What is SCADA

Supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA)

SCADA stands for supervisory control and data acquisition. It generally refers to industrial control systems: computer systems that monitor and control industrial, infrastructure, or facility-based processes, as described below:

  • Industrial processes include those of manufacturing, production, power generation, fabrication, and refining, and may run in continuous, batch, repetitive, or discrete modes.
  • Infrastructure processes may be public or private, and include water treatment and distribution, wastewater collection and treatment, oil and gas pipelines, electrical power transmission and distribution, Wind Farms, railway electrification, and large communication systems.

Facility processes occur both in public facilities and private ones, including buildings, airports, ships, and space stations. They monitor and control HVAC, access, and energy consumption.

 SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition) is a category of software application program for process control, the gathering of data in real time from remote locations in order to control equipment and conditions. SCADA is used in power plants as well as in oil and gas refining, telecommunications, transportation, and water and waste control.

SCADA systems include hardware and software components. The hardware gathers and feeds data into a computer that has SCADA software installed. The computer then processes this data and presents it in a timely manner. SCADA also records and logs all events into a file stored on a hard disk or sends them to a printer. SCADA warns when conditions become hazardous by sounding alarms.


Remote Terminal Unit (RTU)

An RTU, or Remote Terminal Unit is a microprocessor controlled electronic device which interfaces objects in the physical world to a distributed control system or SCADA(supervisory control and data acquisition system) by transmitting telemetry data to the system and/or altering the state of connected objects based on control messages received from the system.

An RTU monitors the field digital and analog parameters and transmits all the data to the Central Monitoring Station. An RTU can be interfaced with the Central Station with different communication media (usually serial (RS232, RS485, RS422) or Ethernet). RTU can support standard protocols (Modbus, IEC 60870-5-101/103/104, DNP3, ICCP, etc.) to interface any third party software. In some control applications, RTUs drive high current capacity relays to a digital output (or "DO") board to switch power on and off to devices in the field. The DO board switches voltage to the coil in the relay, which closes the high current contacts, which completes the power circuit to the device. An RTU can monitor analog inputs of different types including 4 to 20 milliamperes (4-20 mA), 0 to 10 V., -2.5V to 2.5V, 1 to 5V etc.; the RTU or host system then translates this raw data into the appropriate units such as gallons of water left or temperature before presenting the data to the user via the HMI or MMI.

RTUs differ from Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs) in that RTUs are more suitable for wide geographical telemetry, often using wireless communications, while PLCs are more suitable for local area control (plants, production lines, etc.) where the system utilizes physical media for control. The IEC 61131 programming tool is more popular for use with PLCs, while RTUs often use proprietary.


 programming tools. Winlog Lite, free SCADA HMI system

Winlog Lite is the "Entry level" version of the SCADA/HMI software, click the link below.