Inductive Automation

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Inductive Automation
Type private
Founded 2003
Headquarters Sacramento, California
Products Industrial Automation
HMI - SCADA - MES Software
Website www.inductiveautomation.com

Based in Sacramento, California, Inductive Automation is a supplier of web-based industrial automation software. The Ignition SCADA platform is the company's main product line.

Inductive Automation has customers in a variety of industries including: Wastewater, Food and Beverage, Utilities, Energy, Research, Transportation, Chemical Processing, Mining, Aerospace, Transportation, Broadcasting, Printing, Plastics, Construction, Discreet Manufacturing, and Process Manufacturing in over 70 countries with over 750 independent Automation Integration Companies.[1]

Inductive Automation introduced the SQL Database centric architecture[2][3] for SCADA systems with FactorySQL and FactoryPMI in 2003.[4] The company is a pioneer of supporting interoperability standards among SCADA vendors,[5] and is a supporter of Open Source software and the OPC Foundation. The company was the first to implement a native Java OPC-UA stack in January 2010,[6] making their products 100% cross platform, which is rare for commercial SCADA vendors.[7]

Awards[edit]

Inductive Automation received the 2011 Duke's Choice award at the JavaOne conference in San Francisco, California, on October 4, 2011, for Ignition. Oracle recognized the impact of Ignition as a significant Java-based product in Industrial Automation[8][9] since the platform implemented the first native Java OPC UA stack.[10]

Inductive Automation received 2011 Automation World Readers Choice Awards in the SCADA and Information management categories for Ignition.[11]

Licensing[edit]

Inductive Automation promotes an unlimited licensing structure, favoring a per server model that avoids charging for: clients, PLC or SQL Database connections, tags, or visualization screens.[12]

Inductive Automation offers Limited versions of the SQL Bridge and Vision Modules that are restricted by functionality and concurrent clients, respectively.[13]

Ignition Platform[edit]

Main article: Ignition SCADA
Inductive Automation Ignition Platform Architecture

Ignition is an Integrated Software Platform for SCADA systems. It achieves cross platform web based deployment through the Java Web Start Technology for both runtime clients and the integrated development environment. SCADA features are provided by modules categorized in MES Module Layer, HMI/SCADA Module Layer, and Platform Layer.

MES Module Layer[edit]

MES Modules are separately licensed Ignition plug in modules that generally provide higher level functionality with less user development. MES Modules are designed to provide specific functionality and can be industry specific. Current modules available are: Downtime OEE, SPC, and Scheduling . The Changeover Management and Track & Trace / Geneaology Modules have been announced as upcoming.

HMI/SCADA Module Layer[edit]

The HMI/SCADA Module Layer contains mainstay products of the Ignition Platform. Vision is the main visualization module, SQL Bridge is a bidirectional OPC to SQL database historian and transaction manager, Reporting generates dynamic Pdf reports, and Mobile allows access to HTML 5 compatible devices such as iPads, iPods, Android, Smartphone, and Tablets.

Platform Layer[edit]

The Platform Layer includes the following core functionality to all modules: OPC-UA Client, Database, Web Server, System Logging, Licensing, Unified Development Environment, Auditing, Authentication, Module API, Alerting Core Functionality, Database Connectivity, Scripting Engine, Realtime Tag Database, Store & Forward, and Redundancy.[14]

Module Marketplace[edit]

Main article: Module Marketplace

The Module Marketplace is a product of Inductive Automation. It is an online store that opened on March 4, 2013.[15][16] Some modules are free while others are paid. All are developed using the Ignition SDK. Access to core Ignition apps are made available so that third party developers can create module apps for use with the company’s systems. All of these apps can be made available for download on the Module Marketplace site.[17]

Security[edit]

Inductive Automation promotes IT departments supporting security using standard methodology.[18] The Ignition Platform supports the following security features:

  • SSL/TLS All network traffic is encrypted with SSL/TLS technology.
  • Active Directory Authentication Supports Microsoft Windows Active Directory authentication.
  • Auditing allows administrators to review logs of activity.

