The Industrial Automation Transformation Change Agent - Inside Inductive Automation's ICC 2019 Conference

The Industrial Automation Transformation Change Agent - Inside Inductive Automation's ICC 2019 Conference
The Industrial Automation Transformation Change Agent - Inside Inductive Automation's ICC 2019 Conference

The 2019 Inductive Automation Ignition Community Conference was another high energy, creative, and stimulating leadership event. With the company illustrating the power of the next level of software technology and leveraging this with a new business model, Inductive Automation illuminated their progression to be more responsive to industry and customer requirements.  While many talk about leveraging the latest technologies and changing their business models to boost customer satisfaction, Inductive Automation’s event served as a great example of the company going beyond talking points with action. Stating that they have seen tremendous growth and adoption, Steve Hechtman, CEO, President & Founder shared their vision of the company as, “The New SCADA”,  built on four pillars:

  • New Technology Model - A whole new paradigm, practically any OS (Operating System), leveraging open source, conforming to IoT & industrial standards, and open interfaces.
  • New Licensing Model -  “It's the zero-hassle licensing model. An unlimited licensing model, sold by the server, with a single affordable price no matter how many clients or tags are used.”
  • New Business Model – “Our New Business Model balances development (new innovation), quality assurance, marketing, sales, support, accounting, training, and about 20 other functions into a well-functioning pipeline all focused solely on delivering the New User Experience.”
  • New Ethical Model – “ We love what we do, we love this community and we really do want to make the world a better place!”

Inductive Automation is focused on reducing the friction that has stifled the creation of solutions in the industry and providing the platform to build leadership solutions. Steve Hechtman’s shared his insights into the organizations mission, stating the goal of “making integration easy, fun and affordable” and their efforts to keep serving the “dreamers and doers”.

Steve Hechtman’s Founder's Message describes the four pillars:


Steve Hechtman was frustrated as a system integrator looking for solutions and found marketing materials from companies that sounded like they had the solution. Unfortunately the marketing and sales materials did not match the product and technology delivered.  Many of us in the industry including myself that have application engineering experience certainly empathize with his comments.

Opening this year’s conference, Don Pearson, Chief Strategy Officer, discussed Inductive Automation’s realization of the importance of community, starting with the first time the event was held.  ”The people in this room love solving problems, love getting things done, love building things and love sharing ideas,” Pearson described.  He emphasized how the community relationship with the Ignition community has been providing Inductive Automation with tremendous feedback and giving them ideas to help be responsive to industry needs. Pearson shared Steve Hechtman’s vision that if you put an individual with an idea and the right tools together it is amazing what they can accomplish.   “It is not just our software," emphasizes Pearson, “but the power of the community to change minds, processes, and industry leading the 2019 ICC theme, Limitless.”

Don Pearson, Chief Strategy Officer reinforced believe in the community,“It is not just our software but the power of the community to change minds, processes, and industry.”


A Focus on Edge Devices

Ignition Edge, the Ignition software solution designed specifically for embedding into field and OEM devices at the edge of the network, has been adopted by a number of suppliers that displayed and presented at the conference and featured the Ignition Edge Onboard label. 


Discovering real-world applications

The Discovery Gallery at the ICC conference is always an inspiring highlight, sharing many examples of companies real world efforts with the solutions. Inductive also shares many of these examples review on the Internet. Here are some of the examples I found particularly interesting:


INDUSTRIAL NETWORKING SOLUTIONS -  Cloud, Edge, and More Enable a Fast Solution for Numerous Sites- Project For: ARB Midstream

ARB Midstream acquired a new pipeline asset which includes 36 RTUs and central gathering locations. As part of the agreement, ARB was required to completely take over pipeline SCADA in four months. Challenged with this aggressive schedule, ARB contracted Industrial Networking Solutions (INS) to deliver a SCADA solution offering cloud-based reporting, management, visibility, control, and a communications network with failover capabilities and store-and-forward technologies.


  • Tags: 10,000
  • Screens: 12 overview screens plus one per site (Total of 115)
  • Clients: 97 Ignition Edge Nodes plus 15-20 view clients
  • Alarms: 3,500
  • Devices used: approx. 145 (Rockwell, Koyo, and ROC)
  • Architectures used: Hub and Spoke - Hub includes AWS, EAM and Cirrus Link MQTT
  • Databases used: 3 plus redundancy
  • Historical data logged: 3,000 historized tags

More Details


MTECH ENGINEERING - Building Management at Largest Data Center Campus in Italy - Project For: Aruba

This project provided Aruba with an advanced real-time monitoring and control system for its new Global Cloud Data Center (ANSI/TIA 942 Rating 4 compliant), the largest data center campus in Italy (200.000 sqm).


