6 Common Challenges with SCADA Systems

SCADA Systems are a great way to maintain process controls in facilities, especially industrial-sized operations with many moving parts. But for companies who have never used a SCADA system, adapting to the change can be overwhelming. SCADA system experts at companies like Telstar Instruments can help simplify adapting to a SCADA system. 

Companies and project managers should be aware of common challenges with a new SCADA system. 

Startup hurdles 

Making a change as impactful as switching from manual controls to automated controls can be a significant challenge in and of itself. 

There are a few steps you should take before beginning the process. First, assess the equipment you currently have and how it is functioning. Are the pumps still in working order? Are there crucial components that need to be repaired or replaced before installing new equipment?

Once you’ve determined the conditions of your current equipment, figure out what specifications you need from a SCADA system. How much data do you need to collect, and how often? Which metrics would be most helpful to your crew?

Next, create a list of the team’s scheduled work. The list should include reviewing current equipment and contacting SCADA system integrator service providers. Then, create a timeline for when you want the process to be complete and what equipment to install first. 

Equipment reorganizing

Often, the control room will need to undergo updates to accommodate new SCADA systems. Managers may need to move controls near the technicians or engineers responsible for monitoring them. It can be an expensive project if you take out employees’ current desks and re-position them in a control room.

The company may have to extend the length of the project to print out new schematics or purchase replacement equipment. The best equipment and organization will assist in engineering success.

Industrial espionage/network security

If someone gains unauthorized access to your system, they could tamper with it by changing flow rates or valves. This cybercrime can result in injuries or death if a piece of equipment malfunctions.

Project managers should limit access to SCADA systems and monitor access to critical systems controls to minimize risk. 

Automation engineer turnover

Since you and your team are implementing a new SCADA system, you will need to train the technicians to use it. This training can be expensive and take time away from other projects.

If you find the right automation system integrator, they can ensure that technicians receive training on using the new equipment without mistakes.

High costs

Even though automation is a huge benefit for companies who need to control processes, it can be expensive. The cost of the new equipment, the installation, and the training can add up quickly.

If you find a company that offers affordable SCADA system integrator services, they can help you find the right equipment and pass on savings.

Lack of SCADA network protocol knowledge

Not all automation system integrators have a good understanding of SCADA protocols. If an engineer is not familiar with the protocol, it can slow down or even halt the installation of new equipment.

Finding an automation system integrator with a good understanding of SCADA protocols can be difficult since the technology is relatively new. But if you find a company that understands what protocols you need for your system, they can complete the installation faster.

Final thoughts

If you’re considering a SCADA system, prepare for the typical challenges people meet when introducing these systems. When first switching to a SCADA system, there are some things you should do. Properly assess your current technology, then plan for training, staff needs, and installation.

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