25 Jul 2024

AUTOMATION FOR MANUFACTURING

Machine-builders can customise HMIs to suit their needs

Rockwell’s OptixPanel HMIs offer specifiers a wide range of options

Rockwell Automation has released a line of graphic terminals based on technologies that it acquired when it bought the Italian automation manufacturer Asem in 2020. The Allen‑Bradley OptixPanel terminals cover screen sizes from 4–21.5 inches, in 4:3 or widescreen proportions, with bezel options including stainless-steel, aluminium and glass.

The panels are said to give a PC-like user experience in sealed enclosures with no access to the operating system, thus avoiding the need for antivirus software. Machine-builders can customise the terminals based on factors such as cost, performance, and look-and-feel.

As well as standard models, which can operate independently on two networks, there are also compact versions, and stainless-steel models with optional IP69K protection for washdown applications. Capacitive multitouch screens support gestures such as swipe and pinch.

The HMIs are compatible with Rockwell’s FactoryTalk Optix software, giving cloud-based access to process data using communications standards such as OPC UA and MQTT. Built-in drivers support connections to all types of controller.

Applications can be developed independently using a local desktop editor, or collaboratively via a Web browser. Software-as-a-service workflows allow teams to collaborate from anywhere, with change-tracking and versioning to keep track of who has changed what and when.

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