Recently, I have read one of these articles asking which HMI or SCADA software is the best. I know everyone has their personal preferences, but I think it would be more interesting to discover which software is the worst. End users opinions would be the most interesting ones, I guess.
Anyway, don't be extremely rude, please!
Siemens COROS is #1. It's only selling point is that it communicates with other Siemens products. It doesn't even do that very well. It was tough, but I managed not to use any foul words describing COROS.
> Siemens COROS is #1. <
Maybe you did not hear that there exists no COROS for years.
If you are talking about very very old versions of Siemens HMI devices, than you should be informed about the developments in Siemens SW.
ProTool Pro and WinCC may not the best in the market, but they are easy to use and have almost no bugs (at least they never crash).
True. Pro Tool is good stuff. I've used Pro Tool and Siemens interfaces to "talk" to Siemens hardware as well as Allen-Bradely. The Siemens OP and MP series interface panels are quit a bit more cost effective than Allen-Bradley's line.
OMRON's NT2 screen programming software is VERY cheezy...HUGE resource hog on PC for such a small program. Hot Java Coffee...:)
As a System Integrator, I have tried several SCADA SW, and the best qualified for the No.1 Worst Software, would be:
No.2: Complicity.... oops, Cimplicity
The list can go on and on, but few minutes i have for Reply..............
I agree with Brian regarding RSView. I am using it for the first time on a current project. So far I think it has about the same ease of use as Wonderware's Intouch, but with more power. If there is a big flaw in RSView, I have not found it yet.
I don't want to make a list of the worst HMI products but I can point out some design flaws (IMHO) and offer my experience on the other popular HMI's I have used.
A linked list of function blocks is a clever computer science exercise, but it is a major PITA to work with. I do not specify and would be very reluctant to use FIX.
The graphics editor was great 8 years ago, but by current standards it is weak. The integration of ActiveX and VBA into Intouch is half-baked. Wonderware support is excellent, their licencing is friendly, and they have been very responsive
in repairing bugs. The Wonderware applications I have developed just run, no calls at 03:00.
Intouch is good enough for many applications, I do specify and use it.
They should just give up and release the 6.6 source code so someone (with more time on their hands than me) can get it to run on Linux - a multi-user OS that Flink was actually designed to
run on. I'm generally very skeptical of the OSS business model, but this is one case where a company might even make a small profit and generate some long term growth by going in this direction.
I have stopped specifying FactoryLink. I will gladly use and support the 6.6 release and the 7.x release ( with 6.6 graphics ).
Iconics ( GraphWorX, AlarmWorX, etc. ):
The Inconics products have a very clear and consistent design based on OPC. Their Graphworx display builder is very good. But I have a
problem with the concept of configuring tasks instead of tags ( Flink does this too, but alleviates some of the pain by supporting arrays ). It is much easier to manage the properties of a tag ( alarm limits, scaling, etc ) than to configure several tasks to manage properties related to a tag. The larger the application the more problematic task-based configuration becomes.
I have not had the opportunity to make a specification decision on Iconics, I have used it and would be comfortable using it again on
a small or medium sized application. I expect, at some point, to specify their components like Graphworx and Dataworx, but not the whole package.
All of the popular HMI's I have used share one major flaw: the database is fixed.
About 12 years ago I spent some time along with another programmer designing and writing a QNX based HMI. The company went under, I left the project, but it was later completed and there are a few installation around. I think we had some good ideas which I have not seen in another HMI. The database was user definable. That is, the user says he wants an analog datatype and the user sets the structure for this himself. It had to have a unique tagname, but everything else was soft. It could have a hi alarm limit, lo alarm limit, whatever. The realtime database engine instantiates as many of these as required, a scripting language or C program did the necessary processing, all user defined. We made some
example prototypes so the user could just go with that or make the changes he required.
There are a couple of companies that have taken a similar approach (and maybe a better one). Rather than a memory resident database, they use a relational database. This is not what a relational database is really designed for, but it does work. I scoffed at this initially, but am having some second thoughts. Database technology and faster computers are making the response issue go away. So, using Oracle or the like, the user designs tables and writes SQL procedures to operate on the records within the tables.
This is a very open architecture in that it is portable and there are many graphics programs that can grab data with an SQL statement. Another layer must be provided to make fetching the data friendly. Relational databases
are inherently multi-user, platform neutral, and network ready.
I am not sure when or if this will happen, but with some middle-ware, examples, and support, there is a real potential to use commodity database engines and graphics programs to replace the shrink-wrapped HMI products.
USData Factory Link.
I give it an A in capabilities.
But in terms of ease of use I give it a D.
Pricing gets an F. Watch out for all the add ons you have to purchase for what is considered part of the basic package in other HMIs.
I have substantial experience using RSView, Fix, IFix, and Wonderware. I'd say they are all comparable. Each is a bit different, and does some thing better or worse than another, but overall they are comparable.
OTOH-my only experience (second hand to be sure) of Win-CC was awful. I would never reccomend it to anyone for anything.
Funny, but just one month ago, I'd have agreed most enthusiastically with this assessment. But being forced to work with it, and having a tenacious personality, I've begun to wrestle some ability to design an HMI with this product and actually begin to appreciate some of its power.
If anyone from Simatic is reading this, you should take a hint and radically improve your online help. No one wants to see an example code snippet that moves a static textbox ten pixels to the left. Make the scripting properties identifiable within the graphics editor property viewer. And include some real-world software examples with your product. It's a great product, but figuring out how to do anything is more painful than suicide with a rusty butter knife.
