Operator panel goes modular

As the complexity of industrial machine operation increases, operator display panels are becoming far more than just a place to perform simple operations and observe machine and system behaviors.

Automation Panel 800AS THE COMPLEXITY of industrial machine operation increases, and the amount of operating information available from the process grows rapidly, operator display panels become far more than just a place to perform simple operations and observe machine and system behaviors.

With the introduction of its Automation Panel 800 to the U.S. market, scheduled for PackExpo in Chicago this fall, B&R Industrial Automation expands its panel display series. This newest generation of totally enclosed display units offers the highest degree of versatility yet provided by B&R, according to the company.

Viewing flexibility from swing-arm-mounted systems allows the operator panel to be placed at the most ergonomically sensible position—an important advantage for operating the machine comfortably. "With the Automation Panel 800, ergonomics and individual functions are given top priority," says Helmut Kirnstoetter, B&R’s international sales manager.

To provide optimal user-friendliness, B&R’s engineers equipped the AP800 with a 15-in., XGA, touchscreen display. "This allows complex sequences to be carried out intuitively and logically," says Kirnstoetter. "In addition, individual expansion modules for function keys, electromechanical keys, and the E-stop function mean it can be optimally adapted to the needs of the application. The modular approach is what makes the Automation Panel 800 so unique."

He claims these are some of the elements that make this display panel new and different from any competitive solution on the market today. "It provides the highest degree of flexibility for the customer. Users can choose from up to 15 different keyboard attachments, and really create a panel according to their company’s requirements. The keyboards are attached on the bottom and the sides of the panel, making it a complete operator unit." He adds that the keys use the latest technology, and are key-ring illuminated.

     Automation Panel 800
Automation Panel 800

To provide optimal user-friendliness, B&R's engineers equipped the AP800 with a 15-in. XGA touchscrren display.

On display units, add B&R’s engineers, it’s often necessary to adjust function keys for the application software being run. On Windows-based systems, pressing the F1 key opens the help page. "This often isn’t what’s desired for visualization systems in a runtime mode," adds Kirnstoetter. "These B&R panel devices have an easy-to-operate key editor program. Up to four functions can be assigned to each key at one time."

AP800 also is extremely flat, allowing it to be attached anywhere on a machine. The surface of the housing is protected from sprayed water, and meets IP65 protection standards. Housings are also available in stainless-steel variants certified for use in the food industry. The housing design all but eliminates edges to minimize places where dirt might accumulate. "The machine configurations this panel offers could be ideal for any industry requiring an industrial PC with a remote display that needs protection from dirt and other environmental contaminants," says Kirnstoetter.

In addition, the company’s Smart Display Link (SDL) is used to connect the AP800 to the Automation PC 620. Distances of 40 m are possible between the PC and the display. SDL transfers all communication channels via a single cable, from the display data and touchscreen to function keys and LEDs. In addition, a remote USB interface is available on the keyboard.

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For more information, call 770/772-0400, e-mail office.us@br-automation.com, or browse to www.br-automation.com.