Event review: Ignition 2021 community conference

Event review: Ignition 2021 community conference

The Ignition 2021 (ICC) Community Conference was another energetic and informative event, with the theme “Evolve to be Smarter, Faster and Stronger” supporting Inductive Automation’s mission statement to build software. industry that allows users to quickly turn great ideas into reality by removing all technological and economic barriers. The second ICC virtual event, held on September 21-22, was extremely well organized and managed. This year’s event billed itself as “taking virtual networking to the next level” with an interactive video chat platform. Participants could start video chats in virtual rooms with a simple point-and-click and make the conversations public or private.

In the opening keynote, Steve Hechtman, Founder and CEO of Inductive Automation, explained the importance for the company of keeping a finger on the pulse of the company to solve problems, explaining, “I created the company to solve the problems encountered as a system integrator. . ”Hechtman, with 25 years of experience as a systems integrator, asked rhetorically,“ Without experience as an integrator, how could you run an industrial software company? ”He pointed out. the company’s commitment to collaborate, share and work with the industrial automation community to advance the industry. Hechtman built the company’s foundation on four pillars, namely the new technological model, the new licensing model, the new business model and the new ethical model.

Various applications

The ICC conference again featured the Discover Gallery, showcasing a wide range of diverse and interesting applications across many industries and countries. These annual Ignition Firebrand Awards recognize system integrators and industry organizations that use the Ignition software platform to create innovative new projects in a wide range of applications with features such as Human Machine Interface (HMI), Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA), Manufacturing Execution (MES) and Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). The Discover Gallery online video is a great resource for learning about these real-world apps and getting ideas.

Just another HMI?

After attending the Ignition Community Conference for many years, I asked myself: What sets Ignition software apart from other offerings? Attending project presentations and tutorials, as well as having in-depth discussions with participants over the past few years, including industrial plant and process users, systems integrators and IT specialists, led to This consensus: Ignition software is an easy-to-use open platform. to achieve full integration of factory automation manufacturing activities, operations and business systems. Users repeatedly emphasize the value of Ignition for efficiently implementing industrial applications in an open platform with the flexibility to seamlessly use Java, Python, and SQL to efficiently build management, processing, and reporting advanced data without requiring multiple layers of software products. People can make up their own minds by reviewing user project videos here.

System integrator panel

The System Integrator panel is always interesting and this year’s attendees were Brian McClain Business Development Manager Corso Systems, Cody Warren Sr. Controls Engineer Tamaki Controls, Dustin Wilson Sr. Project Manager Phantom Technical Services, Inc., Jake Hall Business Development Manager Feyen Zylstra, and moderated by Shay Johnson, Inductive Automation sales engineer. These are my lessons from the session.

Integrated manufacturing company

Ignition puts everything on one platform, making it easier for system integrators and end users. This is an advantage for implementing and deploying high-level HMIs and applications on a single platform over other solutions that have multiple layers of software and interfaces to achieve this.


It’s one thing to find engineers who are experts in Python and APIs and have a good eye for UI design. The big question is: do they have the mindset and mindset to explore technology? They are the kind of people who are thirsty to learn and explore new technologies and know how to apply them in real situations.

Digitization of work instructions

The digitization of work instructions, information and processes, including machine set-up and machine processing, is becoming important to bring new workers up to speed quickly in manufacturing facilities. This is invaluable for all manufacturers facing a labor shortage and skills gap. Additionally, it simplifies cross-training of existing workers, making it efficient to cross-train existing workers on new systems and platforms.

Flexible automation

Designing flexible automation and work cells to perform several different tasks in a manufacturing plant is much more efficient than investing in fixed function investments. Collaborative robots have been mentioned as one of the new technologies allowing flexibility.

Remote visibility and assistance

Supporting customers remotely, especially during the pandemic, when you don’t know if someone will be at work the next day, has become extremely important.
Remote assistance allows experts to see what’s going on, diagnose and troubleshoot in real time is extremely valuable, especially when customers limit the number of people who can come to the site. This benefits both the integrator and the customer.

Production supervisors and managers who cannot enter the facility or have limited access are allowed remote access. IT departments have made great strides in creating an environment to achieve this with secure communications.

Video training

The value of video training has become an extremely effective way to improve staff knowledge and continually improve skills during the pandemic. Inductive University’s free online courses have been particularly valuable, and participants are given credentials validating their progress.

The majority of ERP companies seem to want to stay in their own space, and integrators have noted that Ignition software has several ways to provide ERP systems with the information they need.


Support for igniting containers has become a great way to try new things and compartmentalize specific parts of applications, especially with Inductive Automation, try before you buy software.

Automation project success

Successful automation projects begin with a clearly defined goal and business plan, including the use of demo applications to validate concepts and results. Functional and data modeling is important for good design, including the use of ISA 95 and ISA 88 standards and concepts.


Cloud tools are certainly popular, powerful, and very valuable today, especially for building machine learning and analytics solutions.

About the Author

Bill Lydon brings to Automation.com over 10 years of writing and editing expertise, as well as over 25 years of experience designing and applying technology in the automation and controls industry. Lydon began his career as a designer of computerized machine tool controls; in other positions he applied programmable logic controllers (PLCs) and process control technology. Working at a large company, Lydon worked for two years in a five-person task force, which designed a next-generation building automation system comprising controllers, networks, and monitoring and control software. control. He has also designed software for the optimization of cooling and boiler installations. Bill was a product manager for a multi-million dollar control and automation product line and later co-founder and president of an industrial control software company.

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Sam D. Gomez