Reply To: What do you use to monitor an AB environment?

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Fred Graham
Fred Graham
Keymaster
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Hey Jim thought I’d chime in here.

If you’re running a Historian, this is Rockwell’s “layer” or fancy name for a back-end database that has the facilities built-in to allow non-DB people to manipulate and interact with a database. It will also provide seamless connectivity to its FactoryTalk suite of products such as FactoryTalk SE. If you’re running FTV SE or FactoryTalk Historian SE then all of the functions you mention should be available to you.

Sean made mention of Ignition. I’ve personally played around with Inductive Automation Ignition and it is very intuitive to use and of course has all of the functions you and Sean mention and most likely everything you will need to build a robust solution. The other nice thing is they offer very scalable packages to fit your budget. Their software is fully functional in a two-hour demo mode so you can build, stage, and test your application before you actually spend the money…kind of cool. I definitely recommend giving them a look.

The third option is of course to build your own. I’ve actually just put a little article together C# HMI vs. Commercial HMI – Which One Is Best? (it’s still a work in progress) that talks about exactly this. I’m also embarking on a little YouTube series titled C# HMI if you want to have a look. Of course there are drawbacks to this which needs to be added into the article. One, you need a good command over higher level programming languages (i.e., C#, VB), and two you are building it from scratch (this is where Ignition and FTV take over some of the heavy lifting for you). Then there is the whole reliability issue as their systems are well-tried and tested. And let’s not forget about the whole “what if you get hit by a bus” scenario.

It sounds like you may already have the “facilities” to do exactly what you want to do, you just have to do the deep-dive into the Historian literature and the FTV SE software it sounds like you already have. Again, I would say if what you have isn’t going to cut it, definitely check out Ignition and their Inductive University that is full of video resources to get you proficient with their tools.

Hope that helps!