NewsRevolutionizing Remote Asset Monitoring and Control with Open and Secure SCADAPack RTUs

Revolutionizing Remote Asset Monitoring and Control with Open and Secure SCADAPack RTUs

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 Remote operations pose a major obstacle to businesses such as treatment of wastewater and water, as well as production of oil and gas as well as the management of assets in vast geographic areas. These regions may be rural, and can be located in extreme conditions (i.e. desert, polar, tropical or even more). Remote operations typically occur in regions with a only no cell service and, as a consequence that other types of communication, like satellite or data radios will also be used to transfer data from remote terminal units (RTUs) in their supervisory controls and data acquisition (SCADA) system. SCADA is a shorthand for Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition and is an industrial control system (ICS) that is used to control and monitor industries’ processes as well as infrastructure in real-time. SCADA systems use sensors and other equipment to collect data from different components of the process or the infrastructure and use the information to monitor and control the process. After data is gathered, it is transferred to a central computer, where it is then analysed and displayed. It is then stored. Common applications are water treatment as well as the oil and gas industry, transportation, energy manufacturing, and transportation industries, and more.
Maintenance and repair of an area with many remote assets usually requires technicians on site with accessibility to SCADA systems in order to manage their facilities efficiently. However, thanks to Schneider Electric’s SCADAPack(tm) 474i and 470i Smart RTUs remote asset can now be managed and monitored via any gadget – smartphones, laptops, or computers for instance.

Remote asset managers will gain from this latest solution by simplifying their design of their telemetry network by using SCADAPack as an data concentrator, which combines information from remote locations into a simpler-to-share format which can be shared via data radios. In essence, telemetry networks allow remote measurement and reporting of information via sensors, or remotely terminals (RTUs) straight into the central control system such as SCADA to be used for Central monitoring and controlling. Telemetry utilizes technology and communications networks (such as satellite, radio or cellular) to transfer data from remote locations to the central system of control. Telemetry networks are used to send live data from remote locations into a control centre that allows operators to remotely monitor and control assets, detect issues quickly and respond swiftly to emergencies as well as optimize the performance of systems and ensure optimum availability for the overall operation of the system.

RTUs have been in use since the 1970s to support remote applications, and programming standards like IEC 61131-3 have been in force since the 90s. Nowadays, however machines training and AI technology are developing to aid in the autonomous operation and maintenance of remote systems, with efficiency in energy being one of the primary goals. This advanced ability required another edge device which added complexity, as well as other components that may fail.

To meet this need, we believe a new generation of RTUs are required. With the possibility of open remote services in mind SCADAPack 470i and 474i are the best choice. SCADAPack 474i and 470i offer an open platform that can support cutting-edge computing protocols and services while ensuring compatibility with existing and newer solutions.

RTOS offers the traditional capabilities businesses depend on and anticipate to receive from RTU and PLC as well as facilitating essential performance requirements, for example, monitoring outputs and inputs for control the instrument communications networks, as well as support for old telemetry protocols and IEC 61131-3 support for logic.

Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs) are an industrial control system designed to automate and control manufacturing processes and different industrial processes. PLCs are electronic devices that have memory that can be programmed to store instructions which control the switching on and off machines temperatures and pressure, flow rate as well as other variables.

PLCs are designed to be used in harsh environments such as manufacturing facilities and power stations. The controllers are programmable. (PLCs) can be programmed and reprogrammed to perform different tasks when needed. They can also communicate with other systems and devices to exchange information and coordinate actions.

PLCs are extensively used in industries of automation because of their flexibility, reliability as well as the ease of maintenance. In addition, these machines can accomplish complex tasks with ease in their own right or as a an integral part of bigger systems.

To be a part of our mission to make this product usable from anywhere, we also wanted to make sure it was able to withstand harsh conditions when used remotely. The latest SCADAPack series can work across a wide temperature range that spans from 40 up to 70 Celsius (158 Fahrenheit) and also high levels of vibration, humidity, and shock.

Through the collection of information from a variety of sources better decision-making can be achieved across a range of sectors like wastewater and water treatment as well as production of oil and gas and optimization, pumps leak detection analytics, pump automation and numerous other applications. The information gathered at the locations is later merged to cloud data or SCADA system information to aid in an efficient process of decision-making.

IoT technology is evolving towards immediate detection and the reporting of irregularities that occur from remote locations that can automatically correct for any anomalies that occur and provides immediate correction options in the event of need.

Security features are integrated into the RTUs right from the beginning through their design, implementation of runtime, communications and design and, indeed, IEC 62443 SL1 cybersecurity standards have been complied with in the SCADAPack the 470i as well as 474i. Users have the flexibility in rapidly and easily adding security features to their products, and the RTU can continue to perform its essential functions once it has been granted access has been granted. Additionally, the secure boot chain can help to prevent attempts to alter it itself.

With the help of a real-time operating systems (RTOS) complex decisions based on a myriad of types of data can happen place all at once in real-time.

Example: If you utilize pumps in contract with an electrical provider for spot price power, we now have the technology and the ability to provide real-time cost information and also draw cost data in real-time to be used. Through slowing down pumps during power surges or detecting undesirable mixtures in pipelines carrying oil and altering separators in line with the results, tiny cost-saving measures like these can make an enormous significant difference in operational expenses and help reduce operations by businesses and utilities alike.

Flexibility in communication can bring immediate advantages. However, smart assets that are IIoT-enabled equipped with artificial intelligence or machine learning capabilities offer an essential future-proofing of the process of automation. SCADAPack RTUs offer enhanced capabilities at the edge.

The combination of a applications running on Linux and RTOS is the basis for more robust and cost-effective remote operation in the long run. It is a specialized platform for cutting-edge edge services such as data protocols, applications and other services in order to meet the demands of IT as well as cyber-security threats.

The other components will prolong the life of any remote operation helping to accelerate the digital transformation process in IT-OT convergence by providing the needs of both future and present in one robust device.

Michal Pukala
Electronics and Telecommunications engineer with Electro-energetics Master degree graduation. Lightning designer experienced engineer. Currently working in IT industry.