What is SCADA? A Comprehensive Guide For 2021

Ajay Ohri


What is SCADA? SCADA systems are broadly used to control geographically disseminated measures, regularly dispersed more than a considerable number of kilometres and were brought together. Data control and acquisition is essential to perform framework operation. In this article, we will learn about what is SCADA, SCADA Diagram, Birth of SCADA, history of SCADA and how it works.

Types of SCADA

  • IoT SCADA Systems
  • Networked SCADA Systems
  • Distributed SCADA Systems
  • Monolithic SCADA Systems

In this article let us look at:

  1. What is SCADA?
  2. A Basic SCADA Diagram
  3. Who Uses SCADA?
  4. The Birth of SCADA
  5. Evolution of SCADA
  6. Modern SCADA Systems
  7. How SCADA works

1. What is SCADA?

SCADA full form is a supervisory control and data acquisition. It is a control framework architecture involving Graphical User Interfaces (GUI), networked data communications and computers for undeniable level cycle supervisory administration, while likewise including other fringe devices like Proportional Integral Derivative (PID) controllers and Programmable Logic Controllers (PLC) to interface with measure machinery or plant.

SCADA frameworks are significant for industrial associations since they help look after productivity, process data for more intelligent choices, and impart framework issues to help moderate downtime. 

SCADA software lists:

  • Cimplicity
  • InduSoft Web Studio
  • iFix
  • B-Scada
  • Softpro
  • CODESYS Visualization
  • GP-Pro EX HMI
  • iX HMI
  • Ignition SCADA

Components of a SCADA or SCADA system block diagram:

  • Master Terminal Unit (MTU)
  • Remote Terminal Units (RTUs)
  • Communication Equipment/Network
  • SCADA software 

2. A Basic SCADA Diagram

  • The architecture of SCADA starts with RTUs and PLCs.
  • Remote terminal units and programmable logic controllers are microcomputers that speak with an array of items, for example, manufacturing plant machines, sensors, HMIs, and end gadgets. Afterwards, the course the data from those items to PCs with SCADA software.
  • The SCADA software measures circulate and show the data, helping administrators and different representatives dissect the data and settle on meaningful choices.
A Basic SCADA Diagram



PLCs or RTUs


HMI/SCADA Panel View
Manual Inputs
PLCs or RTUs
HMI/SCADA Computer


3. Who Uses SCADA?

SCADA frameworks are utilized by industrial companies and organizations in private and public sectors to control and look after proficiency, disperse information for more intelligent choices, and convey framework issues to help relieve vacation.

Some SCADA applications include: 

  • Mining industries
  • Water distribution system
  • Wastewater collection systems
  • Manufacturing industries
  • Private and public utilities
  • Electrical power grids
  • Gas and oil pipelines
  • Railway transportation systems

4. The Birth of SCADA

To comprehend the history of SCADA, we should comprehend the issues industrial associations are attempting to tackle. 

As modern floors and controllers site started to scale out in size, arrangements were expected to control gear over significant distances. 

In the mid-1950s, PCs were first developed and utilised for modern control purposes. Administrative control started to get famous among the significant utilities, gas and oil pipelines, and other mechanical business sectors. 

The expression SCADA was instituted in the mid-1970s, and the rise of PLCs and microprocessors during that decade expanded undertakings’ capacity to screen and control mechanised cycles like never before previously.

5. Evolution of SCADA

The primary cycle of supervisory control and data acquisition began with mainframe computers. Networks, as we probably are aware today, were not accessible, and each SCADA framework remained all alone. These frameworks were what might now be alluded to as solid SCADA frameworks.

During the 80s and 90s, supervisory control and data acquisition kept developing gratitude to more modest PC frameworks, LAN innovation, and PC-based HMI software.

During the 1990s and mid-2000s, expanding upon the distributed framework model, SCADA received a gradual change by accepting an open-frame architecture and interchanges protocols that were not seller explicit.

Conventional supervisory control and data acquisition frameworks utilise restrictive innovation to deal with data. Regardless of whether it is an informal student of history, and data connector, or different methods for data move, the arrangement is incredibly and messy costly.

6. Modern SCADA Systems

Modern supervisory control and data acquisition frameworks permit consistent data from the plant floor to be accessed from anyplace on the planet. This admittance to constant data permits individuals, businesses, and governments to settle on data-driven choices about improving their cycles.

Additionally, most present-day supervisory control and data acquisition designer applications have RAD abilities that permit clients to plan applications relatively effectively, regardless of whether they don’t have broad information on programming advancement.

Without SCADA programming, it would be amazingly troublesome, if not difficult, to assemble adequate information for reliably well-informed choices.

In SCADA programming, data is gathered at the RTU and must be changed into signals, which is trailed by perusing this data that requires a Human Machine Interface.

7. How SCADA works

SCADA is a framework that intends to control and monitor field devices at your distant sites. Supervisory control and data acquisition is a centralized framework that controls and monitors the whole area. This administrative framework assembles data on the cycle and sends the commands control of the order to the interaction.


The benefits of the SCADA framework are that the nature of service and reliability can be improved. In contrast, the drawbacks of the SCADA framework are mind-boggling regarding dependent modules and equipment units. This article summarises what is SCADA and how it works.

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