I have always wondered what systems are used to assist utility operators in powering, managing and automating the utilities. When I mention utilities, I’m thinking of water, electricity, oil, gas.
How are utility operators managing the various complex aspects of these utilities? When it comes to water pressure, electrical voltage, temperature, proximity, etc, all these measurements are important information to know and managed well.
To support the business of utility management, SCADA systems are commonly applied to provide real time strategic information for utilities operators to make informed decisions.
What is SCADA? It stands for Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition. SCADA functions by collecting data from remote locations and sending the data back to a central location for the data to be processed and controlled. It is extremely useful for SCADA systems to be implemented on areas which are dangerous and far away from the core area.
A SCADA system usually includes a combination of the following components:
- Remote Terminal Units (RTU)
- Human Machine Interface (HMI)
- Programmable Logic Controllers (PLC)
I’m really no expert in SCADA related solutions but after some Googling, I’ve put together a list of free and open source SCADA solutions for you to test and learn.
Free to use SCADA Solutions
Promotic is a SCADA visualization software which provides a free development environment for users.
The product PMFree is suitable for monitoring and control of heating, air conditioning, security systems, and centralized control panels for “Intelligent houses”.
It’s also used commonly in the industrial environment for the purpose of designing simple applications.
IGSS which stands for Integrated Graphical SCADA System is a SCADA system used for monitoring and controlling industrial processes. IGSS feature packed and scalable solution communicates with all major industry standard PLCs.
At the moment, there are several versions available for download and trial which is the IGSS V8 FREE50 and IGSS V8Demo. The free version allows you to collect data from PLCs without any time limitation but can define up to 50 objects only. This version can be easily upgraded to the larger IGSS SCADA system when necessary.
Sielco Sistemi’s Winlog Lite is a free SCADA HMI Software. Winlog Lite can be used to create small supervisory applications. It is also very similar to the Winlog Pro version with all development tools and functions available. The only limitation is its ability to run applications up to a maximum of 24 tags and communications with external devices stops automatically after 15 minutes, which can be restarted manually if required.
Open Source SCADA Solutions
FreeSCADA is an open source SCADA system for MS Windows (2000/XP/Vista) which provides end users with flexible tools for visualization and interactive control of any industrial process. The system uses OPC servers for data collection and is developed using the C# language on .NET 3.0 platform
SZARP is a full-featured open source (GPL) SCADA system for Linux with client programs available for both Linux and Windows. SZARP was initially designed for supervisory control of municipal heating systems and is currently being used in over 40 heating plants all over Poland. SZARP contains build-in Lua scripting language for defining parameters based on actual or historical data values and is stable, robust and based on open standards.
Argos as an alternative to commercial SCADA aimed to offer SCADA components under the philosophy of free software, and thus seek to promote the study of the core of such systems into an autonomous alternative to industrial automation.
Mango is an open source alternative for Machine to Machine (M2M) software (also known as Industrial Control, SCADA, HMI, or domotics). It’s browser based Ajax enabled capability allows users to access and control devices, electronic sensors, and machines over multiple protocols at the same time.
Mango can be installed on many platforms providing an interface which diverse data sources can be created and configured while providing downstream management of user alerts, access, data logging, and automation.
IntegraXor is a windows based system which provides an integrated development environment to develop, configure and manage HMI / SCADA applications.
It’s key capability besides the project editor has to be it’s web browser client which allows administrators to view and control SCADA applications from all around the world.
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So there you go, a couple of free and open source SCADA solutions for you to try out. If you encounter any other similar SCADA solutions, please do tell us about it in the comment box below.