My experience with Wizcon (version 7.61) is about as bad as it gets. Tried to use the server option so multiple PCs on the network could display data (non-control) and the application on the server would crash in about 4 hours. Driver for the CTI Ethernet card for the TI 545 would not work even after a number of fixes (we eventually changed to an OPC interface from Matrikon to get data to the Wizcon application).
As their technical people are in Europe (first Israel and now in France), the sales office here in the US could only handle the basic questions. BTW, the application took about 7 minutes to start-up after the NT boot and about 5 minutes to shutdown in an orderly fashion. We had about 3500 tags mixed between 60% digital, 25% integer and 15% floating-point.
I have good things to say about Matrikon as they provided great support and really got us to the point where we could make the system work. They are a bit pricey but provide an excellent product.
Perhaps you should tell us what you intend to do with this scientifically inaccurate survey.
I have yet to meet anyone in the integration business who is entirely happy with their HMI and SCADA packages or entirely unhappy (I refer to power users who have pushed the packages to the point where their calls to technical support are handled by the package's authors rather than looking up answers on a CD-ROM). Heavy usage inevitably results in a call to technical support and then the actual programming team who tell you "uh oh, is there any way you could do that without using feature ZZZZ, we obviously
have a problem there" ...
As a development firm we have used iFIX, RSView, Wonderware and FactoryLink to name but four SCADA packages. With a little digging, I could rhyme off problems never addressed by the respective OEMs (i.e., bugs that we found) as well as features that are excellent on each package.
Dear Ranjan Acharya,
I agree with almost every word of yours. This is certainly not a "scientifically accurate survey", I think neither of us is going to use it for writing a paper. I was interested just in sharing experiences with SCADA. Technical support, price, embedded tools, connectivity, all these features are different in each package, so you should admit that sharing different opinions about that is, at least, an interesting matter. No software is perfect, as you said, but some of them are less perfect than other ones.
PS: I want to thank all the people who have answered, I really appreciate every comment of yours.
Perhaps scientific accuracy is not relevant to the question, as a systems integrator I have lost count of the number of times I have said to a client, "I don't care what SCADA package you select I am competent in X, Y and Z and only prefer you to choose one of those"
Remember the phrase "all modern SCADA systems offer basically the same features, there is little to choose between one and the other"
We have all said it at one time or another, well these statements are essentially untrue, there are some SCADA packages that are "nicer" to use than others, and that nice is not a scientific term, and it includes the issue of how you get dealt with by customer support and it includes
how easy the manuals are to understand, and it includes whether or not the I/O drivers are part of the package or an optional extra that no-one
told you you would have to pay extra for, and it also includes scientific sentiments such as my ------- this guys OPC server interface was designed on a different planet, these sentiments are very important and mostly non-scientific, I would love to see the outcome of this survey/opinion poll, but so far I have only seen one guy stick his neck
>Perhaps you should tell us what you intend to do with this scientifically inaccurate survey.<
I believe that this is much more useful than all the fan mail from folks who also happen to sell _____.
That being said all you get are opinions. If you just happen across ten people with a beef about Brand A, then it looks as though Brand A is a bad
choice. In the meantime Brand B could actually be much worse, but their users don't subscribe to the AL or cannot be bothered to reply to the thread (because they are too busy working around roadblocks). Unless you are going to try a rigorous survey with various methods of acquiring data, then you will end up with useless data - Garbage In Garbage Out. As a group of applied scientists (formally or informally trained) we should always recognise that.
If you want my unscientific opinion, we have found that RSView, WinCC, Wonderware, iFix and so on are all quite OK - you learn to love them and
hate them. Truly, over the last few years we find less differences - especially if you follow their rules rather than doing it "your way". We
could pick at each one - WinCC's (lack of) usability versus some dated approaches in Wonderware versus some bugs we found in RSView that case thin clients to drop out, but we still have not found a magic bullet. We are hoping that FactoryLink sees some improvements. Perhaps Schneider will buy them out and inject some capital. USData wasted a lot of money during the
.Com .Done boom. We could never recommend one package over another to a customer who comes in "cold". We lean towards RSView because we are an A-B integrator.
How about instead of the worst ten, somebody just LIST eleven SCADA packages, period.
There is a point in there!
George G. Robertson, P.E.
Manager of Engineering
Saulsbury E & C
I stumbled at 6 and didn't make 11 when I tried to list then out of my head, I know there are dozens, interesting exercise but why won't anyone stick their neck out and say which ONE they think is the worst, I don't care about ten, specially as I can't even name them all.
>>How about instead of the worst ten, somebody just LIST eleven SCADA
>>There is a point in there!
I suspect it is because most people in here are intelligent enough to realize that they have not worked long enough with a broad sampling of
different systems to make a qualified judgement. Myself, I have worked with Wonderware, RSView, and a little bit of Cimplicity. I am in no
position to judge which HMI system is worst, because I have only touched 3, and only worked with 2. I think that this is pretty typical of most people.
Anyone is free to disagree, of course, but I suspect that since using an HMI takes a fairly serious commitment of time/resources, very few people have worked with more than 3 or 4. hardly enough to qualify someone as a judge.
Besides, nobody wants to be the one who gets blamed if someone grabs this thread and publicly announces "HMI ABC voted worst system by automation professionals!" --ugh
I think the point of the "list 11" exercise is exactly what you discovered. Not many people can do it. The point is that anyone who is unable to list 11, let alone list 11 that they have used enough to be proficient in, is not in a position to offer judgement on the "worst".
