Software review: new iFIX v5.9 SCADA release

GE Digital has now launched their fourth generation SCADA/HMI product iFIX v5.9, which promises to enable smart operators to increase efficiency and reduce costs.

The intuitive interface is designed for operators to quickly interpret relevant data and take the appropriate action. This is in contrast to older systems, which typically display vast reams of data, hampering decision making.

Key new features include:
• A completely refreshed workspace with improved picture quality
• Time lapse playback added to Global Time Control for historical data
• High performance Dynamos for Efficient HMI Office 2016 themes and updated ribbon bars
• A context-rich HMI is based on the model structure so information can be easily located
• The native Web HMI facilitates control via mobile devices
• HTML5 object library for a more efficient HMI and HTML5 content generation from the workspace
• Encrypted communication from Web client using SSL / digital certificate is IT security friendly and cloud ready

The asset model available with iFIX v5.9 really sets this version apart from previous SCADA products. Although monitoring, visualisation and alarms continue to be an important part of SCADA, the additional context provided by a detailed asset model can give operators the edge to optimise processes and drive even better results.

Astec Technical Director Chris Barlow comments,

“We use a standards-based user interface approach for every project, so clients can benefit from improved navigation and decision making. Some operators may have a tendency to feel ‘comfortable’ with older style graphics, where everything is squeezed onto a single screen, but we would recommend the drill-down structure of the latest iFIX, which offers a far superior performance. The essence of iFIX v5.9 centres around the asset modelling. This provides plant-level context for improved diagnosis of abnormal situations. Operators are able to take immediate action on the move, with a consistent level of response every time. The asset-centric screens guide users towards only relevant information – which really is the future of SCADA.”

About Astec

Astec are the sole Premier Solution Partner (PSP) in the UK for GE Digital. Both traditional implementations and support services are provided to clients ranging from SMEs to blue chip multinationals. With over 17 years’ experience in delivering automation and production software solutions, Astec’s capabilities, deep technical knowledge and expertise continue to set the company apart from peers. Each team member is a Microsoft Certified Professional with a true software engineering background, and best in class COTS software is used so customers can make the most out of their software investment.

Read more about Astec’s affiliation with GE Digital or visit the GE Digital Alliance Partner news article page. The iFIX v5.9 datasheet download can be found in Manufacturing Resources.

Asset Performance Management: Astec to exhibit at Utility Week Live 2017

Astec will be exhibiting at Utility Week Live later this month at Birmingham’s NEC 23-24 May. The event is the UK’s only exhibition dedicated to UK gas, electricity and water industries, enabling suppliers, contractors and partners serving the sector to network with key decision makers.

The theme for this year’s show is transformation & flexibility, in response to rapidly changing demands faced by today’s utility companies. Issues such as sustainability, extreme weather, macro-economic factors and competition are presenting new challenges, and require fresh, innovative solutions. A fundamental message of the exhibition is to explore disruptive, cutting-edge technologies to develop new business models – not only to remain competitive, but for survival. Companies slow to embrace digital transformation will forego business-critical insight and knowledge. Asset-centric companies within sub-market verticals of Oil & Gas, Water Treatment and Power are therefore likely to have plant and fleet reliability, reduced production costs, and production efficiency high on the agenda.

Astec’s Managing Director Andy Tripp comments,

“This is the first time Astec has exhibited at a Utilities-specific event, although we have a strong background in handling projects for clients in highly regulated water, oil & gas and energy industries.

By collecting, visualising and analysing vast amounts of data produced by hundreds or thousands of assets and processes across an enterprise, operations can be prioritised and predicted to achieve optimum efficiency. Astec System Engineers can construct the intelligent asset strategy required for each asset to drive safer and more reliable operations at a lower sustainable cost. APM and Predix are leading the move to the industrial internet through software, services, and business-process support.


With the emphasis on transformation at Utility Week Live, it’s the perfect platform for us to drive change through digital technology.”


About Astec

The team at Astec Solutions has been delivering automation and production management software solutions into the ManufacturingUtilities and Broadcast sectors for over two decades. As well as solving the immediate operational challenges which often drive project engagement, Astec strives to ensure installed solutions turn the data within clients’ systems into insight, allowing them to achieve real improvements in the effectiveness and profitability of their business. As a GE Digital Alliance Partner, Astec leverages tools and technologies from GE to deliver real-time data solutions.


About Asset Performance Management (APM) from GE Digital

GE Digital’s APM includes Machine & Equipment Health, Reliability Management, Compliance & Integrity Management, and Asset Strategy Optimisation. Built on Predix, the operating system for the Industrial Internet, APM’s holistic and risk-based intelligent asset strategies balance performance and cost by considering design, operational procedures, and maintenance plans for all assets.