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PLANT MANAGEMENT W Staying inCONTROL


ith the role of SCADA within the process industry changing, it pays for plant managers


to become familiar with the trends that are shaping the development of next-generation systems. With modern technology pushing operating capabilities ever further, what key features will denote ‘future-proof ’? If you put the obvious (and


inevitable) jumps forward in functionality and networking communication to one side, the major factor in the development of SCADA for the process plants of the future is a practical one; the user demand for increased versatility. Not only should the  ease of integration for existing and new technologies, they should also display the scalability and transparency required to allow plant managers to create a truly custom monitoring system with ease. Such characteristics can be achieved


by actively designing a SCADA system for the latest software platform  can be achieved by utilising the latest network protocols, modular process structures, graphical capabilities and communication technologies as part of SCADA software architecture. A next-gen SCADA platform


 UA protocols for ease of integration   process modelling would be a good idea and connectivity to the cloud via a range of options is pretty much essential. All are technologies that will likely form the basis of the Internet of Things (IoT) and compatibility with future expansion towards Industry 4.0 compatible monitoring systems. SCADA platforms must evolve and adapt seamlessly with these trends.


BEYOND THE PLANT’S WALLS Traditionally, SCADA has been   


Paul Hurst discusses what’s driving the development of future-proof SCADA


As the use of SCADA evolves, plant managers should become familiar with the trends that are shaping the development of future systems


of the last few years has changed this.  Android operating systems mean that plant managers can now monitor and analyse data from anywhere, 24-hours a day, on a personal wireless device,  alarms and increasing production uptime as a result. 


revolutionised by breakthroughs in augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technologies. In the not- too-distant future, it is not implausible that we will see engineers using virtual headsets to navigate a 3D plant that   Increases in graphical capabilities


will achieve accurate environments that will enable engineers to gain even more insight into processes, and maybe even amend applicable parameters


virtually via the AR or VR environment. Continuing demand from users for versatility and ease of implementation is spurring large developments in SCADA frameworks, while the increased connectivity available in our modern  and smart-device based monitoring systems.


Ultimately, to keep pace with the demands of Industry 4.0, SCADA systems are now required to be modular, so that they can seamlessly adapt to incorporate future technologies. With this approach, operators can enjoy the   an ever-evolving, future-proof SCADA platform. 


Paul Hurst is director at Products4Automation. www.products4automation.co.uk


www.engineerlive.com 17


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