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Participant

Join Date: Dec 2008
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What's the Best HMI / SCADA Software?

12/09/2008 8:32 PM

Good Day.

I need and want to purchase a HMI/SCADA software for the visualization and control of process the company where I work now.

But I don´t now which HMI provider is best of all (wonderware, factory talk, indusoft, i fix, etc).

Someboby can say me which the all HMI is the best?

Thanks

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#1

Re: What's the Best HMI / SCADA Software?

12/10/2008 8:55 AM

First of all, I want to make it clear that I work for Wonderware... but I am not trying to sell you Wonderware because ultimately the decision is based on your individual needs.

ALL HMI/Scada will essentially deliver you the same type of end application, and unless you need to do anything advanced (integration with other applications, long term history, etc) you will be satisfied.

Within our market space (HMI / Scada) there are what we consider the 4 major players that make up the most marketshare. Wonderware (InTouch), Rockwell AB (RSView), GE (Cimplicity) and Siemens (WinCC) - NOT NECESSARILY IN ORDER OF MARKET SHARE. There are MANY others, that are good, and could work for you... and a quick Google will find them.

You can look at these products many different ways, but I like to use an automotive industry analogy.

These products are very similar to trucks from the top automakers. All trucks, regardless whether it is a Ford, GM, Toyota or Dodge (HMI companies), will get you to your location (end application)... otherwise they wouldn't be trucks (HMI's). The difference comes from the journey, beginning to end.

The things that I believe are important to the user (driver) is:

1 - Ease of use in development. Some HMI's (good, bad or indifferent) require a functional knowledge of coding. Some are point and click configure. Find the development environment you are most comfortable with and enjoy, because you will be spending a long time in it... and the overall success of your application will depend on it. (Equate this to the trucks interior and ergonomics)

2 - Service and Support. When you do have a problem, whether it is application specific or software bug, how good is the effort to help you resolve your problem. When it is time to upgrade your application, is your previous engineering effort protected, or will you have to re-do everything. If you need engineering help from a third party Integrator, how easy is it to find someone to help. (Equate this to having trouble with your vehicle, and then finding a service station that can help you tow it in, fix it fast, be cheap and friendly)

3 - Training. Always important to the success of any project. Obviously your comfort has a lot to do with your ability to develop an application. The more comfortable you are, the more time you can spend on actual projects versus figuring out the HMI software.

4 - The Vendor. The used car salesman of the analogy, but they play a very important part in the success of your projects. A saleman should be able to help you architect, and sell you only what you need, not for the sake of selling licenses. A good saleman will listen to you, and offer you advice based on past experience. If their product does not fit your need, then they will not try to force you to buy it and should recommend something that WILL help you.

My suggestion to you is to invite all of them in to see you. Keep in mind the above things when asking your questions, and ask them to perform (or demonstrate) their development environment to do something simple (add a graphic of a device, add a pushbutton, trigger the device on/off, set an alarm, trend data, blah blah blah. This will give you a good idea, by watching the "expert", what your experience MIGHT be.

Then go with your gut. There are Chevy drivers that will NEVER drive a Ford, even though they are both capable of doing the job. Their reasons are usually the ones I outlined above. GOOD LUCK.

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#2
In reply to #1

Re: What's the Best HMI / SCADA Software?

12/10/2008 1:57 PM

Awesome reply. This is a perfect example of why this forum, populated with experience coupled with an honest interest in others, is so wonderful.

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Participant

Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 3
#8
In reply to #1

Re: What's the Best HMI / SCADA Software?

12/11/2008 10:16 PM

Thank you very much.

You are right. All sales reprecentatives of each company that have visited me, try to sell entirely the application, licenses exceeded that I haven´t need for my arquitecture.

Also take in consideration the license´s price, I think that it is important factor for to take the ultimate decision of to choice. don´t you think so?

Best Regards

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Commentator

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#16
In reply to #8

Re: What's the Best HMI / SCADA Software?

12/02/2009 8:20 PM

If you believe that there is no "value add" to the licenses, then yes, the cost should be considered.

HOWEVER, if you can expect that the return on this cost will far exceed the "cost" then cost is insignificant.

If I spent (invested) $100, and that $100 yields $1000 in return, you will soon forget the intial cost, and look at it as an investment.

Having a SCADA application for the purposes of monitoring and alternately controlling a process, there is very little return. Improving your yield by 20%, or reducing your scrap by 15%, or increasing your production by 10%... what is that worth?

The data to enable that analysis is almost ALWAYS on the HMI screen... and if not captured and analyzed, is lost opportunity. If that is what you want, then consider the cost. If you want to improve your process, consider the investment.

