Let’s get back to the basics. A report from Frost & Sullivan (frost.com) states: “Human machine interfaces (HMI) play a vital role in industrial automation, allowing the efficient operation and monitoring of essential production equipment.”
The past few years have seen an influx of inexpensive and, in some cases, low-quality HMIs imported into the U.S. However, this hasn’t deterred a mature operator interface technology from increasing the importance of these tools and adding functionality.
“The distinct customer trends that drive evolution in the HMI/SCADA environment are secure access to information anywhere, low cost of ownership, and new regulatory and security compliance requirements,” says Claire Cerrato, director of HMI/SCADA product management, GE Fanuc Intelligent Platforms. “Companies need to manage data from the plant floor to the enterprise with solutions that can operate independently or in a fully integrated way. HMI/SCADA solutions today and in the future will need to drive easy access to information from the plant floor to the remote site, whether in an operational center environment or on a mobile access device. You’ll be able to see your information anytime, anywhere in a secure end-to-end system. Companies today need to make intelligent decisions using all the data that’s been collected over time. HMI/SCADA will be the advisor that presents data to improve decision-making and maximize plant operations.”
Steve Schott, president of Comark, feels the HMI market benefits from the recent trend toward lower-cost, lower-power mobile processors. “This enables increased system performance in high-temperature or wet/dusty applications, where fans, filters and ventilation aren’t an option,” he says. “The market also benefits from the availability of large, inexpensive LCD panels and increased competition in the touchscreen market. HMI manufacturers can produce more robust systems with a wide variety of system options to fit the needs of industrial automation.”
Patti Pool, new products editor
THIN LCD DISPLAYS
|SYNCHRONIZE THE PLANT
Proficy HMI/SCADA iFix 4.5 along with Proficy Change Management v. 5.7 lets users control changes to iFix systems, enhance security, manage application-development lifecycle and recover from disasters. It includes Dynamo Versioning, support for 200 clients connected to one SCADA node and better OPC integration and certification.
GE Fanuc Automation
InTouch 10.0 HMI software has ArchestrA graphics capability. With support for .NET, it provides enterprise-wide visualization for real-time applications. Development Studio provides a unified environment for IT and engineering to collaborate on software application modeling, development, change management and deployment across the full range of applications. Wonderware
|DATA MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE
Pro-Server EX 1.2 data collection, sharing and process monitoring software includes OPC Server, MES Actions and runs Pro-Server EX as a service in Windows. It includes software to link to any system, MES actions, DDE, DDL, Active X or OPC Server application (DA3.0 compatibility). Remote diagnostics over the Internet is supported to troubleshoot systems or make adjustments.
|THIN CLIENT SUPPORTS FIVE
MultiMonitor module for Thin-Client management software spans a single session across screens, displays a different session on each screen, or presents a combination of the two. The configuration wizards in ThinManager 3.1 software let a user identify the logical screen configuration, the session(s) running on each screen, the screen resolutions, and how spanned sessions are displayed.
Automation Control Products
|TOUCH PANEL COMPUTER
TPC-1270H 12.1 in. SVGA TFT LCD touch panel computer has a Pentium M 1.4 GHz or Celeron M 1 GHz processor. The fanless system supports XP Professional or XPe. Storage is CompactFlash but an HDD can be added.
Advantech, Industrial Automation Group
G306 operator interface communicates via RS232/422/485 ports and Ethernet 10BaseT/100 BaseTX. It has USB and CompactFlash slots for downloading configuration files and access to trending and datalogging. Users can enter data through a touchscreen and/or front panel five-button keypad.
|HANDHELD OPERATOR PANEL
Exter M70 handheld operator panel weighs 1.3 kg, and can be used as a handheld interface for teaching a robot or making initial settings on a machine. The operator panel has a red safety-stop on the front, so an operator can perform an emergency stop at any time.
Model G315 operator interface has a 15-in. XGA display, RS485 port, three standard serial ports, an Ethernet port, and a USB programming port and an expansion slot for optional communications cards for Profibus, DeviceNet or CANopen. With an integrated data logger, information can be recorded in IT-ready CSV files on CompactFlash card. The embedded web server provides remote viewing and control capability.
Red Lion Controls
|MACHINE CONTROL SOLUTIONS
Windows Mobile ruggedized PDA and CE.Net-powered InstantPanel color touch panels come in 5.6, 8, 10.4 and 12.1-in. screen sizes. It has three serial, one Ethernet and three USB 2.0 ports. Built-in CompactFlash card slot and 44-pin IDE interface provide storage options. EtherNet/IP enables access to Rockwell Logix controller tags without a ladder logic change. Access to legacy controllers is supported.
