Is Iconics better than Wonderware, Citect, Intellution?


Thread Starter


I have to select an HMI package. Which should I select? Iconics, Wonderware, Citect, Intellution?

Trevor Ousey


Is Ford better than Chevy or Chrysler? This will give you opinions but may not be the right answer for your solution.

Things you need to look at are what features are you after; Will these be simple HMI applications?
Do you need to integrate with historian packages or to a higher level management system?
Is redundancy required?
What PLC or controllers are you connecting with, and what networks?

Are there local distributors and integrators that you are able to access? What do other industries nearby use and are they happy with the local distributor and support?

There are a lot of 'pros and cons' with any package, it means you need to filter them out and work out your priorities. If you have minimal experience or exposure then training course are also in there as a priority.

All these packages are reputable which will make it a bit harder decision.

I have used Iconics and Citect before. I personally like Iconics better, theres a bit of a learning curve, but every software has that curve. The best part about Iconics is being able to change things on the fly even if your already running the application. If you are in the maryland area I can show you both products.
Iconics has it disadvantage over it well protected license. Although a newly installed PC is given a 30 days trial period, it cannot be reused again even you have uninstalled and installed the software. This causes a very serious problem. Imagine if the USB license key was not detected by the PC due to some reason. The entire plant will be down for few day. Although the supplier promise that a new temporary soft license can be issued through a phone call, providing mac address of the PC information. The supplier does not give you an immediate re-trigger of the temp license.

Unlike Wonderware, base on mutual trust. A temporary Soft license can be sent to you via E-mail immediately without any question ask. Installation of License is much easier compare to Iconics.
If you have a Genesis system, your Iconics rep or system integrator should be able to get you in. If not, you should be contacting Iconics directly. All you need to do to access the secure documentation is to obtain a login from Iconics.

If you have a legitimately obtained Genesis32 SCADA ver 9, this should not be a problem.

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Crappy software, stupid tech support and bizarre programming has always been a high priority with Iconics. You'd have to nail me to the wall to show me different. I'll stick to Wonderware. It's easier, well thought out and I almost never need to request support. If I use Iconics, I should allow for at least 6 months of 'seminars' to fully understand their product. Yup... That's what I'll do... Sure.
I fully agree with Bob Wolff. Iconics is difficult to use. No memory tags available. A temp tag used in 1 window cannot link to other windows. I was told by the tech support to use the simulator OPC tags come with iconic to overcome this problem. Example, a simple calculation "count = count + 1". VBA script is required. If you decide to use some function from VB, VB6 need to be installed. Additional cost $$$. More problem came after your completion of project. When deployed to another PC without VB6, some scripts cannot run. Then I was told to install and uninstall VB6 while iconic is put to run. While uninstalling VB6 some files used by iconics was not able to delete. A pop up box appear. I was told to click on the ignore button until VB6 is fully uninstall. In this case, the file used by iconic is still intact while not violating the IP law. Isn't it silly. I was using Ver7 at that time. Not sure if the latest version has solved all these problems.
As for the memory tags needing scripts, you are incorrect. You can do a simple Tag = Tag + X right in the dynamic. I always use PLC tags for static variable shared between screens. PLC is more realiable than any PC...
Why don't you look at a complete solution for your shop floor data collection by evaluating TrakSYS from Parsec? It offers HMI, MES and performance monitoring.
It is not correct that you need to script memory/global tags. You can use the DataWorX32 global registers for this. Also most OPC servers (for example, Kepware) have the ability to have global persistent items, which are not connected to any device. Remember, Iconics' only communications server is the OPC server it is connected too. This makes it very fast in OPC/Device communications, but also puts requirements on the OPC server you use.

You can also use the Iconics Dataminer for global persistent variables. This is personally my favourite. As through a GUI interface, you can create and use (i.e. read/write too) global registers in a custom made database as e.g. Access or MS SQL. Very nice!
VBA, VBScript and JScript is very well intergrated into Iconics now. There is ScriptWorX32 (or ScriptWorX 2006) for global scripting. And locally in the graphical editor (GraphWorX32) it supports scripting for configuration mode and runtime mode. This means you can program code to run in runtime, e.g. change a value, or write something to a file. BUT also automate your graphical configuration. E.g. insert a simple rectangle object with VBA configuration coded to it, on a double click event fill out a form, and it creates a stack of graphics with parameter setup from the form info and your VBA code.

Very Nice!
The best package I found is VTS from Trihedral Engineering. Good graphics, works most PLCs, hot backup capabilities... and the best part... it's fairly cheap. Google it!
Once again this comes down to personal preference. I read the ICONICS bashing posts above and wonder how much time they have really spent in ICONICS products and how much time they have spent in WW products. I'll bet WW was the product they used the most, not becuase it was better than anything else out there but becuase they know how to use it.

It's very easy to pick out things in each system that I don't like (ICONICS's licensing scheme, WW's lack of a true thin client, iFix's heavy reliance on VBA, etc...). All products will have some things you like and some things you don't.

My presonal preference is Citect, but I also have experience with ICONICS, WW and iFix. Given the choice between the 4 you listed, I would go with Citect becuase it is what I know.

No they won't. My plant is down now because they want us to re-up our support contract before they will help us. With Wonderware you can make a backup copy of the license file to reinstall if the hard drive fails. Then I don't have to waste time on the phone like I have with Iconics. Wonderware truly trusts their customers in my opinion.


Robert Stanton


ICONICS does provide 30-day, temporary licenses as mentioned previously. If you need help or your plant is still down please contact me at the number below.

Robert Stanton
Inside Sales Manager
(508) 543-8600
(508) 740-3316 cell
SM: You don't say where you are at, but I will assume in the US somewhere... ICONICS will provide you with a 30 day license to get you back up & running if you lost your license. Call them. If you don't know who your person is, email their NA Sales Director, [email protected].

I have had good luck with ICONICS. I have worked with most over the years. They all have their plus/minus, many stated in this thread. I have found more plus than minus with ICONICS.