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Active Contributor

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#3

Re: What's the Best HMI / SCADA Software?

12/10/2008 11:23 PM

The answer from WWSysCon is excellent.

Well in my opinion there is no "BETTER" HMI/SCADA Software, it just depends on what you want to do.

I've worked with diferent softwares they all have pros and cons, wonderware expensive and quite difficult, iFix expensive and very difficult, those are the top HMI/SCADA softwares in the world, but take a look at www.azeotech.com look for DAQFactory, it's really Cheap compared to the other softwares, it's very easy, the tech support is great, well at least the person who helped me out, but of course it has some limitations that other more developed and more expensive software already surpassed.

other nice solution is Cybectec's Visual Substation, it's more Electric Substation oriented but it's very easy the support is also very good, and it integrates with a Gateway called SMP (Substation Modernization Platform) from the same brand that gateway speaks many protocols, has PLC programmation, loggers, etc.

In my line of work I need to connect to difrent types and brands of Protection Relays, most of them speak Modbus, DNP3, IEC 61850 protocols, but some of them come with very different Protocols so the best solution we found is to use the SMP as a Protocol Translator, Data Integrator, many other things that are kind of difficult to explain and even GPS Time Server via NTP, then I connect the Computer via ethernet, could also be serial, and develop the HMI using DAQFactory in Modbus Protocol, in some cases the client demands other protocol I use a OPC Server, or Visual Substation.

As WWSysCon said google up the brands, ask quotations, ask more information, or contact me using this forum or to my personal email cdelareza@gmail.com I would be glad to help you, there was a time that I had the same question.

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Participant

Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: UK
Posts: 4
#4

Re: What's the Best HMI / SCADA Software?

12/11/2008 3:37 AM

Hi Rammstein,

As the previous guys have said there is no right or wrong method. What are you trying to monitor/control?

It also depends upon your own level of knowledge of designing such systems.

Give me a shout at phil@daqsolutions.com to discuss your needs.

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Anonymous Poster
#5

Re: What's the Best HMI / SCADA Software?

12/11/2008 10:47 AM

In term of the "Best" Scada Software. If you have unlimited funds, you can hire your own software engineers to custom build a SCADA HMI to your exact requirements with all the bells and whistles.

If you DO NOT have unlimited funds and as a manager need to choose a SCADA software package with the most features and capability for the best value.

Carefully consider what your needs are and how much money you want to spend.

Throwing money at SCADA is like gambling, money goes in and it never comes back.

Once you commit to a software package and get set up in that system it is very difficult to switch over to another and very costly in terms of training your people and purchasing licensing fees.

You also have to consider if you want a "WINDOWS" package or a "UNIX" package.

Windows costs money. Unix saves you money.

Windows is a bit easier to than Unix. (ie UNIX does not quite equal windows as an OS yet but is getting there) If you have good programmers, you can overcome this and save tons of money.

If you LUV "Windows" and sleep with a Bill Gates pillow, Get WONDERWARE. Wonderware and Windows are partners in crime.

DO NOT choose wonderware unless you are a millionaire.

Wonderware software is expensive. Very expensive. The more you buy, the more features you discover you need and the more you pay. They make you pay and pay.

Their salespeople are basically dishonest and try to sell you features you do not require or need. They have their own special terminology and use this scalanguage to confuse you or dazzle you into signing contracts for lots of money.

Your wonderware database will be SQL windows generally, but for the right price they can interface to anything (Oracle, DB2, etc)

Yes wonderware has small packages for the small businesses.

Their packages are memory intensive and you could spend the rest of your life in training. You will need to hire a designer or a team of designers or hire the contractor who sells you the wonderware package to design the front end graphics.

DO NOT choose intellution fix, also windows based.

For the same reasons as above, and intellution fix support sucks. It is worse than wonderware in terms of training and support.

Both wonderware and fix come with cheapo skid package deals. Like compressor skids and so forth. But over time backwards compat sucks.

Cimplicity: (It is sort of a copy of wonderware but has a PLC package feature)

Cimplicity for GE is made for Industry. It comes with it's own PLC package too.

It can be scaled up or down. The PLC package makes it good for techies and industry types who like to move between both features in the field.

Also windows based and comes in cheapo package deals.

Allen Bradley: Expensive. If you are already committed to AB, use their stuff. It is designed to work with it. AB support is good too and good training.

Honeywell: Same as AB

I think every major industry has their own SCADA package. Look at all the equipment you have installed. Do you have a majority of AB? Use AB. Honeywell? Use Honeywell. Rosemount Emerson? Use their HMI.

