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SCADA Then and Now: Control and Automation Upgrades With Mader Electric

Mike Jeffries | June 27, 2019

SCADA, the industry acronym for "Supervisor Control and control panelsData Acquisition", came into widespread use in the early 1960s. Industries across the board quickly realized the benefits of automated monitoring and control of various plant processes, especially when applied to those tasks which are difficult to complete reliably with human operators.

Related Blog: Industrial Control Systems (ICS) - What is SCADA and How Does it Work?

Time For a SCADA Upgrade?

Today, cutting-edge SCADA systems can be found optimizing a wide variety of operations including:

  • Flow and water level regulation for water and sewer management
  • Pipe pressure and lift station monitoring
  • Temperature control, especially for food processing
  • Automation and manufacturing robots
  • Advanced quality control

SCADA provides the solution for control and monitoring of remote, hard to access plant components, improves the reaction time to prevent equipment failures when malfunctions occur, and collects vital data for decision makers responsible for continuous process monitoring and improvement.



SCADA technology itself has a steady history of continuous improvement. Early "Apollo era" SCADA systems relied on cumbersome, expensive, complex mainframe computers. Each SCADA system was developed individually with its own proprietary protocols requiring highly specialized technical experts to maintain and operate them. Decision-making still relied primarily on human oversight, and national and industry-wide standards simply didn't exist yet.

Even so SCADA was worth the effort and expense in hardware and valuable human engineering resources. Before SCADA, human workers had to perform even the most mundane tasks manually, from opening and closing the remotest valves, switching power supplies, blowers, fans, and pumps, manually controlling temperature, humidity, and other system parameters.

SCADA, even at its most basic level, saved money by reducing the demands for human labor, preventing catastrophic equipment failure with precise continuous monitoring and alerts, and providing control access to equipment in the most remote locations.



Today SCADA is much more automated and significantly less reliant on human oversight, and best of all, advanced SCADA technology is much more cost-effective.  Cloud versatility eliminates the need for expensive onsite computers, with data transmitted from even the remotest locations via communication networks using Ethernet and IP. When security is a concern LAN/WAN can be used as an alternative to the public internet.

Advances in HMI (human machine interface), better RTUs (remote terminal units), and faster processors combine in a way that makes SCADA deployment a seamless process for optimizing plant efficiency without the need for a major capital investment for overhaul and rebuilding.


ABB Symphony Plus

Today, advanced SCADA systems such as ABB Symphony Plus, developed over 35 years for the water and power industries, maximize whole-plant efficiency with cutting edge DCS, or distributed control systems. ABB incorporates their "evolution without obsolescence" philosophy to support customers who want to preserve site-specific control strategies and procedures while avoiding disruptive "rip and replace" upgrades. State-of-the-art SCADA such as ABB Symphony Plus provide the comprehensive automation solution for all key operations including:

  • plant productivity
  • energy efficiency
  • operation security
  • plant safety
  • cost of ownership


Automation and Control Upgrades at Mader Electric

When it's time for a SCADA upgrade Mader Electric has the expertise in automation and control that has kept Sarasota region businesses up and running for decades. We are UL 508 A certified to build custom control panels for automated processes and machines and we can provide the technical support you need for deploying advanced SCADA systems as well. We can provide assistance with software and systems solutions ranging from simple drum controls to replacement controls for OEMs and industrial users.

And of course at Mader Electric we are the Sarasota Florida area's go-to source for all things electrical. We cover the full range of electric motor needs from 1/2 horse power all the way up to 3000 hp and more. When it's time for an electrical upgrade at your plant it's time for Mader Electric.


How Much Power Do You Need?

Before you purchase a generator, you need to make sure that you are choosing one that will benefit you the most. This means you need it to provide ample power. To power a home, you should expect to need approximately 18-20 kW on startup with an ongoing power supply of around 15 kW. This will give you the power to prepare dinner, have running hot water, use your central air unit, charge devices, and watch television.

In a business setting, you will want to ensure you can power the central heat and air unit, your business computers, and more. If you work in the field, you will want enough power to run your electric welders, air compressors, saws, and other tools. The amount of power you will need will vary based on your specific needs. Luckily, there are people who can help you figure out what may be needed for your home or business.


Portable or Standby Generator

There are benefits to having a portable generator if you enjoy traveling. RVs do not need a stationary power supply. RVs are on the go. They are small and often do not require much power.

A stationary, standby generator is a larger unit that provides more power. They are best suited for homes and businesses. They also have a longer run time because of larger tank sizes. Standby units also make it more convenient when the power goes out. Many of them have features that will allow them to power on within seconds of the power going out.


Can You Parallel Generators If Necessary?

When choosing a generator, you may want to consider what may change in the near future. What if you need more power? Some generators are designed for those who may need more power in the future. They offer you the option to run it in parallel with other generators. This could be very important in a business setting that is constantly growing and doing more.


Is It Efficient?

The whole point of a generator is to make life easier when the power goes out. The last thing you want to deal with is a generator that does not work when you need it to. This means you need to find out how much fuel it consumes, how long it can operate at what capacity before running out of fuel, etc.

You may also want to consider the availability of a certain type of fuel. This will ensure that refueling it will not become a burden. Would you want it to run regular gasoline, natural gas, or some other type of fuel?


Remote Start and Other Features?

We live in a technology-based world. Generators should not be where we drop the ball. Many of them come equipped with a variety of features to ensure that it will run smoothly. Self-diagnostic abilities take the guesswork out of running them. Intuitive control panels allow you to know how much fuel is in the tank, how much power is available, and more.

At Mader Electric, INC. we understand that choosing a generator can be tricky. We provide the information to make it easier for you. We can help you choose the features that will matter and install a Gillette Generator on your site. Simply contact us when you are ready to avoid power outage problems.

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Topics: SCADA, motor, VFDs

Generator Guide

What is SCADA?

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