SCADA, which is the acronym for Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition, is software used in the process of manufacturing. As the name suggests, it is used to exercise control and supervision of plant processes, using data acquired by the same software.
However, the term SCADA is not just used to refer to the software itself. Manufacturing experts often use the term loosely to refer to the entire system, both the software and the hardware it runs on.
The primary purpose of employing SCADA in industrial processes is to increase the efficiency of the entire system, by ensuring that there is a timely collection and analysis of data, as well as rapid detection of faults. This helps to make decisions fast and avoids significant losses in the event of incidents.
SCADA is one of the oldest pieces of software in existence, almost as old as computers themselves. The framework was first created in the 1950s, as expanding companies found it exceedingly difficult to control their processes manually. The term itself came to be in the 1970s, along with that of its close working partner PLC (Programmable Logic Controller)
Evolution and Growth
The SCADA infrastructure proved an instant hit once it began functioning, and has continued to attract a lot of interest, both in use and innovation. The software has evolved at every turn, adopting the increased capabilities of computers to grow.
As the 21st century set in, SCADA software became open source, widely increasing the number of developers who could contribute to its expansion. The modern-day software is much more potent, as it allows data to be collected and processed in real time, making the earlier systems which were then heavily lauded, to appear archaic.
SCADA systems are prevalent in almost all modern industries including large operations such as energy, manufacturing, recycling, and oil exploration.