Think about it in these terms. If you purchase a $3,000.00 transducer from Rosemount and then multiply that by 100. You have invested 300,000.00 just in transducers alone. These companies have their own scada interfaces that work with their particular equipment and are designed to work well with it. They also provide support not only for their equipment but for their software packages.

Wonderware got into the market as a parasite fish just like intellution.

GE responded with their Cimplicity.

Honeywell, AB, Rosemount Emerson and other responded with their versions.

The best advice is to go to each one and try it out or go to sites where it is installed and look at how they are doing it. Not only that, but work with field engineers that actually have to interface with the Remote (Telemetry or Terminal) Units with PLC's inside and listen to their feedback.

Another hint, Graphic User Interface design is important as well. Some companies put so many things on the screen that it is difficult to figure out what is going on.

Each Scada HMI group has their own design teams to give snazzy presentations with their graphics and touts how great they are.

The decision basically boils down to how much do you want to spend, what equipment are you invested in "Heavily"...Rosemount, Yokogawa, Honeywell, AB, Foxboro, etc. What do you want to do with the Scada software? That determines how much you spend. If you want to just build skids, maybe a small scada package like crouzet or griffith will do the trick. There are many small type scada companies out there that provide "out of the box" instant and cheap scada solutions.

If you want to build a factory system, then all those players mentioned above and many others like them each have their own package deals.

Think of it this way. Which is the best CAR? Well, there is no Best CAR. It depends on how much money you have to spend, what you want to use the car for, where you want to drive it, how you want to use it. Ferrari?, Truck, sedan, economy car, sports car (high end, low end), motorcycle, etc.

You need to take all these things into consideration and watch out for SLICK SCADA salespeople and their seductive sales pitches. Like "what will it take for you to purchase this SCADA package right now?" Before you know it, you will be walking out the door with an expensive SCADA package proposal, with your eyes hypnotically in stars. Then that "warm fuzzy" feeling goes away after you end up spending an extra 15 million dollars fixing that strange problem that never seems to go away no matter how much money you throw at it and you end up spending another 15 million dollars buying a "NEW" and better scada system to replace the one you were suckered into the first place. (Warning: watch out for DYNAC and anything associated with it)

Oh...and call me, we will talk about it. I can meet all your needs...wink wink nudge nudge. Don't be a fool. Go out and actually spend time visiting sites with Scada packages you might be interested in. You can contact these companies and the salespeople can set you up with this. If they cannot, do not waste your time.

Go car shopping, pick out the car that meets your needs, make a model selection and actually Drive the car before you make your decision.

If you don't have time to do this, you should not be in the position of picking a scada system. Choosing a scada system is a very serious investment of time, money and your companies energy. Unless you are a civil service organization like a city and can spend money without regard to any consequence, make a wise desision.

Choose wisely and you will be profitable. Another note, there are industry specific

scada systems that have their strengths in particular industries. Power, Oil, Food, Manufacturing. Power industries tend to use their own scada vs oil vs Food and manufacturing. Take this into consideration as well.

Good Luck.

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Commentator

Join Date: May 2008
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#6
In reply to #5

Re: What's the Best HMI / SCADA Software?

12/11/2008 5:35 PM

WWSyscom's answer was very good from a practitioner perspective, and I rated it a good answer.

However, Guest's comment above is an extremely good reply from a user's perspective. As someone who has ridden the gauntlet of a few HMI's in the past few years I emphasize completely with what he has said and could not add anything further to what, I think, is very good advice. I have rated this also as a "Good Answer".

Cheers,

Pete.

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#7
In reply to #6

Re: What's the Best HMI / SCADA Software?

12/11/2008 5:39 PM

Me 2

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Join Date: Dec 2008
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#9
In reply to #5

Re: What's the Best HMI / SCADA Software?

12/11/2008 10:47 PM

Hi Guest

You have giving me another diferent look of this matter. I will take you commentaries for the to choice wisely.

Thank you very much.

Best Regards

It is my e-mail leonel.espinoza.paasa@gmail.com

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#10

Re: What's the Best HMI / SCADA Software?

12/13/2008 8:34 PM

I had good result on projetcs with Citect over Wonderware.

=================================================

http://www.citect.com/

Citect has a long history as a global leader in the development and application of SCADA, HMI and MES solutions. The ability to develop powerful and reliable 'industrial strength' software, capable of withstanding the rigors of large-scale operations, has been one of our strengths.

Established in 1973, Citect has grown to become a leading, global provider of industrial automation, real-time intelligence, and next generation manufacturing execution systems (MES). Citect products are complemented by professional services and customer support and training and sold in numerous industries including:

  • Aerospace & Defense
  • Automotive
  • Building Automation
  • Cement & Glass
  • Chemical
  • Electronics
  • Food & Beverage
  • Machinery & Manufacturing
  • Metals
  • Mining & Minerals
  • Oil & Gas
  • Pharmaceutical
  • Power / Utilities & Generation
  • Pulp & Paper
  • Transportation
  • Water & Wastewater
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Anonymous Poster
#11

Re: What's the Best HMI / SCADA Software?

