HMI / Remote Monitoring & Access

Operator Interface Data: Monitor It and Move It

The Functions Needed in Today's HMIs Had Better Include the Tools to Get the Data Wherever the Machine User Wants It

By Control Design Staff

The influences that push HMI/OI design and application work include data-collection needs. "Industry continues to look for better ways to get data in usable forms so it can be used in other mainstream business software," says John Hughes, vice president–business development at Rice Lake Weighing Systems. "Scale data from process control is valuable for traceability, quality improvement and process monitoring."

Increased automation and simplification of operator interaction has an influence as well, Hughes adds. "This is where the changes in HMI really make a difference," he says. "Directed process intervention is much easier today than in the past. Through visual signals, the operator can easily make decisions about controlling even very complex processes."

Cloud use is influencing this as well. "Is HMI in the cloud a good idea?' asks Ramal Murali, president, Software Horizons. "With all the hype and sex appeal of cloud-based computing, the temptation is 'to cloud'" he says. But he adds, "There are two approaches to remote access to HMI-server. The first is a software as a service (SaaS) implementation with infrastructure (server, database, etc.) in the cloud provided as a subscription to the user. With such a cloud implementation, HMI runtime should be remotely accessible from any Web browser — iPad, iPhone, BlackBerry, laptop PC, etc. — over the Internet."

SEE ALSO: Go back to basics with HMI design

The second approach, Murali says, is to eliminate the cloud infrastructure by doing a Web server implementation that requires a software product license for an HMI runtime 'Web server' option for installation at a customer site. "Such installation may be on the same platform as the HMI server or another PC on the same LAN as the HMI server. With the Web server implementation, HMI runtime can be remotely accessed from any Web browser (again, iPad, iPhone, BlackBerry, laptop PC, etc.) over the Internet, as well as over the LAN without Internet."

Murali argues that there are perceived customer advantages of Web server over SaaS HMI cloud services: no subscription fees on an on-going basis; the ability of a customer to enforce his own HMI server and Internet access policies, including VPN; no dependence on third-party cloud infrastructure; and a sense of security that data does not leave a company's own hardware infrastructure.

Smaller headcounts make the need for greater mobile access one of the key industry/market trends influencing HMI development, says Fabio Terezinho, vice president of consulting services at InduSoft. "As the cost of handheld devices becomes more affordable, many companies are implementing 'bring your own device' (BYOD) policies that allow employees to use their personal smartphones and tablets for work purposes, driving the HMI market to develop more applications for these types of devices," he explains. "Software packages with HTML5 support dramatically cut development time for mobile device screens, enabling workers to access HMI applications from almost any device. Multi-touch technology better suits the smaller touchscreens, but it also makes executing commands up to three times faster over traditional single-touch screens."


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Flat-fascia Vision350 supports 24 auto-tuned PID loops, while the 16-bit, 3.5-in., 320 x 240 QVGA color touchscreen displays data, color trend graphs and alarm screens. Internal memory holds 1 MB of application logic, plus 512 KB for fonts and 6 MB for images. It has a variety of onboard and expandable I/O options, and units are capable of supporting up to 512 I/O and include serial, Ethernet and CANbus communications options.
(617) 657-6596

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OI Anywhere
Web-based, mobile, operator interface system groov for operator interfaces on smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices requires no programming to build operator interfaces that can be viewed on almost any mobile device or computer, regardless of its manufacturer, operating system or screen size. System integrators, machine OEMs or any authorized person can securely monitor and control automation systems from Rockwell Automation, Siemens, Schneider Electric, GE and other providers.
Opto 22
(800) 321-opto

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HMI-Tablet integrates its visualization display into an iPad to allow the operator full HMI wireless control using multi-touch-enabled Trend Display and Data Display. The HMI-Tablet has powerful connectivity, supporting more than 200 different PLCs, servo drives, inverters, temperature controllers and other devices.
Rohtek Automation
(425) 328-8445

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T1A SmartAxis Touch all-in-one, 3.8-in. touchscreen interface and logic controller includes a built-in RJ45 Ethernet port, and an embedded RS232C/422/485 interface terminal allows communication with other serial devices or Modbus RTUs. A USB mini Type B port allows maintenance communication, and a USB Type A port allows data logging and recipe data. Available in 65K TFT color or STN monochrome display with a screen brightness up to 700 cd/m2.
(800) 262-4332

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One for All
OmniClient for running real-time control and visualization simultaneously features a wide-screen format with a touch-sensitive, durable, seamless glass front that supports multi-touch operations. Interface options include Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and RFID, and the device is shock- and vibration-resistant, thermally stable, has an IP65 front panel and is EMC-compliant.
(858) 677-0877

