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Modular HMIs cut the cost of ownership
Published:  01 April, 2003

Modular HMIs cut the cost of ownership

Rockwell has unveiled a new generation of modular HMIs (human-machine interfaces) which, it claims, will cut the cost of owning and using such devices.

The savings will come in several ways. For example, because the Allen-Bradley PanelView Plus share the same bolt-on logic and communications modules for all screen sizes from 6.5—15 inches, stockholding costs will be reduced.

Also, Rockwell`s ViewAnyWare strategy means that the same programming software can be used for all applications from basic machine-level operator controls to high-level supervisory systems. Elements developed for one application can be re-used at other levels. Traditionally, parallel development efforts have been needed for machine-level and supervisory applications, doubling the time and effort required, according to Rockwell`s product manager, Paul Herron.

The PanelView Plus family includes keypad-operated, touch-sensitive and combined keypad-touchscreen TFT colour displays. A logic module, based on the Windows CE operating system, is fixed to the back of the screen. This has built-in Ethernet and RS-232 serial ports, as well as two USB ports to accommodate mice and keyboards. A CompactFlash memory card slot allows data allows data and files to be transferred for data-logging or upgrade purposes.

If other forms of communication, such as Ethernet/IP or DH-485 are required, an optional second module can be attached to the logic module.

Functions provided by the HMIs include trending (with up to eight "pens" per trend), data-logging of up to 300,000 values of a single record, and advanced graphics supporting 24-bit animated colour displays.

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