03/01/2009 9:18 PM

Yokogawa as well, is using FAST-TOOLS a long time. Is a SCADA for medium and big size application. Together with Stardom and now the new RTU for low power consumption, the SCADA solution is well completed.

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Participant

Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 1
#12

Re: What's the Best HMI / SCADA Software?

03/16/2009 12:06 PM

Rammstein_31:

You may have chosen your HMI/SCADA software by now but maybe this will give you (and others) further considerations. Let me also state that I work for InduSoft.

I agree with the other responses that the "best" depends on your application, your experience, your future requirements and your customer's expectations.

Some things to consider when choosing an HMI/SCADA package:

1 – Total cost of ownership: In addition to the up-front cost of software (InduSoft is VERY cost effective), how much will it cost in the long run? Is there a required support contract? Does it cost extra for "modules" such as alarming, trending, recipe and reports? What about the cost of additional drivers? Is there additional cost to support the local language where your system will be deployed?

2- Not only the monetary costs but what about development time? Are there tools in the software that make it easy/quick for you to develop? You need to consider how much time it takes to do repetitive operations, like diving deep into property menus and back out just to configure similar objects. This is easy to overlook when your application is small, but as it grows, so could your frustration. The "best" package could be one that can keep you on schedule. What about input tools from other packages?

3 – Connectivity: Does the software connect to what you need it to? Not only drivers for PLCs and PC based control systems, but embedded controllers, temperature controllers, barcode/2D matrix readers, and vision systems. And when there isn't a built-in driver, is OPC supported? Don't only consider devices, but relational databases (Oracle, MySQL, MS SQL Server), ERP/MES systems, remote web browsers, cell phones and how easy are they to integrate.

4 – Scalability: Do you have the need to deploy solutions from Windows CE (on PDAs, mobile phones or Industrial displays), embedded XP, desktop environment (XP, Vista) including "industrial PCs" all the way up to a server type environment all with one package? Your training and experience are valuable assets; don't abandon them just because you have to install a different size application. A package that can work across all Microsoft supported platforms, including scripting and database connectivity, may be the "best" choice.

Since 1997 InduSoft has provided solutions to more than 125,000 applications worldwide directly and through partners. You can download a full-featured demo here: http://www.indusoft.com/download_products.asp. Or, visit www.indusoft.com for more information.

Good luck in your decision process.

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#13
In reply to #12

Re: What's the Best HMI / SCADA Software?

03/16/2009 6:12 PM

skortier, Well done and quite professional and informative.

You are a welcome addition to this forum. I look forward to your future posts offering clear unbiased and objective decision making suggestions on this subject, since it comes up fairly often. CJM

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Anonymous Poster
#14
In reply to #13

Re: What's the Best HMI / SCADA Software?

11/27/2009 6:25 AM

I really like Reliance SCADA. Not the best and full feature but very usable.

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Participant

Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 2
#17
In reply to #14

Re: What's the Best HMI / SCADA Software?

04/08/2013 7:18 AM

Yeah, I've heard a lot about Reliance and guess it must be even better than 4 years ago.

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Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 2
#18
In reply to #17

Re: What's the Best HMI / SCADA Software?

07/12/2013 3:11 AM

...just noticed there's a pretty good Reliance SCADA leaflet, so you can quickly read about the main features & benefits: http://www.reliance-scada.com/files-to-download/Reliance4_Leaflet_2013_EN.pdf

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Join Date: Dec 2008
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#15

Re: What's the Best HMI / SCADA Software?

12/02/2009 2:43 PM

Hi Rammstein...

You're question is VERY subjective... and it REALLY depends on how you want to use the software.

I am a believer that if you purchase something, you should be able to get a return on that investment, and with MOST SCADA applications there is little return (efficiency of operation, alarm response, etc).

If you want to ALSO be able to utilize the data passing through the HMI, for the purpose of Process Analysis, Improvement, Understanding) then I would recommend a package that will allow you to collect this data into a historian, and then analyze for the purpose of improving.

Read ALL the treads on this post... there are some very good responses to this question, most of which are objective.

I would say, internally rationalize why you want this, what you plan to do potentially in the future with the data, and your ability to configure the application to make it do what you want.

Every software product is different, although they ALL get you to the same place at the end of the day. The answer to your question lies within yourself... Find the software that suits your need (skill set, cost, support and return). You can't go wrong with the BIG players you named in your question.

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