> How about instead of the worst ten, somebody just LIST eleven SCADA packages, period.<
I get the point but:
Rockwell - RsView
Intellution - Fix
Wonderware - InTouch
Iconics - Genesis
GEF - Cimplicity
USDATA - FactoryLink
Siemens - WinCC
ARC - PCVue
Alstom - eTerra
National - Lookout
Software Horizons - OI2000
Nematron - Paragon
Hathaway - TIS4000
That's 15 without a diligent Internet search. If we can identify the worst 10 that will get us the 5 best won't it? We will need to identify 5 more suppliers in order to come up with the 10 best! ;-)
Just asking BUT why is RS-View On that LIST and WHY do you rank it a WORST product in ANY Automation??? its the #1 USED SCADA/ Programming software on the planet.. i'd like to hear oppions
Since when does most used or most popular equate to best?
In my experience it seems to be the exception rather than the rule.
Is the X86 line of processors the best?
Is RS232 the best serial interface?
Is proprietary software the best for the user?
Depends on your definition of best. Something that is commonly available, and inexpensive often indeed turns out to best suit the variety of needs. For instance, RS232 is fairly slow and not particularly noise immune, but it is cheap, widely available, and easy to work with. It has its limitations, but within those limitations it could easily turn out to indeed be the "best"
solution of the available options, once all the factors weigh in.
Indeed. But none of those would be better or worse
simply by virtue of being popular. And the common
understanding of popular doesn't even necessarily
apply here because BrandX SCADA is often very
popular in a BrandX shop for reasons other than
intrinsic merit. To say that GM camshafts are
popular in GM cars isn't really saying much.
there is no measure of good hmi. all hmi all equally good .As such siemens Hmi wincc is amongst the best .the graphics in this hmi are very good and useful.As far simplicity is concerned AFCON based hmi pcim is very good .this very very simple to use and the data base is also very easy to use.
Intrinsic merit is in the eyes of the user I would think, not someone looking in from the outside with a very narrow view of what just is meritorious.
The fact is that all of the popular SCADA systems are quite servicable and comparable in cost, thus arguably equally meritorious. The real issues for
end users are:
long term support
training and familiarity internally
availability of outside support
List Manager wrote:
> ------------ Forwarded Message ------------
> From: PETERSONRA
> Intrinsic merit is in the eyes of the user I would think, not someone
> looking in from the outside with a very narrow view of what just is
Or for that matter, an objective observer. My point was that merit is subjective, which is the same thing you are saying.
> The fact is that all of the popular SCADA systems are quite servicable
> and comparable in cost, thus arguably equally meritorious. The real
> issues for end users are:
> long term support
> training and familiarity internally
> availability of outside support
Yes, I doubt few of these are changed unless forced by lack of support for older versions, etc. Support is a two edged sword. Your best efforts can cease to be viable when support is withdrawn. I'll bet everyone reading this has at least one item of perfectly usable software that's
dead only because it's closed and there's no longer support for it. That's the support issue everyone tends to ignore. It can be a much bigger issue than what's available right now. This is a major cost issue. Think about it, the major cause of system retirement is an artificial limit imposed by the vendor you choose. It would be very
good to track who pulls the rug out most often. I have a short list of candidates in my head ;^). This can double or triple the true cost of a product over the life of the system.
I think you missed a beat here, Brian. Ralph was just answering the challenge to list *any* ten HMI's. And we have all noted that that no one has actually used enough current HMI's to make a 10 best or 10 worst list. The trade journals seem to be able to sort this out ( just kidding ).
In keeping with the "Late Night" spirit of this, here is my top ten list of silly HMI features, or the lack there of. ( Not meant to be negative, this list can easily be turned around into a best features list. )
10) The HMI won't let you enter an expression into a field field that animates a tag.
9 ) The HMI vendor makes you buy a comprehensive support package before letting you download the fixes to a product you just purchased.
8 ) The HMI won't let you select subobjects within a composite object without first breaking the composite object.
7 ) The HMI vendor makes you call the distributer, who has little detailed technical knowledge of the product, and couldn't fix a problem even he did, for support.
6 ) Zoom and/or snap-to-grid work in such a bizzare way that they are useless.
5) The HMI won't let you block a point or "take it off-scan" and alter its value for graphical testing or alarm blocking.
4) The HMI sales rep wastes your time showing you how his ActiveX graphics can be pasted into a Word document.
3) The HMI won't let you display and individually acknowledge the most recent alarm.
2) The HMI does not store or document the format of its configuration and historical data files in any user accessible manner.
1 ) The HMI vendor supplies a complimentary mouse pad or CD case. I want a T-Shirt ! ( size: XL, fabric: thick cotton ). I may return your product with these compliments, but I will keep and wear your T-Shirt.
I don't think he meant it as a worst. He was just answering my challenge to name any ten, not just poor ten.
George G. Robertson, P.E.
Manager of Engineering
Saulsbury E & C
> I don't think he meant it as a worst. He was just answering my
> challenge to name any ten, not just poor ten.
Yes (actually you asked for 11). And, I was being a little sarcastic (as usual) in observing that any list of the worst 10 will inevitably consist of the most popular 10. Therefore, if you pick the "worst" 10 the remaining "best" 10 would likely be the most obscure 10 too. I wouldn't be surprised at all that, with a little work, you could identify 30 or more such packages that are available world-wide. As someone else pointed out previously, using this unscientific method for identifying the worst of these is likely a pointless exercise. Only the most obscure packages will likely not get a vote for the worst. In fact, I wouldn't at all be surprised to find the list of the best 10, the worst 10, and the top 10 in market share to be identical to each other.
