Selection tips for HMI packages


Thread Starter


We are desiging a control system based on VME SBCs. Currently we are looking for a good HMI package to support the operator Interfaces like graphics, trending, data storage and logging etc. Wonderware is one of the HMIs considered.

Could somebody give me any selection tips & suggestions in this regard?

Any hints based on past experience regarding the selection process would be greatly appreciated.

James Ingraham

They're all the same. If you can afford it, I say WonderWare is the best choice. RSView is pretty good and somewhat cheaper. If you
really want all the goodies and are worried about data speed, I say ignore the lower-cost options.

WonderWare is used widely throughout many industries. It's almost like a "nobody ever got fired for buying IBM" attitude.

Sage Automation, Inc.
I like to use VB with an OPC Server for an HMI.

I don't need all the goodies. I usually use PBs, Numerical Displays, Recipe Selection from an Access Database. I don't usually use trends, etc. But, if you do need all the goodies then follow what James said above. I agree they all seem to do the same thing.
Actually, they're not all the same...and Wonderware should probably be your last choice if you're interested in OPC. When the OPC standards (and foundation) originated, Wonderware had that "we're too good" attitude, decided not to be a part of it and developed their own high speed protocol (SuiteLink). The rest of the industry adopted OPC and eventually Wonderware decided to jump on the bandwagon and support it (although not directly). They are now part of the foundation. Today, Wonderware InTouch is an OPC client, but must also use SuiteLink to make this happen. It's not an OPC server. Every other
traditional HMI is both an OPC client and server and Iconics' products are based on OPC.

You may not get fired for specifying Wonderware, but you would be much better off using another product.

Good luck!
>> I agree they all seem to do the same thing.<<

I have heard the statement above from engineers and techs quite a lot in visits to sites It is very common to lump HMI/PC automation software in the same basket.

Windows based software, using VB style of interfaces, yes do the same thing, simply because you can't do much. This is a restriction imposed by the development environment, and performance of the OS/application.

If you are developing for the Unix/Linux world, things heat up immensely. Systems based on Posix (Unix/Linux) can go far, far beyond the Windows only experience. The development tools and the performance is superior. Advanced build tools such as mind-blowing levels of object orientation are reality, as is crunching 1000's of loops in servers without the need for PLC's or DCS controllers. In fact entire plants can be simulated within servers, then connect to live operation with the flick of a button.

So no, not all automation/HMI software is the same. To experience the cutting edge is a bit of work, but it's worth it.

Paul Jager, CEO
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