Automation & Motion Control

Focus on the Future of Machine Controllers

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Scott Orlosky
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Re: Talkin Bout My Generation
Scott Orlosky   10/19/2012 5:08:10 PM
Interesting conversational thread.  It's hard to image a generation of machine operators flocking to equipment because they have a cool HMI.  People are very adaptable and graphic presentations have a way of presenting very data rich information in way that is easy assimilated.  A good (and efficient) thing for all generations.

Jack Rupert, PE
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Jack Rupert, PE   10/22/2012 11:15:43 AM
Interesting graph on the reasons why designers would want multi-touch.  One of the big ones being for people who have grown up with those technologies.  The thing is, I was doing HMI design with resistive touch prior to Apple's development.  It was the old-timers that were tryint to slide switches or push two buttons at the same time (with, of course, some real interesting results). 

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Talkin Bout My Generation
Rob Spiegel   10/24/2012 12:31:10 AM
Good point, Scott. I've heart anecdotal information about young engineers becoming more attracted to automation and control because of video-game-like presentations that make the idea of hanging out in a plant more attractive.

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HMI's are great
kf2qd   11/2/2012 9:43:23 AM
Worked for a company building some specialized welding equiptment. Went from a keyboard type parameter entry to a HMI. At first it was thought that the operators would have a problem, but the operators all loved it. Advantage was the amount of data displayed and the ease of moving from parameter set to paramenter set.

The Touch Panel HMI's are very durable and hold up well in less than ideal environments. And the more expensive units are not necesarily the better ones. We used 2 different suppliers and the more expensive PLCs/HMIs did not give better performance.

It did require some re-design of the operator controls - We were able to replace potentiometers with a small CTS encoder through standard I/O (cut costs because we didn't need the analog inputs) and allowed us to save all weld parameters, The operator could turn an encoder or key in a number to change a setting.

Wish the touch panel were more available for PC's as it makes a really nice way to communicate with the machine.

The biggest problem with an HMI is the tendancy to put too much info and too much clutter on the display. A too busy screen is harder to use than a simpler, locgically arranged display. Too often the display has little relationship to what the process is, it was made to look pretty, not function pretty.

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