Regards, Ralph Mackiewicz SISCO, Inc.
It seems to me that 3 or 4 of the packages listed are already pretty obscure. I'd be willing to bet the top 5 (in market share) have 90% or more of the market. The rest are probably just wannabes who will eventually die off.
I just attended a Wonderware presentation, they are very perceptive about their market share and defend it fervently, the figures they quoted to substantiate their dominant position in the market place rather had them ahead of RSview by a long chalk!!!
Personally I dont know the RSview product as it is a little out of my area but it is interesting that you claim it is #1 on the planet.
I've avoided saying anything since Wonderware is the only SCADA package I have any significant experience with. However, I will say having dealt with both WW support and Rockwell support (for other software), I would prefer to stay with WW than even think about using a Rockwell product.
I have a fair amount of experience with both WW and RSView. My expereince has been that WW support is pretty spotty, particularly at the distributor level. Its sometimes a bit difficult to get past that to someone who can actually help you sometimes.
OTOH-Rockwell Software support for RSView seems to be leaps and bounds above their support for other products. Its still amazing to me how much better. If you have concerns about using RSView because of your support tech support experiences with their other products, i would urge you to reconsider. Support for RSView is top notch.
Aprol (Linux based SCADA from PCC)
AutomationX (Windows and Linux based SCADA and control)
AccesPoint (Linux SCADA)
I'm sure there are more I just can't think of any.
Don't forget Genesis!
Also, is Opto still giving away free SCADA?
Is Paragon still around?
Sales guys, how about it?
George G. Robertson, P.E.
Manager of Engineering
Saulsbury E & C
> Is Paragon still around? <
Paragon is still around with a focus on Pharmaceutical & Biotech. Do you have any experience with it? I would like to hear.
Yes Paragon is still alive with lot of enhencement.
I am familiar with PARAGON 550/TNT-OS2/NT &
about 20 projects experienc behind it.
Wow, I don't see many threads dealing with the Paragon software. Using this software has given me an edge on other brands. I still have to answer about how there dynamic objects are poor compared to Wonderware an the likes but it's a solid app. and very versatile.
Honestly, graphics are least important, when we
do engineering or the selection of scada, somehow
yet to get time out error for communications.
Graphics size[ mem ] IS very low compared to
other packages since does not involve any bitmaps
this increases the display time considerably.What
we do normally each & every line objects is made
dynamic & hence operator knows everything logically & for this BMP may not help.
again update period is independent of dynamic
link in the graphics.
May be conservative in approach , but the basic
requirement is for stable realtime communication
for data & functionality.
What current products are doing now,paragon
have introduced in 1985 except the windowing
Again Paragon graphics is not open package.
Which application you are using paragon , what
H/W ? How may tags.
> Which application you are using paragon , what
> H/W ? How may tags.
Tags in the thousand. I use this to link other network together and to export Data.
There ODBC export is fast (using a SCSI drive).
I use them with GE CCM2 and Modicon Quantum PLC, also with Mitsubishi FX altough there driver has a major bug in it.
I used to use Paragon a lot, back in the days when they had their own ROM chip for the Opto LC-4 controller. Funny how much that looked like today's "new" hybrids. Progammed the controller and the operator interface with the same graphical, self documenting language. As an MMI, it had a few holes (this is back in 1990) but combined with the Opto Paragon ROM, it was my system of choice back then.
Glad to hear it's still out there!
Genesis and Paragon split off from each other quite a few years back. Genesis retained the emphasis on a deterministic kernel, which loaded ahead of Windows back then. Saw Genesis at ISA this year. Didn't find Paragon, though...
George G. Robertson, P.E.
Manager of Engineering
Saulsbury E & C
You can see this in discrete manufacturing
process, machine automation & CNC automation
clubeed with softplc[OC]. tHIS IS CRASH-PRROF
working HAL & parallel to NT & hence crash with
NT does not effect the control.
Glad to hear that some of you are experienced with Paragon. Just to let you know that Intec Controls, the creators of Paragon, were acquired by Nematron Corporation back in 1997. You can still find Paragon in our product offering. Check out http://www.nematron.com.
I use paragon on a daily basis for subscale fuel cell testing. just got done yelling at them for not advertising more. I love the product
I have over 8 years experience with PARAGON. I am specialized in Fermentation and Bioreactor systems for pharmaceutical companies. If you need someone for support, modifications or other programming work with PARAGON, let me know. I think I would be the right person for it. I have a full time developing key.
Are you the Ilan who used to work for PARAGON in England? If so, you probably had lunch with me in Switzerland.
Two more I can think of are:
Hilco's Monitrol/UX (HP/UX SCADA/Control/MES) - What happened to them?
Arden Environmental Engineering Inc.
3550 Lexington Ave. N
Shoreview, MN 55126
First it is a question of the application. For some simple applications probably the listed scadas are too expensive and good.
For some applications like plants, pipelines etc, they are not good enough.
Can anybody give me a site where to find a table-list of scadas with technical details that are relevant in estimating the quality of scada and optional packages like trainers, leak detection package etc, quality and price.
> First it is a question of the application. For some simple applications
> probably the listed scadas are too expensive and good.
