Swiss Army Knife of SCADA Series: Part 1
Jan 6, 2022
Written by: Jon Tandy, Product Application Engineer
The Elecsys Director and RediGate products are full-featured edge gateways for SCADA and IIoT infrastructure applications, constituting the Industrial Data Gateway (IDG) product line at Elecsys. We are launching a series of articles that will survey a wide range of relevant application stories and use cases for the Elecsys IDG gateway products. These will illustrate their multi-faceted capabilities that have enabled our customers to add significant value to their control and monitoring solutions for years.
One of our customers recently described the Elecsys gateway products as “a Swiss Army knife” – that is, a toolkit packed with functionality for a variety of purposes. These include features that are ready to use “out-of-the-box,” with little or no need for software application development. As evidence of its versatility, this customer relayed how they were able to use a single Elecsys Director to replace three or four pieces of networking and control equipment at certain SCADA sites purchased from another company. Thus, comes the inspiration behind the title of this series.
“SCADA” (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) refers to real-time data monitoring and control in industrial systems. SCADA systems can control a vast array of things. Some of these include the operation of pipelines, the electrical grid, large factory manufacturing, and other operations that require real-time data gathered from a network of communication, measurement, and control equipment.
“IIoT” (Industrial Internet of Things) refers to interconnected networks of sensors, controllers, and communication devices for the purposes of collection and exchange of information, edge logic and data analytics, and machine learning. IIoT is sometimes referred to as “Industry 4.0” and includes SCADA, as well as cloud computing and other technologies that are driving greater productivity and data-driven efficiency within industries of all sorts.
The Elecsys gateways are the latest generation in a long line of industrial data gateway products that anticipated, and even contributed to, the development of the current Internet of Things. In a future article, we will relate how the Elecsys gateways were involved in the origin of the MQTT protocol, which has become one of the leading IIoT communication protocols today.
Here are just some of the application stories that we plan to cover:
- Improving SCADA data acquisition rates from minutes down to seconds, while at the same time reducing communication bandwidth and complexity
- Enabling SCADA and non-SCADA applications to operate more efficiently, through the use of MQTT as a distributed communication protocol
- Managing multiple levels of redundant communication networks for very high-availability SCADA operations across a large and diverse network
- Adding network and device security to protect the integrity of systems and data, while still providing needed communication
- Reducing computation overhead in a SCADA host system by incorporating peer-to-peer communication between end devices
- Facilitating simplified system migration to assist with SCADA infrastructure updates and communication network upgrades
- Providing for rapid application development of IIoT projects in transportation infrastructure, irrigation, pipeline, power generation and transmission, and other systems
We invite you to “stay tuned” to future installments of this series of articles on important uses of the Elecsys IDG products and that you will consider how Elecsys can help you improve your operation’s efficiency, productivity, and add value to your bottom line.
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