The United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) released advisory 11-231-01 that allowed malicious unauthenticated users to download sensitive information regarding project configuration. Inductive Automation responded by resolving the issue in version 7.2.8.178 and greater.[19]

Linux[edit]

Inductive Automation promotes cross platform operating system choices for SCADA,[20] citing that Windows has been a requirement due to the reliance of DCOM within OPC-DA, but organizations desire Linux for "security", "stability", and "reliability".[21] Inductive Automation introduced Linux support in Ignition with the OPC-UA module in January 2010.[22]

Legacy Products[edit]

Main articles: FactorySQL and FactoryPMI

FactorySQL is an OPC based Middleware product that bridges the gap between industrial PLCs and SQL Databases. FactorySQL is a drag and drop .NET application that runs as a Windows service. FactorySQL version 1.0 was released in 2003 and deprecated at version 4 in 2010 with the release of Ignition. As of January 2013, FactorySQL is still being sold and supported.

FactoryPMI is a Java based SCADA product containing three main components: the runtime, gateway, and designer. FactoryPMI version 1.0 was released in 2003 and deprecated at version 3 in 2010 with the release of Ignition. As of January 2013, FactoryPMI is still being sold and supported.

History[edit]

Version 1.0 of FactorySQL and FactoryPMI were released in 2003.

In January 2010, Inductive Automation consolidated FactorySQL and FactoryPMI under the modular Ignition platform. Ignition became the platform name, and FactorySQL and FactoryPMI became the SQL Bridge Module, and Vision Module, respectively. The Reporting Module and OPC-UA Module were included in the initial release. This was considered "the first time a fully-featured industrial software package offered the same benefits on Windows and Linux".[23][24]

The Module Marketplace was released on March 4, 2013,[25] which is an online store, similar in concept to: the iTunes Store or Google Play for the SCADA software industry.

OPC-UA[edit]

Current drivers include A-B Suite, ModbusTCP and Simple TCP/UDP, allowing users to connect to a multitude of devices such as PLCs, solar cells, lights, generators, flow meters, bar code scanners, etc.

The Ignition OPC-UA server implemented the first native Java OPC UA stack.[26] Inductive Automation offers the OPC-UA module for free.[27]

SQLTags[edit]

SQLTags is a proprietary technology that uses any SQL Database as a Tag Database. Tags can be derived from the following sources: OPC, expression, or constant and support various configuration options such as: alerting, scaling, and historical storage. SQLTags are stored in Tag Providers, which are automatically configured tables in an SQL database.[28]

SQLTags Historian is a proprietary data logging technology that manages historical data in any supported SQL Database. It is configured by defining an Ignition SQL database connection, then enabling the feature on a per tag basis. The system automatically creates and manages the tables without any user SQL input. Historical Scan Classes support different logging intervals by sets of tags as well as altering the logging rate dynamically. This allows the system to store high resolution history when needed, but lower resolution data for other periods. The system automatically partitions data into multiple database tables. This accomplishes two functions: ensures consistent performance over the long term, and provides a consistent mechanism for data archival and pruning.[29]

Open Source[edit]

