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Portable HMIs keep control in hand

01 April, 2002

Portable HMIs keep control in hand

Rockwell Automation has developed a family of hand-held HMIs (human-machine interfaces) that allow factory personnel to move around a machine, or along a production line, to monitor and control the plant. The company claims that the MobileView devices will accelerate set-up and changeover times, and simplify troubleshooting.

Paul Herron, Rockwell`s HMI product manager in the UK, points that with fixed-panel HMIs, workers may have to walk hundreds of metres between a machine and its HMI. "By using a portable HMI adjacent to the machine or process," he says, "changes can be made locally and the effect observed immediately, providing significant efficiency and productivity benefits, especially in terms of worker safety".

There are three versions of the MobileView system, all with 7-inch (17.8cm) colour touchscreens and keypads, and all designed to run Windows CE applications. Initially, there are two models that have a 20m-long Ethernet and power supply cable connection to the control system. They will be joined later this year by a wireless version.

The basic 290mm-diameter MobileView Machine Terminal weighs 1.5kg and can be rested on an arm. It is intended as a real-time machine interface and is also suitable for maintenance applications.

An enhanced version called the MobileView Guard Terminal is designed for applications in gated or safety-critical areas. It incorporates an emergency stop button and/or a three-position enable switch that detects if the operator releases or clenches it in a panic. This provides an interface to the control system while maintaining access to the safety system.

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