In its time, Intellution’s FIX32 was a powerful automation solution that took full advantage of Windows 95 and Windows NT’s powerful capabilities.
At the time, FIX32 had more 32-bit installations than all other automation software vendors combined. But that time has passed and HMI/SCADA solutions have come a long way since then.
In its current iteration, iFIX 6.0, offers support for the latest software standards, a robust SCADA engine, rich set of connectivity options, open architecture and highly scalable and distributed networking model.
iFIX is a superior proven real-time information management and SCADA solution, which is open, flexible and scalable.
The product is constantly evolving. A recently developed iPad app, coupled with iFIX Webspace©, is allowing operators to easily and quickly harness the power of iFIX or CIMPLICITY on the iPad with minimal engineering effort.
Unfortunately, there are a many misconceptions surrounding the upgrade from FIX32 to iFIX. Horror stories of complicated installations abound. Fears of a complete systems re-architecture keep companies from moving forward.
The good news is, if properly pulled off, the move from FIX32 to iFIX can be relatively painless.
The purpose of this document is to dispel some of the myths around moving from FIX32 to iFIX so you can harness the power of this solution and move forward.
If it isn’t broke, don’t FIX it, right? Wrong.
Trust us — your it department wants you to keep up with the latest Microsoft technology. iFIX delivers support for all the latest Microsoft operating systems including Windows 7!
There are many things that are enabled by moving to the new platforms such as easy to maintain historical data, centralized maintenance of configuration and pictures, thin clients, mobility (ipads), and web based clients.
There are significant advantages in moving to iFIX.
There were over 300 “voice of the customer” recommendations incorporated into just the first version of iFIX. Since then it has undergone many majors releases all the way to version 5.8 and soon 6.0.
Here’s a few improvements to iFIX over the years:
Simply not true.
As with any project, it depends on proper planning and a sound road map for attack. Our 20 years of experience with these kinds of projects tell us that having someone on the team that has been there and done doesn’t hurt either.
The biggest reason we have seen upgrades projects take a long time is the normal project problem of “scope creep.”
Fact: Most items that are done in an upgrade project that push the deadline back further and further are really new pieces of scope.
There are plenty of experts to help you in this and guide your journey. For example, we have over 15 experts just in our company who can do this task completely or be available as a project team member or coach.
As one of the leading products in the marketplace, there is an entire ecosystem around the world to support iFIX. With the modern environment that is extensible, it is easy for an automated tool to be used to aid the upgrade process as well.
GE has spent millions of dollars on upward compatibility so that you don’t have to.
The concept of the FIX desktop can even re-use all of your FIX32 graphics complete with script files if you wish. Or the conversion utility can help you migrate the old pictures completely to the native iFIX format.
There are also many wizards and productivity tools that we
can show you to help work within the new environment. Even
though you have driven your old ride for a lot of miles there is an attractive trade in policy that we can walk you through that is commercially viable. Your investment is protected today and tomorrow – 350,000 installations worldwide can attest to that.
In our experience, if you understand how the FIX32 system works, you will be able to navigate your way around the iFIX with limited trouble.
The database builder concept is fairly similar and is still the backbone of the system. A concept of the “workspace” development and runtime replaces View and Draw.
We find that most engineers that maintained a FIX32 system can maintain an iFIX system. Instead of training, sometimes some assistance in doing the upgrade is prudent since it may be a one-time occurrence for your plant or facility.
However, if you still want to go the training route, we can certainly suggest a place to find the best classes available.
Still not convinced? Consider this: With iFIX 5.5, there is no need to manage multiple drivers in SCU anymore. Instead, you can use one IGS driver – a single interface, communicate with multiple vendor’s controllers (the IGS driver offers more than 100 protocols).
There are significant customer bases in both products.
There is also shared technology in IO drivers, encryption, historical archiving, web, advanced analytics, MES and mobility solutions. There is a robust product team, support team, and product roadmap for both iFIX and CIMPLICITY.
We are not going to sugar coat the situation, there are some good engineering trade offs to think about since there is so many more options with the new computing power and new software power. Here’s a question we get all the time:
“Should I replace my distributed architecture SCADA (which was more common earlier) and go with a redundant pair after the upgrade?”
In this case there are issues like duplicate tag names, picture directory locations, thin clients and the proper failover technique to choose. But this is all good news!
These are things that weren’t even possible when you installed the last system. You can stick with the current architecture and make no changes — no problem. But here’s the upside: the options for improvement are great as well.
Not true. Some HMI systems deliver unique capability and iFIX does for sure. For example:
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