With an aging industrial infrastructure, it’s difficult to meet your daily challenges. As Part 1 of this series reflected, it’s time to tap into the Fountain of Youth and cost effectively modernize. To get started, here are 10 tips for modernizing your HMI/SCADA.
Get up to date with SCADA and OS versions and patches
Many industrial organizations are still on old – sometimes very old – versions of their SCADA software. However, regular updates and alignment to the latest features improve system availability. A lapse in updates increases security concerns. Additionally, you probably have higher, hidden costs by continuing to use an obsolete system.
This is a foundational step. Before you take any other steps to modernize, including analytics or web-based interfaces, make sure your SCADA and OS are up to date with versions and patches. This will enable you to start with the right platform to enhance your capabilities.
And, reminder: Windows 7 reached its expiration date in January. Update those old operating systems.
Standardize your SCADA implementation
Improve efficiency by defining standards for the overall SCADA system including application, configuration, security, architecture, and remote access – even the devices that people use.
Standardization will help you reduce errors, lower costs, and boost operations efficiency.
For example, consistent representation and procedures reduce errors across multiple stakeholders. Teams benefit from a shorter learning curve, faster roll-outs, and easier maintenance. Standardization also helps ensure compliance. Lastly, with tag name conventions, you can leverage OPC UA: browse OPC UA sources and automatically create your SCADA process database.
Develop a Disaster Recovery Plan
A disaster recovery plan can start simple, such as a versioning plan related to backup and restoration. Next, lay out a long-term roadmap and think about moving to a redundant and failover system with configurations for minimal disruption.
You can build redundancy at all levels: SCADA server failover, LAN redundancy, client redundancy. Target having no data lost, looking at your databases, real-time data, and alarm synchronization. Make the system seamless for remote users.
A disaster recovery plan is more than peace of mind; it is an essential part of improving availability and reliability.
Implement best-in-class data management
Put together a plan to collect, store and distribute your data securely. You can’t operate a plant effectively unless you have all the correct data in a timely fashion.
Consider a plant-wide historian like Proficy Historian 8.0 for more reliable and consistent information – collecting from different data sources, providing the ability to extend and scale as your systems grow; and integrating your data management layer with your CMMS or GIS systems. Modern technologies make information available to stakeholders who aren’t directly connected with the SCADA but need data to make decisions, such as demand and planning.
Build effective alarm procedures
Many resources for effective alarm management are available, such as through ISA. A good alarm strategy means less noise, faster reactions, increased productivity and efficiency, and safer operations. You can move from an alarm to notification and guiding the right action.
Digitize work processes
Every plant has standard operating procedures in some form – mostly printed manuals. Now, you can move from manuals to integrating work processes into your SCADA system.
Using SCADA data, you can trigger a work process, guide operators through steps, and increase operational consistency. Electronic Standard Operating Procedures also capture best practices and accelerate new operator training.
Digitize your procedures to ensure consistency, repeatability, adherence to standards, and accountability on tasks. You can drive the right actions and help prevent mistakes from happening. Additionally, you can record and track work processes for compliance.
Drive organization-wide connectivity
Organization-wide SCADA connectivity – across an entire plant, enterprise, or utility – provides a holistic view of performance, fills data gaps, and increases collaboration. Centralized information management drives consistency across plants and sites. You can leverage highly secure-by-design thin clients on inexpensive hardware to make information readily available to all levels of the organization.
Leverage persona-based visualization
Give each person the information and capabilities that they need, rather than the same SCADA screen for every person. Modern HMI/SCADA allows you to equip your workforce with tailored information, remote monitoring and control capabilities, and devices – whether a smartphone, iPad, or legacy device that supports HTML5.
You’ll get the right operational information to the people who need it, saving tremendous staff time while speeding response and compliance.
Enable model-based HMI navigation
With modern HMI/SCADA, you can leverage industry standards to map your data model to an equipment model – structuring your data and providing standard context across locations and data sources.
Users can quickly navigate in context, derived from the model. Model-based HMI navigation enables a common user experience regardless of the screen, device, equipment, role, or process.
Implement high performance HMI
High performance HMI, based on the ISA 101 standards, increases operator efficiency through better screens.
With a simple and consistent design, high performance screens boost situational awareness, alarm detection, and productivity, while decreasing the risk of errors. Operators and technicians recognize and understand information with greater ease and speed.
Want to see an example of a modern HMI/SCADA? Check out the new CIMPLICITY 11. Drive smarter operator decisions with model-based, high performance HMI for faster response and Rapid Application Development tools for faster development with lower costs.