Product Round-Up: Operator Interfaces (Part 1 of 3)

Oct. 21, 2003
Using COTS forces vendors to adopt standard platforms
Although major control equipment vendors always try to keep their operator interface hardware and software as proprietary as they can, the rush to use commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) equipment is forcing nearly all suppliers into the same technology corner. See "Mmmm, Mmmm, COTS" [CONTROL--July '03, p36] for more on the COTS trend.

With COTS systems, the basic hardware and software come with the same Intel and Microsoft logos.

In fact, looking at the HMIs and OIs listed in this month's roundup, you can see that few vendors bother to list details about the COTS systems that form the base of their products. They may list details about the HMI screens, or the number of I/O you can connect, but few bother to tell you that the hardware is a PC of some kind, the Windows software supports .Net and XML, and the system has Ethernet ports. All that is assumed, because HMI systems are becoming commodities, and they must have those attributes to compete.

Any HMI that is not COTS today probably will be next year. The market is demanding the functionality provided by COTS.

Following is the first of what will be three installments on OIs and HMIs. The next two will be web-published late in the weeks of October 27 and November 3.

Serving Up HMI Software

InTouch 8.0 HMI software provides support for the Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Standard Edition operating system. The software is offered in standard and terminal services versions.


949/753-9292 www.wonderware.com

Zero-Defect HMI

CitectSCADA V5.42 lets end users develop control and monitoring systems using eXtreme Programming (XP), an agile development methodology that delivers zero-defect code. Programmers work together in pairs, to ensure that code is developed and tested in a consistent style so that everyone can understand it and make improvements as needed to meet requirements. The software includes automated diagnostic tool.


770/521-7511 www.citect.com

Touch Panels

EZTouch touch panels are available in 6, 8, 10, and 15 in. color and monochrome units. They have a low-profile slim bezel, are constructed with FDA-compliant plastic and touchscreen overlay, and have a 1/4 in. FDA-compliant O-ring gasket. Options include Data Highway Plus, Modbus Plus, DeviceNet, Profibus DP, or Ethernet I/P capability. Prices start at $459.

Automation Direct

770/889-2858 www.automationdirect.com

Plastic Starter HMI

The Intelligent Integrator HMI is intended for plastic producers that are using the Extrusion Master and MACO controls systems and other plastic processing equipment. It comes with Wonderware InTouch software and starter screens for extrusion, injection, or blow molding. The unit is available with 10, 12, or 15 in. monitors that have 2-1/4 in. deep stainless steel chassis, IP65 and NEMA 4/12 sealing, and TFT touchscreen displays. The computer is enclosed in a DIN rail-mounted box.


703/669-1329 www.eurotherm.com

HMI Upgrade

Enhancements to the HMI500 Series touchscreen operator interface include the addition of protocols for Keyence, Yaskawa Memobus, Siemens TI505, and CTC controls. The system now supports more than 80 families of PLCs and motion controllers. The HMI is available with 5.5, 7.7, and 10.4 in. screens. Prices start at $495.

Maple Systems

425/745-3229 www.maple-systems.com

Stainless Steel Enclosures for OIs

Premium Panel stainless steel operator interface enclosures are for applications where high-pressure washdowns are required. They have an IP69K rating, which provides protection against high-pressure jet stream up to 1,50 psi, liquid temperature to 176ºF, and nozzle distances as close as 3.9 in. Applications include food and beverage, pharmaceutical, and off-shore petro/chemical industries. The enclosures are available with or without a keyboard housing.


800/477-4000 www.rittal-corp.com.

Panel PCs

The Control Panel family of LCD monitors are available for PCs ranging from the company's CX1000 miniature panel PC to the mid-size CP3000 and CP6300, and the full-size CP6500 PC. Screen sizes range from 6.5 to 20 in. Options include a full membrane keyboard, function keys, keyboard ports, disk drives, mouse ports, built-in electrical pushbuttons, touchscreen, touch pads, and specific data ports, such as data card readers.

Beckhoff Automation

952/890-0000 www.beckhoff.com

Process Indicators

The loop-powered MLA Series analog indicator and MLD Series digital indicator monitor 4-20 mA process inputs from two-wire transmitters to provide real-time indication of flow, temperature, pressure, or level. Both are housed in NEMA 4X enclosures and can be used in Class I, II, and III, Div. 1 environments. Models are available that accept 4-20 mA, 1-5 V, and 10-50 mA signals.


800/258-2552 www.us.yokogawa.com

Slim Brightly

The SlimView Series is an industrial flat-panel workstation with integrated touchscreen and keyboard/mouse housed in a NEMA 4/4X enclosure. A signal extender function lets the computer be placed in a remote, safe area up to 3,000 ft. away from the display station. With a 15.1 or 18.1-in. display, this workstation can be pedestal, wall, or overheard mounted.


770/271-0048 www.protech1.com

Safe PLC Keyboard

The Adapter allows users to operate a PLC and keyboard in a purged enclosure located in an explosive atmosphere. Keys on the adapter's membrane match the original PLC's operator interface, and the keyboard membrane cover is connected to actuators that reach through a layer of Lexan to the PLC keyboard. The adapter can also include a transparent window to view an enclosed LCD/TFT screen. It can be used with Allen-Bradley's PanelView, Cutler Hammer's Panelmate, and similar equipment.

Expo Technologies

440/ 247-5314 www.expoworldwide.com

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