Selecting the right SCADA software for your automation systems

SCADA systems are the backbone of your automation processes. This highlights the need for selecting the right kind of software. The SCADA software that you should choose must be able to communicate well with your programmable logic controllers and your remote terminal units. It should be in control of the new inputs and their subsequent outputs. That being said, a right SCADA system can help you meet your automation needs today and bring you returns on your investment.

Wonderware recently released a questionnaire which helps you select the right kind of SCADA software for your business. Make sure you check these issues off your buy list when considering a SCADA software.

Here is how you should go about it

Question 1: Will the new SCADA system work in compliance with my existing hardware system?

If you are planning to work with the software and hardware from different vendors, certain compliance issues may arise. Since the hardware is typically a large investment, your SCADA systems should communicate effectively with the legacy equipment and not the other way around. Make sure that the SCADA software you select has support for a large number of native drivers who can work with multiple hardware from different vendors, regardless the age.

Question 2: Is my SCADA software seller a long-term player in the market?

SCADA systems are big investments. They not only cover your initial costs, but they also suffice your needs for today and near future. Make sure that your seller is ready to give you support in the upcoming years. You can consider a vendor based on his experience in the industry and the requirements of the software after installation.

Question 3: How easily can I upgrade my system and SCADA software?

Your SCADA system must be flexible enough to adapt to the change in requirements and technology upgrades. Backward compatibility is essential because replacing a whole system is expensive and can result in downtime and loss of data. Ensuring that your software vendor offers support for total backwards compatibility can save you from such a headache.

Question 4: Will the SCADA software support my current and future requirements?

Scalability is an important factor to consider while selecting a SCADA software. If you plan on expanding your plant or maybe just add another production line only, your industrial architecture should be able to manage such growth. Ensure that the SCADA system is tested for handling expanding and addition to current establishments to avoid slow response time.

Question 5: Will the software have consistent support and maintenance?

The most important aspect of a software lifecycle is its maintenance and support. SCADA software is essential to industrial automation which means that without proper maintenance, they can go down which can have serious implications on the plant working. Ensure that your vendor is there to provide support and maintenance to the software as and when required. This also includes the training the personnel for effectively using these systems.

Question 6: Is the software secure?

Over the last several decades, there have been numerous instances of intrusions and compromises in the SCADA software. Sharing of the network via the world wide web can be attributed to this fact. Since the systems withhold highly critical information by their very nature, protecting them from unauthorized access is vital. Ensure that your vendor provides security regarding architecture, programming code and network layers.

 

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