Better than Ignition. Any SCADA?

#48

I have worked with many scada, but I think ignition is the worst of all. It is not intuitive at all. The first time I used it to configure a tag and put it on the video it took me 2 days. It is very slow to change the pages, bad graphics, there are no symbols that can be dynamized, you have to create everything. Poor / no compatibility as it uses Pyton, and / or proprietary scripts, you never understand when you have to use pyton or scripts. They tried to make wizards, but they help very little. If you want to make a trend you have to waste time installing an SQL and configuring it, since ignition does not. A little candy is that you can make tags with the same name. They are in different folders, but have the same name. You know what chaos that comes out … Cross reference is something that makes any programmer shiver. It’ only a textual search into all application. every time you need to use a minutes to find something. If you have to do a multilingual it is better that you pray, because as has happened to me you have to do everything by hand, you cannot extract the texts, for example in excel. have them translated and then imported. You can not just html format with all the appropriate characters, and then away to waste more time. This is madness. Another thingh are the property editor : often into a check box if you think “yes” you need to chek “no”… terrible .It looks like a scada created by Donald Duck, or by someone who has never seen how the other scada works. If we add that you have to use java which every 10 minutes asks you to update the release, and when you load it into the various operator panels you notice that even this is not certified for use with the windows version you have, the omelette is made. what else ?? The only advantage is that it is cheap and that you can make different clients at no extra cost. Moreover, it is such a scarce product that if they charge it a single dollar more, they don’t sell it anymore. For sure if customers don’t ask me specifically, Ingition will never offer it

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#49

Then which is a good SCADA that you worked with?

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#50

Obviously you have never used iFix or RSView32.

Yes it is flexible. Would you rather be constricted to cookie cutter graphics?

Yes. But now you can let Ignition store data in whatever DB product you want to use. Plus, Ignition integrates with SQL Databases better than any other SCADA package I know.

Version 8 bundles/embeds Java with the installer. No need to fuss with installing it.

I think all of your complaints span from not understanding how the product works. Start at https://www.inductiveuniversity.com/. That will help you get started.

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#51

I worl often with wincc. Up to version 7.4 it was very good, then they created Tia Portal and initially with versions 12…13. it wasn’t that great. Only now with version 15 and lately 16 have again reached the same quality, indeed much improved. It’s an expensive product, but it’s worth it. The symbol library is huge, you don’t have to do practically anything for the connection, for databases etc. redundancy is activated only with 1 click. page change in about 1 second in a system with server and 5 clients. If you then use the plc siemens, everything is integrated and once you have written the sw of the plc you find all the tags without doing anything. Fully compatible with all the tools of the Microsoft family and completely open to build everything. I have also used often WW archestra and or rsview. This packages are also full of options that make life easier, very similar to Wincc. Each package has different properties but all in all these three products can be put on the same level, with a small advantage for wincc if the siemens plc is used

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#52

I agree with @brandon1 that most of your complaints suggest you’re not very familiar with Ignition. There is a bit of a learning curve, but that’s true with most things (I found learning WW InTouch similarly confusing the first time I used it). However, after becoming familiar with Ignition, I hate having to go back to work with any of the other HMI products (many) I’ve worked extensively with in the past. On the other hand. after becoming familiar with InTouch, I was glad to get back to some other HMI software.

FYI the below is no longer the case on current versions; you can use the internal historian.

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#53

WinCC is client server based, Ignition is web based, that could be the reason as web based has some overheard.

Yes most of the Siemens products are Microsoft based , but you lose the advantage of platform Independence offered by JAVA. Also being Microsoft based, products are more vulnerable to cyber and virus attacks.

Overall the advantages of JAVA and web based approach far outweighs advantages of user friendliness of fully Microsoft dependent platforms. Even Siemens I guess are coming out with web based products now such as NEO.

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#54

As it happens, there is help for that.

A consistent naming scheme does not equate to chaos. Indirect referencing actually thrives on such consistency.


