Remote SCADA enables monitoring and control of processes over a wide-area infrastructure. From measurement sensing to equipment optimization and reporting, these systems often require application-specific features. The only thing changing as fast as the technology and end-user industry conditions is the array of standards and user requirements that ensure optimal performance and reduce risk.
“One of the big initiatives for the portfolio is to provide a timely and assured approach to Cybersecurity. This is particularly relevant to SCADA but something that can be well handled by the incorporation of the new Embedded Device Security Assessment (EDSA) which requires that Secure Practices, Processes and Proof are built into our RTUs from the ground up.” explained Chris Smith, brand director, Foxboro SCADA, industry business, at Schneider Electric, who spoke at CONNECT 2016 this week in New Orleans.”
“One of the most important developments is for the Foxboro SCD6000 product,” said Smith. “We built in DNP3 Secure Authentication v5. It’s an interesting protocol because end users can evolve whole SCADA systems to a more secure arrangement progressively as overall security is assessed. It enables customers control systems to authorize all remote controls handled by the secure SCD6000 You check to make sure the controller you’re sending to is the right one by way of key exchange. You’re verifying it’s the right secured device and it’s authorized before you send the control. We’re leading the way with that. Some of the other RTU products in our portfolio will start to benefit from this in coming years.”
Most of Schneider Electric’s SCADA solutions have been in the market for decades, explained Helenio Gilabert, director, Telemetry & SCADA Solutions, process automation, industry business. “The portfolio has had a very long history through different countries, from Australia to Italy and Canada.”
The portfolio includes SCADAPack remote terminal units (RTUs) used mostly in water/wastewater and oil & gas applications in the United States, Canada and Australia; Trio radios, specifically designed for long-range and low-bandwidth telemetry, but respectful of data integrity; the SCD line of RTUs from the legacy Invensys portfolio, including SCD2200 modular RTU for oil & gas pipelines and SCD5200 and SCD6000 for the industrial power space; and the Accutech wireless sensor network.
“We have Foxboro Evo SCADA as our platform of choice when deployed with DCS,” explained Gilabert. “It’s the same architecture, so it integrates very well. When we’re talking about field applications our platform is ClearSCADA.”
Schneider Electric has combined core products from its portfolio and written software to create solutions for specific industry problems. “We develop the solutions with customers,” explained Gilabert. “When the customer comes to us and says it has a need, we work with them to develop it.”
Two solutions for the oil & gas industry, RealFlo and RealLift, already are available; a new water/wastewater solution, RealStream, will be available in 2017.
“RealFlo calculates volume, gas, water and emulsion,” explained Gilabert. “RealLift manages and optimizes hydraulic pumps and progressive cavity pumps in the field for oil & gas. This brings many existing products together, including Magelis HMI, Altivar drives and SCADAPack, which is where the logic runs.”
RealStream is a lift-station automation solution for wastewater. “You need to pump the water from tank to tank to get to the pumping station,” said Gilabert. “We’re bringing in the newest technology from our HMI group. We’re integrating the Altivar drive HMI technology.”
Who’s driving this road?
The primary driver of remote SCADA solutions is the need to optimize operations and reduce costs. “If you look at oil & gas, it has become extremely efficient at drilling,” explained Gilabert. “It’s reduced the cost and the time to drill by half. Now they’re under extreme pressure to become efficient in the operation of the well. It’s put a focus on the impact technology can have to optimize operations. That’s why we’re building intelligent controllers and out-of-the-box solutions. They just want to buy it, install it and have it work.”
The other driver is the expanding lack of skilled workers from the oil & gas industry. “Everyone is focusing on survival now, but oil & gas will bounces back. They’re concentrating on capturing the process knowledge and automating it in the field,” said Gilabert.
“We’re moving to solutions-based offerings because there are fewer engineering hours required,” explained Gilabert. “We’re removing that integrate-and-develop time and going directly to install. Engineering time goes down, but operations time also goes down.”
Operating by exception, which is unmanned operation, unless an issue develops, is enabled by technology. “It also influences safety because, the less you’re in the field, the fewer chances for accidents there are,” said Gilabert.
In 2017, Schneider Electric also plans to release SCADAPack 1070, combining the capabilities of modular and redundant RTUs with the form factor of a programmable logic controller (PLC).