Control Engineering HMI eNewsletter for May 2003


AutomationDirect offers EZTouch touch panels in 8, 10 and 15-inch slim bezel sizes. Panels start at $419 and are available in color or monochrome. Certain models can also be purchased with built-in Data Highway Plus capability and Ethernet option cards are available for use with some models. 10 and 15' panels are available with MODBUS Plus, DeviceNet or Ethernet I/P capability.
The company offers 3,500 industrial automation products through their 1,300-page catalog and online store. The catalog features product descriptions, technical information and price lists for PLC and PC-based control products, operator interfaces, sensors, drives and more. Call (800) 633-0405, or Click here



North American keyboard, keypad market turns corner

North American demand for keyboards & keypads used in multiple industries will increase slowly through 2005, according to a recent report from Venture Development Corp . (VDC).

Growth in the consumption of keyboards and keypads should continue to rebound, although slowly, through the year. Increasing rates of growth are expected through 2005, as demand in aggregate continues and economies in general improve. The North American market for keyboards and keypads totaled $1.57 billion in 2002 and is forecast to reach $1.92 billion in 2007, growing at a compound annual rate of 4.2%. Use of these devices in all major sectors will fuel substantial growth in the market during 2006 and 2007. Growth will be most evident in the flat panel segment.

For more on this study, visit the VDC web site .

Text-based HMIs survive emergence of touch-based HMIs

Touch-based displays are the fastest growing, most publicized part of the human-machine interface (HMI) hardware market, but the text-based HMI sector is still surprisingly healthy, according to a recent European market study from IMS Research . Text displays and text operator panels together were estimated to account for 22.7% of the market in 2002.

Previous reports and opinions suggested that the text-based HMI market is rapidly dying, with some forecasting a market shrinking at more than 20% annually. However, this IMS study shows a substantially slower rate of decline. IMS analyst John Devlin says, ``the market for these low-end products will not simply just disappear. Yes, there is a definite migration towards the higher-level, graphical products but they cannot completely replace these entry-level products, if for no other reason than price."

Click here to read more .


HMI in Action-graphical visualization

Automating a baby bottle liner manufacturing line led to cost savings and increased machine productivity for PBM Products, Newport News, VA. Integral to the system was graphical visualization and control of the equipment using GE Fanuc's Cimplicity Machine Edition software and View, an interoperable component.

View is a machine-level HMI equipped with tools that graphically represent and control a machine. The I/O is tied directly into View's logic, so that it produces a graphical flashing alert on the industrial PC interface when an area of the machine is down. An operator can then identify and address critical machine events, such as sensor faults, and quickly resume production.The graphical user interface lets the operator interact with a machine and view how it is responding to commands. Operators can review and change setpoints for variables at the touch of a screen.

For more on the installation, click here and go to the article titled, "GE Fanuc Helps PBM Deliver Cost-Effective Baby Bottle Liners for America's Fastest Growing Infant Formula."

How do you view HMI?

How do you define Human-Machine Interface?

Traditionally, the term has meant the operator interface for process and machine control applications. But HMI is also about the human-to-machine interface for engineers, plant managers, maintenance personnel, laboratory technicians.

To some, an HMI is the window to all production-related information, embracing everything from processes and security measures to touch screens and pointing devices. If a field device includes a local digital readout, is the readout a simple HMI?

What do you think? How do you define HMI/operator interface? Share your thoughts and opinions with us at . We'll let you know what we find out.

HMI product review

Rockwell Automation has expanded the communication options for its Allen-Bradley InView message displays with six communication modules that quickly and easily integrate InView displays into existing networks without the cost of adding a new network. InView users can now connect to Data Highway Plus, DH-485, Remote I/O, DeviceNet, ControlNet and Ethernet/IP industrial networks.

The expanded network options let OEMs and end-users more easily implement InView displays into older production lines. End-users who want to standardize their operator interface displays across multiple networks can now add InView displays without needing to upgrade their communication networks at the same time.

Click here to learn more .

WebLink 21 is the latest addition to Ann Arbor Technologies series of industrial computer systems. It offers a complete, high-powered industrial computer integrated with a large UXGA 21" Display.

An analog resistive touch screen is standard, as is a NEMA 4 rated aluminum front bezel. The system features a 1.7 GHz Pentium 4 processor and DDR RAM (upgradeable to 1 GB) to meet the requirements of most any complex factory floor application.

Industrial-grade computer from MGR Industries and APC Technology features a Near Field Image touch screen. The 15-in flat panel (TFT) display is front-panel sealed to NEMA4X/IP66 standards.

The display/touch screen combination is durable enough for industries where exposure to chemicals, liquids, dirt, dust, metal shards, and airborne particles are common.

The touch screen is operable with either bare or gloved hand or a conductive stylus.


Control Engineering /HMI resources

The operator interface is an important part of any control and automation system. Read how HMIs fit into a variety of equipment online and in the May issue of Control Engineering :

And, as always, search for more HMI information on the Control Engineering website:

Have you updated your Buyer's Guide listing?

If your company is listed in our Control & Automation Buyer's Guide , be sure to go online and update your entry for this year by JUNE 5 ! Only updated listings will be included in the print edition, scheduled for publication this summer.

Click here to update (registration required). For instructions on how to update, click here .

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