SCADA, HMI, MES projects produce results, recognition

Cover Story: System integration case studies from several industries show lower costs and greater efficiency in projects using supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA), human-machine interface (HMI), and manufacturing execution systems (MES). These won awards.

By Jim Meyers November 4, 2020


Learning Objectives

  • Observe integration of multiple manufacturing or plant systems in an easy to adapt automation platform. 
  • Learn how diverse industries can use an automation platform for SCADA, HMI and MES 
  • Count metrics available when multiple systems are integrated. 

Supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA), human-machine interface (HMI), and manufacturing execution systems (MES) projects that brought significant improvements for organizations were highlighted with Inductive Automation’s 2020 Firebrand Awards. Six winning projects in a variety of industries used Inductive Automation’s Ignition industrial application platform. The projects included large organizations such as Toronto Pearson International Airport, AriZona Beverages, and Waste Management. Most projects were implemented by system integrators. Following is a brief overview of each SCADA, HMI, and/or MES project.

Brock Solutions / Toronto Pearson International Airport SCADA

Brock replaced seven SCADA systems with one for the airport’s baggage handling system. Toronto Pearson is Canada’s busiest airport and served more than 50 million passengers in 2019. Its ambitious Baggage 2025 program aims for improvements throughout the process. It will have an early baggage storage system that’s the first of its kind in North America.

With the SCADA software’s unlimited licensing model, the new system has more than 280,000 tags. It’s connected to 128 PLCs, and it’s all done with seven redundant gateways. Each part of the new system was brought online in parallel with existing ones, so the new system could be tested thoroughly without affecting operations. The new system provides more efficiency and greater data-sharing with partners.

“The airport is reimagining its baggage handling systems,” said Mark Holbrook, SmartSuite business manager for Brock Solutions. “The new system is much better, because it has one look and feel and is the perfect platform for future expansion.” Jose Salamo, associate director of baggage system capacity and infrastructure at Greater Toronto Airports Authority, agrees. “We’re finally here, working in one large control room with the suite of software applications,” said Salamo. “It’s been a massive step forward in efficiency for baggage services here.”

Vertech / AriZona Beverages SCADA/MES

Vertech provided the SCADA/MES system in a large greenfield plant for AriZona. The state-of-the-art plant has six production lines and will produce more than 60 million cases of beverages per year. Six distinct SCADA and/or MES projects were created, including ISA-88 batch control, screens for mobile phones, and dashboards. AriZona has complete visibility of its business and production processes, including overall equipment effectiveness (OEE), downtime tracking, detailed production scheduling, and SAP (ERP)/MES interfacing for process orders, batch recipe management, and finished goods reporting.

Batch information is just one of the many items connected to AriZona’s ERP system. Six distinct SCADA and/or MES projects were created, including ISA-88 batch control, screens for mobile phones, and dashboards using Inductive Automation Ignition software. Courtesy: Inductive Automation[/caption]

Waste Management (WM) SCADA

WM is North America’s leading provider of integrated environmental solutions, with 260 active landfills and more than 20 million customers. WM’s goal was to leverage a new SCADA system to improve daily operations, better serve the communities in which it operates, take care of the environment, and improve the quality of life for landfill employees. WM achieved these goals at its landfill in West Edmonton, Alberta, Canada — and is rolling the new SCADA solution out to its other landfills.

Attractive screens are accessed via desktop computers, laptops, tablets, and phones. Dashboards and maps aid the understanding of data, and weather information is integrated into the solution. Automated reporting also speeds things up for WM, and compliance data is shown in near-real time.

“This platform is allowing our operations team to better manage the environmental protection equipment on the site,” said Dennis Siegel, senior automation manager at WM. “It’s also allowing our team to adjust to changing conditions on the ground in real time. It’s allowing us to use data science and data analytics to re-shape the way we think about our landfills.”