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All in One
CP26xx fanless Panel PC series with ARM Cortex A8 processor has aluminum panel housing with high-quality glass front for IP65 protection at the front and IP20 in the back. Users have a choice of eight multi-touch TFT displays in sizes from 7 to 24 in., with 4:3, wide-screen, landscape or portrait formats. Dynamic multi-touch response works even while wearing thin work gloves.
Beckhoff Automation
(877) twincat

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It's a BFD
G3 BFD 38.5 x 19-in. flexible display has an easy-to-read red LED display window and connects directly to the RS485 port of a G3-series HMI. The big, flexible display is designed using 32 display boards in an eight-column by four-row configuration that displays text and graphical information to the entire plant floor.
Omega Engineering
(203) 359-1660

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Power Panel T-Series terminals and Power Panel C-Series controllers have touchscreens and an embedded browser. The terminal series has four TFT display sizes ranging from 4.3 to 10.1 in. with two Ethernet interfaces, two USB ports and an array of configuration options. The controller offers three display sizes ranging 5.7 to 10.1 in. They do not have hard disks, fans or batteries, and the panel front provides IP65 protection.
B&R Industrial Automation
(770) 772-0400

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Two in One
HMC7070A-M is an all-in-one, 7-in. graphic HMI and PLC. The HMI supports 32,000 colors for clear and vibrant display of bitmaps. The touchscreen is suited to industrial use, and built-in Ethernet, serial and USB ports allow for multiple connectivity and communication scenarios. The device is rated for Class I/Div 2, cULus-, RoHS- and CE-compliance, and is capable of operating in hazardous conditions. The HMC7000 series is programmed with MAPware-7000.
Maple Systems
(425) 745-3229

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Monitor Performance
WinCC/PerformanceMonitor package, available with Simatic WinCC V7.2 SCADA software, calculates and analyzes runtime process data. Available visualizations include a Gantt chart with the time sequence of states, a bar chart to analyze key performance indicators and a table for states and accompanying values. The visualizations are also available via the Web in WinCC WebNavigatorClient. The calculated key performance indicators can be further processed in a WinCC display, including line-dashboard or trend displays.
Siemens Industry
(800) 964-4114

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Remotely Possible
GoToMyHMI web server enables remote monitoring and control access to HMI server software running on a Windows PC or CE platform from any browser-enabled device, including iPads, iPhones, smartphones and laptops. It implements an HMI gateway to provide safe, secure and speedy access to HMI information from anywhere to receive critical alarm notifications, including acknowledging alarms and taking corrective actions. Using InstantHMI development tools, it can be configured without making any changes to existing in-plant HMI/SCADA systems.
(800) 664-2000

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Watch Your Weight
The 880 Performance Series panel-mount indicator can be DIN rail-mounted as a stand-alone controller or connected to a vast range of networking protocols and PLCs. It includes an LED display, 0.56 in., 14 segments; RS-232 or RS-485 serial port; USB device and Ethernet TCP/IP. The display and controller can be separated up to 250 ft. Operator functions through Menu key include audit trail, preset tare, accumulator, time and date, and setpoints.
Rice Lake Weighing Systems
(800) 472-6703

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Get It All Together
VTScada 11 SCADA software pre-integrates all core SCADA components with one installation. Users configure redundant servers, distributed historians, mobile access or communications with any combination of I/O. Idea Studio provides a drag-and-drop interface for creating professional displays. Operators can create and save their own trends.
(800) 463-2783

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Software Service
Service Pack 2 (SP2) for Web Studio 7.1 software provides native support of HTML5 screens and animation for multiple devices and platforms, including Safari and Chrome browsers. Web Studio lets users create screens once using the standard screen editor, and then deploy these screens across multiple operating systems on various handheld devices via the Studio Mobile Access interface. SP2 provides built-in troubleshooting tools for the native VBScript editor.
(512) 349-0334

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Three Choices
EZPanel PC HMI combines EZTouch software, withuniversal connectivity to all PLCs, with a Windows 7 fanless industrial panel computer. With an Intel Atom E640 1-GHz processor with 1 GB DDR RAM, in 10- and 15-in. models, it comes standard with 4 GB of SSD memory, four USB ports, a MicroSD card reader, two serial ports and a 1-GB Ethernet port.
EZ Automation
(877) 774-3279

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Many Features
GT16 Series HMI offers remote access, multi-language text and graphic support, alarm management with conditional sequencing for use with multimedia files, front-mounted USB port and embedded diagnostics and maintenance functions. The terminals come in six sizes from 5.7 to 15 in. Additional capabilities include flexible recipe management, data logging and a range of drivers to support connectivity to most automation vendors.
Mitsubishi Electric Automation
(847) 478-2100

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Performs in Extremes
VisuNet XT operator workstation with global certifications has a high-bright, LED-backlit LCD panel with an optically bonded, glove-friendly and sunlight-readable 15-in. or 19-in. touchscreen. An Intel Core i7 processor supports modern software applications. The Type 4/4x operator workstation operates in temperatures ranging -40 to 65 °C.
(330) 486-0002

