How to Select a SCADA Engineer That Gets the Job Done Right

How to Select a SCADA Engineer That Gets the Job Done Right

Choosing the right industrial automation systems, programmable logic controller (PLC) architectures, and supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) solutions are a critical decision-so is selecting a SCADA engineer and system integration team to design and deploy the solution effectively.

The SCADA engineer you choose will be essential to the success of your industrial control systems (ICS) project. Making the wrong decision can lead to missed deadlines, performance issues, cost overruns, security concerns, and lack of reliability—all things you cannot afford when integrating a SCADA system.

Choosing a SCADA Engineer

When you are looking for a SCADA engineer, you need to do your due diligence. Here are some of the criteria you will want to use.

Domain Expertise in Industrial Controls and SCADA Platforms

You want a SCADA engineer that has extensive expertise specifically with SCADA hardware, software, and integration strategies.

Verify years of experience designing, installing, programming, and maintaining major SCADA platforms and look for examples of demonstrated excellence, pertinent to your project. You do not want your project to be their first SCADA system integration job.

Understanding Your Industry and Process

Besides domain experience with leading hardware/software technology, you want to work with a team of SCADA engineers who have in-depth knowledge of your industry, application, and processes. For example, an oil refinery has operational requirements vastly different from those of a water treatment facility.

Make sure potential partners have specialized expertise and can provide references with system integrations relevant to yours. The right integrator will be familiar with your workflows, assets, and design challenges.

Technical Skills and Engineering Bench Strength

You will want to inquire into the specific technical capabilities of the SCADA engineers who will work on your project. Expect integrators to have diverse skills across:

  • SCADA application software configuration/programming
  • PLC, DCS, and field instrumentation configuration
  • HMI visualization and graphics design
  • Database architecture and administration
  • Networking architecture including cybersecurity
  • Middleware and legacy connectivity
  • Alarm management strategies
  • Reporting and data analytics
  • Monitoring and diagnostic capabilities

Since all components have to work together in ICS, you want a team that has experience in all areas of SCADA systems. This is especially important as some control systems integrators focus on certain application layers. For major projects, you will want a firm that can handle your project from start to finish without having to rely on third parties for major deliverables.

Documented Project Management Strategy

Great systems require meticulous planning and project management. Project management skills keep your SCADA integration on schedule and within budget.

The best SCADA integrators will have a reliable, consistent method for design, planning, and integration. The process should include a logical flow starting with taking the time to fully understand your needs and objectives. Only then can SCADA engineers architect a custom solution tailored to your environment.

The SCADA design should undergo phased reviews, simulation, and factory testing. Extensive testing on staging systems verifies all functions operate as designed. After successful trial runs, your SCADA integrator will deploy technology onsite and initiate site acceptance testing to validate real-world performance. This should be followed by comprehensive training and documentation before go-live dates.

High-Quality References

The right SCADA partners will provide you with a list of references. Take the time to speak to past clients and get an honest review of the SCADA integrators’ strengths and weaknesses.

Ask questions about:

  • Scope and complexity
  • Budget and timeline adherence
  • Operational performance
  • Responsiveness and communication
  • Cybersecurity practices

The best control systems engineering firms are committed to customer success. Find out how any SCADA integrator you are considering has demonstrated that commitment to their past customers.

The Right Fit

Finding SCADA engineers that are compatible with the way you work and are a cultural fit is critically important, but often overlooked. Integrity matters.

SCADA integrations have long lifespans. You want a partner who communicates clearly, responds quickly, and has a strong work ethic. SCADA projects are often complex and may encounter unforeseen challenges, especially when dealing with legacy equipment. You need to feel comfortable that your chosen SCADA engineers are honest brokers who will put your interests first.

Choose Pacific Blue Engineering

Pacific Blue Engineering understands that no two operations run alike. That’s why we offer customized control solutions based on an in-depth analysis of our clients’ specific requirements, constraints, and growth objectives, across industries.

Rather than deploying pre-packaged software into your environment, we tailor architectures around your workflows, technical infrastructure, and future goals. Our responsive teams blend control systems engineering, operational technology cybersecurity, and forward-compatible IIoT solutions into roadmaps designed for your ongoing success.

To discuss your SCADA project, call Pacific Blue Engineering today at (657) 201-8603 or request a consultation.

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