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History of ICS & SCADA Systems

Instructor: Prashant Mishra

Prashant is currently pursuing his bachelors in Computer Science and Engineering.

In this lesson, we will discuss the history and evolution of industrial control systems (ICSs) and supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems.

History and Evolution of Industrial Control Systems (ICSs)

Although the first closed loop control system was developed in 1620, there is a record of automated machines and systems since ancient times. One of the initial feedback control devices was developed in Egypt around 250 B.C. in the form of a water clock. There are other similar examples of devices that were invented by the Greeks.

Cornelis Drebbel designed a closed loop control system to operate a furnace, thus giving birth to the first thermostat in 1620. René-Antoine Ferchault de Réamur (1683-1757), a scientist, proposed ideas to automate devices to regulate the temperature of incubators. This idea was also based on a closed loop control system; the incubator temperature provided feedback to the liquid, which resulted in temperature control.

In 1745, Edmund Lee invented a feedback control device to control the gap between stones driven by rotating sails. This same principle was used to develop the first steam engine.

The first steam engine was invented by James Watt in November 1788. It did not provide exact speed control, but it did provide proportionate control. There were many efforts made then to improve this engine, including efforts by James Maxwell.

In 1873, Jean Joseph Léon Farcot published a book that contained the invention of what we know today as servomotors.

Relay logic that represents 'True' or 'False' or 'Yes' or 'No', which is used in almost all computational designs and electrical devices today, was created over a period of 20 years between 1900 and 1920.

Ship stabilization techniques and autopilot techniques were developed between 1907 to 1914. By 1930, most of the airlines in the world were using the autopilot technique for long haul flights.

The important and significant concept of 'Negative Feedback' was introduced first in 1932.

Digital control systems were developed in 1956 and were put out for use in 1959. In the late 1960s, direct digital control (DDC) was developed. These control devices were used in transistors and other computational components we know today.

All these developments laid the foundation of what we today know and use as ICS.

History and Evolution of Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition (SCADA)

The first step toward the development of SCADA was taken with the evolution of telemetry or telephone relay systems, where telephone wires with great sophistication were developed at the end of 1950s. In 1960s, several advanced supervisory control systems were developed based on telephone wires.

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