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Automation & Motion Control
The Evolution of Packaging Controls
8/28/2012

By linking ergonomics, navigation, and design, new HMI systems are able to display complex processes in a way that is easy for the user to understand and manage. The new OMAC standard goes one step further by defining a common look and feel between operator panels in packaging plants.
By linking ergonomics, navigation, and design, new HMI systems are able to display complex processes in a way that is easy for the user to understand and manage. The new OMAC standard goes one step further by defining a common look and feel between operator panels in packaging plants.

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Rob Spiegel
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Re: Standards seem to be a must here
Rob Spiegel   9/10/2012 3:01:55 PM
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That's a new twist I was not aware of, Ann. I didn't realize the decision making was shifting to lower-cost operators. I knew vendors were relieving plant operators of the original programming that used to be part of running a plant, but I didn't realize that meant non-engineers had their hands on the controls.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Standards seem to be a must here
Ann R. Thryft   9/10/2012 12:46:51 PM
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Rob, my understanding is that better, more use-friendly HMI systems are key for both control engineers and operators. There's a shift underway to put more decision-making into the hands of lower-cost operators rather than engineers, which is made possible by more automation of functions and databases that experienced engineers used to do, as you've mentioned several times. This is also being facilitated by better HMI systems.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Standards seem to be a must here
Rob Spiegel   9/10/2012 12:01:37 PM
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I agree it is a good thing, Ann, especially as systems are becoming increasingly complex. I would imagine this becomes a more manageable world for control engineers -- greater complexity, simpler interfaces and less original programming.

Charles Murray
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Re: Welcome standardization
Charles Murray   9/7/2012 5:32:58 PM
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Seems like OMAC has talked about this for a while, Al. Good to see it's finally happening.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Standards seem to be a must here
Ann R. Thryft   9/7/2012 11:42:53 AM
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HMIs are an interesting, sometimes overlooked area of focus for software/display technology improvements. Yet they play a vital part in what happens on the factory floor, and how well, and how quickly, operators can adapt to, or fix, problems in process control. It seems like improvements have been ongoing for a really long time. It's good to see that some kind of standardization is finally arriving, at least on packaging lines.

Beth Stackpole
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Standards seem to be a must here
Beth Stackpole   9/7/2012 8:53:31 AM
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It's actually amazing to me that there hasn't been a common HMI look and feel and standards prior to this kind of effort--or at least one that has any teeth. Coordinating that diversity must be a bear for organizations to manage let alone impeding worker productivity. Why has it taken so long to push standards?

Rob Spiegel
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Welcome standardization
Rob Spiegel   9/7/2012 8:53:09 AM
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It's good to see yet another step toward standardization on the factory floor. This is one more step away from hodge-podge world of plant automation. I would guess this will also give control engineers some relief from the daunting task of original programming.

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