Companies that rely on industrial control systems are seeing a rise in the adoption of Internet of Things (IoT) solutions. These new technologies offer benefits like real-time monitoring and remote access, which can improve efficiency and safety while lowering costs. However, IoT also has unique challenges that you need to consider as you introduce these solutions into your facility. The scope of SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition) systems is expanding to include monitoring and remote access of non-industrial parts of the factory. A SCADA integrator can help you implement an IoT solution in your plant by integrating the necessary devices, software, and network infrastructure. Here are five ways a SCADA integrator can make this easier for you:
Help you choose the right hardware and software.
The first step toward integrating IoT technologies is choosing the right devices and software. This includes identifying the devices you want to monitor and choosing an appropriate communication protocol for each device. For example, if you want to monitor the temperature of a cold storage room, you can use a sensor that communicates using either a wired or wireless transmission protocol. Likewise, if you want to integrate a sensor that detects water flow or a pressure gauge, you select a different transmission protocol. You should also consider how the device will access the internet. For example, if you want to monitor a machine’s operational status through an internet-connected computer, you need to ensure that the computer is configured with an internet connection and that the operating system is compatible with the software.
Ensure your network is ready to support new devices.
Once you know what devices and software you want to use, you need to ensure that your network is ready for them. This includes verifying that your network has enough bandwidth to support new devices and that each device’s communication protocol is supported. You also need to ensure that each device is connected to the network with an appropriate IP address and that each device is configured to work with the software. When you add a new device to your network, you also need to make sure that it doesn’t disrupt the operation of the other devices on your network. This includes testing devices to make sure that they don’t interfere with nearby devices or cause a network outage.
Help you develop a remote monitoring strategy.
Depending on the devices you select and how many you plan to implement, you may need to upgrade your network switch or router. As part of this upgrade, you need to consider which devices can be connected to which ports on the switch and router. This is important because a device connected to the wrong switch port may disrupt other devices connected to the switch. Once you’ve upgraded your network and ensured that it can handle the new devices, you need to decide how the devices will be integrated into your SCADA system. This includes determining the best strategy for remote monitoring, like monitoring your system from a single location or from multiple locations. For example, if you want to monitor the temperature and humidity of a cold storage room from multiple locations, you can use a gateway device to connect a sensor to your network and transmit data to a monitoring system.
Complete your physical infrastructure.
Once you’ve decided on the devices and software you want to use and ensured that your network is ready to support them, the next step is to finish your physical infrastructure. This includes running the necessary network cables, installing network hardware like switches and routers, mounting sensors and installing gateway devices. It also means installing the software for remote monitoring and configuring it for each device.
As the scope of SCADA systems expands to include monitoring and remote access of non-industrial parts of the factory, a SCADA integrator can help you implement an IoT solution in your plant by integrating the necessary devices, software, and network infrastructure. The first step is to choose the right hardware and software, followed by ensuring your network is ready to support new devices. Then, you need to develop a remote monitoring strategy and complete your physical infrastructure.