Saturday, September 18, 2010

Modernizing HMI/SCADA with Web-based Tools

A good place to start in modernizing an HMI/SCADA system is with incorporation of Web-based capabilities. The functionality standard in web-enabled HMI workstation today significantly surpasses those of only few years ago. Newer units can be configured to perform sophisticated notification of incidents and to respond automatically with cellular text messages, email or autodial phone calls.

For example, upgraded SCADA system software can be programmed to autodial, text or email a designated list in a predetermined order until a response is received. Such features reduce the number of personnel required on site and simplify remote location monitoring.

One problem in particular alleviated by web-based tools is that of over-licensing. Licensing every station in the field is always costly and often unnecessary. Older systems were designed so that every station required a license, even if no one used the system for more than an hour a day every few days.

However, the ability to use the web-based application standard in newer equipment turned that around. A company only needs to purchase enough licenses to cover the maximum number of people who will use the system at any one time. These full-featured systems even offer automatic logoff if a terminal remains dormant for a specified amount of time. A browser equipped PC enables a user to control or view operations and data through programs installed on a central computer.


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