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Web-Based Browsers, Transflective Technology Highlight Today's HMI

Feb. 16, 2010
Daylight-Ready and Web-Based: Human-Machine Interfaces Continue to Move Data Into the Most Convenient Places

Virtually, any HMI application can benefit from a Web-based HMI software solution, says Rocco Colauto, president of Kaspro Group (www.kaspro-usa.com). "The usability of the Web interface is related or tied to the type of information being manipulated," he says. "However, local HMI operation and Web-based HMI operation are not mutually exclusive. For example, screens designed for the local operation, such as starting and stopping the machine, are usually useful only on the local station where the operator can control the operation. However, the same application can provide other screens that are used to calibrate the machine from Web browsers hosted in mobile devices like PDAs, which can be conveniently carried by the operator to the specific physical location where the calibration is being done."

Automation systems benefiting from a Web-browser-based HMI include applications requiring connectivity to equipment in remote locations or machines in unmanned areas of a manufacturing facility, says Paul Ruland, product marketing—automation systems, Siemens Industry (www.usa.siemens.com/automation). "This accessibility enables diagnostics, alarming, reporting and even control in some cases," he says. "It also provides more accurate troubleshooting while greatly reducing the need for on-site maintenance support."

Applications that benefit most from Web-browser-based HMI/SCADA solutions don't require constant monitoring and are accessed only on demand, says Kyle Reissner, product marketing manager, GE Intelligent Platforms (www.ge-ip.com). "These typically control or monitor simplistic systems where tag counts are relatively low and have no dedicated access terminals," he says. "When something of note occurs, such as an alarm or a warning, the HMI/SCADA system enunciates it through automatic emails or text messaging, and the HMI is launched on demand by the technicians for debug."

However, there is a place for mixing Web-based and traditional thick clients into mid- to large-scale HMI/SCADA systems, says Reissner. "Businesses typically do this to expand the usage of the HMI/SCADA system, enable instant ad hoc access for their mobile employees and streamline client licensing," he says.

