An Introduction To SCADA (Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition) For Beginners

An Introduction To SCADA (Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition) For Beginners // On photo Monitor iFIX By ServiTecno via FlickR

Control and Supervision

It is impossible to keep control and supervision on all industrial activities manually. Some automated tool is required which can control, supervise, collect data, analyses data and generate reports. A unique solution is introduced to meet all this demand is SCADA system.

SCADA stands for supervisory control and data acquisition. It is an industrial control system where a computer system monitoring and controlling a process.

Another term is there, Distributed Control System (DCS). Usually there is a confusion between the concept of these two.

A SCADA system usually refers to a system that coordinates, but does not control processes in real time, but DCS do that. SCADA systems often have Distributed Control System (DCS) components.

Components of SCADA

1. Human Machine Interface (HMI)

It is an interface which presents process data to a human operator, and through this, the human operator monitors and controls the process.

2. Supervisory (computer) system

It gathers data on the process and sending commands (or control) to the process.

3. Remote Terminal Units (RTUs)

It connect to sensors in the process, converting sensor signals to digital data and sending digital data to the supervisory system.

4. Programmable Logic Controller (PLCs)

It is used as field devices because they are more economical, versatile, flexible, and configurable than special-purpose RTUs.

5. Communication infrastructure

It provides connectivity to the supervisory system to the Remote Terminal Units.

SCADA System Concept

The term SCADA usually refers to centralized systems which monitor and control entire sites, or complexes of systems spread out over large areas (anything between an industrial plant and a country).

Most control actions are performed automatically by Remote Terminal Units (RTUs) or by programmable logic controllers (PLCs).

Host control functions are usually restricted to basic overriding or supervisory level intervention. For example, a PLC may control the flow of cooling water through part of an industrial process, but  the  SCADA system may allow operators to change the set points for the flow, and enable alarm conditions, such as loss of flow and high temperature, to be displayed and recorded.

The feedback control loop passes through the RTU or PLC, while the SCADA system monitors the overall performance of the loop.

A simple SCADA system with single computer

A simple SCADA system with single computer

SCADA/PLC Video Introduction/Example

Waste Water Treatment SCADA System Raising your Plant IQ

Cant see this video? Click here to watch it on Youtube.

Introducing students to Industrial Programmable Controllers

Cant see this video? Click here to watch it on Youtube.

About Author //


Bipul Raman

Bipul Raman - Bipul Raman (@BipulRaman), a graduate in Electrical Engineering had presented two research papers in National Conferences. He has overtaken and successfully completed a project to design an Automated CB Test-Rig for Light Combat Aircraft at Aircraft Research and Design Center (HAL). Apart from this, he has done several projects at NTPC and Grid Substation. Not only limited to Electrical Engineering, He is also very much passionate in Software Development. He has contributed few of his code to 'Codeplex' ( a Microsoft OpenSource software hosting website ). Visit his complete profile at


  1. tema
    Feb 10, 2015

    BONSOIR .. je prépare mon mémoire de fin d’étude et j’aimerai bien avoir plus d’information (en français si c’est possible ) Merci

  2. swati
    Jan 21, 2015

    sent more details about scada & plc &sir tell me even about training centres nearest to belgaum

  3. Sachin Naik
    Jan 20, 2015

    Please share more scada videos. also provide tutorial links to learn about scada and plc automation system. also please let us know how to do PLC programing.

  4. kundan singh
    Nov 15, 2014

    Sir, Can u send me more scada video tutorial links? i want to learn about scada and plc automation system.

  5. mohammad
    Nov 09, 2014

    please sent me article

  6. obari johnson
    Aug 13, 2014

    I love this

    Jul 02, 2014

    I really enjoy the lecture and it is well understand. but i really want to no difference between RTUs and PLCs. Thanks while waiting for your respond as soon as possible.

  8. asajile
    Jun 30, 2014

    More details required

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