The 10.4-in. HG3F and 12.1-in. HG4F operator interface touchscreens have brightness levels of 450 and 400 cd/m2, built-in 10BaseT Ethernet port, 8 MB memory, and support major-brand PLCs and many Ethernet protocols. Screen creation software supports Vista/XP/ME/2000/98/95 and NT v.4.0.
|MONITOR VIDEO INPUT
Industrial, flat-panel monitors come with direct NTSC video input capability. Where a remote camera monitor, CCTV video display or other live video is needed, direct monitor input eliminates a PC or other third-party, video-conversion device. Monitors are available in 15, 18, and 19 in. in a variety of configurations.
Christensen Display Products
CP69xx Economy control panel has a DVI/USB extension that transfers graphics signals directly via a DVI cable up to 50 m. The USB signal is transferred to a Cat. 5 cable to extend the 5 m limit of USB cabling to 50 m. For distances to 5 m, the PC and the control panel can be connected directly via a USB cable. The control panels have aluminum frames with IP65 protection at the front.
GT32T TFT 4096 color 5.5-in. touchscreen has an SD card slot, an Ethernet port and a USB port for communication and updating/saving screen data. The unit is 1.52-in. deep.
Panasonic Electric Works of America
|DISTRIBUTED HMI SOLUTION
Interact Xpress HMI leverages the Internet and web-browsing software to enable distributed HMI software, remote support and application sharing. Applications run in a browser-based environment, allowing users to publish upgrades and applications to any global location with a web browser.
Parker Electromechanical Automation Division
Use ioDisplay HMI application to design and run operator interfaces on Windows-based clients. With ioDisplay Basic, users create graphical user interfaces with original or preset symbols, jpegs and bitmaps. It has alarm management, recipe handling, operator logging, real-time and historical trending, multimedia and unlimited tags.
Simatic Thin Clients are 10 and 15-in. touchscreen terminals with 64K colors for visualizing and inputting data. The vibration-resistant thin clients connect via Ethernet to a server running the application software. The hard-disk-free, keyboard-free and fan-free terminals are IP54 or IP65-rated.
Siemens Energy & Automation
|INDUSTRIAL SYMBOL LIBRARY
Symbol Factory .NET is a .NET component for building HMI applications in Visual Studio .NET 2003 and 2005 using Visual Basic or C++ languages. Users drop components on the Windows Forum in Video Studio, set properties in a point-and-click user interface, and pass machine and process data to the objects to control the configured animations. Choose from 4,000 professionally-created objects in 60 categories.
|PLC/HMI IN ONE PACKAGE
IndraLogic VE integrates a PLC and HMI, has an industry-standard hard-real-time software kernel, various hardware configurations, and screens ranging 8.4 to 15 in. IEC61131-3 language set provides a user interface for performing offline simulation plus online functions including monitoring, debugging and forcing functions.
Automation Panel 800 15-in. touchscreen operator interface mounts on a swing arm system. Expansions for function keys, electromechanical relays and an e-stop function are provided. Distances to 40 m are possible between the PC and display. The housing meets IP65 protection standards.
B&R Industrial Automation
|PROGRAMMING, HMI IN ONE
Wago-I/O-Pro CAA programming tool with HMI screen editor allows controller data to be displayed on a standard PC or other display hardware. It lets users create a control application and HMI with the same tag database by accessing variables from the controller and uses graphic elements to display the data.
|HMI WITH CONNECTIVITY
PowerView 800 Series operator interfaces use ViewBuilder 8000 development package in 5.6-in. QVGA, 8.0-in. VGA, 10.4-in. VGA and 12.1-in. SVGA. All have TFT LCD, analog-resistive touchscreens. Connectivity includes three USB 2.0 ports, three configurable RS232/485 ports, CompactFlash port, audio and a 10/100 Ethernet port. ViewBuilder software provides object libraries, historical and real-time trending, alarm and recipe management, and simulation.
|PRELOADED PANEL PCS
Gold Series Panel PCs come with XP Pro and have 8, 10, 15 and 17-in. touchscreen displays. PC108A includes a 40-GB hard drive, 256 MB SDRAM, XP operating system, Ethernet/serial, USB and CompactFlash ports, and a NEMA 4, anodized aluminum, front-bezel and steel enclosure.
This 3.5-in., color TFT touchscreen is designed for small machines that can’t afford a 6 in. display, and require a touchscreen that can fit in tight spaces. Options for Ethernet are available.
|METAL ENCAPSULATED LCD
TuffTouch 17-in., all-steel enclosed LCD is NEMA 4/IP66-rated, with resolutions to 1280x1024, and both analog and digital input. It has 250 nits brightness, 8 msec response time, and a contrast ratio of 500:1. The unit is available with resistive or capacitive touchscreen and includes several mounting options.
|CREATE AN HMI WITH LabVIEW
LabView Touch Panel module lets users develop custom HMI applications for Windows CE touch panel devices. Users can communicate with and display information from Compact FieldPoint, CompactRIO and Compact Vision System programmable automation controllers. There are built-in tools for user interface development, data analysis and network communication.
|SMALL PACKAGE HMI
Magelis XBTRT is a semi-graphic touchscreen with one or 10 lines of text. There are 16 graphical touchscreen sizes from 3.8 to 15 in. with multiple display types, a range of three keypad terminals in 5.7 and 10.4 in. screen sizes, and two terminals with XP operating system embedded.