I’ll also stress the importance of using resources available to you. InductiveU is one that has been mentioned, but also the helpful people here on this forum. There is a wealth of people who can help out with most things right here. All one has to do… is ask. :slight_smile:

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#55

About a year ago, I came to work at a small start-up machine shop. I was supposed to do all the robots. Well, that quickly changed to the need to develop a site-level automation solution. I was a decent PLC programmer and a good RBT programmer. Knew a little bit of python and C and I had made a simple website or two to sell music tabs on. I had a limited understanding of anything SCADA. I had only ever heard of OPC-UA and used a little bit during my Toyota days. Then I found Ignition.

I’ll spare you the story. But, a year later, and just me as the sole developer we’ve made:

  • Full historian
  • Full CMMS solution
  • An entire track and trace solution
  • A web-based kaizen solution
  • A cutting tool manager solution

Across 75 different assets/devices. Siemens, AB, Codesys, GEs, Fanuc CNCs. I think we have like an ISA level 3 system or thereabouts.

We had little in the way of a budget or plan going in. I never went to an Ignition class.
We didn’t hire an SI (I cannot recommend this)
I am not in possession of any unique skill set. I am actually quite a dummy. I took a liking to SQL maybe. Still, struggle with python lol. Can’t write a lick of JAVA.

We had firms quote us these systems that ran into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. We did for like 50k. License included.

It’s never failed in a way I couldn’t remedy. I have never had to call support. And again I am an idiot with google.

Wouldn’t have been possible without people like @JordanCClark @pturmel @PGriffith @cmallonee and others. Plus the resources at hand.

Sounds like you don’t like the direction your firm is headed maybe, making you learn ignition because I think the case you’re trying to make here is a very hard one.

I am sympathetic to your claim. But, I must disagree.

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#56

20 year developer of Fix iFix proficy, with huge metro deployment in city population of + 600k. Basing on tags we are at about 80,000 spread over 7 sites with 7 historians.Getting rather fed up with paying $$$$ for product updates and support that in my opinion is the same wine in a new wine skin costing $100k annually. I want to make some changes but really need some ammunition to sway the the old establishment. Or is ignition not the product?

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#57

I started out working on Fix32 and iFix SCADA systems. My personal view is Ignition would be a good improvement over iFix. But you would have the expense of building it up in a new system instead of upgrading your current. Your support and upgrade cost would depend on what you needed for software. They lists their pricing on the website. Total care includes upgrades and phone support while basic care has email support, which is slower, and also includes updates. The number of tags you mentioned shouldn’t be an issue at all even if it was just at one site.

If your 7 sites are networked together you could also consider the EAM module which would make it easier maintaining the system from one location.

What you would need for software and modules would depend on how you want your system to function in the end. There are examples of different configurations shown on the project architectures. Looking at the options can give you a good idea of different ways you can go about it.

Like anything there is a learning curve when you go to a new system. How much of a learning curve depends on what you want your system to do. It can be used as a typical SCADA system without having to dig deep into python scripting but for some features you would need to get into python. The nice thing with python is there are a lot of resources out there if you search. People on this forum are also good about trying to help when they can if you run into issues or questions. Most of the time when I have seen people complain on here about not liking Ignition I don’t think they have taken the time to learn how the software works. It isn’t hard to use but anything new always takes time to learn it and get used to it.

If your considering it, I would download a copy from the website and load it somewhere so you can play around with it. You can run it on a 2 hour trial license and reset it when it expires while trying it out. Going into Inductive University you can get a lot of information about how to use different features. The best way to see if it would be a good fit for your application is always getting into it and playing with it to see what it can do for you. You may also want to look into having someone run you through a Demo so you can see some of the features that are available.

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#58

Be sure to take a look at some of the articles. They may give you some inspiration. Although the unlimited tag / unlimited clients model may be a good start.

https://inductiveautomation.com/resources/article

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#59

Thanks , that is helpful We will give it a try.