VTS 9.1 monitoring and control system software builds upon event-driven execution, combined with optional support for 64-bit processors. Fully tested for Windows 7, the software also supports up to 2 GB of additional memory for 32-bit versions of VTS. Up to 30 users can be notified sequentially until the alarm is acknowledged. The enhanced WAP interface allows remote updates of analog control values and significant digits for analog displays.
15 in. flat panel monitors with transflective LCD technology are available as a UL-listed Class I, Div. 2, devices. These flat panel monitors are rated for use in temperatures ranging from -10 °C to 55 °C. They accept standard VGA or NTSC inputs from a PC or video camera source.  They can multi-sync to any standard video mode from 640x480 to 1600x1200 at scan rates from 60 to 75 Hz.
.NET HMI development components add realistic control panel look and feel to Visual Studio.NET applications by simulating buttons, switches, lights, meters, gauges, sliders, panels and displays. Point-click configuration gives custom applications a real-world feel. The solution is designed to speed operator training and acceptance.  The software works on touchscreen PCs.  It allows runtime free licensing for custom applications.  Free trial version is available.
Software Toolbox
PAC Display Windows-based HMI development application can create graphical interfaces that mimic a process. Support for alarm management, recipe handling, operator logging, real-time and historical trending, multimedia and unlimited tags are included.
Opto 22
Proficy HMI/SCADA—iFIX WebSpace, a Web client for the iFIX visualization solution, is designed to enable informed decisions from anywhere, anytime. This application has flexible configuration topologies and features the ability to be installed on an independent dedicated server or on the main iFIX server. Multiple WebSpace servers can be installed to scale the total application to a larger distributed architecture. iFIX WebSpace screens are ported instantly from the iFIX application. The iFIX WebSpace is created as a full-featured HMI/SCADA client.
GE Intelligent Platforms
TPC-1780H is a versatile fanless Touch Panel PC with a Core 2 Duo CPU, 17-in. SXGA TFT LCD, ultra-slim design (only 3.66-in. depth) and a die-cast aluminum front panel. The TPC-1780H has one expansion slot to allow RS-422/485, PCI-104, CAN-bus and more to be connected. It uses a low-voltage processor and heat sink to achieve a fanless design and has a NEMA4/IP65 front panel. The TPC-1780H provides multiple standard communication ports.
Tablets for mobile HMI users where operators or maintenance personnel need mobility, real-time graphics, system monitoring, interaction and troubleshooting come pre-installed with Windows XP, InTouch 10.0 software and 3000 Tag Runtime license. Optional versions are offered depending on the regional integrated wireless LAN IEEE802.11a/b/g requirements for Americas or EU.
Magelis XBT GC HMI is designed to streamline setup, integration and use by adapting to the typology of a machine with three screen types and a choice of connection options (USB, serial link, CANopen and Ethernet). It reduces the number of electrical diagrams and uses the Telefast quick-connect wiring system. The Magelis XBT GC uses a single HMI to control application downloads via USB key and a mounting system that is interchangeable with the Magelis XBT GT terminals.
Schneider Electric
G3GSM modem card allows the G3 operator interface products to communicate with operators via cellular technology. The expansion card is configured with Red Lion's free Crimson software and uses a SIM card. The modem card includes a built-in Web server, allows viewing of the same screens that are displayed on the G3 or viewing of data only or logged files, the ability to upload/download G3 databases without being on-site and an auto-dial function to send out alarm or event information via text message.
Red Lion Controls
FactoryTalk View Machine Edition (ME) and FactoryTalk View Site Edition (SE) version 5.1 software, along with the FactoryTalk ViewPoint software, allow for remote monitoring of manufacturing processes from an Internet browser. Both FactoryTalk View ME and FactoryTalk View SE visualization software include operating system support for Windows XP Service Pack 3, Windows Vista Business Edition and Windows Server 2008. The FactoryTalk View ME software also supports Windows Vista Home Basic. An application documenter  provides comprehensive documentation of HMI applications.
Rockwell Automation
EZ SE Series offers 10.4-in. TFT color with Ethernet IP for SLC 500, MicroLogix, ControlLogix, CompactLogix with array support. Field-selectable Ethernet protocols include Ethernet IP, Modbus TCP/IP, SRTP, DirectLogix K-Sequence and EZIP.
Power Panel PP45 uses Ethernet and X2X Link for its communication system. These devices have been equipped with a slot for interface cards. Depending on the requirement, the power panel can be expanded using CAN bus, Profibus DP or RS485/RS232. All components and the 5.7-in. QVGA LCD display are contained within a compact housing. B/W or color displays are available, optionally with function keys or a touchscreen. The PP45 is operated fan-free and is front-side IP65-protected.
B&R Industrial Automation
Control panels and panel PCs with 5.7-in. displays feature rugged aluminum fronts with IP65-rated protection. These panels, with resolution of 640 x 480 pixels, are available in versions from a basic control-panel display without processor to a compact PC controller with an integrated Intel Atom CPU. All panel PCs are equipped with a 3½-in. motherboard and can be expanded with a Compact Flash card. The operating range for all types of panels is 32–131 °F.
Beckhoff Automation
Engineered with transflective technology, the MP 377 15-in. HMI includes a UV-protected exterior and 3-mm-thick glass that resists sunlight discoloration and ensures a rugged IP66 environmental rating for outdoor installation. The HMI comes with a TFT color display and built-in Profinet/Ethernet and Profibus/MPI communication ports. The panel includes two USB ports for peripheral connection to flash drives, keyboard, mouse or printer and 12 MB of onboard application memory that can be expanded with an integrated SD memory slot or CF card slot.
Siemens Industry
Wide Support
GP-Pro EX v. 2.2 HMI application development software has multimedia capability, remote PC access, high-speed device linking and built-in control-logic editor. The software speeds application development for OEMs and end users who need to standardize on one HMI package that supports Windows-based systems and dedicated operator interfaces.
Pro-face America
C-more operator interfaces line includes 6-in. TFT color panels with LED backlights. The base model EA7-T6CL-R panel is a 320x240 resolution QVGA display, which supports up to 65536 colors. The analog resistive touchscreen supports unlimited touch areas, two USB ports, serial PLC interface (RS-232/422/485) and 10 MB project memory. The panel is equipped with an LED backlight with a 50000-hour half-life. Additional capabilities on the full-feature EA7-T6CL unit include an Ethernet 10/100 base-T communication port, remote Internet access and data logging. Both panels are NEMA 4/4X, IP65 compliant.
Touch panel deployment option adds decision-making capabilities to an HMI using LabView analysis and logic functionality. Use built-in presentation tools to display vital information to operators and communicate through the shared variable, TCP/IP and other protocols. Program HMI, as well as your NI programmable automation controller (PAC). It targets touch panel computers running Windows CE devices such as the NI TPC-2006.
National Instruments
5.7-in. HG2G operator interfaces measure 35-mm deep, have a monochrome or 256-color touchscreen display and come with 2 MB memory. An optional built-in Ethernet port allows remote communication with PLCs.
Fanless Panel PCs
Gold Series 10-, 15-, and 17-in. fanless panel PCs have Intel processors and Windows XP Pro. The panels draw less power, produce less heat and prevent particulates from being drawn into the unit and operate in a sealed environment with no air flow. Solid-state hard drives are available.
Maple Systems
HMI is a customizable, true analog touchscreen with programmable function buttons. Macro programming handles applications, storing and manipulating trends, data and communications bewteen PLCs. The multi-language interface in three models has blue-mode, grayscale or color screen versions.
Omega Engineering
QTerm-G58 wireless, battery-powered, mobile industrial HMI handheld computer uses a 200 MHz processor and a transflective color TFT display. Interfaces include EIA-232/422/485 and 10/100 BaseT Ethernet. Memory is up to 32 MB SDRAM, 8 MB NOR flash, or 8 GB NAND flash. NEMA 12/14 are optional. It has 24- or 40-key steel dome membrane keyboard with customizable keypad legend and logo.
Model SV-2400 24-in., NEMA 4/IP56, all-steel, enclosed LCD touchscreen has resolution to native mode WUXGA (1920x1200) with analog and digital input sources. It has a 16:10 aspect ratio, 250 nits of brightness, 160° viewing angles and a contrast of 1000:1. Units have anti-reflective, tempered glass protective overlay or capacitive touchscreen.
PowerView operator interfaces from 4.3 in. up to 15 in. are powered by 24 Vdc and use TFT LCDs and analog-resistive touchscreens. The units are fan-less, disk-less and have NEMA 4/IP65 sealed panel mount front panels. ViewBuilder 8000 development system is free with each unit. All are CE-marked, and most units have UL/cUL approvals.
IndraControl VEP HMI with embedded Windows CE provides PC power and functionality with flash card technology for applications such as machine startup, inputting values, jogging axes, recipe management and supervisory level HMI functions. It has a 600 MHz processor with 512 MB RAM and 1 GB of memory to handle multiple software applications.
Bosch Rexroth
KepServerEX software has Advanced Tags option to perform math, logic and advanced functions such as counter, timer, minimum, maximum, average and accumulation. It has an OPC-UA Server plug-in from select private label OEMs, two client interface options and two driver plug-ins.
Interact v. 3.0 supervisory HMI software has historical trending tools that aggregate data from multiple machines or work cells, as well as third-party PLCs and HMI panels. When supervising machines running Interact Xpress, InteractX imports screens and data directly from Xpress applications.
Parker Electromechanical Automation

