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Programmable logic controller

PLCs can range from small modular devices with tens of inputs and outputs (I/O), in a housing integral with the processor, to large rack-mounted modular devices with thousands of I/O, and which are often networked to other PLC and SCADA systems.They can be designed for many arrangements of digital and analog I/O, extended temperature ranges, immunity to electrical noise, and resistance to vibration and impact. Programs to control machine operation are typically stored in battery-backed-up or non-volatile memory.

PLCs were first developed in the automobile manufacturing industry to provide flexible, rugged and easily programmable controllers to replace hard-wired relay logic systems. Since then, they have been widely adopted as high-reliability automation controllers suitable for harsh environments.A PLC is an example of a hard real- time system since output results must be produced in response to input conditions within a limited time, otherwise unintended operation will result.

Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition

SCADA stands for Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition. SCADA is a monitoring software used in these industries. As software, it helps control the hardware and makes a record of the data collected from all remote locations. SCADA software is connected to computers, graphical user interfaces, sensors and networked data communications in order to provide a broad picture of the process. Within this context, management teams in these industries rely on SCADA to monitor progress and make operating corrections throughout the plant.

Because SCADA is a central system, it is usually installed on a computer in a monitoring hub at a plant. In order to provide the necessary data, SCADA works with a variety of other systems. It serves as an interface of sorts, bringing various plant data together for assessment purposes. From this information, the operator can enter changes as necessary through the SCADA interface in order to control the flow and operation of the working parts within the plant.