SCADA systems are generally the “central nervous systems” for any automation system. It is therefore important to deliberate carefully in order to choose the best SCADA solution that will suit your specific requirements. The best systems are ones that will be able to easily communicate with both your RTU and PLCs or programmable logic controllers. They should be able to satisfy your current needs as well as the needs of the future and lastly, they ensure that your industrial investments are adequately protected. Here are some useful considerations when looking for a good SCADA solution:
A lot of production floors include a patchwork of both new and old hardware. Hardware that is installed in any production facility is generally a longer term investment and you need to ensure that the SCADA systems that you are going to choose will effectively communicate even with the legacy equipment at the facility. For example, a SCADA system with only OPC connectivity may not communicate effectively with your legacy equipment. In such instances, you might be forced to invest in drivers capable of working with legacy equipment or buying an OPC wrapper. Any system that you buy must have support for a diverse array of native drivers. Check out Parasyn
Will it be suitable for your future needs?
It is important to ensure your SCADA system is capable of handling a large number of I/O points in order to ensure it is scalable. If you are going to expand in the near future, it is important to ensure that the infrastructure of the industrial system will be able manage the type of growth that you are envisioning. Purchasing SCADA systems that cannot handle that kind of growth will result in slow response times and many other issues with your industrial architecture.
Ensure Your SCADA Software is Low Risk
SCADA is never a low risk investment and if a particular vendor is selling it as so, then you should be careful. Do not invest in something that you can easily throw away. Instead, invest in a system that really works and does the job for you. If a system is going to be central to your industrial infrastructure, then you must take the time to choose a suitable solution.
Will You Get Support?
Your SCADA provider should be able to offer you long term support wherever and whenever you need it. A software implementation cannot be a disposable solution. Not all SCADA implementations will go down well. There can be issues with lost data in the data acquisition software and even unscheduled downtimes and these can adversely affect your production.
What is the Reputation of Your SCADA Vendor?
SCADA systems are generally massive purchases and it is something that should be able to meet your needs not just today but also in the future. If you are investing in these systems, it is important to be sure that your SCADA vendor will be in business for the long term.
System should be Easy to Upgrade
Any system that you install should be easily adaptable to new technologies and requirements. It is also important to have backwards compatibility as it is quite costly to replace an entire system. Whatever vendor that you choose should have backward compatibility in order to make easy upgrades.
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