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HMI computers industrial panel PC

The Human Machine Interface and the Role Industrial Computers Face

Human Machine Interface (HMI) is an important concept to be aware of in today’s industrial automation IT world. Technological innovations and advances have pushed automation’s boundaries close to near-perfect operation within industrial warehouses and manufacturing plants. We’re seeing these pushes both on a software and hardware level. Developments in artificial intelligence software are getting more sophisticated, so naturally the hardware must scale with the demands of software. However, there still must be a “starting point” in the pathway from device controller to automation result, and that’s where HMI plays a part. It’s a concept that has evolved over time as an overarching idea that incorporates all functionality of a given production system into a single user interface that can be controlled by simply touching an industrial touch panel PC. It’s the combination of a graphical user interface, an automated production system, and its supporting software that must operate in synergy to be fully productive. These HMIs are becoming more important with the onset of the Internet of Things (IoT) and the desire to fully automate processes. However, not just any device will operate in the manner an HMI needs.

HMI Computers Must Be Compact

Warehouses come in all shapes and sizes, but regardless of the configuration of a warehouse it’s important to find an industrial touch panel PC capable of being installed in an area that’s non-obtrusive to traffic. A retail computer purchased off the shelf and then stored on a warehouse floor will undoubtedly get kicks and light shock damage. Populate an entire warehouse with computer towers, and you’re bound to see a hardware failure within the first three months. Small form factor design with a flexible open frame, wireless technology, and a fully integrated resistive touch screen are necessary components for a proper HMI computer. Why a resistive touch screen if it’s older technology? Capacitive touch screens won’t function with gloves. If you’re in an industrial warehouse, we’d recommend using gloves. We’d also recommend a resistive screen so you won’t need to remove them.

An Industrial Touch Panel PC Must Be Resilient

Temperature changes, sparks, disruptive noises, dirt, soot, chemicals, flying objects, shock damage, and other hazards are a concern for computers in warehouses. Workers can’t operate computers if they’re too close to an entity producing extremely hot or cold temperatures, so HMI computers must be resilient to extreme temperature changes. Thankfully, industrial computers are. Several industrial computer builds are encased in aluminum housings and constructed with military-grade components that have a Mean Time Between Failure of 50 thousand hours, much more than a consumer-grade computer. You’ll need an HMI computer resistant to all hazards to keep longevity. Combining metal enclosures, military-grade components, and resilience in extreme temperatures creates the perfect trifecta for longevity when it comes to HMI computers.

Industrial Computers Need Wireless Tech

A common problem with consumer-grade wireless devices is shoddy WiFi. Home routers drop wireless signals because of attenuation; wireless tech in HMI computers may do the same if the wireless range is too weak over the wireless “path,” or it’s blocked by warehouse walls—a concept known as a Faraday cage. Ensuring your next industrial touch panel PC is equipped with some of the strongest wireless capabilities—an Intel Dual Band Wireless-N 7260 Plus Bluetooth card—will reduce if not remove spotty wireless connections. Plus, if a keyboard and mouse are needed they can connect seamlessly with the HMI computer via Bluetooth. 

Industrial Panel PCs Need Mountability Options

For your next industrial computer deployment, it’s a strong idea to ensure all of the above are addressed, but that doesn’t address where your panel PCs might reside. What’s the solution there? An IT professional can’t leave them dangling from power cables or thrown about a warehouse floor, so a VESA mount is necessary to keep them clutter free. Using a standard 75/100m VESA mounting holes, staff can keep panel PCs out of the way by mounting them to the wall.

Adhering to specific hardware design and a set of features that expand productivity are what businesses should look for when it comes to HMI computers. At Cybernet, we’ve engineered a full line of industrial PCs that meet these standards and excels in the warehouse. Contact us today to find out more details.

Types of Industrial PCs Used in Industrial Automation

The industrial sector is increasingly experiencing the impact of the Industry 4.0 concept. Whether you are looking to optimize the workflow, increase production or savings in maintenance, or explore new automation opportunities, there are many ways industrial automation and the underlying technology can boost your operations.

Industrial automation is the automation of technical processes using computer and information technologies. It gains importance as the underlying technologies evolve rapidly, infiltrating more spheres of our working lives. The term industrial automation is used when devices, machines or technical plants work automatically with the help of electrical, pneumatic, hydraulic or mechanical equipment. The machine equipment replaces the human actions. The system, in this case, consists of three constituents [source]:

  • A technical plant or machines that perform a technical process, such as transformation, manufacturing, conversion or transport of material or energy.
  • A computer or a communication system that processes information from the machines. It acquires, calculates and presents data about the technical events. It also provides the necessary interface for the personnel to control the technical processes.
  • The control personnel that observes, controls and influences the technical processes through the corresponding interfaces and adjusts the process in case any disturbances arise.

The aim is to replace as much as possible human labor intervention and hazardous assembly processes with automated machine labor.

In an industrial environment, a wide number of factors influence the choice of the computer for the industrial automation, such as ruggedness, shock, vibration, temperature, pressure, distance, humidity, exposure to liquid, dust, and many other ambient variables.

