Beijer, Wonderware partnership delivers Windows CE operator panels
Terminals running the Microsoft Windows CE operating system are an increasingly available option for basic operator terminal products and industrial PCs. Beijer Electronics and Wonderware, a division of Invensys, have signed a strategic agreement that increases user options further: high-end Windows CE-based touch panel hardware from Beijer combined with a runtime license for a subset of Wonderware InTouch 10.0 software.
The bundled solution will be sold as Wonderware Compact Panels worldwide. Models include three touch interface panels with 6.5-in., 10.4-in., and 15.1in. TFT displays. For Wonderware, the Compact Panels complement an existing line of industrial computers, expanding it into the Windows CE-based human machine interface (HMI) market.
Conny Persson, CEO of Beijer Electronics Products, said Wonderware and Beijer Electronics cooperating like this is an example of “an alliance that we will see more of in the future. In a global industry with increasingly high demands for flexibility and quality, new types of partnerships between suppliers are required…. Our own complete HMI solutions bring high value to our customers. This shows that we can also help others create value for their customers by combining our different product offers.”
Mark Watson, a market analyst with UK-based IMS Research, says, “An open operator terminal with a Microsoft Windows CE-based operating system provides higher levels of functionality and flexibility in comparison to other operator terminal product types. The general trend to increasing application complexity and higher price pressures make the open operator terminal an ideally placed product to fill the gap between more basic operator terminal products and industrial PCs.”
Watson says the reliability of an operator terminal’s operating system is paramount in ensuring that downtime is minimized, and that the tracking and processing of data is performed in a secure environment. “Windows CE-based operator terminal products can now boast exceptional levels of reliability,” he says, “which is a key factor in encouraging machine builders and end users away from alternative interface solutions.”
Since the development environment for Compact Panels is the same Wonderware Development Studio that Wonderware customers are currently using, with InTouch 10.0 and Wonderware System Platform 3.0, Gardner said “any of our existing customers will be able to quickly build applications and use the new Compact Panels as part of a networked software solution.”