Control Engineering HMI eNews for May 2002
In this issue:
Wireless, handheld HMI in May Control Engineering
In the May edition of Control Engineering I investigated the state of wireless, handheld HMI devices. These devices come in a couple of sizes, namely palm-size and tablet. There is some development for Palm OS products, but most effort appears to be on the Microsoft Windows-based Pocket PC. Several products are beginning to appear based on the Microsoft Tablet PC platform or similar sizes. If you missed the print issue, it will be on the Web shortly at /
This looks like an ideal product for maintenance technicians or engineers, especially in large plants. Have you thought about these, yet? Do you have some interest? Think they might just 'wander away?' As always, if you have something to share, e-mail email@example.com .
I am writing this having just returned from San Jose and the Sensors Expo. A couple of things stood out. One, many conference sessions appeared to be slanted more toward exhibitors than attendees. Two, attendance continued to be low, continuing a trend for many (but not all) trade shows. Trade shows usually revolve around an 'industry.' Conferences were a main draw, as attendees came to pick up knowledge and ideas. The Embedded Systems Conferences still draw large attendance to its conference sessions with a resulting large spillover to the trade show.
What do you think about conferences? Not worth the time and money? Why? Do you get all the ideas and information you need from trade journals and the Internet? What kind of conference would get you out of the plant or office?
Reply to firstname.lastname@example.org
Expand your knowledge
If you are interested in expanding your knowledge into more general areas of management and business, check out 'Knowledge@Emory,' a Web site that publishes articles by Emory University professors and other researchers. One article on the current page citing the work of Goizueta Business School professor Rick Gilkey, argues for finding a way to utilize your knowledge workers in a highly driven environment without burning them out. Noting that 'people don't typically quit a company, as much as they quit their bosses,' Mr. Gilkey states that making the workplace more hospitable to employees increases staff retention.
You may have to register, but it's free. Check out the entire thing at www.knowledge.emory.edu
HMI offering from Cutler-Hammer
Eaton Corp.'s Cutler-Hammer business unit has released PanelMate ePro. This operator interface provides an open computing platform, Ethernet connectivity, and OPC client/server support with the Power Pro software. Other features include color TFT touchscreen display, support for 200 pages of information, and 65,000 local messages.
For more, visit www.cutler-hammer.eaton.com
Shallow depth flat-panel display
Check out the new light-industrial display from Daisy Data. The flat-panel display features a depth of 3.5-in. on the 15- and 18-in. models and 4.0-in. on the 20-in. model. Other features include impact-resistant polycarbonate window, resistive or near-field imaging touchscreen, removable rear access for maintenance, and on-screen display for contrast, color balance, and other adjustments.
For more, visit www.daisydata.com/products/2430.html
Xycom Automation, a subsidiary of Pro-face America, now bundles Pro-face brand PS-G industrial panel computers with InduSoft Web Studio Software. The units are available with 7.4-in. VGA or 12.1-in. SVGA TFT LCD flat panels. Both units have integrated touchscreen front panels that meet IP65f and NEMA 4X/12 ratings. InduSoft Web Studio maintains open connectivity to other Microsoft Windows-based software systems enabling communication with MES, ERP, or other management systems.
Power back up for your HMI
So, you have several computers and displays containing critical process information. What happens when there's a power glitch? Sola/Hevi-Duty has introduced model S5K modular uninterruptable power supply (UPS). This modular UPS is field upgradeable from 4 to 16 kVA. Modules feature self-diagnostic capabilities, and one will automatically take itself offline on failure while other modules continue to support the equipment.
For more, visit www.solaheviduty.com/products/UPS/5000/index.html
Ergonomic palm buttons
UltraTouch, a zero force, control reliable, ergonomic palm button from Pinnacle Systems can be used as a two-hand control device for operator safety. Its dual dissimilar sensor format is designed so that machine actuation is achieved by the operator only. Some of the safety design features incorporated include two dissimilar sensors including both infrared and positive location, redundant circuitry, captive contact safety relays, and interlock circuit between the two sensors in each module.
For more, visit www.pinnaclesystems.com/group_ergonomics.html
Rugged handheld computer
Intermec's model 700 Pocket PC 2002 handheld computer integrates up to three communications options - wide area, local area, and BlueTooth - in a single handheld. This model adds a color display and Intel Corp.'s new X-Scale PXA250 processor. Its ability to integrate up to three radios in a single device, including 802.11b and BlueTooth technologies, provides multiple wireless communications capabilities. Its optional scanning technologies offer data and image collection, and its battery capacity ensures up to 10 hours of operation between rechargings. Designed for use in harsh environments, it withstands multiple 5-ft. (1.5 m) drops to concrete and is sealed against rain and dust to IP64 standards.
For more, visit www.intermec.com