil and gas pipelines, and facility processes like those that control heating and ventilation are all good uses for HMI/SCADA.

In today’s connected industry, HMI/SCADA is just one of many industrial technologies adding value to and enhance industrial capabilities. With HMI/SCADA, industrial companies can precisely monitor, control, and visualize every aspect of their operations for intelligent control. With a quick glance, operators know what’s important and the right actions to drive increased efficiency and reduced costs.

This feature originally appeared in Bill Lydon's 7th Annual Industrial Automation & Control Trends Report.

About The Author

Bernard Cubizolles is the global product marketing manager of HMI and SCADA for GE Digital. He has been with General Electric for more than 10 years and holds a PhD in applied physics.

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