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.

Cold, warm and hot redundancy: determining how much you need

Reliability requirements in process control systems are different for every industry, and for some this may require PLC redundancy in the automation system to keep people and equipment safe. Some processes will require very little or moderate intervention, while failures or delays cannot be tolerated in other processes. Here, we look at different types of redundancy and where they should be used.

Reducing risks by selecting a qualified engineer

Despite the complex nature of engineering work and the pivotal role engineers play in ensuring public safety, most engineers in Australia are not currently required to hold a formal registration or licence. To reduce the risks of work that does not meet professional standards, it is important to look for providers who have professional registration. Here, we look at professional registrations programs in Australia so you can choose a qualified engineer