Editor's Note: A recent Real Answers section featured responses to a question about approaches for wireless handheld HMI devices ("On the Go With HMI," April 2012). This reader adds a perhaps more "hands on" perspective.
I hate to be negative, but this is what I think about the proposal of handheld wireless controls in the workplace.
In an ideal world, they would be fantastic. However, in the real world, be prepared for them to be run over by a forklift, smashed when the machine does not give the expected answer, smuggled out of the workplace and for sale on eBay, workers attempting to run the line from the lavatory, used as a hammer to "tap" something into position, used as a flashlight to light up the area behind the machine, missing batteries daily, a constant source for draining glass cleaner and the like, "accidental" dropping into 55 gallon drums of who knows what, "it's just missing" syndrome, etc. I think you get the idea. For some reason the culprit is never caught and, if that person is caught, usually an "educational" program is suggested instead of loss of job.
The solution is a black box inside each of the handheld devices and the firing of employees who purposefully destroy company equipment. Even then, expect legal counteraction by said employees.
Sad about the way America has become.
senior product engineering specialist,
Kessler-Ellis Products, www.kepmarine.com