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.