Window into Operations

New Functionality Expands the Value of the HMI

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The human machine interface (HMI) is where people and technology meet. Therefore, they are ubiquitous, found everywhere from vending machines to nuclear power plants.  The HMIs we’re familiar with first appeared in 1981. However, in today’s economy, with end users wary about investing in upgrades or plant expansion, HMI manufacturers have had to add features to their products that can meet a new set of needs, such as greater compliance with environmental regulations and security.

According to Claire Cerrato, director of HMI/SCADA product management, GE FANUC Intelligent Platforms, “The customer trends driving evolution in the HMI/SCADA environment are secure access to information anywhere, low cost of ownership and new regulatory and security compliance requirements. Companies are demanding the ability 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 now need to drive easy access to information from the plant floor to the remote site, whether users are in an operational center or on a mobile access device. You will see your information anytime, anywhere in a secure end-to-end system. HMI/SCADA will be the ‘advisor’ that presents that data about process, production and logistics to improve decision-making and maximize plant operations.”

End users can look for additional features in their HMIs such as HMI-PLC functionality, greater use of graphics, easier configuration tools, Internet access and extra memory from low-end HMI dedicated terminals to high-end industrial computer-based HMIs.

Patti Pool
Products Editor

Christensen Display Products
Industrial flat panel monitors are now available with a direct NTSC video input capability. Live video input simplifies system architecture. Where the application calls for a remote camera monitor, CCTV video display or other live video, a direct monitor input eliminates a PC or other third party video conversion devices. Monitors are available in 15 in., 18 in. and 19 in. in a variety of configurations.
Monitor Technologies
SiloPatrol SE Model HMI is environmentally hardened for outside installation and can monitor inventory level measurements of up to 16 sensors, one in each silo. Connection between the HMI and sensors is a single twisted-pair RS485 communications cable. The HMI provides for automatic and manual measurement updates and can convert the basic distance measurement in each silo to level, volume, weight and %-full based on user input data. Display of data is via a multi-line backlit display.
OTEK Corp.
Model  HI-QTBS programmable intelligent controller offers a 101 automatic tricolor bargraph that changes color as signal changes and 6-digit display with 6 alarm annunciators, RS232/422/485 I/O, analog (2) and relays (4) outputs, power inputs of 5, 8-32 V dc or 90-265 V ac and signal inputs for V/mA dc and true rms, TC, RTD, strain gage, 4-20 mA, ohms, ORP, pH, event, time and Hz. Enclosed in an explosion-proof housing, it is approved for Class I, II and III, CENELEC, EEx and NEMA 4, 7 and 9 for applications in petrochemical, ordinance, mining and pharmaceutical. The EP case withstands temperatures up to 250 ºF and is panel, pipe or wall mount.
Vista Control Systems
Vsystem Historian records 8 million 32-bit values per second continuously and with the HMI portion, Vdraw, displays selected data on a chart at 1 KHz data rate per tag. Vsystem licenses are not tag limited. With support for many computer operating systems, including Windows, Linux, Solaris and OpenVMS, VSystem allows use of trusted operating systems for mission-critical functions and popular operating systems for other functions.

GT32T is a TFT 4096 color, 5.5-in. touch screen with a SD card slot (maximum 1 GB), an Ethernet port and a USB port for communication and updating/saving screen data. It also has a built-in voice play back feature. Measuring only 1.52 in. deep, the touch screen fits into OEM equipment easily.

Maple Systems
Silver Series Plus graphic touch screen has 8 in., 10 in. and 12 in. displays that can be mounted in landscape or portrait orientation. All displays are TFT touch screens with 65,536 colors. Multiple types of communications are available including USB ports, CompactFlash, Ethernet and the ability to connect to multiple PLCs using different drivers via serial ports and Ethernet port. In addition, USB and CompactFlash provide memory storage and external connection to a keyboard/mouse, barcode reader or printer.

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