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More Than One POV
Point of View software for SCADA, HMI and OEE/dashboard projects can be deployed anywhere for most Windows-supported platforms, including Windows XP, 7, 8 and Server editions. It can either run locally on a development workstation or be downloaded to a remote workstation to operate using Point of View runtime software. Animated HMI screens and OEE dashboards give personnel a graphical view of the process. Integrated modules include alarms, events, trends, recipes, reports, scriptable logic, schedulers, a security system and a complete database interface.
(800) 633-0405

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Mobile App
Working natively from Windows 8.1, FactoryTalk VantagePoint Mobile App users can access VantagePoint centralized reporting and analytics from the software suite. Within the app, users can view key performance indicators such as energy use, overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) or mean time between failure/mean time to repair (MTBF/MTTR). By touching the KPI gauge or chart, users can dive deeper into the FactoryTalk VantagePoint portal to see full, detailed reports and trends driving those metrics.
Rockwell Automation
(414) 382-2000

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Work on the Web
WebOP-3000 web operator panels with a flat-panel, IP66-certified aluminum edging include Intel Cortex-A8 processor, are designed to work in temperatures -20 to 60°C and support CANopen, Modbus and Ethernet protocols. They have dual level-four electrostatic discharge (ESD) protection and meet IEC-61000 requirements. To protect the units from sudden spikes in the electricity supply, they're equipped with power and terminal I/O port isolation protection, so that in the event of power surges, the panel's components will not be affected. Data loss from power failure is protected by 128-KB FRAM that doesn't require a battery.
Advantech Industrial Automation
(800) 205-7940

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HMI Choices
Graphite HMIs are full-color touchscreens in eight models and 7-, 9-, 10-, 12- and 15-in. widths, and have an operating range of -10 and 60 °C. They directly accept I/O modules for PID control, dc voltage and current, thermocouples, RTUs and other components. They include a built-in web server to remotely monitor and control applications. Built-in protocol converter lets programmers select 13 or more simultaneous protocols from a list of more than 250. All capabilities are supported by Crimson 3.0 software.
Red Lion Controls
(717) 767-6511

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Design Updates
Second edition of Effective Console Operator HMI Design Practices is based on the consortium's research in the prevention, mitigation and management of abnormal situations for individuals who establish company HMI standards, style guides and information displays accessed by console operators through their control system workstations. This revision is based on the consortium's user members' current best practices, recommendations from recent ASM research, feedback from display design experts, and HMI technology advances.
ASM Consortium

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Integrated HMI
XV Series HMI incorporates PLC functionality and integrates directly with the SmartWire-DT system to enable remote intelligence, eliminate an entire device level, and make complex wiring unnecessary. With a 400 MHz RISC processor and custom-developed software drivers, the XV Series employs IEC 61131-3 compliant xSoft-CoDeSys-2 programming software for visualization, logic and end devices in one software package.
(800) 386-1911

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Resistance Is Certain
Magelis GTO stainless HMI panels have six 65-K color TFT screens, LED backlighting, and function keys for the 3.5 and 7 in. versions. They operate to 55 °C, and resist corrosion, high-pressure cleaning, chemicals and grease.
Schneider Electric
(800) 788-1704

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Still in Touch
Open and extensible InTouch 2012 HMI software lets users create standardized, reusable HMI and real-time decision support applications that shorten project times. Improvements include strengthened security, simplified installation and license management, support for the latest remote desktop services and virtualization technologies from Microsoft.
(800) 966-3371

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Tough Touch
Series 4020 all-weather, portable PC has a NEMA 4X aluminum enclosure with UV-tolerant paint finish, is Class I, Div. 2 (approval pending), Zone 2 NI, EExnA IIC T4, EXII36, and complies with ATEX 94/9/EC. It has an active-matrix, LED-backlit, 15 in. LCD with shatterproof, pressure-sensitive touchscreen, 1.3 GHz Intel Atom processor, solid-state storage, and a variety of I/O ports.
Daisy Data Displays
(717) 932-9999

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Magic HMI
Panel Magic 21.5 in. widescreen LCD is sealed against the elements when panel-mounted, with NEMA 4X stainless steel bezel. It includes 1920x1080 resolution, optional resistive touchscreen, and integrated or removable computer. Six LCD sizes range 12–42 in.
(508) 359-8161

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Go Remote
Pro-face Remote HMI works with screen development software GP-Pro EX v3.1 or later, and allows users to monitor and control HMI screens from a smartphone or tablet without special programs to reduce work time by letting users see machine information from anywhere in the factory. It can monitor the status of multiple machines from one device, and works on any tablet or smart hone running Android or iOS.
Proface America
(800) 289-9266