TOP 10 list of Best and Worst HMI & SCADA

  • Thread starter Luciano Dell'Orfano - RTS Argentina
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Luciano Dell'Orfano - RTS Argentina

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.
As a System Integrator, I have tried several SCADA SW, and the best qualified for the No.1 Worst Software, would be:
No.1: RSView.
No.2: Complicity.... oops, Cimplicity
No.3: Fix

The list can go on and on, but few minutes i have for Reply..............
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.

Hakan Ozevin

> 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).

Bob Peterson

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.

Bob Peterson

Chris Powell

OMRON's NT2 screen programming software is VERY cheezy...HUGE resource hog on PC for such a small program. Hot Java Coffee...:)

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.

Brian E Boothe

How can u call RS-VIEW WORST ???
Really, Point Me to Some Links to anything better than RS-VIEW...

Ranjan Acharya

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.

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.

Intellution FIX:

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.

Wonderware Intouch:

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.

USData FactoryLink:

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.


Luciano Dell'Orfano - RTS Argentina

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.

Donald Pittendrigh \(home\)

Hi All

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

Donald Pittendrigh

>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 _____.



Ranjan Acharya

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.


George Robertson

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
[email protected]
(915) 366-4252

Donald Pittendrigh

Hi All

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.

Donald Pittendrigh

>>How about instead of the worst ten, somebody just LIST eleven SCADA
packages, period.

>>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".

--Joe Jansen