3 Steps to Maximize Your HMI / SCADA

Proficy_HMI-SCADA_7This past weekend, I was painting my house. I love doing the second coat – compared to the first coat, it is much easier and quicker to apply, uses less paint, and is what makes everything look fantastic. The foundation is in place, and the easy second coat makes it sizzle.

Your HMI/SCADA system is the same way. When I see ads for the “New SCADA,” I have to laugh. You don’t need a New SCADA. HMI/SCADA has been around for decades, and you have a great foundation.

You can even take that foundation and freshen it up – just like the second coat of paint, it is painless, doesn’t take a lot of resources, and gives you an even better view.  Here are three steps:

1. Give structure to your data.

Map your data to a structured model – which takes data from your plant systems and starts transforming it. Looking at a physical asset in a CPG plant, for example, the team might have a mixer with many tags associated with the mixer but only identified by the facility’s tag name structure.

An equipment model drives structured navigation and can give you all kinds of power. In a water treatment plant, for example, an operator or engineer accessing from an iPad®, could click on a pump and display the five pieces of relevant data associated with the pump – three pieces of data coming from the HMI/SCADA, one from the CMMS, and another from the historian.

With structure, you can take the relevant data from your underlying systems, so the data can become actionable information in a physical world.

2. Deliver context.

Once your data is in a navigable structure, you can now easily apply analytics that create a context for action. A perfect example is applying analytics to alarms. Every industrial organization has a variety of alarms – and usually an overwhelming amount on a daily basis. You can apply analytics to rationalize the alarms, taking away the noise and only delivering the relevant alarms to the appropriate person by role – and based on location.

Operators, engineers and managers receive the right alarms in the context of the right piece of equipment. The cost- and time-savings are tremendous – with an estimated 20% or more increase in operator efficiency.

3. Security, security, security.

It is a fact that there are HMI/SCADA systems exposed through the Internet. If that basic is being ignored, there are other basics that are ignored as well.

Update your software with the latest patches. Make sure you employ secure-by-design technologies and methodologies. Follow the guidelines for maximizing security and minimizing risk available from your software partners.

There are lots of ways to enhance your HMI/SCADA. While some people might be talking about the New SCADA, we’re happy to talk about how we’ve made thousands of customers happy, all around the world. We’re experts, and we’re here to help you. Check out how we helped Cornell maximize its HMI/SCADA to meet goals, including speeding off-hours troubleshooting by 40%!

Alicia Bowers

Alicia Bowers believes that automation software can help industrial organizations overcome many challenges, including retiring workforces, global competition, and tightening regulations. She has published in industry magazines, ranging from Food Manufacturing to Hydrocarbon Engineering, and is the recipient of a MESA Outstanding Contribution Award. Connect with Alicia on LinkedIn.

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