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#60

With my post I brought my experience with Ignition. I would like to point out that I have been developing industrial software for about 25 years and I am not a beginner. I fully agree that knowledge is needed for every product, but it is not the first time that we have used an unknown scada in our company. This product was imposed on us by a customer who only has Ignition inside. So he wants to continue on this path. The thing is right and we understand it. About 3 months of sw had been planned based on previous experience, 15% was added to this development time due to our inexperience on Ignition. It turned out to be a big mistake, the project was almost totally redone. Using unknown scada, we have always made mistakes due to inexperience, but with Ignition it was a catastrophe. As I said at first glance it is impossible to understand the syntax for writing a simple TAG. I ask the Ignition developers if it was so complicated to insert a simple form where to allow only the possible choices based on the chosen communication driver. Instead it is not so in the address I can write HELLO WORLD, and ignition accepts it, except then put a red cross in the tag indicating that it does not connect. For a developer who has always used others, the second thing he is looking for is symbols. When you find the symbols after a while that you try to dynamize them, for example the background color, you realize that you cannot do it. So what are they for? Towards the end of the project we had the need to insert a different language, and we discover that we would have to pass each text and insert the translated string, object by object. Reading in the forum someone suggests inserting a symbol such # as a prefix in the texts so that they can then be identified. But we in our project had everything as texts, from TAG containing text of multi-line labels with the HTML
character and much more. Export is possible but then how to insert the translated strings? I cannot provide an interpreter with the texts exported in HTML format and cannot expect the interpreter to use the same format for the texts he translates. To solve the situatin, after export, i have create a Vb macro in excel to extract the string and rebuild the html code after translation. ( other lot of time worst ) The slowness in changing a page is something that we cannot explain. In my previous post I wrote 5 seconds, but this at best otherwise is also 7.8 seconds. It seems to me a lot. I don’t think this depends on my inexperience in Ignition, and if it depends on it, another more reason to think that Ignition is not intuitive at all. I see that they are a voice out of the choir, and i’m sorry for this, i do’nt gain nothing, but this is our experience, compared to other scada used. maybe I have experienced on an old version I used 7.9.9

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#61

I really, REALLY think you need to just download a trial version and dig in.
I have used everything from CVU1000, Wonderware(since the 5.0 days),iFix, FactoryTalk, WinCC and Ignition beats them all hands down on flexibility, manageability, and cost.

For the translation of strings you just need to bind the text in an expression like so
'<html><center>'+translate('AUTO')
That will then use the internal built up translation table entry of AUTO and tranlate it to the selected language.
The symbols are COMPLETELY customizable.
They are groups of components, just drill down in designer and set your animation,colors, texts to whatever property you want. Unlike symbol factory in other systems where you are limited to the exposed properties they provide.

Tags:
If your PLC is OPC-UA compliant you can just online browse the PLC and drill down to the tag in the device. Tag management in Ignition is LIGHT YEARS ahead of the others, especially wonderware where the tag database is a nightmare to maintain.

The inductive university and online documentation will take you step by step through a basic system all the way to an enterprise managed behemoth. Just the historian modules with enterprise capabilities BUILT IN makes Ignition worth it.

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#62

My last reply was toward the other person’s post but to what your saying, I believe your issues are based on learning Ignition vs others. Yes some things aren’t as straight forward as on other system but thats because more flexibility has been provided in Ignition vs those other options.

With your comment about the speed of changing pages, if your using the vision module then I would have to believe it is caused by one of a few things. One that jumps out at me is your ignition.conf file, did you go in it to set up the RAM your system can use? Depending on the size of the system, if your not allowing it to use the resources it needs then it will have problems. This file normally has to be adjusted from the default settings based on your system. Another would be what do you have on the page thats loading? There are some things that should not be handled on the page. Long queries or scripts that aren’t done right can affect the way the page loads. If a script is running from the GUI and runs on the same thread as the GUI then the GUI will not respond while the script is running. Are you linking templates on your screen to UDT’s? While this is a great feature in theory, it can get you in trouble quickly. When you do that, everything in the UDT is called when the template loads. This can cause you to actually load and refresh a lot more on your page than you think you are. There are a lot of things that play into how fast yours loads and without knowing the specifics of your system it is impossible to tell what is causing it. In the systems I work on most pages load almost instantly, if there is a table on the page that pulls from a database, that can slow the page loading while it runs the query and waits for a response. But that is normal. With what your describing, I fully believe there is something on your system or pages that needs to be reworked to optimize how the system functions. That doesn’t make the software bad though, that comes down to understanding how the software functions and building the system to limit your issues. Every SCADA system I have ever used has its pros and cons. They also all involve a learning curve to understand and limit the possible cons of using it.