Mini Rugged PCs

These are versatile, customizable industrial computers that allow adding almost unlimited functionality via full-size and mini PCI Express slots, USB ports, mSATA, RS232 ports. Ruggedness ensures shock and vibration protection, durability, while IP65 sealed waterproof and dustproof build ensures ingress protection from liquids and hard particles, as well as temperature fluctuations. Mini rugged PCs come with military-class high-performance processors that minimize power consumption and maintenance costs. They are compatible with virtually any existing peripherals, and any device in an industrial setting. The multiple PCI Express slots enable it to be configured for nearly any industrial automation functionality. Since many builds are fanless, their cooling system is passive, and thus the PC consumes less power and produces significantly less heat than traditional computers.

Of special benefit is the terminal block feature, which allows the PC to be turned off remotely, so locating it in an enclosure and being able to power on and off the computer makes it more flexible as to where you can mount it.

Mini rugged PCs have many applications in industrial automation:

  • Data collection.
  • Control card for equipment.
  • Industrial imaging and other applications requiring high-speed data.
  • Controller in machine vision applications to automate quality control systems.
  • Automatic inspection, measurement, verification, flaw detection.
  • Direct equipment, for example, robots.
  • Video surveillance and analytics requiring HD image capturing, facial recognition, real-time detection, and post analytics.
  • Any application that requires removable drive bays for swappable hard drives for easy data backup.
  • As embedded computers.

Industrial Open Frame Panel PCs

Industrial panel PCs support industrial communication protocols and accommodate the needs of many industrial applications that allow operators to monitor, control and adjust industrial automation processes. Serial ports and dual NICs allow its use with legacy devices and peripherals, so integrating new equipment and still use the older devices creates saving opportunities.

Open frame panel PCs are designed for seamless installation in industrial environments and integration into an existing architecture of a production chain – in control cabinets, machines, kiosks, etc. They are widely used for Human Machine Interface, as its resistive touch screen and ruggedness ensure easy data access and durability under harsh environments. Open frame panel PCs are widely used for:

  • Original equipment manufacturer machinery, OEM.
  • Human-Machine Interface, HMI.
  • Machine-Machine Interface, MMI.
  • Internet-of-Things control and data aggregation.
  • Vision systems.
  • Factory automation systems.
  • Material handling.

Industrial Tablets, Forklift Tablets

Companies see the wisdom in deploying industrial tablets on the manufacturing floor for a variety of applications:

  • Human-Machine Interface – instant access to critical data with notifications from industrial automation systems, status information, machine vision system notifications.
  • Instant remote control of industrial processes.
  • Any application that relies on the cloud-based platforms and machine-learning monitoring systems that detect anomalies in automation systems and enable predictive maintenance of industrial equipment.
  • HMI-hosting web servers host large volumes of data about production statistics, maintenance and diagnostics. Since industrial tablets pull the data from the cloud, employees do not need to plug in (as with laptops) and can change parameters remotely.
  • Numerous warehouse and inventory tasks automation with embedded barcode reader or RFID reader for quality control, items tracking and security, for example for scanning barcodes on raw materials and finished goods.
  • Forklift tablets are popular due to their ruggedness, easy yet reliable mounting, hot-swap batteries and versatility. Forklift tablets are used in HMI, MMI, barcode scanning and inventory management, processes control and monitoring. They ensure 24/7 uptime and withstand shock, vibration and other harsh conditions.
  • Industrial tablets are widely used for assembly line balancing.
  • Linux and Windows-powered rugged tablets are used for embedded systems, factory automation, tracking and tracing, eliminating paperwork, capturing signatures.

Benefits of Industrial Automation

  • Increase labor productivity – get greater output without losing accuracy.
  • Improve product quality, reduce defect rate, increase conformity and uniformity of the quality.
  • Reduce production cost, labor cost, increase ROI.
  • Reduce routine manual tasks such as variables monitoring.
  • Improve safety by locating the human worker outside the hazard zone, thus preventing accidents and injuries.
  • Advance remote performance monitoring, diagnostics, set point computations, startup and shutdown operations, critical notifications, reporting and remote control of automated processes.

Benefits of Industrial Computers and Rugged Tablets

  • Rugged builds, water- and dustproof, IP65 sealed, shock, vibration and temperature fluctuations resistant.
  • Military-class computation power.
  • Power-efficient.
  • Fanless, passive cooling.
  • Hot-swap drives in panel PCs –  perfect for data backups.
  • Hot-swap batteries in tablets for 24/7 uptime.
  • MIL-STD components, 5+ years lifespan, low fail rates, extended warranties, customized builds.
  • Integrated peripherals – barcode, RFID, CAC, Smart Card, biometric.
  • Ease of mounting with VESA.
  • Ease of integration with legacy ports, support for industrial protocols and Windows or Linux OS.