Flexware Innovation / Veoneer SCADA/MES

Flexware implemented a new SCADA/MES system at a production facility for Veoneer, a leading global supplier to the automotive industry. Veoneer makes advanced safety systems for vehicles. The new SCADA/MES system provides much more data for Veoneer, and handles product traceability, inventory management, production-run management, and more. Flexware built a completely configurable solution that Veoneer can administer entirely from the client without backend modifications. It gives Veoneer the ability to quickly make changes itself — something it didn’t have before.

Veoneer has seen measurable improvement on production, downtime, traceability, and more. Costs have decreased thanks to a better understanding of what’s happening on production lines. Improvements have been made in analyses of data, failure, quality, and other metrics.

“The new system is a lot more fluid; it’s very flexible,” said Jason Eckenrode, industrial engineer for Veoneer. “It’s a lot more complex. The old system did a few things, and it did them well. This new system does a lot of things, and it does them well. It just does a really good job of doing a lot of new things that we didn’t have access to before.”

The Integration Group of Americas (TIGA) / WaterBridge SCADA

TIGA created a new SCADA system for WaterBridge, a water-management company serving the oil & gas industry. TIGA’s solution included greater mobility, edge computing, and MQTT for 65 saltwater disposal facilities. “We’ve seen a significant reduction in our operational costs using this software platform,” said Charles Lame, technical field services director for WaterBridge. “We believe we’re saving about $500,000 a year. We also believe our improvements in reliability and runtime will give us even more savings.”

The new system from TIGA improves WaterBridge’s operations, mitigates risk, and reduces the need for travel to remote sites. Previously, WaterBridge subscribed to a third-party SCADA system. The new system has been a big improvement. Real-time data has helped with leak detection, and also with the ability to manage the system as a whole. Maps, alarm data, and other information are easily accessible on mobile phones.

Controtek Solutions / Manila Water Company SCADA

Controtek connected 93 sites to a central SCADA system for Manila Water in the Philippines. The company provides water and wastewater services for more than six million people. The new system provides remote data gathering, operations monitoring, and enterprise integration. The solution makes extensive use of maps and data-rich dashboards.

Previously, there had been no centralized monitoring of plant status and performance. Also, manual calculations were needed for operations analysis and reporting. And Manila Water had difficulty coordinating the manual acquisition of information from different plants. With the new system, Manila Water has web-based access to data via desktops, laptops, tablets, and mobile phones. It also has better, automated alarm monitoring and reporting.

“With the maps, viewers are able to see a summary of what’s happening at all sites just by looking at one screen,” said Albert Bartolome, lead software engineer at Controtek. “An overview screen provides general information for all the stations. By clicking on the map pin, a popup window opens and displays more information about that station. And with the software’s templates, we’re able to make our lives easier, and our development faster.”

Three ways to add cloud functionality

Software can reside in a cloud server, locally, or in combination. Some local software can add functionality with a cloud connection. Three examples follow about how automation software can interact with cloud capabilities.

Cloud-based servers: Placing an Ignition Server from Inductive Automation in the cloud requires little extra effort can provide a more flexible setup than a standard server. Cloud providers can be Amazon EC2, Windows Azure, or Rackspace for a hosted Ignition Server.

Tags for supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) software: Cloud services, such as those provided by Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure, can leverage SCADA software tag data, securely, to enhance operations.

Information sharing: A free online repository of cloud templates, hosted by Inductive Automation, provides a location to share automation software templates publicly or privately. Using templates from others can help advance a project more quickly.

Jim Meyers is communications manager at Inductive Automation; Edited by Mark T. Hoske, content manager, Control Engineering, CFE Media and Technology,

More Insights 

KEYWORDS: Supervisory control and data acquisition, human-machine interface, manufacturing execution systems


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Inductive Automation offers more information about other award-winning Ignition applications. 

Original content can be found at Control Engineering.

Author Bio: Jim Meyers is communications manager at Inductive Automation, creator of the Ignition industrial application platform for SCADA, HMI, IIoT and more.