The Future of SCADA/HMI: Features and Challenges

For over 30 years, SCADA/HMI applications have been playing a key role in manufacturing. But what challenges will this technology face in the future of Industry 4.0? Let’s take a look at the main features and requirements of future SCADA/HMI solutions.

Future generation SCADA/HMI: main features and requirements

Acronym for Supervisory, Control and Data Acquisition, SCADAs are supervision systems that allow you to monitor how the states of controlled processes evolve. In fact, they provide every functionality necessary to view and supervise in real time information on the actual status of processes. Furthermore, they allow you to access and manage historical records and exceptional states.

By nature, SCADA/HMI is the first device in an industrial machine to ever been involved both in the process of integration between IT and OT networks, and in today’s “mobile devices oriented” way of working.

The Industry 4.0 paradigm poses several challenges for this technology. From the user interface to web technology integration, here are some of the main requirements of SCADA/HMI solutions of the future.

IT/OT integration

The integration between IT and OT is key in the smart factory. With Industry 4.0, there has been a growing flow of information between more and more connected and heterogeneous subjects, inside and outside the production plant.

Industrial PCs or HMIs with two Ethernet ports are the interconnection point between the corporate IT network (internet access, interfacing with the MES and ERP applications) and the OT automation network of the machine.

User interface

The SCADA/HMI solutions of the future must offer efficiency in terms of user-friendliness. In particular, we need a new user interface that uses the typical gestures of portable devices.

Web technology

The new generations of SCADA must be developed with the latest digital technologies in mind. Which means that SCADA/HMI solutions should be based on the very same web technologies that we use every day, so as to ensure greater compatibility with all devices. The only prerequisite is a compatible HTML5 browser.

Data management

In the new SCADA/HMI technology, the hardware mounted on the machine is replaced with a component that has no user interface and is installed inside the panel. Once the production data is collected, this component will:

  • Make them usable thanks to the use of Wi-Fi devices in the system. In this way, operators can approach the machine and see on their tablet or smartphone the pages to manage the machine.
  • Or, send them to the Cloud to be shared with high-level applications.

Discover the ESA SCADA solutions and their applications in industrial processes