Why Panel PCs Play an Important Role in an Industrial Environment

Professionals from different industries have come to rely on electronic devices like computers to carry out a variety of tasks. Some industries require the use of specialized devices to meet the demands of a rigorous working environment. The industrial sector, in particular, has benefited from the use of Panel PCs. There are a number of reasons why a Panel PC is the best tool for the industrial environment. Let’s take a look at some of them.

A Rugged Design

One of the distinct differences that an Industrial Panel PC possesses from its traditional counterpart is the way that it is resistant to a number of substances. The production floor is home to a variety of incidents that may compromise electronics that aren’t built to last in a rugged environment. Spills, the presence of dust particles, and the constant circulation of debris can make short work of a computer that isn’t designed to function in a rough environment. Panel PCs are made to thrive in demanding working environments. A Panel PC is resistant to contact with liquid, dust particles, debris, and other substances that could normally compromise electronics. Given the type of activity that occurs in manufacturing plants, Panel PCs are the best tool for industrial professionals to use to carry out their tasks.

Noise Levels, Cleaning Operations, and Reliability

In the past, factories were filled with the buzz of activity and a great deal of noise is to be expected when one enters a production plant. Now, industrial working environments have reduced the amount of noise that is generated in the working environment. The widespread use of Panel PCs contributes to the reduction of noise levels in the factory floor. Panel PCs use a passive cooling system in lieu of fans to keep the temperature levels of the computer at a comfortable level. An added benefit of this fanless design is the elimination of the humming emitted by devices that use fans to cool the entire system down. Since Panel PCs don’t possess a fan, there are less moving parts and dust particles and other debris don’t circulate within the computer system. This reduces the need for regular cleanings and increases the reliability of these devices in critical business operations.

Ergonomics

The factory work floor is known for its crowded and compact space. The presence of bulky equipment results in a cramped working environment that doesn’t leave a lot of room for movement or comfortable mobility. The ergonomics of Panel PCs allows factory workers to move about in a more forgiving environment. Without having to deal with extraneous accessories like a keyboard, a mouse, and other computer peripherals, a streamlined working environment becomes more possible. The ergonomics of a Panel PC contributes to a more organized and productive working environment.

The Cybernet Advantage

Cybernet manufactures Panel PCs that are suited to a variety of environments. A fanless design prevents dust particles from circulating within the computer system and tedious cleaning operations are avoided as well as downtime because of computer malfunction due to dirt / dust. Cybernet’s Panel PCs are designed for rugged and demanding environments. The medical, maritime, industrial, and food industries have all made use of this feature. With endless customization options and a responsive interface, Cybernet’s Panel PCs are the device of choice for professionals who operate in factories, line-automated and dusty or dirty working environments.

Cybernet set to Change the Game with Military-Grade Electronics Under the Hood

imagesCA7ELDNUIndustry-grade and healthcare computers significantly differ from run-of-the-mill computational machines for a variety of reasons. From the core functionality they are designed for to the peculiarities in their construction and operational considerations, industrial computers stand a world apart from their conventional counterparts.

Industrial and healthcare computational machines are known for seamless handling of complex process automation, sophisticated manufacturing control, continuous data acquisition and rigorous signal processing – all under harsh operational conditions. Most recently, miniaturization of the computational machines without sacrificing the computing prowess has been a significant research focus. The outcome, as seen today, is a novel product line – mini rugged PC – combining the very best in design minimalism, ergonomics, ruggedness and computational power.

What exactly makes a rugged industrial pc unique? What is it that provides a rugged mini PC incredible durability within an unbelievably small package? The answer to this lies deep within the very constituents that make up the mini rugged PC, effectively narrowing down to high-performance electronics including military gradecapacitors, fortified resistors and rugged application specific integrated circuits.

Using military grade capacitors and other discrete electronic components on the motherboard ensures seamless operation of the computing systems under extreme temperature conditions, with ranges up to 120° F, or even higher. Additionally, integrating industrial grade components offers a plethora of secondary advantages including precise voltage regulation and protection against electrical surges. Last but not least, reinforced components also translate to increased resistance against dust and accidental liquid spills.

Cybernet’s rugged mini PC product line-up excels with military-grade capacitor technology to meet the demanding requirements for industrial and healthcare markets. Incorporating military-grade, high performance electronics into the computing products ensures safety, reliability and efficiency. Engineered to meet the criteria of durability and reliance, specialized capacitors inside the computing machines vouchsafe system longevity and zero downtime. The custom-built capacitors also offer high energy storage and voltage hold-up, vital for uninterrupted functionality of the rugged mini PC.

Military-grade aluminum electrolytics coupled with the latest in high-performance charge accumulation technology ensures high reliability, advanced shock-proofing and superior vibration tolerance boasted by Cybernet’s mini rugged PC product mix. Cybernet stands the leading manufacturer of world-class, all-in-one water rugged industrial pc for deployment in demanding healthcare and industrial scenarios. To learn more about Cybernet’s game-changing miniature computing systems equipped with the sturdiest in high-performance electronics. visit the diverse product portfolio right here https://www.cybernetman.com/en/industrial-pc