For simple applications there are more economical versions available that allow only a small number of tags. I seriously doubt anyone could create his own SCADA package for anything like what you can buy it for. Even a full version package is less than $10k for the ones I am familiar with, thats only a few weeks of my time at our billing rate, and there is no way I (or anyone else) could ever create all this functionality in that amount of time, nor maintain it economically (an activity that probably costs more than creating it in the first place).
For some simple applications you might be able to cobble up something on the cheap in VB or C (or whatever), but no enduser in his right mind is going to accept it. The long term costs of supporting and maintaining it will just be too high.
> For some applications like plants, pipelines etc, they are not good
They run a LOT of plants, and I'd be willing to bet more than a few pipelines. They are not DCS systems, if that is what you are trying to imply, but in combination with appropriate PLCs they do a pretty fair job of controlling just about anything.
> Can anybody give me a site where to find a table-list of scadas with
> technical details that are relevant in estimating the quality of scada
> and optional packages like trainers, leak detection package etc, quality
> and price.
Quality is in the eye of the beholder, but the likelyhood is that any package still around and doing OK after a few years isprobably adequate to the task. All the packages have bugs, and all have quirks.
Technical details, options, and training options are readily available from the rep or distributor, or the manufacturer's website. For pricing you usually have to see you friendly rep or distributor. Keep in mind that the list price is not the price you should expect to pay unless you are after a single license. And most packages have all kinds of web based "view only" options available at dirt cheap prices on a per seat basis. Some packages include drivers in the base costs, some charge extra for some or all drivers. Some include things in the base system, that others charge extra for. You will have to do some digging to find out what is important to you.
I have to disagree with this sentiment. We use OPC and VB.Net to create decent HMIs for steel furnaces. The flexibility of a full development environment is impossible to beat with any tool out there, and many of our repeat customers come to us specifically because we distribute the source code and development IDE with the solution so that they can maintain and further enhance their capabilities. Mind, these aren't solutions that are easily extended to a range of industries or even applicable to other furnaces within the same mill, so we don't really compete with SCADA tools, but for a specific application, I seldom hear complaints from our customers about costs of maintenance or support.
And one more too:
Metso Automation's OASyS (Used to be Valmet, and before that Sentrol)
Arden Environmental Engineering Inc.
3550 Lexington Ave. N
Shoreview, MN 55126
To the list I would like to add:
Vsystem - (SCADA on VMS, UNIX, Linux and Windows)
Stability? - one year and counting on Windows/NT and three years on Alpha/OpenVMS.
Is that one year of continuous operation without reboot?
George G. Robertson, P.E.
Manager of Engineering
Saulsbury E & C
Yes, one year of continuous operation with no stopping of any kind and certainly not a re-boot. How things should work!
Vista Control Systems, Inc.
176 Central Park Square
Los Alamos, NM 87544-4031
FAX (505) 662-3956
I was pretty sure NT couldn't do that alone, much less running an application!
George G. Robertson, P.E.
Manager of Engineering
Saulsbury E & C
That's what some people would have you believe.
Fact of the matter is that NT/2000/XP can be made to run reliably, it just takes a smart person to do it. If the machine isn't plugged into any externally accesible network, it doesn't need to be updated with security patches, and therefore doesn't need to be rebooted.
As the Chuck Yeager says: "Its the man, not the machine."
Alex Pavloff - firstname.lastname@example.org Eason Technology -- www.eason.com
> One more addition Honewell - Australia
> SCAN-3000 - dead product
Actually this one lives on as Honeywell Plantscape.
The developers are still at Honeywell Australia.
Along with the Hybrid (C200) controller, this is being integrated with the TPS system, including older TDC3000 equipment.
Prodigy is used widely in the UK. I've come across it a few times and it seems to be very good, reliable and has good support. Forget the name of the developers but they have got a website
> How about instead of the worst ten, somebody just LIST eleven SCADA
> packages, period.
> There is a point in there!
Here's a list off the top of my head, in roughly the order I encountered them professionally.
Scadabase (formerly Accesspoint) - SCADA for Unix/Linux
RealFlex - SCADA for QNX from BJ Software
These run the gamut from current best-sellers and relatively recent introductions to long-in-the-tooth packages still available but whose heyday has passed.
There are plenty more, including general-purpose VB-and-Windows-based offerings from smaller companies like Parijat, and larger (often
industry-specific) products like those from Honeywell (PlantScape), Valmet/Neles/Metso (OSSyS, OpenVECTOR) and ABB (MicroSCADA).
I do not have any useful judgement to offer about which is "best" or "worst". I agree with Joe's assessment that an individual, with expertise in at most a handful of different packages, isn't in a position to make that call. I know I'm not.
Just a point about SCADA packages which I've failed to read in this thread of any comments on connectivity to different I/O devices!!!
My experience for something different in here, has been heavily with Citect SCADA. I am most impressed that Citect can talk to numerous I/O Devices and have a well documented knowledge base, user list, and online / offline support, which does have issues of its own at times.
If you are trying to integrate many DIFFERENT brand I/O devices somehow and have a common SCADA operator interface, Citect would be hard to pass up as a solution. Yes you can probably use OPC servers for a lot of I/O devices out there and just use an OPC client to collect the information, but if you want reliability, Citect write inhouse Citect drivers for most popular PLCs, THAT ARE BUNDLED WITH THE SOFTWARE! Yes there are bugs that EVERYONE finds as you get heavily involved in the implementation of the project as a whole, but you DO work around them if not have them fixed eventually by Citect support. Yes,licensing is expensive too, but I guess not without reason ;)
RELIABIITY: Only as good as the PC you run the software on and the OS you are using on it! We've tried running Citect SCADA main I/O servers on winNT on standard desktop PCs but that was a joke, not to mention limited HD space. We've moved on to IBM eServer X240 machines, with 140gB storage data drives for trends and reports/eventing, and have never looked back since and now have reliability.
