On Changing Mindsets

The Ignition Effect

11 min video  /  9 minute read

Ignition’s game-changing features open the door to new ways of thinking about control systems. Hear how Ignition has transformed the way integrators approach building solutions in industrial automation, and the paradigm shift this has caused in the industry.


Jerry Eppler: The ethos that Inductive Automation has had from the beginning is really cool. The way that they built Ignition on open standards, open protocols, the data is not proprietary, the standard SQL databases, I think it was a game changer in this industry. What I see with Ignition and the effect it's having on the industry as a whole is it allows any problem to be solved allows connectivity between any type of device or software. And what I see is it's helping industrial automation keep up with the technology with other emerging technologies. Inductive Automation does a really good job, and I know they strive for implementing and integrating new technologies, like with Perspective, having the HTML5 frontend, being able to communicate to other softwares, APIs, is really cool. And integrating modern authentication techniques and things like that, I think that's stuff that is really cool, and it's going to just continue to evolve.


Keith Gamble:
I was really seeing where Inductive Automation and Ignition, and especially Perspective, were really starting to open those doors. Where clients were previously terrified of custom code and applications that were unsupportable, Inductive Automation was really making that a more open environment to do those types of applications in. So at Barry-Wehmiller, I really started to look for those opportunities with clients and help them see where Ignition could really fill those needs, where in the past they would have had to have some giant, custom, crazy, complicated application, or they wouldn't have even tackled the problem at all because they didn't want a custom application. So at the time, building things with Perspective was making it much easier to build custom tools, reports, do anything you wanted from a data standpoint, and still provide the client with something that was easy to maintain, easy to afford, and easy to expand down the road.


Alicia Lomas:
The other thing that Ignition has really done for these manufacturing plants that I've been at is allow dashboarding to happen at the level of the SCADA system. So in a lot of other systems, you have to buy another tool. You have to buy a whole other software, whereas in Ignition, I can spin up Perspective and I can make really crisp, nice dashboards. The leaders at the companies that I've been at, when they see these dashboards, they are just so impressed. And I could have never got there with these other solutions without having to buy a whole other software and have a software developer, or whatever it may be. Now you have controls engineers able to throw up a really nice dashboard, one spot where you can see how the factory is running, what your efficiency is, how much product you made. And so that's just another added value that you get just by buying Ignition's server, gateway, and you're off to the races.


Chris Taylor:
Another huge effect Ignition has had on projects is the scope of things. For customers, SCADA used to be this thing where you just wanted to see what a machine or machines were doing. But now, even the term SCADA is going away because it's so much more than that. And I think it's fair to say that Ignition has led the way.


Steven Downer:
With edge, when the buzzword started floating around the industry, there were a lot of kind of half-baked products that I saw from various places that said, "Yeah, this is edge; this is the future." But none of that really kind of lived up to what it was promising, and I didn't see it as being robust or being able to deliver on those promises. With Ignition Edge, it was the first time that I was actually able to see this thing can run locally, but it syncs trends up to a central historian and has alarm pipelines and all kinds of other features that really sold the edge promise and delivered on it for what it was supposed to be. And so this was the first time I could see the value in edge architecture from a practical standpoint, and we started to change a lot of the projects we proposed to leverage the edge architecture, and it made a big impact on how we do projects.


Steven Downer:
I think we've seen definitely the edge architecture have an influence and a desire growing for the kind of features that that provides. We've also seen it go from a surprised it can do that to now having kind of an expectation for things like the interoperability and openness that Ignition provides with database connectivity, with open protocols, with scripting. And that's starting to become more of a norm or expectation in terms of licensing and cost. We're seeing that Ignition is having a big effect on the way things are priced and licenses are distributed, which I think is a good thing.


