HMI capabilities extend beyond just visualisationThe latest generations of HMIs with enhanced functionality offer capabilities beyond just visualisation, providing additional features that will help to reduce downtime, enable fast recovery from simple errors, increase availability and boost production efficiency. Instead of simply displaying data, these enhanced HMIs deliver genuine perspective on the automation process and provide a platform to solve the typical production problems that improve OEE.
These new products address the requirements programmers, maintenance staff and machine operators. They simplify system design, enable fast and effective response to production problems, and provide a more effective machine operation platform.
Key features on best of breed HMIs include the ability to back up the PLC program within the terminal. Thus, if a PLC CPU should fail and need replacing or the program needs restoring for some unforeseen reason, there is no frantic search for the original program or any need to bring a PC down onto the production floor from which to load it.
Once the PLC CPU has been changed, the program can be restored directly from the HMI, saving valuable time and effort and ensuring production is restarted as quickly as possible. In addition, rather than simply flagging up errors that occur, HMIs can help to reduce downtime by showing exactly where in the ladder program the error exists and its cause. The engineer can then quickly fix the problem directly from the HMI, again saving the time and effort of checking the ladder program on a separate PC. The HMIs can even include full ladder editing functionality, enabling minor ladder program changes or corrections to be made simply and efficiently.
Data logging capability
An increasingly important feature within HMIs is data logging capability, enabling data to be logged from remotely connected devices such as PLCs and temperature controllers, with the HMI's built-in RAM storing the data points. This data can then be transferred on SD card or USB memory stick.
When it comes to the screen design process, the latest software packages offer an extended suite of intuitive programming, control and visualisation tools, with comprehensive libraries of ready-to-use graphical objects and a large selection of fonts, enabling designers to produce highly effective user screens quickly and easily.
All of these features and capabilities are embodied with Mitsubishi Electric's GOT1000 series of HMIs. The products benefit from a combination of advanced technology and the experience gained from Mitsubishi's own production lines. The added capabilities address today's requirements of machine design, operation and maintenance, and provide a platform that enable companies to maximise machine availability and drive an increase in OEE.
The GOT1000 series provides a comprehensive range of both panel mounted and portable HMIs, in screen sizes from 3.7in to 15in. The high resolution screens provide up to 65,536 colours and can display complex graphics, photographs - in Jpeg and Bitmap format - and even documents like PDF, Powerpoint, Excel and Word. 64-bit RISC processors combined with specially developed high speed graphics processors set new benchmark levels of performance across the range, while features such as long-life LED backlighting, analogue touch functions, front-face USB port, an SD card slot and IP67 front panel sealing are standard across much of the range.
Communications capabilities include RS232, RS422/485, USB and SD card ports as standard, with Ethernet available as an option. USB ports enable simple transfer of OS and project data, as well as allowing the connection of a keyboard and mouse. In addition to the traditional USB port on the rear of the terminal, many of the HMIs feature a USB port on the front face.
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