Illuminated and non-illuminated push buttons, selector switches and emergency stops provide safe interruption of circuits and long life. The 22-mm IEC line of unibody and modular pilot lights are UL-listed, rated Type 4/4X, and listed for Type 1, 2, 3, 3R, 12, 13 and IP65 applications.
|IMPROVED DEVELOPMENT AND MAINTENANCE
Steeplechase VLC 7.0 software includes Connection Tree and Connection Editor that simplifies device and I/O definition and maintenance. Backward-compatible with older versions of Steeplechase VLC Control Designer, Connection Tree lets users add and visualize defined interface cards, devices and I/O tags. Icons appear in different colors to let users know at a glance whether an interface or device has been configured.
|MATCHED HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE
QTerm-G70 touchscreen terminal has a 320x240 lighted graphic LCD, 100BaseT Ethernet with TCP/IP support, and an EIA-232/422/485 serial interface. NEMA 4-rated and CE-certified, it uses Qlarity object-based graphic terminal programming language for simple control panel interfaces or a complete standalone application.
|EXPANDABLE INDUSTRIAL COMPUTERS
VersaView industrial computers are designed for applications ranging from cleanroom environments to heavy industrial, automotive, food or mining applications. They feature a capacitance touschscreen, Class I, Div. 2 certification, Pentium 4 processors, continuous-duty, hard-disk drives and mission-critical solid-state drives.
Secure Viewer enables secure access to Web Studio HMI/SCADA applications using PCs, handheld PDAs and tablet PCs over wired or wireless connections. HMIs, industrial PCs and PDAs can be restricted to specified HMI/SCADA applications to prevent operators from unauthorized access to applications and system controls. Secure Viewer runs on Windows CE/XP/Vista-supported devices.
GOT1000 terminals offer alarm and recipe handling, Windows and TrueType fonts, messaging and multi-language support. They have a STN LCD display, a programmable backlight, and can be configured to display machine status or errors. All models have a single embedded high-speed serial port along with an additional RS232 or RS422 serial port.
Mitsubishi Electric Automation
SealTouch-15 flat-panel computer in a NEMA 12 enclosure can be installed on an arm. Designed to operate in 50 °C ambient temperatures, it has a Celeron M 1.5 GHz processor with 512 MB DDRAM, 40 GB hard drive and Ethernet port. It has a 15-in., XGA-resolution, resistive-touchscreen display.
+44(0) 1327 322821
VTS 8.0 HMI software has new features that enhance compatibility, graphics and fault-tolerant Internet client connectivity, including server compatibility with Windows Vista/XP/2000/2003, expanded animation interface, new drivers, redundancy, enhanced WAP interface and third-party reporting.
A GUI Builder combines with a software toolkit to act as a source-code generator that runs a touchscreen controller for various HMI applications. The GUI Builder codes the HMI and provides a what-you-see-is-what-you-get (WYSIWYG) approach to creating menus by placing and grouping graphics and buttons on the controller’s display. The user can edit and test screen layouts directly on the target hardware.
|Build It, Quick
QuickBuilder graphical development environment for Model 5300 controllers configures, programs, monitors, and troubleshoots applications. It has graphical flowcharting, QuickStep 4 to program logic steps in QuickStep state-based language, library manager, and resource manager for real-time information on all physical and logical controller resources.
Control Technology Corp.
|The Middle Child HMI
HMi family of analog touchscreens with programmable function buttons bridges the gap between iePro PanelMate for high-end applications and ELC graphics panels for basic machine monitoring. An expansion slot and serial ports provide connectivity to Ethernet or I/O modules, and communicate with more than 20 PLC brands. A 4-in. model comes in blue mode or gray scale, the 6-in. adds a color option, and the 8 and 10-in. units have TFT color screens.
More than 500 features have been added to V9 Genesis32 scalable suite of OPC, SNMP, web-enabled HMI and SCADA applications over the range of Microsoft Windows operating systems. With V9, users connect to core sources of data storage including IT infrastructures monitored by SNMP, plant-floor infrastructures communicating over OPC and enterprise databases through real-time, intelligent data mining.
|Something For Everyone
HMI models range from low-end to high-end. The CTM-150 offers a basic 16-character text display, an industrial operator keypad and basic RS232 connectivity. The high-end LANpointXL offers full-screen color graphics with a touchscreen for inputs. It also offers wired or wireless Ethernet connectivity, along with standard serial communications and NEMA4 environmental specs.