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Advanced Engineering 2021

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Production line visualisation via Google Glass application

Production line visualisation via Google Glass application

A tool for industrial automation visualisation that is not just mobile, but wearable - that was a highlight of the Progea stand at the SPS IPC Drives exhibition in Nuremberg. And the company sees real-world applications for this enhanced reality device, enabling the user to view the main parameters of the automation system in real time, via Wi-Fi or mobile broadband connection.

In further detail, in its experimental sample run on its stand at the exhibition, Progea showed how the user can employ Google Glass with the Movicon supervision software to view several different panels pertaining to the operational area of the local plant, and to access relevant information in real time.

By using panels - now called Slides - it is possible to navigate the system with the swipe function, and to view actual data and relevant information. Viewing is achieved with a 'head-up' display integrated in the eyeglasses, which can partly but clearly overlap with the human field of vision. Thanks to this display, the user can check operational status of relevant components, query the system and interact with it using vocal commands or the side touchpad, so as to obtain the needed information (variables, alarms, instructions or help functions), which will be supplied by the Movicon supervision Server. The user may also enter active commands on the system (start-stop, setpoint, alarm stop, etc) by using specific command menus manageable in failsafe mode via the touchpad.

Progea believes that, in the not too distant future, development in the use of enhanced reality will bring considerable benefits in managing complex systems, simplifying user interaction in a concept of total connectivity as per the principles of Industry 4.0. Apart from Google Glass, enhanced reality applications may also be managed with a standard tablet or smartphone. Thus, by using geolocation and the device camera for viewing the plant, it will be possible to retrieve information from the Movicon supervision Server and to view dynamic data directly superimposed on live images. Otherwise, should geolocation be unavailable, QR codes may be used to gather specific local information.

Progea sees this sort of augmented reality as being particularly useful to operators and maintenance personnel who have to move around the plant - or perhaps move between different plants in different locations - to check operational condition, machine status, production line statements, set-up and so on, as well as trouble-shoot and solve operational problems on the line. The wearable (or other personal) device enables the operator to localise exactly the required components or areas of the plant that are of interest, displaying real-time information just above real images from the camera.

The demonstration at SPS IPC Drives - part of Progea's experimental research on using enhanced reality - shows how the company's research and development activities are pushing innovation in control and automation. The application itself is still only a Beta Version, but Progea intends to release the app commercially. The company says the app will be available from the new Google MyGlass Store, specifically designed for Glass, or can be installed through the miniUSB connection using the appropriate Google Tool.

Progea's Movicon SCADA/HMI software for industrial supervision and control represents over 15 years of technology evolution firmly based on the principles of simplicity, scalability, power and openness. Because it also integrates SoftPLC technology, the environments of SCADA/HMI and PLC programming can be brought together according to the IEC 61131 standard.

Built on the experience gained from over 80,000 applications worldwide, Movicon can be deployed both in touch panels and/or mobile devices based on WinCE, whether PC touch screen with Win7/XP Embedded, systems based on PC with Windows 8 or Windows Server, in complex and redundant, client/server  architecture, connecting through with any type of PLC and fieldbus.

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