Control systems are used at all levels of manufacturing and industrial processing. A manufacturing plant that employs robotic arms will have a control system to direct robotic arms and conveyor belts on the shop floor. It may use that same system for packaging the finished product and tracking inventory. It may also use a control system to monitor its distribution network. A chemical company will use control systems to monitor tank levels and to ensure that ingredients are mixed in the proper proportions. A Las Vegas casino will use control systems to direct the spray from water fountains in coordination with the lights and music. Control systems are also used in the drilling and refining of oil and natural gas. They are used in the distribution of water and electricity by utility companies, and in the collection of wastewater and sewage.
Virtually every sector of the economy employs control systems at all levels.
The term 'supervisory control and data acquisition' (SCADA), however, is generally accepted to mean the systems that control the distribution of critical infrastructure public utilities (water, sewer, electricity, and oil and gas).
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