SCADA platform is an easy button for digital transformation

Inductive Automation’s Ignition supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) and automation platform accelerates digital transformation at Automate 2024 event by A3, the Association for Advancing Automation, in Chicago.

By Mark T. Hoske June 20, 2024
Courtesy: Inductive Automation

 

Learning Objectives

  • Understand how added data integration provides easier access within a major supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) platform.
  • Learn about a virtual control room and easier SCADA configuration.
  • Explore more capabilities of an advanced SCADA and automation platform for diverse applications across industries.

Automate 2024: SCADA platform trends, insights

  • Data integration provides easier information access within a major supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) platform, as explained by Inductive Automation at Automate 2024 event by A3, the Association for Advancing Automation, in Chicago.
  • A virtual control room is available using tools from Apple and Inductive Automation; SCADA configuration is easier than ever for those in operations.
  • An advanced SCADA and automation platform, Ignition by Inductive Automation, continues to expand and be applied in diverse applications across industries.

A supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) software, originally designed to make the lives of control system integrators and their customers easier, has progressed to become foundational platform for digital transformation, moving data from applications to the cloud across industries, explained Travis Cox, chief technology evangelist, Inductive Automation. Now the Inductive Automation SCADA platform Ignition has become the “easy button” for data storage, integration and use, providing insights where it’s used, Cox said at Automate 2024 event by A3, the Association for Advancing Automation, in Chicago. Future applications could include Apple Vision Pro integration creating virtual control room capabilities.

Added data integration provides easier access

Additional integration capabilities are provided with use of the cloud-based database, Snowflake, a widely used database platform in the IT world, coupled with the on-premise (on-prem) Ignition solution. Snowflake, a data cloud company, joined the Inductive Automation Alliance Partner Program as an Alliance Partner in September 2023. Additional data integration avoids moving data around, Cox said, unlocking information where people need it. Ignition provides context to plant-floor data once, as it enters system, providing one version of truth, unlike other brittle and hard-to-scale systems that keep relying on previous history to make sense of data, Cox said.

Snowflake, Inductive Automation and Cirrus Link provide data cloud solutions using Ignition user-defined types (UDTs), Message Queuing Telemetry Transport (MQTT) and Sparkplug. An Inductive Automation video explains how the Snowflake platform can deliver immediate data insights with native artificial intelligence (AI) tooling.

Easier configuration, virtual control room

By integrating unified namespace concepts, Ignition uses a standard data model to empower users to imagine and create a new vision for automation. SCADA and human-machine interface (HMI) capabilities have become an operational tool for users to connect the dots to configuration.

In addition to greater data integration, Cox said that Ignition capabilities could be extended as native apps in Apple Vision Pro, which could provide a virtual control room for users, with navigation and controls available with gestures.

Application creativity and usefulness are on full display along with SCADA platform training at Inductive Automation’s annual Ignition Community Conference (ICC); the 2024 ICC is Sept. 17 to 19.

“This is a great time to be an engineer in automation,” Cox added.

Inductive Automation offers a free trial of its Ignition SCADA platform and says it only takes three minutes to install. Automation features and functions, present and future, that help advance industrial digital transformation were discussed at Automate 2024 event by A3, the Association for Advancing Automation, in Chicago.

Inductive Automation offers a free trial of its Ignition SCADA platform and says it only takes three minutes to install. Automation features and functions, present and future, that help advance industrial digital transformation were discussed at Automate 2024 event by A3, the Association for Advancing Automation, in Chicago. Courtesy: Inductive AutomationInductive Automation offers a free trial of its Ignition SCADA platform and says it only takes three minutes to install. Automation features and functions, present and future, that help advance industrial digital transformation were discussed at Automate 2024 event by A3, the Association for Advancing Automation, in Chicago. Courtesy: Inductive Automation

More about the SCADA platform for diverse automation applications

More about Inductive Automation offerings are available online, including the following: “Ignition 8.1 is a milestone for Inductive Automation and for Ignition. It represents our full vision of what The New SCADA could be, and is the platform that all of our customers will want to leverage for their next-generation solutions,” said Steve Hechtman, executive chairman and founder, Inductive Automation. The company summarizes Ignition 8.1 as the software platform with “everything you need to build powerful, reliable industrial applications for any industry.” It has:

  • Unlimited licensing model to add unlimited clients, screens, tags, connections and devices.

  • Server-centric web-deployment to easily deploy at one or more sites or in the cloud.

  • Modular configurability to use integrated modules to build the exact industrial application needed.

  • Cross-platform compatibility to work with any major operating system, even Apple iOS and Android and runs web-clients on desktop or mobile to launch runtime clients in any web browser with no plugin required.

  • Been designed and based on open technology standards: HTML5, SQL, Python, MQTT and OPC Unified Architecture (OPC UA).

  • Instant installs and updates; it installs on a server in just three minutes, pushes updates to clients everywhere, instantly.

  • One universal platform design to build SCADA, MES, IIoT, alarming, reporting applications and other applications.

  • Mission-critical capabilities build in, to add fault tolerance for mission-critical systems by adding redundant servers.

The next Ignition update release is expected just before summer with new features.

Mark T. Hoske, editor-in-chief, Control Engineering, WTWH Media, mhoske@wtwhmedia.com supplied this report from Automate 2024, with information from Inductive Automation.

KEYWORDS: Automate 2024, SCADA, automation platform

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Author Bio: Mark Hoske has been Control Engineering editor/content manager since 1994 and in a leadership role since 1999, covering all major areas: control systems, networking and information systems, control equipment and energy, and system integration, everything that comprises or facilitates the control loop. He has been writing about technology since 1987, writing professionally since 1982, and has a Bachelor of Science in Journalism degree from UW-Madison.