If your business is running one or more legacy Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems, you might have already encountered the limitations such platforms have in adapting to your changing business needs - or perhaps you just need to upgrade from Windows XP!
With the continued adoption of digital transformation and Industry 4.0 technology, manufacturers are using more data and analytics in their day-to-day processes than ever before. As a result, SCADA systems based on ‘90s technology are not sufficient. It’s impossible to take an organization into tomorrow if it’s stuck in yesterday.
So, when you’re choosing a new SCADA system for your organization, you should be certain it’s powerful and flexible enough to adapt to all of these unfolding changes. So how do you find that exact right type of system?
A SCADA system that is compatible with multiple operating systems provides long-term cost savings, gives more options for designing a system, prevents vendor lock, and causes fewer support headaches.
Given that the SCADA system forms the backbone of the entire organization, this isn’t simply a nice-to-have feature—it’s essential.
Ignition® supports the following OS's:
A SCADA system should be based on open standards, which promote interoperability and make integration, scalability, and collaboration much easier. Open standards are by definition vendor-neutral, offering a perfect alternative to a single vendor’s proprietary technology, which often prohibits mixing and matching pieces of software or hardware.
Open standards poise a system for moving into the future by allowing organizations to choose best-of-breed technologies instead of being locked into a specific vendor’s ecosystem.
Historically, IT (Information Technology) and OT (Operational Technology) have been separate domains, often with different languages and procedures. But for a system to succeed in today’s landscape, there needs to be an alignment between OT and IT. Bridging the gap between OT and IT is one of the many roles of a SCADA system.
When OT and IT are aligned, it leads to major benefits like lower costs, reduced risk, standardisation across the enterprise, and better decision-making. In order to successfully implement IIoT, it is important to identify technologies that are compatible with both IT and OT infrastructures.
Ignition can natively communicate with the following PLC's/protocols:
To communicate to other industrial devices, an OPC-UA server such as KEPServerEX® can be used.
Ignition® is able to natively connect to the following databases:
Ignition® can integrate with external business systems using basic web services, or with the Sepasoft® MES modules integrate directly with SAP:
Unfortunately, attacks on industrial targets are increasing in various forms, whether it’s phishing, malware, ransomware, or data breaches, to name just a few. No software is 100% secure, but having software with modern security features is vital.
A few years ago, the OT network was either siloed off from the rest of the system or secured with firewalls. There was little emphasis placed on security, and some organizations even kept the OT network open to the rest of the IT network.
It is important to address security considerations for any modern SCADA system, especially encryption like TLS 1.2 or 1.3. Leveraging the same encryption that banking websites use can make a big impact in keeping an organization secure.
In the case of a network compromise, there should be protections in place to prevent bad actors from accessing the SCADA system and doing any damage. This means protecting all ports as well as any internet connections that utilize IIoT technology. It is critical that a system has security at the forefront, as something that is a core piece of the system overall.
In the modern era, the role of a SCADA system is vastly different than it was in the ‘90s. There has been a huge proliferation of mobile devices over the past 15 years; therefore, today’s SCADA systems should be equally functional on mobile as well as desktop.
Having a SCADA system that leverages HTML5-based components is critical for building out operational dashboards. You want a system that provides HMI on the plant floor, yet also makes OT data instantly available so that operators can immediately respond to problems and make informed decisions based on real-time data, wherever they are.
Ignition® allows your SCADA screens to be "Mobile-first" applications, fully-capable and accessible from any device with a modern web-browser (phone, tablet, laptop or desktop) either locally or remotely.
The Ignition Online Demonstration houses a wide variety of common use cases for Ignition.
The project has screens that show historical trending, alarming, real-time status, and control, and more - right from your smartphone or
For a SCADA system to truly excel in the modern era, it needs an unlimited licensing model. Traditional SCADA licensing requires payment for every client and tag added—1-10 tags being X number of dollars; 50-100 being Y number of dollars—making it difficult if not impossible to add sensors or devices after the fact.
With unlimited licensing, the number of tags is only limited by what the hardware can support, moving the range of tags into hundreds of thousands before multiple servers and licenses are required. Unlimited licensing also makes it possible to expand the system without constraint, which facilitates innovation, opens up possibilities, and frees engineers and designers to implement the best possible solutions.
Ignition® features an unlimited licensing model, allowing resources to be spent on innovating cost-saving solutions instead of software fees.
ESM (founded 1996) was an early adopter of the Ignition® Platform, and in 2018 was the first Integrator in Australia to reach Premier Integrator status with Inductive Automation - recognising the number and quality of Ignition® projects delivered, in addition to the Gold certification status held by its engineers.
In 2019, ESM was the first Australian company awarded Inductive Automation's prestigious Firebrand award, awarded to the 7 top Ignition® projects globally each year.
Today we pride ourselves in delivering Ignition® based SCADA, MES and IIoT solutions to businesses both in Australia and abroad.
Whether you are looking to replace a single operator Human Machine Interface (HMI) or a deploy a large multi-site SCADA solution, ESM can design a scalable architecture to meet your requirements now and into the future.
When migrating a legacy HMI or SCADA system, it can be tempting to keep existing screens and visualisations to reduce operator re-training and project costs - however there can be large improvements made in productivity and product quality if these interfaces are re-designed to take advantage of established best-practice.
ISA-101 "Human Machine Interfaces for Process Automation Systems" is a standard from the International Society of Automation (ISA) that establishes guidelines and recommended practices in designing, implementing and managing HMI's in manufacturing applications.
By adhering to ISA-101, HMI's can present operators with a clear and concise view of the state a plant is in and allow them to take action before the process is adversely affected.
Historically, this has been difficult as such screens have been designed to replicate a Piping & Instrumentation Diagram (P&ID) or physical layout of a plant: