Control Engineering HMI eNewsletter for Janurary 2002

By Gary Mintchell January 3, 2002

In this issue:

  • HMI in January Control Engineering
  • Change
  • The Next Computer Interface
  • Touchpad Keyboard
  • Intermec launches mobile computers
  • Large display for control or conference room
  • Organic light-emitting diode displays
  • Cool products
  • Control Engineering News

HMI in January Control Engineering

January’s HMI article is an introduction to XML and its related technologies. While once it was cool to embed ‘web pages’ in a controller, now, it’s embedding information-serving capability using XML.

By the way, if you want to see an example of some live XML data, check out the Opto 22 web control demo . You can turn on a lamp, check the temperature and start/stop a wheel – all over the web. Then see data via XML. The demo is live in a conference room at Opto’s headquarters. I’ve seen it go on and off several times during a meeting.

Coming up in February are discussions of Internet technologies used in manufacturing, the second controller article, and a survey of contact temperature sensing.

If you’ve ever read any of Jerry Pournelle’s science fiction, you’re familiar with his penchant for small handheld computers. I’m previewing some in this newsletter. Later in the year, I’ll have a feature article on the state of handheld and wireless computers in manufacturing.

Do you use any? How? Let me know at .

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Ever wonder why those around you are not as enthused by that new idea as you? Why do you have to work so hard to get people to see that change is good? That was my biggest shock to overcome when I went from school to manufacturing. Other people think about that sort of thing, too. Harvard professor Rosabeth Kanter told Business 2.0 magazine that the innovations most likely to take hold are those that don’t demand excessive change. Incrementalism is the key represented by the characteristics of provable, able to be adopted in phases, reversible, tangible, fits prior investments, and familiar. Any of that sound familiar when you tell the plant manager that something must be changed?

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The Next Computer Interface

‘The desktop is dead.’ So states David Gelernter, professor of computer science at Yale and chief scientist at Mirror Worlds Technologies. The ‘desktop’ is the metaphor for how you manage files and programs on your PC. It springs from early 1970s work at Xerox Palo Alto Research Center and was popularized in Apple’s Macintosh. Many are now questioning its ability to help users navigate through the huge amount of files that are now typical. This article in MIT’s Technology Review surveys several ways of thinking about how to lay out the screen on a PC. Those designing HMI screens will find this discussion stimulating and may find themselves devising a better way to present manufacturing information.

Touchpad Keyboard

Cirque Corp ., inventor of Glide Point technology used as a mouse input device on laptop computers, has expanded its line with Glide Touch Micro Keyboard. The GMK 100I module is a customizable keyboard and cursoring device built to handle industrial environments as well as other applications like kiosks.

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Intermec launches mobile computers

In coordination with Microsoft’s recent announcement of Windows CE .Net, Intermec launched a version of its 5020 handheld industrial computer with that operating system. The product also includes Microsoft SQL Server 2000 Win CE edition. The company has also added voice over internet (VoIP) capabilities to its 700 series wireless mobile computers eliminating need for separate walkie-talkies or phones.

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Large display for control or conference room

Mitsubishi Digital Electronics Presentation Products Division is shipping MegaView Wall data wall display. The 50-inch display is designed for non-stop monitoring or projection applications. The displays can be configured in may ways — as many as five displays can be vertically stacked without support, and any number wide.

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Organic light-emitting diode displays

Eastman Kodak and Sanyo Electric have formed a joint venture company to manufacture organic light-emitting diode displays and will begin manufacture and sale this year for active-matrix displays. The new company, SK Display Corp. will manufacture and sell the products. OLED displays consist of self-luminous pixels, which don’t require power-consuming backlights. Look for them first in PDAs and consumer devices. You can be there will be manufacturing applications.

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Cool Products

Adroit Technologies , a South African SCADA company, is beginning to expand to Europe and North America and has released version 4.2 of its application, Adroit. This version includes ActiveX scripting, use of Visual Basic or Java script, OLE DB connectivity, and ability to add and manager bookmarks to real-time and historical trends.

Two Technologies announced PCL-486 ROM-DOS based hand held computers that include 192 x 128 pixel LCD display, 8 MB RAM and 2MB Flash memory, and a configurable serial port.

Nortech Engineering introduced a 19-inch flat industrial CRT monitor featuring a maximum resolution of 1600 x 1200 pixels and .20 mm dot pitch. It is available as rack or panel mount with front mounted controls. Dual fans allow positive pressure cooling allowing operation to 50 deg C.

Red Lion’s DeviceNet card combines with its Pax series panel meters enabling access of display values, setpoints, and reset values over the network. Communication setup is with DIP switch enabling programming of MAC ID and baud rate of up to 500 k.

Intelligent Instrumentation has added touch screen function to its LANpoint CE vehicle mount and stationary-mount data collection terminals.

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Control Engineering News

  • Is your company involved in FDA’s 21 CFR Part 11 Electronic Records and Signatures regulation? Please take a survey at ; results will appear in an April 2002 Control Engineering article.

  • Register for a free Control Engineering-moderated webcast: ‘FOUNDATION Fieldbus: An Open, Integrated Architecture for Information Integration.’ See details at /webcast/archives/fieldbus.htm

  • Control Engineering Online includes eight topical e-mailed newsletters, Daily News, Control Engineering Europe , and searches of the site, Control Engineering Buyer’s Guide , and Automation Integrator Guide Online ; go to / .

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