Your SCADA system, or HMI system will be one of the most important aspects of your automation process. The best SCADA software can successfully coordinate your HMI system and your PLCs to run together seamlessly. The wrong SCADA system can quickly become an expensive albatross, causing you to constantly invest in upgrades to increase compatibility, or purchase additional modules to add functionality that should be included from the start. So what should you look for in your SCADA software, or HMI systems? Here are a few tips for choosing wisely.
- Look for compatibility. Is your SCADA system compatible across multiple operating systems? InduSoft Web studio will run on ANY current Microsoft operating system. That means it will run mobile SCADA on Windows CE, or ultra customized HMI functions on Windows embedded XP in addition to Windows 7, Vista, or even Windows Server Editions.
- What drivers does the SCADA system include? Drivers are going to be an important aspect of your SCADA HMI software. With the right drivers installed with your PLC SCADA system, your control software can communicate with nearly any PLC on the market, regardless of the manufacturer. But again, compatibility is key. If you use an obscure PLC model, then a powerful, but cost effective HMI like InduSoft also supports middleware like OPC DA, OPC HDA, OPC Xi, and OPC UA (OPC Xi and OPC UA will be supported in version 7.0, but are not supported by 6.1).
- What’s the cost? Value is critical in regard to SCADA systems, because additional features can add up if you have to purchase them after the fact. A feature rich HMI or SCADA system like InduSoft includes everything you need bundled into one package. IWS offers so much, as a matter of fact, that Frost and Sullivan awarded IWS the Global Customer Value Enhancement award for 2010. InduSoft is priced affordably to begin with, but when you add in all the additional components, like hundreds of drivers, frequently praised technical support, and incredible compatibility, InduSoft easily becomes one of the most affordable SCADA systems available. In addition to drivers and support, InduSoft users also get alarms, trends, recipes and reports, and IWS is available in multiple languages, including English and Japanese.
- How’s the Support? Technical support is often what makes the difference between a low cost SCADA system, and a “cheap SCADA system”. Data acquisition software that doesn’t offer good support will never earn and keep the respect of users. That’s why InduSoft always goes above and beyond to provide the best customer support in the industry.
- Is it Scalable? Supervisory control and data acquisition software often needs to be highly versatile, in order to operate in the many different settings in which it will be used. IWS can have a very small footprint when required, but can also be used up at the top level in a server environment.