An Ignition Project Case Study: Brick Manufacturing

Trimasys continues to consistently deliver Ignition projects in a wide variety of challengin applications! Below is an example of how Trimasys leveraged our automation expertise and Ignition, a revolutionary SCADA platform built by inductive automation to help the customer accurately monitor multiple parameters and a huge amount of data to operate at optimum levels.

Brick Manufacturing Project:

PLCs Used: Rockwell (Compact Logix, SLC), Siemens S7 PLCs (30,000 to 40,000 tags)

Database: MSSQL


Brick manufacturing mainly involves the following processes – Making, Setter, Dryer, Kiln & Dehacker.

Making process makes wet bricks, setter process is used for setting bricks on car.

Car goes through dryer tunnel to remove moisture and then into kiln to get “cooked”.

Once bricks are ready, car goes to dehacker  to get those bricks out of the car into packaging.

To move cars inside the plant, tracks are being used. With the help of PLC, Ignition & database each and every move of cars, products, position, recipes are being tracked with high accuracy and precision.


Customer was using SCADA which was developed in 90s with a custom SCADA setup.

Many functionalities were added over 2 decades. Some of the key ones are listed below: 

  • Car Map: Show data live data from PLC (3000 to 4000 tags every sec) as well as data from database (4000 to 5000 data points on request)


  • Recipes: This function stores unlimited recipes (highest data in recipes 150,000), which can be added, edited, duplicated, deleted. Also, it shares data with PLC with the requested format.


  • Products: Same as recipe, it stores high volume data regarding product. It needs to be shown for edit and add on request.


  • Kiln/Dryer Curve: Show live as well as history curve of kiln and dryer. Saving history will involve recording more than 600 datapoint periodically (approx. every 30 mins).


  • Reports: More than 100 counters were being recorded every second, as a cycle for calculation purpose. Reports are being generated with help of these calculations. Each report needed to go through millions of data points to generate values.


  • Car History: Every day approximately 20 to 30 cars go through the dryer and kiln. Car history records all relevant data of the car with temperature curve.

All these functionalities demanded extensive complex programming and computing power. It also required communication with OPC and database without any data drop. This challenges made the existing SCADA unusable. 


Ignition & MSSQL database architecture

Utilizing Ignition’s python & expression support, all the functionalities were included and improved upon. Not only capacity to store more data is increased but response time was the biggest improvement.

Ignitions modules like SQL bridge, alarm notification made many functions easy to configure.

Following are some of the key features:

  • Template, UDT and script library made it easy to replicate SCADA for different project efficiently.
  • With help of SQL bridge, we made data exchange between OPC and database with straining. 
  • Existing components, SV support, binding functions made synoptics screen more advanced and interactive.
  • No lag on any screen as in older traditional SCADA.
  • Generated many interactive tools which helped client update projects on their own without opening designer.
    • Adding /deleting alarm 
    • Adding/deleting some components in screens
    • Automatic tag generation if PLC gets updated with new tags
    • Easy to create trends 


New functionalities added: 

  • Email/Text alarm notification
  • Journal where on shift change operator or supervisor can leave guidelines.
  • Preventive alarms 
  • Many other tools which gave client more insights of their plant


Major Objectives achieved: 

Devices: Multiple Rockwell and Siemens PLCs connected for a project (5 to 11 PLCs per project). 

Tags: Overall, 30000 to 40000 tags being used for a project! 

SQL bridge: 5000 – 10000 tags directly being recorded into database with help of SQL bridge.

Tunnel graph: Kiln/Dryer tunnel temperature captured continuously and shown in graphical form.  

Product Database: Ability to add unlimited products and its data. Intuitive GUI allows operator to update, add & delete products. 

Recipes: Unlimited recipes can be added. Product and recipes are constantly being verified with PLC.  

Simulated preview: This function simulates the tunnel temperature graph to show recipe nature before use in actual process.

Car map: Actual plant floor representation with current values, like cars position, products on cars, status of product, recipe applied, time spend in each tunnel/position, time of completion etc. made available.

Car History:  Client can go back in history to get all data for any produced product like time, date, recipe used, tunnel duration, temperature on each position, etc. to optimize their recipe further.

Reports: Smart reports like Production, fuel consumption etc. generated and circulated to supervisors and managers through email.