Today we are going to compare the cost of implementing a SCADA/HMI system with FactoryTalk View Site Edition vs the Ignition Platform. We will cover Licensing fees and Training Costs.
Finding a straightforward answer on pricing for FactoryTalk View is a task in and of itself. There are no listed prices on the Rockwell website. Instead you have to find a distributor and get a price quote. They really want to get you on the phone and committed before providing too much information, but luckily there are online re-sellers that you can purchase the licensing from if you have the licenses Catalog Number. I was able to obtain price quotes from several of them, and the best prices I found were from plcproduct.com.
25 Display License – $3,224
100 Display License – $4,693
250 Display License – $6,565
Unlimited Displays – $10,725
Client License – $1,788
FactoryTalk View Studio – $1,807
Licensing for Ignition software is handled slightly different. Everything can be found directly on their website and all standard licenses come with unlimited clients, unlimited designers, unlimited tags, and unlimited historian data and unlimited SQL access alongside Allen-Bradley and Siemens Drivers. Instead of offering a larger number of the same features, the different licensing tiers offer extended functionality to the Ignition software, via Ignition “Modules”. Each Module adds a new feature or set of features to your Ignition Gateway, such as text alerts for alarms, or advanced reporting features. The licensing tiers break down like this:
Custom Packages – $1,500
Ignition Foundation – $9,950
Ignition Pro (All Features + SQL Bridge, Reporting) – $14,995
Ignition Ultimate (All Pro Features + Mobile, Sequential Function Charts, SMS -or- Voice Notification) – $21,895
Ignition Modules can also be purchased separately to add just the extra features you need to. There are a lot of modules in various price ranges, and Ignition even supports third party Module development. For complete lists you can check out this document and the Module Showcase page. You can also visit the Ignition Pricing page to pick and choose which modules will suit your project needs and get a real-time estimate on custom packages in just a few clicks.
Both Rockwell Software and Inductive Automation offer training in their respective products. It is easier to obtain pricing information directly from Rockwell for their training courses than it is for their products. They offer the following training courses in FactoryTalk View Site Edition:
FactoryTalk View SE Programming – $2,590
FactoryTalk View SE Configuration – $1,720
Inductive Automation offers a self guided courses on how to use Ignition Software called Inductive University, which provides a credential upon completion, and is 100% FREE. They also offer several options for instructor led classes ranging in price.
Inductive University – Free
5-Day Ignition Core Training (Offsite) – $2500
3-Day Ignition Advanced Training (Offsite) – $1500
Inductive Automation also offers these training courses on-site for up to 20 students:
5-Day Ignition Core Training – $20,000 – ($1000 /student)
3-Day Ignition Advanced Training – $12,000 – ($600 /student)
Example Plant Estimate
For the purposes of this article we’re going to use a hypothetical wastewater plant based off of a previous project I worked on last year with the following specs:
First let’s take a look at the licensing fees we need to consider. In FactoryTalk, each Client and Designer will need it’s own individual license and the best server option for our project is going to be the Unlimited Displays server license.
Client Licensing – $17,880
FactoryTalk View Studio Licensing – $3,614
Unlimited Display Server License – $10,725
Licensing Total – $32,219
Next, We will need to train our staff on using the software. Out of our 10 clients, 6 are operator stations, 3 are for supervisors, and 1 is executive (the big boss likes to know whats going on, too). Since this plant is open 24/7 365 days a year we’ll assign two operators to a station, giving us 12 operators. We also have 2 HMI developers who will be building the screens and need training as well. So all in all we have 18 employees who will need training. Our HMI developers will need to take the Programming Course, and at a minimum all of our operators and supervisors will need to take the Configuration Course. Let’s see the numbers:
2x FTView SE Programming – $5,180
16x FTView SE Configuration – $27,520
Training Total – $32,700
FTView Project Sub-Total – $64,919
Let’s take a look at the same conditions with Ignition’s licensing model. The number of screens, designers and clients we need is irrelevant, since Ignition offers unlimited of all of these with every standard license. We do want to include the SQL Bridge and Reporting Modules so we will use an Ignition Pro License to include these modules.
Ignition Pro Licensing – $14,995
Licensing Total – $14,995
Well that was easy, but we still need to train our employees on using the Ignition platform. We can put them through Inductive University for free, and leave our costs here, but since we just saved over $15k on licensing, lets spend the extra money to give them a quality education on the software. We’ll set up a 5-day Core training event on site for 20 employees. Since we have 2 empty seats, we’ll even invite a couple members of our maintenance team as well.
5-Day Ignition Core Training (On-site) – $20,000
Training Total – $20,000
Ignition Project Sub-Total – $34,995
Wow. Well, Since the project is going to cost almost half as much as it would have in FactoryTalk, we can afford to add a Total Care support package for 24% of the license fee as well. Adding this will also give us 10% off of our training courses.
Total Care Support Package – $3,598.80
10% Discount on Training Course – -$2000
New Training Cost – $18,000
Ignition Project Sub-Total – $36,593.80
So, let’s look at those numbers next to each other real quick:
FTView – $64,919
Ignition – $36,593.80
There’s really not much more to say, those numbers speak for themselves. We were able to secure licensing and training in Ignition for almost half the cost of FactoryTalk View, and added the best support service Inductive Automation has to offer AND even got to train additional staff members. In addition to generally being cheaper to implement, you can also download the software, develop your entire project and train your staff on how to use Ignition for FREE before ever purchasing a license. I think the winner here is pretty clear.
Even though Rockwell has been an established name in the industry for decades, with their Allen-Bradley products having their roots planted over 100 years ago, and there is no denying they are good at what they do, their business style is becoming antiquated, and needs to be updated. Inductive Automation’s developer-centric approach and transparency when it comes to pricing and training is what consumers are looking for today in the Information Age. It just makes business sense. You know that you are getting a fair price, you can learn the software and decide if it’s right for you, and even add on to it to suit your needs. They are very transparent. By going through the third-party distributor model, similar to a car dealership, you don’t know that you aren’t overspending, and they keep you in the dark to get your money. This approach may work for their other products, but sooner or later, Rockwell will have to move away from it’s almost predatory pricing model for it’s software, where you can end up getting two vastly different prices for the same product.