For decades now, SCADA software has been an indispensable monitoring, control, and diagnostic tool for plant operators. SCADA software has almost entirely replaced mimic panels, push-button stations, circular chart recorders, and the like, and most plants would not operate for long without it. As the evolution continues, modern SCADA platforms are uniquely positioned to transition beyond the plant floor to center stage as the Industrial Data Platform for digital manufacturing enterprises.
Out of the box this software is customizable, connects to anything on the plant floor, handles time series data, and can easily connect to other enterprise applications. Native client/server and visualization tools allow non-programmers to build and distribute custom KPI dashboards. Here are five native features of SCADA software that should reshape your view of SCADA from plant floor software to an Industrial Data Platform.
Most modern SCADA software is extensively customizable using modern programming languages like Python or the .Net Framework. This key feature allows programmers to connect to other enterprise applications like LIMS, MMS, GIS, production scheduling, inventory management and more using technologies like REST. All of this in a container that eliminates the need for full blown custom software development.
Easily Customizable Visuals
Visualization is essential to find value in data. Creating custom graphics like KPI dashboards or OEE displays is simple with the well-developed graphics tools in SCADA software. This adaptability gets precisely the right information to the right people in the format most useful to them.
Ability to Handle Time Series Data
SCADA software was built to handle the unique challenges of storing time series data. Problems like handling large storage volumes, retrieval speed, store and forward, and others have long been solved, and all SCADA software comes with at least a basic set of analytics tools designed for this type of information.
Native “Last Mile” Capability
The “last mile” refers to the ability to connect software systems to plant-floor data sources like PLCs, instruments, and CNC equipment. Many IIOT platforms and ERP/MOM software systems struggle with this mandatory functionality and rely on third party companies to provide the tools. Because SCADA software was built for the plant floor, plant floor connectivity is a native function.
Again, this feature is out of the box. Features like server redundancy, remote clients, and mobile device access are native in most modern SCADA packages speeding time to deployment for enterprise applications.
Where to Start?
Selecting an Industrial Data Platform can be a daunting task. All providers have recognized the market for data connectivity in the digital enterprise, but like anything, some are more capable than others. Check out our white paper 9 MES Tools Every Plant Manager Needs to Improve Business Performance or contact one of our SCADA and MES specialists for the inside scoop.