Released in January 2010, Ignition is an integrated software platform for SCADA systems. It is based on SQL Database-centric architecture and deployed through Java Web Start technology. Ignition has several independent modules that provide separate functionalities in all of the platform’s components. Among these features, there are examples such as Data Acquisition, Scripting, Scheduling, Real-Time Status Control, Alarming, Reporting, or Mobile support, among others.
Despite the fact that SCADA software is used on its own, it does have its series of drawbacks and limitations. The biggest among them is that it is incredibly hard to customize to one’s needs and it can be somewhat difficult to integrate with other software or systems.
Older models of SCADA software didn’t make use of communication protocols, which means that it was difficult to get different hardware to broadcast and connect with each other. As a server software, Ignition acts as a hub for every system present on the plant floor. This system of total integration can assimilate all brands, models, and platforms, and can communicate with them, creating a stable and streamlined connection between IT and the production process.
One of its strengths is its high degree of flexibility by allowing registered users to create their personalized functionality. By allowing its application programming interface (API) to be manipulated by developers, its possibilities, and range of uses can be almost beyond count.
SCADA, on its own, also doesn’t allow users to have easy access to real-time data. Most of its software designs use historians, which, in turn, use proprietary technology to store information. This means that time-series data is often kept away from the rest of the company’s data. This can lead to miscommunication or other time-sensitive issues. The information will be available, but only after hours or even days have passed, often making it irrelevant by that point.
Luckily, however, Ignition uses SQL databases to log and store data. This means that it is available in real time. This will allow you to view and analyze real-time trends as they happen, or cross-reference any number of information points for greater precision and accuracy. Another advantage Ignition has in this context is that it facilitates a better understanding of what is going on by also giving you access to historical data for comparison.
Equally as important is the fact that Ignition was built with the possibility of customization in mind. This, not only came to the aid of SCADA, but it also offered the possibility for unique customization facilitating a competitive advantage in the process. Businesses are not obligated to mold their daily operations by the software, which can easily become a hindrance for the organization.
In a sense, Ignition is nothing more than a blank slate on which you can customize and adjust to your company’s needs. It works equally as well with any database or any operating system, regardless of the version. In short, Ignition is the ultimate and unlimited integrated software platform for SCADA.