When planning and developing a new SCADA system, it’s important to put into place standards that will ensure that the project can be easily and efficiently changed when new hardware, software, or additional elements to monitor require an adjustment in the system. The best way to develop standards for a new SCADA system is to start with a flexible SCADA software solution that will allow engineers to be flexible. While it may be tempting to choose a software based around a series of hardware that will form the crux of the system, it’s important to make sure that new elements can be incorporated efficiently, and that the system isn’t locked into a series of hardware that may become obsolete within a few years.
Here are some basic tips in setting standards up for a new SCADA system:
- Start with a flexible SCADA software package that includes drivers for multiple manufacturers and devices.
- Make sure your software includes everything you might feasibly need, even if you don’t need it right now. Things like alarms, trends, database connectivity, and even web thin client capabilities should all be included.
- What is the history of the software you’re building your system around? Does the SCADA company continue to support old versions of the software? Are applications built in older versions of the software still editable in the current version?
- Hardware is an important aspect of standardizing a SCADA system. Choose hardware that works well together, or a development platform that can bridge disparate hardware vendor protocols for smooth communication.
- Consider the training and development time required in setting up a SCADA system. Make sure that the platform can import projects from other systems if there is an existing application in place, or schedule SCADA training opportunities for new users. It will save time and money in the long run if the application is designed to be intuitive and efficient from the beginning.
- Find a solution that makes it easy to implement and scale to fit as the project grows. Something that can be easily scaled from machines running Windows CE and Windows Embedded all the way up to machines running Windows server editions will be highly flexible. A software that supports multiple thin clients makes implementation on new machines fast and affordable.