SCADA is an acronym that stands for Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition and HMI stands for Human Machine Interface. SCADA refers to a system that collects data from various sensors at a factory, plant or in other remote locations and then sends this data to a central computer which then manages and controls the data.

The main advantage of SCADA over HMI is that it has data acquisition capabilities. SCADA is a software that works on PC and giving it an advantage of using large memory for data acquisition. Whereas HMI is a hardware which has limited functions and memory.

SCADA systems are used not only in industrial processes: e.g. steel making, power generation (conventional and nuclear) and distribution, chemistry, but also in some experimental facilities such as nuclear fusion. The size of such plants range from a few 1000 to several 10 thousands input/output (I/O) channels

Systems similar to SCADA systems are routinely seen in factories, treatment plants etc. These are often referred to as Distributed Control Systems (DCS). They have similar functions to SCADA systems, but the field data gathering or control units are usually located within a more confined area. Communications may be via a local area network (LAN), and will normally be reliable and high speed. A DCS system usually employs significant amounts of closed loop control.

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