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Integrator Finds Ignition Delivers On Linux, Performance and Reliability
05/06/2010 - Integrator Kyle Chase has begun to experience first-hand the benefits of Ignition by Inductive Automation™. He recently performed a system upgrade to Ignition from Inductive Automation’s legacy products, FactorySQL and FactoryPMI.

“I just finished transitioning a smaller facility last week to Ignition,” said Chase, systems integration specialist for Surefire SCADA Inc. “There were a few changes I had to make to historical trending and historical SQL tags, but other than that, everything just dropped into place. It worked really well.”

One of Ignition’s most exciting new features is the free OPC Unified Architecture (UA) server. Designed to allow for cross platform compatibility, OPC UA delivers on the promise of performance and reliability. Chase explained that, although a fan of Linux, until now he could never use it in automation control systems because OPC relied on Microsoft’s Distributed Component Object Model (DCOM).

“To me, the move to a true cross platform environment is important,” stated Chase. “This holds many advantages, especially when it comes to system flexibility and security. It helps keep costs down as well. ”

It was only recently, when Ignition was released, that Chase could take advantage of OPC UA’s capabilities. “Inductive Automation is the first to provide the software required to do this,” Chase said.

Freedom From Windows
One advantage to a cross-platform system is that it saves money for customers who don’t support Windows. Customers would need to pay to license a Windows server.

Chase said, “Having cross-platform software allows us to offer a cheaper solution to a customer, and you can’t compete with that in the Windows’ market.”

The Needed Performance and Reliability
Chase related his experience with one of his customers. Their distillation refinery has a single controller with 14 racks of remote IO. The facility needed both fast update performance, as well as reliability. Previous solutions from industry-leaders couldn’t deliver both. For example, one product gave them the reliability, but it could only give updates once every eight seconds—but the customer needed updates every second. Another product they tried provided the performance needed, but it would shut down every day.

When Ignition came out, it included a free OPC UA server, making the entire software system cross-platform. Having used Inductive Automation software for the past three years with much success, he was confident in trying out the company’s newest release for the distillation refinery project. After going through dry runs, Chase has been very pleased.

“The performance is absolutely crazy!” Chase said. “Ignition is actively subscribed to 30,000 tags with updates every second. We can finally monitor all of our tags, at the speed we want with the reliability we need.”

Product Support is Outstanding
In addition to Inductive Automation’s technological advancements, Chase has also been very satisfied with the product support. He’s been using the software for three years. Sometimes, Chase has an idea to set up a project or function on a system and he calls Inductive Automation to see if they can help him find a way to do it. In some instances, the developers have even modified the software to make it work.

“I’ve called in for certain things, I ask if it’s possible, and they make it happen,” Chase said. “It’s good to see a software company that supports what their customers need.”

Being an integrator means Chase has a lot of customers depending on him to keep their systems operational. Having access to a responsive support team makes his job easier.

“The tech support we get from Inductive Automation is the best in the industry,” Chase said. “I’ve had different issues with different software companies. I usually hear, ‘I’ve never seen this before’. They can’t figure out how to fix it. There is rarely a solution provided, and we are usually told to deal with it. Inductive Automation has always found a solution to bugs I find—or make!—and the developers have bent over backwards to fix bugs and help with complex code. This goes a long way, especially in our industry.

“In a nutshell, the company provides industry-leading features at low prices, with no software limits imposed on the developer. That, packaged with the best tech support in the industry, and I don’t see why I would ever want to recommend another product to any customer, no matter what the job is. Ignition can do it all.”

On June 2, Kyle Chase will join Inductive Automation in a webinar to discuss how automation systems benefit from Ignition and OPC-UA. Click here to register.

Kyle Chase is the systems integration specialist for Surefire SCADA Inc. Backed by 40 years of experience, Surefire creates web-based hosted SCADA systems that encompass all aspects of industrial automation. The company designs and implements industrial control systems and maintains information technology.