My other experiences with operator interfaces have been Allen Bradley Plant floor terminal T35 and ABB Masterview, siemens OP27 and TD17s. You can't even rate the T35 as it is that old I'd bet hardly anyone in here has heard of it! ABB, the worst of anykind ever, it has to be. Not even a PC based system, implementation is tedious and handling some instances of backups are pathetic.
As a technical officer at a steelworks site, I'm not one to judge like many others in here whats worst and whats best, but alot of the time your job is to make what you've got WORK how you want it to, and to make it reliable.
Yes, I do prefer to standardise and keep one brand instead of building up a "peace-mill" system, each time a new project comes along that needs a HMI on our plant, I always push to integrate it into our existing Citect SCADA system, as there are advantages over buying the latest and greatest "other" HMI packages mentioned in this list.
In a nutshell: standardisation, long term trending/eventing, speed and reliability, ease of maintaining the system (configuration and backups), and open connectivity are what I look for and will always look for in a HMI/SCADA.
> Here's a list off the top of my head, in roughly the order I encountered them professionally.
> Intellution Fix
> Wonderware InTouch
> Afcon P-CIM
> Scadabase (formerly Accesspoint) - SCADA for Unix/Linux
> RealFlex - SCADA for QNX from BJ Software
> USData FactoryLink
> Iconics Genesis
> GE Cimplicity
> InduSoft Studio
I do not have much experience with different Scada systems but i do think that Wonderware(InTouch) and Intellution is a good and user-friendly scada system. If there's one i that strongly would not recommend, it will have to be cimplicity.
I would like to know what you find wrong with Cimplicity.
You probebly do not know but both Intellution and Cimplicity belong to GE
While this is true, I can assure you they are radically different products, although at one time I believe Cimplicity actually used Fix as its HMI front end.
Having used both, I can tell you there are ups and downs with both, but overall I consider them comparable in features and ease of use. I also consider Fix Dynamics, WW and RSView to have comparable levels of features and ease of use. Each has a few quirks and each has some really nifty things the others do not.
If I left out your favorite SCADA product in my list, its because I have no experience with other SCADA products, not because I think they are lousy. Learning 5 of them is more than adequate for one person, until the customer comes along that wants to pay us to have me learn a new one.
I have managed to escape WinCC so far. The guys that did work with it that I know, hated it due to its bizarre and sometimes inexplicable reactions to WinNT (while working very well in Win98), but I am told those issues have long since been resolved.
While I might agree that the early versions (2.0) of Cimplicity were dificult to deal with the later versions have realy improved. We have done over ten projects with Cimplicity for version 2.0 to 6.1 and fine it to be great.
I have not worked with FIX so I cannot compare, but I have worked with RSview and if I were to give a MMI worst 10 it would be RSview.
I wonder why you think that about RSView. I've done projects with all of them and Wonderware as well, and found them all to be quite similar in capabilities, and generally in ease of use, although each has certain things that are much easier to do then in one of its competitors.
Cimplicity has a lot going for it, especially in later versions, but its not perfect. Fix is a nifty package but quite dated, and the replacement for it (IFix) is a nice idea but seems to take more work to make it do the simple
things you need done, although this could be due to having only done a couple projects and being frustrated by how hard certain things were to implment that are so easy in other products.
I have yet to find anything that is completely impossible or impractical to get any of the packages to do that another package does support.
Add to the list:
Metso Automation Oasys
FlexWin (Realflex's windows NT alter-ego)
Siemens Sinaut Sprectrum
As a former HMI grunt cranking out apps as quickly as possible, I rated the packages I've used on how much time it takes to create similar apps with each one, with the biggest time saver first. For me it boils down to counting keystrokes.
When I have to hold down a mouse button and then use the arrow key to move an object slightly, I start getting irritable.
There's a big gap here. I can create the same app with Wonderware in 1/3 the time of RSView.
4) Factorylink - the least usable package on the planet, which is a shame, because it's so powerful.
Hello, I made a little list myself, I'm looking for the packages which are good at Web-Based Scada in a way so that it's possible to control a plant from any place in the world without installing a client.