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#63

For web scada, there are two solution in market with our web technologies which have lower price and high performance compare to ignition perspective.
Webfactory
mySCADA
Both can use JavaScript and import web widget readily. The most powerful one is webfactory.

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#64

Are you talking about symbols in the image browser? As these, at least in the versions a I’ve used, are raster images which makes it difficult to re-colour. You should be using vector graphics for all your graphics really, as they for 1 don’t pixellate, and 2. have the freedom to change colours etc. You can use the ones from symbol factory, but I tend to use my own.

Most of your issues seem to stem from your lack of experience in the product. Of course, there are good ways of doing things that will help you in future maintainability and expansion, as well as getting the highest performance from your clients, and there are terrible ways to do things. It’s the same in other SCADAs as well, especially with the ones that offer you highly flexible and customisable applications. With great power comes great responsibility.

I haven’t used wincc or intouch, but I’ve used a number of others (citect, factory toilet, Cimplicity, Ifix, clearscada…) and hands down, Ignition beats them all.

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#65

The opc item path for each respective driver is outlined in the manual, and by third party module developers.

Making the background of a symbol a dynamic color is also outlined in the manual, and also trivial. Depending on if you are using raster or vector graphics changes the method a bit, but it is no more dificult than any other HMI/SCADA platform on the market.

The language subsystem does need some up front thought, but if this had been done initially, this would not be a concern. It sounds to me like you had a bunch of static text entered, if the project had been engineered with the formatting separate from the label itself, this could have been an easy transition.

The slowness, I can explain that. You are probably using UDT instances inside of your templates/window. Either that, or you are performing some long running script when you open the window without handling the thread properly. It is probably the former.

No offense, but all of these issues are due to inexperience. This project should have had a change order issued from your side and you should have taken the time to get trained on using the product. There is a learning curve to Ignition, and it makes sense that you feel the curve is steeper than it should be, being trained in traditional automation platforms for over 25 years. I do not mean this in a mean way, so I hope you do not take it to be ill spirited. Ignition leans more on a computer science background than a traditional automation background, and most platforms will be leaning this way as the convergence of IT and OT continues. Look at it as an opportunity to get ahead of the curve.

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#66

I’m pretty sure most people who dislike Ignition are more about the fact that it doesn’t come with turnkey templates and wizards to get you started. Sure, there are sample projects available for download, but that’s not what this class of user wants, they’re looking for to click some buttons, input an IP (if it doesn’t just autodiscover everything), and generate a bunch of tags and screens. The fact that pretty much no SCADA HMI offers that kind of package doesn’t mean they won’t be mad that Ignition doesn’t.

Practically no one really likes a blank canvas, though. Even good devs know the limitations of IU and the docs, and the vast unknown – and difficult to discover features – that will sneak up as they dip into it.

Telling people who don’t want to be developers to get good doesn’t really fix anything. They just want a whole other class of product, which might not exist today.

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#67

To a thirsty, a drop is enough to quench thirst, to someone groping in dark a small ray of light is enough to guide the way , where as to a non curious mind, no amount of spoon feeding will satisfy.The amount of work gone in IU is incredible! Amount of online helps, documentation, SDK’s, forums, etc provided by IA is unmatched by any other SCADA product. Despite this if people want something more then its not IA’s fault. Ignition has democratized industrial automation and it is life blood of many SI’s today.

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