The GT12 4.6-in. touchscreen is available in monochrome with eight grayscale and multicolor backlighting (white, red, pink or red, green, orange) and a resolution of 320x120. It includes built-in SD memory slot for data logging and program transfers, as well as USB mini B programming port that also functions as pass-through communication to Panasonic PLCs. Available with 2MB of memory for program and recipes. Communicates with PLC/controller via RS232, RS422, or RS485. The GT12 is equipped with IP67-rated body and can be mounted in horizontal or vertical orientation.
Panasonic Electric Works of America

NV3-Series HMIs are sized for pairing with micro PLCs and compact ac drives or servo systems in small machines, allowing a machine builder to use the current choice of PLC model without redesigning an existing system. The 3.6-in. HMIs come with USB ports. Models with 3.6-in. color and monochrome screens (NV3Q) offer high-resolution QVGA (320 x 240 pixels) touchscreen displays. Models with 3.1-in. monochrome screens (NV3W) offer three-color backlighting and 64 x 128 pixel resolution.
Omron Electronics
Widescreen technology supports 65,356 bright colors with free configuration software and a 36-month warranty. The 7- and 10.1-in. TFT touchscreens are protected by industrial-grade enclosure and connectivity to more than 100 controllers via one Ethernet port, two USB host ports, one USB client download port and three serial ports. Features include 400 MHz 32-bit RISC CPJ.
Kaspro Group
iX is a fourth-generation software-based HMI concept. It consists of a development environment and a runtime environment and is available in several versions, including a complete Lauer HMI concept that can run on a panel PC or desktop PC platform as well as a runtime version for PCs from other suppliers. iX constitutes an open platform solution and supports the OPC standard. Users have the choice of using protocols from a pool of drivers or a connection via a third-party OPC server.
Beijer Electronics

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