(There should be a top-10 in here too ;-) )
ABB - MicroScada SattGraph 5000
Adroit - Adroit 5.0
Advantec - Advantec Studio
Afcon - P-CIM
Altersys - ISaGraf
ARCInformatique - PcVue
Areal - TopKapi
AspenTech - InfoPlus.21
Automation Direct - Lookout Direct
AutomSoft - Rapid
Axeda - DRM Enterprise WizCon Web@aGlance
Beijer Elektronics - Cezar
Bently Nevada - System 1 Performance
Capstone - DataPARC
Cardiac - Imatis Platform
CiTect - CiTectScada Plant2Business
Copa-Data - zenOn
Crystal Decisions - Crystal Report, Crystal Enterprise, Crystal Analysis
Datac Online - RealFlex 4.2 FlexWin
Elipse - Elipse, E3
Elipse-Software - Elipse
Emerson - DeltaV, ProVox
Entivity - Think&Do live Studio VLC Steeplechase
ETM - PVSS II
Europe Supervision - Panorama 8 Panorama .net
FLSautomation - ECS
Gefanuc - Cimplicity
Gefasoft - Legato GraphPic GateWay
Geniop - True Factory
GenSym - G2 Neur-OnLine
GeoVap - Reliance
GSE Systems - D3 TotalVision
GTI Procon - Win DaProS
Hexatec - Saturn
Honeywell - Experion PKS PlantScape SCADA PlantScape Vista
Iconics - Genesis32 Worx
InduSoft - WebStudio Indusoft CEView
InoSoft - VisiPocketControl VisiWin
Intellution - iFix IWebServer IClientTS
I-Scada - Ipower
KoanSoftware - Control Web 2000 Koala Scala Plant Historian
Matrikon - ScadaNet ProcesNet
Measuresoft - ScalaNet LogNet ViewIt
Merz Aspic - Aspic MP
MNRCan - AutomationX
Modular Scada - GRX
Monico - Monitrend
MRO - Maximo
Napac Kerwin - Kerweb Xflow
Narly Software - PocketHMI
National Instruments - LabView Lookout
Nematron - Paragon TNT HyperKernel
Objectia - Kienzle
Ordinal - GlobalScreen
OSISoft - PI ,PI ICE
Predictor - Apis
Progea - Movicon MovTracer Web Client
Rockwel Automation - RSView32
Sentech - PlantLive
Seven technologies - IGSS
Siemens - WinCC WebCC
SimSCI - ROMeo Pro II
SL - SL-GMS
SMAR - Aimax, System 302
Spirit - eXLarate
Tridium - Vykon Building
USData - FactoryLink Xfactory
Wonderware - InTouch, Voyager
XYCom - GP
Yokogawa - Fast/Tools
Hathaway - Das-4000, Tis-4000
No limits in Industrial Automation
visit our website: www.starren.nl
The best ones:
2. Factory Link
because actually they have a great and complete list of communication protocols for a diverse range of PLCs, RTU, etc. they don't charge if you
need a driver that is not in the original list, also they have great integration capabilities through programming utilities, great graphic
interface capabilities, etc.
All siemens SCADA because they think just in Siemens products, it is hard to think about integration with their products and the documentation is for "automation hackers", i mean, not every body, even unexperienced people is able to understand all Siemens documentation.
Manager and Systems integrator
dear i'm applying for masters in industrial automation and i need to make a research proposal for it. plz help me in this regard as soon as possible. thanku
It's not easy to be strictly rational because what you find good is often what you master the best... However, I used lot of different HMI software but Siemens WinCC Flexible is the one I prefer. I use it to control Siemens, Allen-Bradley and Schneider PLCs... Some of the features are awfully complex to do (compare to other ones) but the graphics are good and, with a simple design, pages are loaded quite fast. As usual, there are some limitations that you'll have to live with.. But its 21 CFR compliance makes it a very good choice for pharmaceutical companies...
Designer of Genesis, a free OPC Client
I think the worst is ABB COMPACT HMI. When you are In development stage It is very slow, Tag Generation do not work properly, backup system does not work, OPC connection is very slow, in conclusion I hope not to use it again.
I have worked with a number of HMI packages over the years and my list would be (from worst to best)
1. Intellution Ifix - Absoutle crap. A nightmare
2. RSView SE/ME 3.0 - A complete disaster
3. Lookout Direct - Functions but what were they thinking???
1. Wonderware Intouch - Powerful and easy to use
2. Cimplicity - Powerful
I have found that I could create anything imaginable with Intouch. These folks know what they are doing. Ive heard Citech is pretty good too but my experience was not great.
Actually I think all the opposite:
1. Usdata Factory Link
2. Wonderware Intouch (up to v.10) (it's ok if you love old-fashioned win95 buttons and interface).
1. Proficy iFix (3.0 and above, you can automate almost everything with VBA, and let the code work for you)
2. FactoryTalk View SE
> I have worked with a number of HMI packages over the years and my list would be (from worst to best)
> 2. RSView SE/ME 3.0 - A complete disaster
You posted this in April of 2012?
RSView/FTView is at 6.0. If you're still using version 3.0 what do you expect??
I think it means he learned fast and got out - while they have fixed some of the worst problems with it, FTView is still a one-way trip into costly, constant upgrades. Better to have gotten out quick.
>> I have worked with a number of HMI packages over the years and my list would be (from worst to best)
>> 2. RSView SE/ME 3.0 - A complete disaster
> You posted this in April of 2012?
> RSView/FTView is at 6.0. If you're still using version 3.0 what do you expect?
> I think the worst is ABB COMPACT HMI. When you are In development stage It is very slow, Tag Generation do not work
> properly, backup system does not work, OPC connection is very slow, in conclusion I hope not to use it again.
You can check with your system, it must have 4 GB or more RAM if not available try to increase your virtual memory you can allocate same up to 10 GB.
I am sure it will work fine, also please check and confirm u r using workstation grade PC??
New version of CHMI is already launched and we have execute almore 5 Project for System with around 800 to 1000 I/O and its working fantastic.
If any help require you may contact us.
Interesting blog - From my 30+ years of experience and perspective all of the Master-slave systems which require point definitions and dedicated operator stations are really old school. Sure the good ones "work" but where is the mobile support, the tablet support, the "no software required app" we all see today on our phones. For me all the praised and cussed are "stuck" in the past - the way-back past.
I recommend checking out http://scadanexus.com.
This is a very advanced system that is Client-Server based and only needs a web browser. works with every phone, tablet, iPad, iPhone, Droid I try. Simple to setup - no software - quite cool.
