Inductive Automation

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Inductive Automation
HeadquartersFolsom, California
ProductsIndustrial Automation
HMI - SCADA - MES Software

Inductive Automation is a Folsom, California based 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: Oil and Gas, Wastewater, Food and Beverage, Utilities, Energy, Research, Transportation, Chemical Processing, Mining, Aerospace, Transportation, Broadcasting, Printing, Plastics, Construction, Discrete Manufacturing, and Process Manufacturing in over 90 countries with over 1,200 independent Automation Integration Companies.[1]

Inductive Automation introduced the server-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]


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.[8]

Inductive Automation offers Limited versions of the SQL Bridge and Vision Modules that are restricted by functionality and concurrent clients, respectively.[9]

Ignition Platform[edit]

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 provided through a Third-Party strategic partnership with Sepasoft, Inc. and are designed to be built on the Ignition platform. Sepasoft MES Modules generally provide higher level functionality with less user development. MES Modules are designed to provide specific functionality and can be industry specific. Current MES Modules available are: OEE Downtime, Statistical Process Control (SPC), Track and Trace, and Recipe/Changeover. Sepasoft also offers MES Utility Modules: Instrument Interface, Web Services, and a Barcode Scanner.

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.

Other HMI/SCADA modules available are:OPC-COM, OPC-UA, Vision, Alarm Notification, SMS Notification, Voice Notification, and SFC modules. The following modules were announced for 2014-2015: Enterprise Administration Module, Upgraded Reporting Module and DNP3 Driver Module.[10]

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.[11]

Inductive University[edit]

In September 2014, Inductive Automation launched an online training service providing free online courses on Ignition. The site, called Inductive University, offers multiple courses for Ignition SCADA and for MES. Each course consists of a series of brief instructional videos followed by a quiz-like challenge. Inductive University offers people the opportunity to complete challenges on their way to an Ignition credential. The credentials are version-specific and can be obtained for Ignition SCADA or MES. At the time of launch, the courses were based on Ignition v7.7.[12] New courses for Ignition v7.8 were added in September 2015.


Inductive Automation promotes IT departments supporting security using standard methodology.[13] 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 and greater.[14]


Inductive Automation promotes cross-platform operating system choices for SCADA,[15] 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".[16] Inductive Automation introduced Linux support in Ignition with the OPC-UA module in January 2010.[17]

Legacy Products[edit]

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.

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.


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".[18][19]

The first Ignition Community Conference was held on September 16–18, 2013, in Folsom, California. Conferences were also held in September in 2014, 2015, and 2016.

Inductive University was announced and launched on September 25, 2014.

The latest version of Ignition, Ignition v7.9, was released in the fall of 2016.


Current drivers include A-B Suite, ModbusTCP, Siemens S7 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.[20] Inductive Automation offers the OPC-UA module for free.[21]


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.[22]

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.[23]

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.


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[24][25] since the platform implemented the first native Java OPC UA stack.[26]

In 2015, Inductive Automation received the Partner of the Year Award from the Control System Integrators Association (CSIA).[27]


  1. ^ "Inductive Automation System Integrators Listing". 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 21 January 13. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  3. ^ Jeremy Pollard (17 January 2007). "AUTOMATION SOFTWARE - FactoryPMI: A review of web-based SCADA/HMI". Manufacturing Automation. Archived from the original on 2013-04-25. Retrieved 29 December 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. ^ "Ignition Unlimited Licensing". Inductive Automation. Retrieved 27 Jan 2013.
  9. ^ "Ignition Pricing". Inductive Automation. Retrieved 27 Jan 2013.
  10. ^ "Ignition Development Roadmap 2014-2015" (PDF).
  11. ^ "Vendor web site information". Retrieved 29 Dec 2012.
  12. ^ "IA Announces New Inductive University".
  13. ^ "Security information from vendor web site". Retrieved 21 Jan 2013.
  15. ^ 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 21 January 2013.
  16. ^ "3 Reasons Linux Is Preferred for Control Systems". 21 July 2010. Retrieved 21 Jan 2013.
  17. ^ "OPC UA Software Opens Up Linux Possibilities". 1 May 2010. Retrieved 21 Jan 2013.
  18. ^ "Inductive Automation announces Ignition SCADA system built on OPC-UA". 27 Jan 2010. Retrieved 16 Mar 2013.
  19. ^ "Inductive Automation releases cross-platform SCADA system built on OPC-UA". 28 Jan 2010. Retrieved 16 Mar 2013.
  20. ^ Bond, Andrew Free OPC-UA Server Unlocks Linux's Potential, 3/2010
  21. ^ "Free OPC-UA Server Offers More Than a Great Price". 8 Mar 2011. Archived from the original on 2013-02-16. Retrieved 5 Jan 2013.
  22. ^ "Ignition User Manual". Inductive Automation. Retrieved 16 Mar 2013.
  23. ^ "Did You Know? SQLTags Historian Makes Storing and Charting Historical Data Fast, Efficient, and Easy". Inductive Automation. 9 Mar 2010. Archived from the original on 2010-03-12. Retrieved 16 Mar 2013.
  24. ^ "Oracle Announces Winners of the 2011 Duke's Choice Awards". Oracle Corporation. 14 October 2011. Retrieved 29 Dec 2012.
  25. ^ "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.
  26. ^ Bond, Andrew Free OPC-UA Server Unlocks Linux's Potential, 3/2010
  27. ^

External links[edit]