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SCADA Technology

SCADA in 2019: Making Sense of Industry Buzz, Changes, and New Technology

Pipeline operators and SCADA professionals in the pipeline industry are constantly bombarded by new opportunities to improve operations.

There’s new IoT and cloud computing capabilities to support the architecture, new software opportunities using platforms such as ClearScada to create efficiencies, automation and AI to enhance the repeatability of processes, and new regulations coming for HMI.

Specific to regulations, there’s tremendous industry buzz this year because the API 1165 recommended practice for HMI displays used in pipeline control rooms is under review to take into account new technologies available to pipeliners.

Here are the questions you should be asking yourself to prepare your operation for SCADA technology changes and improvements:

  • What should I be concerned about?
  • What should I be looking at?
  • What’s important and not important?
  • Do I need to prepare for new SCADA training?
  • Is there software that can help manage the change?

Answers to Popular SCADA Technology Questions

Let’s unpack the current state of SCADA technology and find answers to help guide your actions in 2019.

1. What Should Your Operation Be Concerned About?

Your main concerns should be the reliability and compliance of your SCADA system. No technology or additional capabilities can cover for an unreliable or non-compliant SCADA system. This applies to small operators and large operators with pipeline facilities across the globe.

– To answer the question of whether your SCADA system is reliable, focus on the core essence of SCADA. Do you have the ability to perform supervisory control functions over each area of your operation and can you acquire data that is meaningful and actionable for decision-makers in the control room?

– To answer the question of compliance, make sure you are compliant with the current edition of API 1165 for HMI displays. You should have an updated HMI Philosophy, Style Guide, and Design Guide. Ensuring alignment with API 1165 will prepare you to incorporate the updated recommendation that is expected to be implemented in mid-2019.

2. What Should Your Operation Focus On?

Right now, your main concerns should be achieving reliability and compliance. However, you should also focus on building a team culture that supports the implementation of new SCADA technology and capabilities.

Just like technology cannot cover for reliability and compliance issues, technology cannot change attitudes and behaviors in your operation. This is why 2019 should be the year you clamp down and focus on building a culture that is ready to receive new technology.

  • Small operators should start small by setting a plan/timeline to build the ideal culture that fits your operation. Encourage feedback, build communication channels, and continue to evaluate progress.
  • Large operators need to take steps to build a culture that can scale to cover all facilities. You can start with your central operation, gather feedback on success/failure, implement changes, and then leverage the finalized culture plan throughout the operation.

3. How Do You Separate What’s Important and Not Important?

After building the right culture, everyone wants to get their hands on the latest SCADA technology to implement in your operation. However, not every piece of available, new, or futuristic technology is the right fit for your operation.

For example, if you’re a small operator, it might not make sense to make a large expenditure for AI technology or new cloud computing capabilities. However, in a few years when the technology is more commonplace, the timing might be right.

Go back to the beginning. Does the available SCADA technology that fits the size of your operation support reliability and compliance, as well as enhance your supervisory control and data acquisition capabilities? Or, would new technology create more issues that could potentially compromise your processes?

Make sure new technology supports the fundamental purpose of the SCADA system to support your operation.

4. Do You Need to Prepare Personnel for New SCADA Training?

We anticipate that when the update to API 1165 is released, there will be a need for personnel to receive fresh training. When the update is released, take time to match up the new recommendations with the current state of your operation to know what level of SCADA training to provide.

Because not every operation is the same, not every SCADA training should look the same. Consider these steps:

  • Prepare to customize the training
  • Evaluate personnel
  • Understand who is affected
  • Understand what is affected
  • Make plans
  • Gather feedback
  • Provide custom training

5. What Software Can Help You Manage the Change?

Fortunately, you do not have to go at it alone determining how to make adjustments to take advantage of new SCADA technology. There are software platforms, applications, and systems to help manage the change.

We recommend that pipeline operators consider using ClearSCADA to support pipeline operations. The solution is scalable and flexible to fit your unique size, personnel, culture, and ability to expand for new technology.

The built-in scalability and flexibility allows you to blend the unique profile of your operation with the API 1165 to ensure complete alignment. You do not have to worry about trying to force your operation into a one-size-fits-all solution.

From our perspective, we prefer ClearSCADA because of its compatibility with the EnerSys POEMS IOC software solution. Using this solution, operators and SCADA managers have the ability to:

  • Reference one document library for API RP alignment
  • Support your unique operating and alarm philosophy
  • Enhance communication and alertness in the control room

Talk to the EnerSys Team About Your Unique Operation

We would like to have a conversation with you to discuss this year’s SCADA technology issues and topics.

Our knowledgeable and experienced team can help guide you in the right direction to align with API 1165, understand how to build the right culture, take advantage of new technology that supports your operation, and use software to support reliability and compliance.

Contact our team today to discuss the specific needs of your operation. Please complete our Contact form, email us directly at sales@enersyscorp.com, or call us to have a conversation with a member of our team at 281-598-7100.

Russel Treat

Russel Treat is an industry leader, software entrepreneur, podcaster, and trusted subject matter expert specializing in oil and gas pipeline operations, custody transfer measurement, leak detection, and automation. Russel’s extensive knowledge of pipeline and control room operations gained over 30 years of projects led to the creation of a complete software suite known as POEMS ™ (Pipeline Operations Excellence Management System) delivered through EnerSys Corporation.

As CEO of EnerSys, Russel is committed to delivering the highest value to pipeline operators by addressing their greatest needs and concerns, especially operational efficiency, safety and government regulation.