> but where is the mobile support, the tablet support, the "no software required app" we all see
> today on our phones. For me all the praised and cussed are "stuck" in the past - the way-back past.
I recommend checking our Android app from
It is client/server and the visualizations are defined within the server.
PS: It is based on Qt and Digia now starts to support iOS also.
I've sharpened a quill, take pen in hand and will send this by telegraph to say that, yes, automation in general is a bit behind the times. On one hand, it makes it easy to be a futurist and predict that open solutions will greatly benefit automation. On the other hand, it makes it somewhat unlikely that I will live long enough to see the predictions come true. :^)
"On one hand, it makes it easy to be a futurist and predict that open solutions will greatly benefit automation. On the other hand, it makes it somewhat unlikely that I will live long enough to see the predictions come true. :^"
The problem with "open" systems, particularly those with relational databases as their core engine, is that database callups are slow. For realtime they can be horsepowered up. For responsive trends and historical queries, they suffer. For maximum uptime and reliability, they are also not up the standards set decades ago.
I'd be interested in where you get that information with most computing performance records being held by OSS these days. Including 95% of the worlds fastest supercomputers. I'm sure IBM would like to know also as their newest products run OSS. Relational is too slow some places but the viable alternatives are mostly OSS as well. And the reliability and uptime notion is just silly. I was there decades ago.
"The problem with 'open' systems, particularly those with relational databases as their core engine, is that database callups are slow."
How does relational database callups being slow relate to 'open' systems? I think it's fair to say that simply switching from MySQL to Oracle or MS SQL Server will not inherently get you a particular speed bump. There are probably some proprietary systems that make acceptable trade-offs for speed. TimesTen, eXtremeDB, Empress, or Caché perhaps. There are also open source options. H2, VoltDB, EJDB, Redis, memcached...
I don't get your point at all. Are databases the problem? In which case, how is proprietary any better? If 'open' is the problem, what do databases have to do with it?
Sage Automation, Inc.
How do you figure that database queries are slow from relational databases? Older HMI systems used flat text files (really bad) or poor local engines such as a local MS Access instance. Even proprietary systems use a similar database - they just hide it from you. How is this any better than an open system that uses a modern RDBMS?
What standards "set up a decade ago" are more reliable?
Nathan Boeger, CISSP-ISSAP, CCNP, MCSE
"Design Simplicity Cures Engineered Complexity"
the best scada are
powerlink of GE cimplicity
and copa data of zenon
i work with all other it's not stable
but those it's ok until now
I had a great experiences with Pulse SCADA, manufactured by the israelian company Afcon.
It is a very easy software to use, it is not expensive, and doing that the company is not so big than Siemens, Schneider, ABB, etc, the support and the response times is very good.
You can see the features in their web page:
> I recommend checking out http://scadanexus.com.
We looked into scandexus but ultimately went with Ignition. It had wider support and with Python scripting, there wasn't anything we couldn't create.
WinTr is advanced SCADA SOFTWARE for monitoring and saving data of manufacturing processes which separated large areas. Devices managed from single station and they can be connected with OPC Client, S7 MPI, S7 PPI, Profinet (S7 1200), Modbus RTU, Modbus TCP/IP, Host-Link protocols (Omron), Mewtocol protocols (Panasonic). Our SCADA SYSTEMS Historical data related to processes are saved into database. www.scadasoftware.net
> WinTr is advanced SCADA SOFTWARE for monitoring and saving data of manufacturing processes which separated large areas.
It is a one man operation and they have yet to deliver on any promised hardware.
Technical support will be difficult by the looks of their web page.
Among modern HMI software from major automation companies, I'd have to rank WinCC SCADA 7.x the worst. Which is strange, because I don't mind working with other flavors of WinCC, especially within the latest version of TIA Portal. I don't mind the quirks of WonderWare, or FactoryTalk.
Here is a list of my pet peeves:
- data export is VERY slow
- data export is often poorly formatted. ie, alarm message export is a non-conforming CSV that needs to be manually edited in Notepad before importing it back in. Excel can read it, but Excel fixes the formatting error when it saves.
- completely useless cross-reference utility. Worse than not having a cross reference function at all.
- Unless you're scripting, it's limited to just one action per event
- bizarre rules like disabling the script editor if your development station doesn't have the same PC name as the destination station
- unreliable... Clients frequently drop and reestablish connections to the server, even with direct CAT5 connection. Siemens can't solve it
- features that simply don't work, like local variables in a client/server setup. you check the box to make it local, no change in behavior
- alarming interface is complex to the point of absurdity
- alarm export/import can't be done for analog alarms, only digital. You can export/import the MESSAGES, but you can't set up thresholds except one at a time through the interface, and each one is a lot of mouse clicks... no way to speed up development of this with excel like you can with digital alarms
- poor integration with Siemens hardware... Aside from not being symbolic (which TIA pretends to be, this doesn't even pretend), it has no way to import tag lists from the controller, and when you set up words and dwords for alarm bits, it reverses the byte order (no way to correct this, you just have to know and account for it manually). just makes you want to pull your hair out when you have 8000 alarms and can't dedicate booleans to it because tag count would go through the roof.
- graphical editor is clumsy, need too many clicks to reach common features.
- worst trending control of any HMI I've ever worked with. I will say that it's also the most flexible trending system I've ever worked with... but that's not a good thing when you have operators who want to see data, not get a PhD in Siemens trending.
- bizarre set up for audible alarms. Another situation where they make it ultra-flexible, but ultra-clumsy so it's hard to even understand, much less configure