What type of panel PCs or IPCs does everyone use?

Hey Everyone,

I am curious to see what type of panel PCs people use for their clients and what type of industrial PCs you use for your Ignition gateways and databases. Any suggestions would be appreciated!

Thanks and happy Friday.
William

I don’t often supply client stations, as I refuse to sell anything with Windows on it. (I’m perfectly happy deploying onto customer-supplied and -maintained Windows-based systems.)

For servers, I’ve had very good results with SuperMicro systems. Like this one for gateways: SuperMicro 1019P-FRN2T. I gather there is a newer model, but this one has been superb. Lots of cores for thread-hungry web serving.

1 Like

Hi @pturmel thanks for your response. Can you explain why you wouldn’t sell anything with Windows on it? A lot of the systems I have looked at are using Windows IoT Enterprise OS. Should I stay away from windows for an IPC that will run the Ignition gateway and MySQL database? I have also considered running them on Linux, but am by no means a Linux expert.

Sell or deploy what you know how (or want) to support.

I don’t think Phil wants to have anything to do with supporting Windows.

4 Likes

For smaller projects we use OnLogic Helix PCs which are windows 10, we do use Ignition and MySQL on the same machine with no issues. I know a lot of people on the forum is against this but we don’t have issues and the MySQL DB is doing very little storing of data. We don’t use anything less then the i7 and 16gb of ram. Best way to test to see if your project will require more resources is to develop on a VM and decide what you need before purchasing.

We use Dell R640 Servers running Hyper-V with Windows Server 2019 for our larger systems. (2 Domain Controllers, 2 Gateways, 1 Historian, 2 DB MSSQL Mirrored, 2 RDS) with no issues.

Like Kevin said use what you know - I have deployed over 30 projects since 2012 using Windows with Ignition.

1 Like

@DSI600 Awesome information, thanks so much!

I’m gonna stray slightly off topic here, but personally, if I were in the business of deploying HMI panels on the regular, I’d spend a bunch of time trying to develop some sort of minimal Linux “Open HMI” distro that had exactly enough to boot X server and go straight to running a Vision Client, Perspective Workstation, or Chrome.

I also recently read some stuff about running X apps inside Docker containers via X11 forwarding… so it would be interesting to explore containerizing the HMI portion, which would give you a bit of a security sandbox and also make it easier to update if you needed a new launcher or workstation version independent of the underlying OS.

:man_shrugging:

3 Likes

Thanks for your responses, I will definitely look into, time provided :slight_smile: I started using Linux at home and am falling in love with it. Though, there’s so much more to learn.
@DSI600 What do you use for your panel pcs for the Ignition clients.

I’ve had good luck with Advantech. They have quite a lot to choose from.

In this thread, Ignition on PanelView - #10 by nminchin, @nminchin mentioned Beckoff hardware.

2 Likes

Touch screen interfaces:

  • If washdown or particulate accumulation is a concern, we’ll go with something with a flush bezel from Arista.
  • Otherwise, we’ll use something from Hope Industrial.

Compute:

  • We’ve had good luck with Dynics products; the MINI-X makes a great client, and one of our client’s runs their gateway from a PIX. Haven’t had a chance to check out the new Xi series, but it looks great on paper.
  • Advantech always seems solid, but I have never been responsible for providing any of their units so I can’t say what their support process is like.
  • Usually Dell for servers.
1 Like

Our Panel PCs use the OnLogic Helix with din rail kit with either Hope Industrial 19.5" widescreen or Maple Systems CMT 21.5" touch screen in the door.

1 Like

This. And the misery of securing Windows. It takes a big, competent IT group to do so, and to keep doing so over the life of the system.

A very good idea, but needs a retiree for the time suck.

1 Like

We typically use Advantech Panel PCs for view clients, they have a good range of panel PCs of all shapes, sizes and specs, our supplier is even able to load our preferred software image in them as part of the package which allows us to ship panels directly from supplier to the client preloaded with our configuration.

We try to avoid supplying the gateway server machines, rather leaving it up to the client’s IT provider to do so, when we do supply gateway servers, we typically provide a standard business grade PC like HP ProDesk, something that is widely available and their IT team understand and know how to work with.

I’d prefer to avoid wading into the Windows vs Linux debate, but when picking an OS, you need to think about who you want to have supporting the SCADA servers for the years to come, most people working with Ignition and PLC and SCADA specialists who are computer savvy, but not to the level of a professional IT service provider, if you have staff who are confident with Linux and are able to put in place remote monitoring, backup, disaster recovery services and perform the regular server maintenance that is required no matter what platform, then I’d say go with your preferred OS, however if you don’t I would suggest you stick to the OS that is supported by the IT company who you are outsourcing all of this to.

My personal experience with Linux is only from being called out to a factory that operates 24x7 where the SCADA suddenly had stopped working, in this case the SCADA was critical to the plants operation so the factory was fully shut down when I arrived, the client had an IT company but they weren’t confident with Linux so hadn’t been able to put in place any of their typical support systems.
The SI who had set up the SCADA server had no monitoring, external backups or any sort of disaster recovery plan.
A few software bugs and incorrectly configured gateway (and possibly incorrectly configured Linux OS) had caused the hard drive to fill up with logs and corrupt, and without regular backups the only fix was to restore a backup that was taken before the last round of changes.
There are two issues here that could have easily be prevented:
1: There was no monitoring of the system performance - a professional set up would have sent out an alarm way before the HDD was full preventing the site from having any down time at all.
2: There were no regular off-site backups - with regular off-site backups, it would have taken the client’s IT company less than an hour to fully restore the SCADA server to the previous day’s state, giving you a day to fix the problem without stopping the plant.

5 Likes

Dynix makes very good industrial PCs , Advantech has a very good product line as well and has provided us with responsive tech support.
On the cheap, we’ve rolled our own with an Intel NUC NUC6CAYH ($389 Win10 preinstalled) and a NEMA12 touchscreen in a fiberglass enclosure. Unless you replace the stock OS with Win LTS (or Linux), you will be subject to unannounced midnight upgrades, which in two occasions have paused the whole thing. A simple reboot was all that was required to fix, but don’t use them on mission critical stuff!
If money is NO object, Parker makes classy looking, practically indestructible industrial PCs. It’s got to be a gov’mint project cuz you can’t find a more expensive solution! They make the best stuff as their corporate culture is based around aerospace customers, but they’re not bashful about charging for it.

I use panel PC’s from superlogics.com and have not had any issues.

Maybe slightly off from the original question but certainly related. We (Toyota Material Handling) are doing a lot of Andon clients on our system (currently ~ 100 active Perspective clients at any given time) and for them we run CL210G industrial PCs from OnLogic. Fanless, SSD, good temperature rating, <$350 each; highly recommended. They run a Linux OS designed for digital signage applications called Porteus. We (the engineering controls group) centrally manage them using the paid (but still cheap) Porteus Server platform. All the displays are Perspective pages build on our Ignition server which we administer, but the server itself is buried in a virtual environment built and managed by the IT group, so I couldn’t begin to offer specs on it.

3 Likes