Keith Gamble:
As we kept building out our team at Design Group, we really started to focus a little bit differently on the types of people that we were hiring, people that were doing web design, backend development, dedicated database administration, and really started to open up who we were bringing into Design Group. That really started to change the way that we were using Ignition in a lot of ways. We started leveraging tools like containerization and version control, and heavy UI/UX design with tools like Figma. So we really were starting to experience Ignition in a totally different way. We were starting to use it more as a framework for building out custom applications than just a SCADA and HMI tool. We were doing both, but the way we used to see applications with 100,000 tags and 40 screens and only 20 lines of code spread throughout, we were now starting to see a lot of applications we were building with 20 tags and 5 screens, and 100,000 lines of code. It was really changing how we were seeing the platform, how we were experiencing it, and what we were telling clients about it, where we were driving it into the market.


Remus Pop:
I think one of the biggest effects that I see on the industry today is the willingness to be flexible in what would normally be a very rigid environment. So typically, if we look back at the software solutions of the past, they're very monolithic, enterprise-type solutions. They're very rigid in their deployment structure. You have to buy the entire package. You have to align to their methodology of how they do things with their software. And I think with Ignition, it's kind of unlocked this idea that we don't really have to follow the norm anymore. We can really be flexible in the type of deployments we build. With Ignition's modular functionality, if I don't want to buy all the additional modules or have all the additional complexity, I don't have to. I can just buy this little piece of it, build out a solution that focuses on one unique need, and fill that need. And then, over time, if that need grows, the platform doesn't stop me from doing those things. It just allows me to grow with the software. The software allows itself to grow with me.


Remus Pop:
So I think we see a lot of really interesting ideations of that concept in our customers today, and it really allows them to be flexible in the solutions that they're building. They can build a platform and a template that's corporate-wide, but still give the flexibility to the specific client that might have a unique use case that not anybody else has.


Alicia Lomas:
The industrial automation industry has traditionally been a pretty slow-moving industry as far as change. And these PLCs were built this way because you need 100% uptime, and if things go wrong, it's catastrophic. So I do understand why this industry moves fairly slow. But when it comes to the visualization side and being able to unlock data and be able to have more tools to help you efficiently run your factory, there's no reason we need to have that mentality. And I think what Ignition did was kind of open up everybody's minds. It made you open your mind to there's new ways to do things. There's lots of different ways to solve problems. We can get to data a lot faster without adding a bunch of layers, additional softwares, additional things. It's all just kind of there. So to me, the biggest thing is that it was a disruptor. 100% fits that definition to kind of show some of these other old-school industrial automation companies that it doesn't have to be that way. We can grow. With Perspective, everything's very web-based. It's meant to be scaled. We used to do resolution-based HMIs, and you were limited. Some manager would be like, "Hey, I really want this on my iPad."


Alicia Lomas:
Now we're there. If you build your stuff right, it's ready to go, and it's not this huge load on the controls team. So it's not only advancing controls engineers' knowledge, but it's helping us get better tools at a lower cost of entry and being able to run these factories more efficiently.


Julio Velasco:
Unfortunately, customers have gotten used to seeing Christmas trees on the screens. It's red, green, blue, flashing yellow, and just all these colors all over the place, right? And then we have to go back and say, I'm going to redo this in this platform, and it's going to look boring. And they're like, "You're going to take away my Christmas trees?" Like, "Yes. No more Christmas trees." We're going to make it look boring, and we're going to let you know when something is wrong. It's like a paradigm shift for them. It's like you're taking it away from me. They don't understand. But once they see it, it's just like, okay, it makes sense. Boring is cool when it comes to visualization. I could make you a fancy dashboard with pretty graphics and 3D-looking gauges, and all this stuff, but that's for your dashboard. For operations, it's going to look boring. We're going to give it that purpose and significance to the screens. I think that that's the purpose of high-performance HMI and the tools that Ignition offers for that classic HMI look versus high-performance HMI. And Ignition is kind of like a Swiss army knife. You have all the tools available to you.


Julio Velasco: When you need them, they're there for you, right? So it does reporting. It does alarming. It does visualization. It does Historian, data logging, and you can do your own modules. So no more clipboards. Like that famous Ignition video. No more chart recorders where you're pulling out those. That's what the Historian is for. I started to follow a while back. It's to have a mindset of abundance instead of scarcity. I see Ignition as abundance.

Posted on May 21, 2024