The Future of SCADA is Beyond

by | Oct 10, 2022 | Control & Safety Systems, Industrial IoT, Machine Automation

Dan Sacchitella

Dan Sacchitella

Software Solutions Sales Leader - Americas

SCADA software has solved a lot of problems for industrial users for many years, but as industry begins taking its first steps into this nebulous realm of “Industry 4.0,” its fit and function must adapt. How must SCADA software evolve so that end users and OEMs can maximize availability, performance, quality and sustainability?

What we find is that organizations today have the resources to run their business, but struggle to find the resources to change, modernize and grow. If you liken it to a home renovation, it would be like trying to update the kitchen, but the stove keeps catching fire!

Our customers are trying to find productivity and efficiency gains using very broadly defined digital transformation initiatives, while also working to maintain high availability, quality AND push the envelope with sustainability. At the same time they are having to contend with aging SCADA systems, islands of stranded automation data, and a labor market that is seeing an entire generation of tribal knowledge head to the golf course and retire, leaving a significant gap in operational ability. Transformative ambitions will always give way to keeping up with consumer demand and reacting to immediate needs.

They are surviving, not thriving.

The combination of a reactive operational mentality with labor and technological constraints will eventually lead to smaller fires becoming bigger ones. As each event is addressed, resources both human and technical are put under added strain, until eventually something gives and the adverse event has a real-world impact.

Think about the plant failure in Jackson, Mississippi that has made the water indefinitely unusable, or the baby formula shortage in North America, or the many manufacturing and food recalls that we see in the news on a weekly basis. There is a noticeably clear and tangible impact on people’s lives when organizations struggle like this.

They need relief from the constant onslaught of daily events. They need room to breathe.

This is where a SCADA-based platform like the new Movicon.NExT™ 4.2 software can make an enormous difference. Highly modular, scalable, and intuitive, this platform allows users to solve specific problems at a simple, project level, which is affordable and practical when you’re simultaneously putting out fires. Then the solutions can scale up as time, budget and mental bandwidth allow.

Highly modern in concept and design, which matches the needs of today’s workforce, Movicon.NExT 4.2 software is an HTML5-based system designed to be hardware agnostic. It provides a way for users to connect the many disparate pieces of operational data from around their plants. Many varieties of hardware and software can be easily integrated into the Movicon.NExT 4.2 platform using built-in drivers, giving operations and management a clear picture of their plant and its people.

The key to operating well is making sure that critical information is front and center, and that events and adverse conditions are not only readily visible, but pushed to the people who need to act. As the integration of new tools and data-driven insights increases, this type of scalable platform can then be used to move from reactive to predictive and even adaptive operations.

Users often think of platforms that deliver true IIoT and Industry 4.0 solutions as being “high concept” and difficult to achieve. A SCADA-based platform like Movicon.NExT 4.2 proves that doesn’t have to be the case.

Users and OEMs solve very tangible problems quickly and easily. For example, Movicon.NExT 4.2 offers a specific module designed to give users the benefits of overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) with minimal investment of time or money. With Movicon Pro.Lean, users can deploy a quick Wizard that will give the availability and productivity of a manufacturing line in 30 minutes. Going from paper production tracking to a modern interface that will generate clear performance reports could not be simpler.

Likewise with the Movicon Pro.Energy module – everyone wants to reduce their energy costs, but it’s not as simple as making sure the lights are turned off in an operational environment. With Movicon Pro.Energy, users can monitor energy consumption from a production line to an entire campus, and generate reports showing where energy is being consumed.

This can help change the operational tempo to work around the highest billable rate for energy use and understand where enterprises may be losing energy in the form of steam loss, compressed air or sub-optimal equipment. And again, this is another platform that can be deployed with minimal resources from a user.

The focus is on finding areas where users can realize immediate insights. Anytime greater understanding is uncovered, it starts to relieve that pressure, making it easier to take the necessary steps to build towards a stronger future.

The future of SCADA helps users and OEMs see their operations in a decision-optimizing way – even while putting out the fires. Gradually, as the decisions get better and better, the fires get smaller. Systems assume more responsibility over manual operations and plants will be running with true efficiency and productivity regardless of the resource constraints. See the forest, understand the big picture, then tackle it one tree at a time.

 

It’s time to go beyond SCADA! Get more information on the Movicon website and in the Movicon.NExT 4.2 Release Notes.

 

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The opinions expressed here are the personal opinions of the authors. Content published here is not read or approved by Emerson before it is posted and does not necessarily represent the views and opinions of Emerson.