Combining network control and energy management for power-critical infrastructure

Managing a power-critical infrastructure asset can be challenging, especially when energy management and a reduced carbon footprint also need to be considered. Typically, such a set-up would require the implementation of two separate systems: a Network Control System (NCS) to ensure reliable power supply is maintained during mains power failure and an Energy Management System (EMS). Having separate systems reduces functionality and increases costs, however these challenges can be overcome by considering an integrated solution.

Selecting cabling and leveraging SCADA networks

In a previous article, we started looking at SCADA communication networks. We explored the differences between industrial and corporate networks, converged networks, core and edge switches along with redundancy and security considerations. In this article we continue the discussion, looking at the differences between fibre optic and copper communication cabling and how the network can be leveraged.

Networks and Switches: Making the most out of your SCADA

Communication networks and associated network switches are key components in Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems. Communication networks can vary in complexity, size, the type and number of equipment being monitored, the level of security required, the network architecture, latency and bandwidth, along with data reporting requirements. In this article, we look at network architecture, redundancy, security, converged networks and switch technology, as well as the differences between industrial and corporate networks.

The cost of legacy SCADA systems

SCADA systems have become a common tool for advanced management and control of equipment and operations in the energy, mining, water and manufacturing sectors. Traditionally, these systems were designed around reliability and safety, and were isolated from other networks. With the advancement of technology and desire for greater transparency of operational data, this is no longer the case. Legacy systems are now becoming less able to support new safety and data processing requirements along with being at high risk of failure at any moment, so are now a major liability and the cost to asset owners can be much greater than they realise.

Telemetry and remote access

Telemetry plays a key role in asset management, allowing data from remote sites to be transmitted to a central system. Over the past few years, as communications technology has advanced and a wider range of products are becoming available, it has increasingly become a more cost-effective alternative to manual monitoring and data collection where assets are spread over a large area. Here, we look at some of the considerations when selecting a remote telemetry unit (RTU).

Secure remote access for water treatment plants

The processes and technology used to monitor the performance of assets in water treatment plants has evolved rapidly. A plant operator no longer needs to physically check assets at regular intervals or wait until a problem occurs to take action, as technology now allows assets to be accessed remotely and in real time, with data able to be analysed to find problems before they occur. Here, we look at secure remote access, and what you need to know in order to keep your systems secure.

Choosing a PLC: Things to consider

In a previous article we looked at the differences between cold, warm and hot redundancy, and how to determine which of these is best suited for your application. Here, we continue this discussion, looking at what to consider when selecting a programmable logic controller (PLC), as well as some of the different vendors available.