Modern concepts & technologies including Internet of Things (IoT), Industry 4.0 & Smart Factory are upon us. Consumers & enterprises are moving towards devices that would enable them to use these technologies, and compete in a tighter market. But what exactly sits at the core of all these technologies, and what exactly drives them to increase industrial throughput? The answer is simple: Data.
Human Machine Interfaces (HMIs) is a graphical based visualization of an industrial control system, which in the old days was accomplished through lighting panels or an array of LEDs. Several businesses have started migrating towards HMIs in order to facilitate the workforce and provide more accurate & timely readings, however some choose to stay with the age-old solution of indicator lights, and for good reason.
A bright sunny day for you may be a disaster in the making for your VFDs. Air conditioning systems are installed to ensure that machinery such as drives, panels, etc. run within the optimum temperature range. But if the temperature surpasses expected levels, things can go wrong very quickly. Heat dissipation is often overlooked in the case of VFDs or AC drives, leading to devastating downtime. Keeping into account a few factors can greatly help keeping the energy dissipation in check, and reduce the risks of unexpected shutdowns.
Remote I/O modules have been an integral part of the industrial world for decades. Whether there’s need for receiving sensory data or for sending actuator commands, remote I/O modules have always been there to make sure your automation scheme works. Today, this technology is undergoing changes, it’s becoming better, smaller, faster and more intelligent.
Your PLC, contractors, relays, safety systems, and every other piece of control hardware requires a safe & secure home for proper, uninterrupted operation. Specification of control enclosure is a process that requires consideration of several requirements from physical size to environmental ratings to thermal thresholds. A step by step approach is therefore well-suited to ensure all the required boxes have been checked.
Universal Logic, Inc., an AI software company and robotics integrator that offers supply chain solutions, needed a design and complete build of control panels to house 130+ VFDs and a PLC. With a low bandwidth of in-house engineering resources, Universal Logic Inc. needed a turnkey solution they could trust.
HMIs serve as gateways to multitude of hardware & software ranging from servers to I/O devices to controllers, etc. Since the dawn of industrial robotics, OEMs have been using embedded controls in their machines. Today, these embedded controls have transformed into embedded HMIs, platforms that contain a display along with an embedded OS (Windows, Linux, etc.), as well as a programming software to allow users to customize the robot’s functionalities according to their needs.
The PLC Evolution
Dick Morley introduced the industrial world to the Programmable Logic Controller (PLC), a tool that would revolutionize the automation landscape for decades to come. The PLC was seen as a savior in the industrial world, which relied heavily on switch gears and relay boxes for routine activities. The PLC has room for evolution unlink any other automotive device which has made it so susceptible to changing technological standards.
Industrial environments are volatile. Things can go wrong within minutes or stay stable for months. Nonetheless, ample protection is necessary to make sure things keep going as smoothly as possible. Enclosures are vital for any industry as they provide a housing for all cables, electrical equipment and termination points.
Nowadays, industries are getting increasingly digitized, so additional equipment is required that serves as a gateway to manual controls. Enclosures also provide due protection against RF waves as well as from environmental factors such as moisture, sunlight, etc. Plant managers in oil, gas, material handling, and virtually any industry are therefore keen to make sure all their equipment is safe as break in operations can result in lost time, resources and reputation.
Human Machine Interfaces (HMIs) have long been used in the industrial world to provide users with comprehensive system monitoring and control capabilities. Large LCD panels and screens are generally attributed to HMIs but latest implementations of HTML-5 powered technology as well as increased processing capabilities of handheld devices plan to change this image.
Moving from workstation based controls to handheld ones may sound like a lengthy process, but it is one that’s already being implemented within industries. Smartphones and tablets are the key drivers behind this technology, and they are gradually being moved to industrial applications due to greater flexibility and portability they provide compared to location dependent HMIs.
Topics: HMI Panels