SCADA and The Next Industrial Revolution

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The manufacturing industry is changing significantly through digital improvements across the industry. Many are calling this transformation Industry 4.0. The idea that computer systems can monitor systems, collect data, then present that information is called supervisory control and data acquisitions or SCADA.

The term was coined in the 1970s when microprocessors and PLCs increased an industry’s ability to increase their production and reduce their costs. Manufacturing industries use SCADA as the backbone of the manufacturing and delivery systems. From the Energy industry to recycling to food and beverage companies, SCADA is the go to software for them all. Modern SCADA software systems allow real time data to be accessed anywhere in the world.

The next industrial revolution employs the SCADA web interface for human machine interface, or HMI. Using the Internet of Things, IoT, human machine interface takes SCADA to the next level by connecting more data across a much broader platform. Industrial work comes to cloud technology. Why does this matter?

It Makes More, Better, And with Less Cost

By using the updated SCADA model with HMI, a manufacturing company can make more widgets with better quality and less cost. The software will collect current data and analyze it against historical data to develop better processes that will support the constant growth and improvement.

Now, instead of just collecting local data and aggregating it with other data through intranet connections, companies can have their real-time data collected in the cloud from all their worldwide sites and analyze it for clearer data evaluation. Companies who also have delivery systems in place can have that data stored and analyzed.

So, if you’re bottling company, you can improve your manufacturing and delivery by being able to see the whole picture in real time. From company supplied tablet devices to large machine production to machine assembly, a company can improve the whole process.

Reduce maintenance costs

Machines have a life cycle and manufacturers are constantly looking for ways to lengthen that cycle. With the new software that utilizes larger and larger data sets, maintenance can be closely monitored across the whole system.

This makes it easier to see when a particular machine will be close to needing maintenance well before anything breaks down. Maintenance in manufacturing crucial to keeping the whole system running smoothly. Being able to predict with far more accuracy than in the past when a machine will need maintenance, repair, or replacement will significantly reduce the cost of doing these tasks. Companies can plan outages or reduced production to coincide with lower demand or manage the maintenance to minimize the impact it has on the whole process.

If you assemble keyboards and need to improve how your hydraulic machines work together, this improved software can create a schedule based on all your historical data and the real-time data being collected across all your facilities to give you improved maintenance schedules so that each machine is running smoothly. The idea being that with enough data, this process can be honed to perfection.

The problem has always been that each company has so many different variables that a one size fits all approach has never worked. Now, with this industrial revolution, comes the next iteration of SCADA and the ability to come closer to an individual company’s perfect model.

The Internet of Things (Iot) Will Control It All

SCADA’s systems act as one of the data sources for IoT because SCADA is focused on monitoring and control. That’s still key to every operation. The new SCADA will connect seamlessly into IoT. IoT is about analyzing all the data to improve your processes and your systems.

The industry is driving toward that metadata driven architecture. We can connect vehicles, solar panels, and RFID readers to this larger system and do real time complex processing from different sources. IoT’s ability to analyze these humongous amounts of data and apply machine learning through human supervision or unsupervised application to predict the outcomes of different scenarios. This type of super brain computing includes SCADA and IoT working together.

If you could take the data your marketing team collects about their contacts and clients, the information from the tablets of your delivery drivers, and all the data from your warehousing facilities analyze it in real time and determine that your best performing areas can be duplicated in other areas to bring those facilities to optimum operating capability and capacity all through real time adjustments, wouldn’t you want to upgrade and invest in that ability?

The Future Is Digital and Cloud Based

There have been three different industrial revolutions that have impacted the world and a fourth is just starting to make its debut. First came mechanizing water power and steam power. Then the second industrial revolution was when we started mass producing products, created assembly lines, and used electricity.

The third revolution happened when computers came to industry and mechanized the processes. SCADA was there during the third revolution and has grown with the industry since. Now, the fourth revolution is digitizing enormous amounts of data across multiple platforms and even industry wide through digital and cloud based technologies.

The consumers personal world is embracing cloud based digital technology that connects us all together. Customers are willingly giving data to help improve all forms of manufacturing, energy, and waste industries as well as many more industries. If manufacturing wants to keep up with the fast-paced growth of consumerism, digital and cloud based technologies have become an integral part of the new industrial revolution. Industry 4.0 is here.

Conclusion

There is no doubt that those companies who are willing to adopt the newer SCADA systems will be those who reap the most benefit from this next wave. What did you think of this article? Leave us a comment in the section below.

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