  • Tags: approx. 124,000
  • Screens: 190
  • Clients: approx. 30 daily active clients, 4 dedicated terminals
  • Alarms: approx 50,000
  • Devices used: More than 250 devices such as ABB AC500 PLCs, Socomec UPS, Pramac gensets, ABB Network Analyzers and MV Relais, Honeywell Firefighting Systems
  • Architectures used: Standard Ignition Architecture
  • Databases used: MySQL database
  • Historical data logged: 15 billion rows, 40,000 historical tags, 2 years data retention, week partitioning

More Details


STREAMLINE INNOVATIONS - Edge and MQTT Help Convert Toxic Gas to Sulfur

Streamline Innovations operates natural gas treating units in South and West Texas that convert hydrogen sulfide (H2S) into fertilizer-grade sulfur. Hydrogen sulfide is an extremely toxic, explosive chemical found in most natural gas. Streamline is using Ignition to facilitate the automation of three semi-autonomous, mid-sized units, one large-scale gas treatment facility, and several fully autonomous skids, all with full remote bi-directional control and historian data collection. Ignition will be used at several new locations as well. H2S is found in about 50 percent of all natural gas wells worldwide. Streamline Innovations has developed a unique chemical technology that converts H2S to elemental sulfur, which in turn can be used for agricultural applications. This chemical technology has been tried commercially before, but it hasn’t been profitable due to operational difficulties. Streamline has circumvented these issues and has made the Valkyrie Process an attractive solution to H2S removal due to updated chemistry, modern surfactant additives, and a robust but complex control and automation system, which includes the Ignition software platform. Streamline operates at three different scales: 1) unmanned “small” units that treat 200-2,000 pounds of sulfur per day and are roughly the size of a large truck; 2) manned “large” units that treat 20,000 pounds per day or more and are the size of a football field; and 3) completely autonomous “micro” units that are single pieces of equipment in remote locations which perform ancillary tasks.


  • Tags: 400
  • Screens: 20 (Large Systems) 25 (Mobile Systems)
  • Clients: 3
  • Alarms: 1200
  • Devices used: 1 AB PLC + 1 Moxa + 1 ProSoft per project
  • Architectures used: Hub & Spoke
  • Databases used: 6 (4 Edge, 2 Cloud) x 2 DB each in PostgresSQL
  • Historical data logged: 1800 per project, recorded each second (for most values)

More Information:


ANDRITZ AUTOMATION - Artificial Intelligence Drives Innovative Automation

ANDRITZ used Ignition to create a platform for training an artificial intelligence (AI) controller to run an industrial plant. The company built a software application in Ignition that integrates process simulation software and machine learning components.  ANDRITZ built a prototype as an internal development project using its own funds. The company then entered and won the 2019 GoldCorp #DistruptMining competition, a contest that focuses on digital transformation of the mining industry to optimize profitability and competitiveness. The prize is a 1-million-dollar (Canadian) project to execute a pilot at one of GoldCorp’s sites.


  • Tags: 5,700
  • Screens: 26
  • Clients: 2 (Vancouver, Canada and Freiburg, Germany)
  • Alarms: 0
  • Devices used: 0
  • Architectures used: Standard, deployed on MS Azure cloud VMs
  • Databases used: 1 Microsoft Azure SQL Server
  • Historical data logged: 225 tags

More Information:


AUTOMATION SOLUTIONS ECUADOR - SCADA Migration, Connection to Enterprise for Large Oil & Gas Customer- Project For: Agip Oil Ecuador B.V.

This project involves the migration and updating of one of the largest SCADA systems in Ecuador developed in Wonderware. Its main challenges were to bring the customer’s operations from the late 1990s into the most modern technology for control and monitoring, and to deliver information from five field sites in the jungle into Agip’s corporate level located in its headquarters in Quito, Ecuador.


  • Tags: 40,000
  • Screens: 300
  • Clients: 25 (and increasing)
  • Alarms: 10,000
  • Devices used: 90 Ignition devices among PLCs, VFDs and monitoring equipment + OPC DA Connections
  • Architectures used: 2 pairs of Redundant Gateways with 3 Standard Satellite Gateways
  • Databases used: MySQL 3 Servers
  • Historical data logged: 4,000

More Information:


BROWN ENGINEERS - Replacing Five SCADA Systems with One Project For: City of Fort Smith Utility Department

The Utility Department for Fort Smith, Arkansas, provides water and sewer service to a population of approximately 150,000 within the city limits and in the greater Fort Smith area, either directly from Fort Smith’s systems or indirectly through Fort Smith’s wholesale customers.


  • Tags: 20,000+ UDT Instances; 25,000+ OPC Tags; 200,000+ Memory/Expression Tags
  • Screens: 200+ windows
  • Clients: 33
  • Alarms: 2,500
  • Devices used: 70 (Allen Bradley, Schneider)
  • Architectures used: Ignition Gateway Area Network synchronizes data across all City Utility Sites including 4 treatment plants; all water distribution pumps stations & tanks; all sewer collection pump stations
  • Databases used: 10 Microsoft SQL Server Databases
  • Historical data logged: 2.5+ million historical records per day

More Information:


ERDE AUTOMATION - MES for a Top Pharma Factory in El Salvador Project For: Gamma Laboratories

This project involved the implementation of a manufacturing execution system (MES) in the Salvadoran pharmaceutical industry. The project was for Gamma Laboratories, one of the top 10 pharmaceutical factories in El Salvador. Gamma has more than 280 employees.

More Information:


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