Tomorrow I’m giving an in-house talk describing my skeuomorphic HMI that I built with Perspective. While the intention of the talk is to show the benefits of my work (and subtly ply my design skills), I am also going to be talking about Ignition in general and my experiences in producing my HMI (And here are some screen shots)
The people that I am giving the talk to are heavy CIMPLICITY users (and so was I in a past life), and there are a couple of CIMPLICITY features that I know that they rely on, but I am not sure if/how the equivalent can/could be achieved in Ignition. So I want to be prepared to answer the obvious questions that will arise.
So is there equivalent functionality for the following items?
Point Control Panel
In CIMPLICITY the Point Control Panel is a stand alone utility that allows you to do simple ad-hoc viewing of the tags that are defined in the server. You basically start the utility, browse the tags, select only the ones you want to monitor and away you go viewing the the status, current value and time stamp. And if the tag is writeable, you can also set a new value.
You can sort of do this in ignition via the tag browser, but there seems to be no way that I know of to arbitrarily group random tags together without creating a new folder in tag list and re-importing them from the PLC. In addition that would seem to require access to the project configuration itself.
OTOH the Point Control Panel is something that Field Engineers can easily master and allows them to pull up lists of tags for debugging purposes without going anywhere near the project configuration. (and you can also save your list of tags for re-use in a future session)
Screen Tag List
When viewing a screen, you can click on it and pull up a list of points that the screen is trying to access in the PLC, and the list will be colorized to show what points currently exist in the server, and what do not. While CIMPLICITY also visually marks bad tag references used in on screen objects, but being able to directly see a list of tags can be very helpful. I’ll note that this only properly works for directly named tags, and that like Ignition, CIMPLICITY can also dynamically create tag references on the fly. But regardless of how the tag reference is generated in the screen, the server itself (CIMPLICTY or Ignition) should know whether that tag exists in the PLC.
This functionality is typically used by HMI systems engineers when copying projects that are then edited to fit a new scenario (every project I work on is a custom, stand alone system that is sort of related to what was last done, but with changes , but that makes the job interesting!), but it is also used by Field Engineers for debugging purposes and reporting issues (what? Your Field Engineers don’t do you your QA for you? What are you paying them for then?!?!? )