Sunday, November 21, 2010

Adding an HMI in Programmable Automation Controller (PAC)

As the industrial landscape continues to move a more automated environment, engineers implementing control and monitoring applications encounter complex systems increasingly. Such industrial control systems often consist of independent PAC (Programmable Automation Controllers) managing specific, individual tasks. The control and monitoring tasks must be divided among several such PACs, networked together as these distributed systems increase in complexity. Ensuring operation properly of this distributed industrial process requires the system direction operators and managers. The distributed system is incomplete without HMI (Human Machine Interface) for more direct interaction yet while a central control “hub” is appropriate of managerial supervision.

The LabView Touch Panel module has completed the National Instruments offering for systems of managing remote by extending the environment of LabView graphical programming to rugged HMI industrial computers. This note of application discusses the benefits of the LabView Touch Panel module and provides a detailed step by step tutorial for adding an HMI to your existing PAC system.

PACs (Programmable Automation Controllers) exist in a variety of applications spanning several industries. Typical examples of s PAC include the National Instrument CompactRIO and Compact FieldPoint product lines. Each system consists an embedded controller in addition to hardware modules for input or output. The need for effective management of these remote systems is universal while their specific uses very greatly.

PACs can be deployed in the field over a wide expanse or distributed throughout a single manufacturing facility. The control system or central database provides supervisor level monitoring, but may not always be accessible immediately. They have no user interface of their own since most PACs are embedded controllers. There is a need for HMIs (Human Machine Interfaces) at key access point to complete the system.

CompactFieldPint and CompactRIO are examples of these “headless” systems; they require the use of additional hardware for a user interface. National Instruments touch panel hardware, such as the family of 12” and 6” TPCs (touch panel computers), provide a robust and compact solution for industrial HMIs.

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