Tag Archives: Parker

Human Machine Interface affordable, even in simple applications

Posted March 2, 2016 by Pepper Hastings

Categories: Blog, Parker

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A Human Machine Interface, or HMI, is a computer with a touchscreen interface. It communicates with a programmable controller(s) to operate a machine. The HMI can replace lights, buttons, and dials to simplify the interface and greatly expand functionality.

Human Machine Interface screen

Instead of drilling holes and wiring for buttons, switches and buzzers, Human Machine Interface (HMI) touchscreens make machine operation easy on the operator and simple to train.

Machines typically need some sort of interface to control their operation. It could be as simple as a single on/off button or as complex as multiple consoles with flashing light, squawking buzzers, and myriad dials, buttons, and switches.

Lights and Switches Cost, Too

When designing a new machine or upgrading an existing one, many people struggle with the expense of an HMI and think the upfront cost cannot be justified. Especially if it is a simple system with only a few ways for the operator to interact with it. They reason a few lights and switches cost much less than a computer with a touchscreen interface. However, there are other costs that come with the lights and switches:

These input and output devices must be mounted and wired into the machine. This involves drilling or punching a hole for every device and mounting them, running wires from the controller and/or power source to the devices, and physically making the wiring connections. This all takes time.

The controller needs the inputs and outputs available to interface to these devices. As the I/O count of a controller goes up, so does the cost. And if any of these devices are analog, like gauges or potentiometers, the cost of additional analog inputs and outputs can add up fast. Remember, this is not I/O required for the controller to interface to the machine (sensors, thermocouples, valves, etc.); this is I/O just so the user can operate the machine.

An HMI, like the Parker CTC and its Xpress HMI software, can replace these devices by using one simple connection to the controller to allow communication. Once the HMI and controller are talking, the buttons, lights, switches, dials, gauges… can be represented graphically on the touchscreen. The user can push virtual buttons instead of physical ones. Need a blue button instead of green? No problem, a simple program change and you’re done; no need to order a new device and physically swap it out. Want to add some new status lights? Presto, just a few mouse clicks away.

Human Machine Interface Opens Possibilities

The HMI can also do things that were not possible before. What if the machine runs unattended most of the time? Would it be helpful if it could send alerts via text message or email if it had a problem? Getting it back up and running quickly eliminates downtime and keeps it making money. Would it be nice to know how many parts were made last week compared to this week? The Human Machine Interface can track, store, and present data easily to help pinpoint subtle trends that lead to lost productivity.


Jack Marsh writes about Human Machine Interface


The upfront cost of the HMI is not the whole picture. When compared to the labor and I/O points associated with traditional user interface devices, the cost of the HMI might be justified even in simple machines. Adding in the increased flexibility and functionality an Human Machine Interface can provide makes it starts to look like a very easy decision.

Jack Marsh is a motion control specialist for Innovative-IDM, and a member of the IIDM President's Club. He can be reached at jack.marsh@iidm.com

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Parker Frameless Motors

Posted October 5, 2013 by Pepper Hastings

Categories: Innovative Automation, Innovative-IDM, Parker

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frameless motor parker
A frameless motor consists of a stator assembly and rotor assembly with permanent magnets. Hall effects may be offered as an option to provide feedback if an encoder is not selected for the application. The frameless motor does not include shaft, bearings, or endbells. The intent is that the motor will be directly integrated into the mechanical structure of the machine (the rotor is connected directly to the machines rotating shaft) leading to an optimized design, reduced footprint, and lighter machine weight. Click here for the full story.

For all your Parker needs call Innovative IDM at 877-906-2100 or send us an email at Info@iidm.com.

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Parker application solution: Monofilament Winder

Posted September 23, 2013 by Pepper Hastings

Categories: Innovative-IDM, Parker, Product Application

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monofilament winder

Machine Objectives:

  • Controlled tension on monofilament
  • Simple operator interface
  • High throughput

Motion Control Requirements:

  • 2 Axes of coordinated motion
  • Linear interpolation
  • Constant torque from motor

Application Solution:

The prime requirement of the bobbin drive is to provide a controlled tension, which means operating in Torque mode rather than Velocity mode. This requirement leads to the use of a servo operating in Torque mode even though a servo in Velocity mode might be recommended with an overriding torque limit. Therefore, the servo normally operates as a constant-torque drive, but if the filament breaks, the velocity is limited to the programmed value. The traversing arm is usually driven by a smaller servo.

Click here to see the full application solution from Parker. Let Innovative-IDM help you with your automation application. Give us a call at 877-906-2100 or send us an email at info@iidm.com.

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Cool Gadget Training Vid: Parker Interact Xpress Software Plus WAGO I/O

Posted August 26, 2008 by Pepper Hastings

Categories: cool gadgets, Parker, Uncategorized, Wago

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Monitor your plant's performance and trouble spots from anywhere you can access the Internet. A really cool conglomeration of gadgets, hosted by Adam Ring of Innovative Automation. But where's the plant that's usually in the background?

IMPORTANT: IT TAKE TWO CLICKS TO VIEW VIDEO. Click START button, then click on the TIME SLIDER. This is a quirk in Vimeo right now.

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Busted Chops from a Teammate

Posted August 22, 2008 by Pepper Hastings

Categories: Innovative Automation, Omron, Parker, Wago, Yaskawa

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Go ahead, ask Jeffery Miller about it. At IA, the company is divided into teams who compete each month to see who can dole out the most LEGENDARY customer service. Points are awarded for legendary acts and the winning team gets a half day off and their names on the LCS Cup.

Miller's own teammate, Michael Mueller, busted Miller's chops for not taking enough credit for customer service acts in our morning meetings this month. Miller, on the other hand, has been busy out selling Yaskawa, Parker, Omron, WAGO and other products. We'll see what happens at the meeting this morning.

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