All industrial machines have been changing in recent years. Not long ago, machines were set up and then ran the same product in long campaigns that often lasted days.
In most industries that's not the case anymore.
Machines are being designed and built to operate with more flexibility to accommodate frequent product changeovers and production runs of no more than a few hours. As a consequence of this versatility, providing the means to keep a close eye on machine operation is vital.
In addition, since many machine builders provide scalable control systems with HMIs to match the increasing complexity of their various models, they often prefer to choose from a family of operator interfaces that provide the same look and feel to the operators, while providing increased levels of functionality as needed.
In view of these industry needs, IDEC is introducing the latest additions to its HG family of operator interfaces.
The HG3F and HG4F operator interfaces are 256-color touchscreens with a TFT LCD and replaceable backlights. These new larger screens are RS-232, RS-485 and RS-422 compatible, with Ethernet and Compact Flash support.
The units support the major communication protocols for connecting to PLCs including Allen-Bradley-DF1/DH485, Modbus-RTU, Omron, Mitsubishi, Siemens S7 PPI, GE Fanuc SNPX, and Keyence, as well as IDEC's own MicroSmart and ONC lines.
The HG3F and HG4F are both CE-marked, c-UL and UL listed, meeting UL 1604 for hazardous locations and NEMA 4 and 4X standards.
"We think these are the brightest and clearest LCD screens in the market," says Lanny Schuberg, director of product marketing. "In addition, the ultra-thin body on both the HG3F and HG4F makes it easier to mount them anywhere."
The HG3F has a 10.4-in. screen, with a 640x480 pixel display and a panel depth of only 56 mm. The slightly larger HG4F has a 12.1-in. screen with a 800x600 display and a panel depth of 58 mm. "We don't brand the front panel of the HG touchscreens," says Schuberg. "This makes them ideal for OEM customers that want to customize the display appearance with their own logos, colors, etc."
WindO/I-NV 2, the software package for the HG3F and HG4F, is compatible with Windows 95/98/2000/NT4.0 and also is the programming software for the other IDEC touchscreens in the family, the HG1B and HG2F.
This icon-driven software has multiple screen-handling capability--up to 15 screens in series using OI-Link--and features designed to reduce programming and development time. "No additional software is needed to complete the OI Link, but extra hardware adapters for each touchscreen are necessary," says Schuberg.
Duplication of screens is easy with cut, copy, and paste options, and users also can import screens from other projects. "The preview feature allows you to check operation of a particular screen before downloading it," says Schuberg, "and the Screen Entities feature lets you check which items are used in a particular screen without having to click on each object separately." Multiple actions can be assigned to the same touch button. Download to the OI occurs at speeds of up to 115.2 Kbps.
Support for drawing tools includes different shapes, color and pattern, palettes, grids, frames, etc., and layout tool support positions the objects on the screen. The program provides powerful and robust download and upload operations to connected HG devices. It accepts color or monochrome bitmaps and features a built-in library of images and extensive graphic capability with 4,000-plus images.
"With 8 MB of built-in memory, slimmer footprints, larger displays, and versatile features such alarm-logging and trending capabilities, we think the new HG series interfaces are everything a machine builder will want in a display, both today and tomorrow for all their HMI needs," says Schuberg.
The HG3F and HG4F complete IDEC's HG line of interfaces, which also includes text message displays and monochrome touchscreens.
Updated literature and specifications for the new touchscreens and the whole HG family can be found on the IDEC web site or by calling to request a catalog. Additional drivers and updates to the WindO/I-NV 2 software will also be made available online.
For more information, call 800/262-IDEC or browse to www.idec.com/usa.