Inductive Automation is a promoter and contributor to the Open Source community. FactoryPMI utilizes a number of such projects including: MySQL, Apache, JFreeChart, Jython, Hsqldb, jTDS, Bean Builder, and numerous others.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Inductive Automation System Integrators Listing". Inductiveautomation.com. Retrieved 12 March 2013.
  2. ^ Gary Mintchell, Editor in Chief (15 March 2011). "discusses database technology, data connectivity, what today's engineers need to know, OPC UA's future and more software topics with engineers at Inductive Automation". Automation World (Podcast). Automation World. Event occurs at 39:22. Retrieved 21JAN13. 
  3. ^ Jeremy Pollard (17 Jan 2007). "AUTOMATION SOFTWARE - FactoryPMI: A review of web-based SCADA/HMI". Manufacturing Automation. Retrieved 29 Dec 2012. 
  4. ^ "Inductive Automation Revolutionizes SCADA Application Development with SQLTags™ Technology". 27 September 2007. Retrieved 29 Dec 2012. 
  5. ^ Jeremy Pollard (8 July 2010). "OPC Connects the World, but There Is No Common Graphics Standard and No Common Interface Protocols". Control Design. Retrieved 29 Dec 2012. 
  6. ^ "OPC UA Stack Written in Java--Write Once, Run Anywhere". Automation World. 1 November 2010. Retrieved 29 Dec 2012. 
  7. ^ Burke, Thomas OPC UA – Service-oriented Architecture for Industrial Applications, 11/2006
  8. ^ "Oracle Announces Winners of the 2011 Duke’s Choice Awards". Oracle Corporation. 14 October 2011. Retrieved 29 Dec 2012. 
  9. ^ "Inductive Automation’s Java-based HMI and SCADA application built on OPC-UA standard wins award from Oracle". Automation World. 11 November 2011. Retrieved 29 Dec 2012. 
  10. ^ Bond, Andrew Free OPC-UA Server Unlocks Linux's Potential, 3/2010
  11. ^ "Leadership In Automation 2011: First Team Honorees". Automation World. 21 January 2012. Retrieved 29 Dec 2012. 
  12. ^ "Ignition Unlimited Licensing". Inductive Automation. Retrieved 27 Jan 2013. 
  13. ^ "Ignition Pricing". Inductive Automation. Retrieved 27 Jan 2013. 
  14. ^ "Vendor web site information". Retrieved 29 Dec 2012. 
  15. ^ "Inductive Automation to Launch First Community-Based Industrial Automation Software Module Store". Inductive Automation. Retrieved 10 Mar 2013. 
  16. ^ Gary Mintchell (18 Feb 2013). "ARC Forum 2013: First Community-Based Industrial Automation Software Module Store". Retrieved 10 Mar 2013. 
  17. ^ Dave Greenfield (14 Feb 2013). "Consumer Technology Drives Automation". Automation World. Retrieved 10 Mar 2013. 
  18. ^ "Security information from vendor web site". Retrieved 21 Jan 2013. 
  19. ^ "ICSA-11-231-01—INDUCTIVE AUTOMATION IGNITION INFORMATION DISCLOSURE VULNERABILITY". 19 Aug 2011. Retrieved 21 Jan 2013. 
  20. ^ Gary Mintchell, Editor in Chief (15 March 2011). "discusses database technology, data connectivity, what today's engineers need to know, OPC UA's future and more software topics with engineers at Inductive Automation". Automation World (Podcast). Automation World. Event occurs at 22:35. Retrieved 21JAN13. 
  21. ^ "3 Reasons Linux Is Preferred for Control Systems". 21 July 2010. Retrieved 21 Jan 2013. 
  22. ^ "OPC UA Software Opens Up Linux Possibilities". 1 May 2010. Retrieved 21 Jan 2013. 
  23. ^ "Inductive Automation announces Ignition SCADA system built on OPC-UA". 27 Jan 2010. Retrieved 16 Mar 2013. 
  24. ^ "Inductive Automation releases cross-platform SCADA system built on OPC-UA". 28 Jan 2010. Retrieved 16 Mar 2013. 
  25. ^ "Inductive Automation to Launch First Community-Based Industrial Automation Software Module Store". Inductive Automation. Retrieved 10 Mar 2013. 
  26. ^ Bond, Andrew Free OPC-UA Server Unlocks Linux's Potential, 3/2010
  27. ^ "Free OPC-UA Server Offers More Than a Great Price". 8 Mar 2011. Retrieved 5 Jan 2013. 
  28. ^ "Ignition User Manual". Inductive Automation. Retrieved 16 Mar 2013. 
  29. ^ "Did You Know? SQLTags Historian Makes Storing and Charting Historical Data Fast, Efficient, and Easy". Inductive Automation. 9 Mar 2010. Retrieved 16 Mar 2013. 

External links[edit]