More answers about overcoming limits of outdated HMI hardware and software

Human-machine interfaces: More audience questions are answered below from the webcast, “How to overcome limits of outdated HMI hardware and software.”

By Brian Young August 1, 2022
Courtesy: Exor

 

Learning Objectives

  • More webcast viewer questions about HMIs are answered here.
  • Modern HMIs connect more easily to other systems and software.
  • Webcast on HMI hardware and software is archived for a year for viewing.

Audience listening live to the Control Engineering webcast, “How to overcome limits of outdated HMI hardware and software,” asked questions after the July 13 presentation. More answers are provided below from the webcast presenter, Brian Young, Northeast and Canada regional sales manager, Exor America.

More questions about HMI hardware and software answered

Question: We have issues with operator turnover which creates training and operation problems. You mentioned useful guidance or wizards, can you elaborate?

Answer: Within Exor JMobile Software, there are various features that allow the development of wizard-based guidance. Guidance that takes a focused walk through of various operator actions and setups.  Two of these features are the “Advanced Dialogs” and a new feature in JMobile 4.5 called the “Stack Widget.” This widget allows you to create multiple screen layers useful for the development of wizards.

Q: Management at my company has been asking for data and reports from some of our equipment and we’re trying to figure out the easiest, lowest-cost way of doing it. What are your suggestions?

A: That’s a very common question, and many of the clients we help are looking to get some basic data from their manufacturing floor. Equally important is doing it in a way that compounds their investment as their Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) journey evolves, so the solution grows with them. Once you start getting data and experiencing the benefits of it, they always want more.

The quickest and easiest way to start is using an Exor HMIs or eXWare Gateways with an input/output (I/O) module attached or field mounted I/O that allows you to piggy back on existing machine sensors in a non-intrusive way. Often the thought is: “The machine is running. We don’t want to mess with it. We just want some data.”

We also can communicate directly to the controllers should you want to do so.

Once some datapoints are collected, you can use the free, built-in features of Exor JMobile to analyze, filter, and visualize in a web dashboard or an Adobe PDF report.

To compound the investment as you move along the IIoT journey, JMobile can grow with you to get data onto the network or into the cloud. Software provides native SQL database connectivity, message queuing telemetry transport (MQTT) and OPC UA Client/Server protocols, and the Exor Corvina Cloud IIoT Platform.

Q: You said the Exor IIoT cloud is easy to connect and lower cost. We’ve looked at other cloud services and found them to be difficult to implement and expensive. How is this different?

A: Corvina Cloud is a platform of cloud tools designed for controls engineers. We have done all the heavy lifting for you and created an environment that allows easy and quick development of your cloud services. After a simple connection from any Exor JMobile devices, within minutes, data is available for storage, reporting, alarming, and visualizations in dashboards. Dashboards can easily be built using Exor JMobile software or our web tools. You do not need to be a Microsoft Certified Cloud Developer to use this platform of tools and get the same results.

It is possible to upgrade outdated human-machine interface (HMI) software and hardware to address long-term needs. HMIs can scale as needed, according to the Control Engineering webcast, “How to overcome limits of outdated HMI hardware and software” presented by Exor America. Courtesy: Exor

It is possible to upgrade outdated human-machine interface (HMI) software and hardware to address long-term needs. HMIs can scale as needed, according to the Control Engineering webcast, “How to overcome limits of outdated HMI hardware and software” presented by Exor America. Courtesy: Exor

Q: How do you migrate existing programing on newer hardware?

A: We have a large installed base, and customers that rely on us to provide forward migration of software, and mechanical cutout compatibility to make migrating easy. You can drop the existing JMobile project directly into the new hardware, and it will fit the same mechanical cutout. In fact, you can even change sizes, and the project will scale beautifully.

Q: Is it possible for Exor to synchronize HMI and supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems?

A: OPC UA is a great tool for getting data onto the network and into SCADA, manufacturing execution systems (MES), and enterprise resource planning (ERP) Systems, and its built into and free inside Exor JMobile. We also have native connectivity to some SQL databases and a ton of protocols inside should you decide to connect a different way. We connect very well with SCADA.

Q: What are the best practices for secure remote access? How do you prevent unintended actions from taking place when connected remotely?

A: Safety is an utmost concern with respect to remote access. Layered authentication with user names and passwords and the granularity of Exor JMobile Security allows you to dial in the exact level of remote control based on the user level. You can control every aspect of the remote user interaction to prevent unintended operations.

Q: Please discuss benefits of modern HMI design, as opposed to pretty HMI pictures.

A: A modern HMI development platform should provide the tools and widgets to deploy meaningful and purposeful user interface (UI) experiences for all stakeholders locally and remotely. A meaningful UI experience is one with features built into the HMI that help operators navigate, learn its operation, or solve common problems.

Q: Is there a competency training course on offer? 

A: Yes, Exor offers training.

Q: Is a modern smart HMI available for hazardous area for monitoring and control of safety critical interlocks/a safety programmable logic controller (PLC)?             

A: Yes, EXOR offers multiple hazardous location (Class 1, Division 2/ATEX) HMI families.

Q: How do I find distributors?

A: Website provides Exor distributors, branches and support centers.

– Edited by Mark T. Hoske, content manager, Control Engineering, CFE Media and Technology, mhoske@cfemedia.com.

KEYWORDS: HMI hardware, HMI software, HMI upgrades

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Brian Young
Author Bio: Brian Young, Northeast and Canada Regional Sales Manager for Exor.