When a client in Brazil wanted a better, more intuitive interface for a paper winding machine, they contacted Eletrônica KGEL to develop a customized solution that operators could use more productively.
The new HMI implements KEGL’s ‘Friendly’ interface developed using InduSoft Web Studio.
The new interface has not only increased the efficiency of the machine, but the techniques used to develop the project have already been applied to other interface designs for Eletrônica KGEL.
Figure 1: The main screen makes operator commands and critical machine data available at the push of a button. The operator can also access submenus with more detailed information.
When a client came to Eletrônica KGEL in Brazil with a paper winding machine badly in need of a friendlier supervisory system, they were excited to meet the challenge. They never realized that updating the machine would also lead to new development of projects for industrial machine interfaces that could be applied to countless new customers in the pulp and paper industry.
The machine in question was a HERGEN 1200m/min (Tissue) with WEG commands. The machine operator interface used a 10’’ color HMI with RS485 serial communication. The automatic logic processing part was managed by a Bosch CL200 PLC. After 10 years of use, the HMI interface started to present problems with the touchscreen features and resulted in the loss of information.
Eletrônica KGEL went on-site with the client, saw how difficult it was to operate the machine, and immediately started developing a solution. They first tried to find an HMI to replace the old one, but due to high prices, began searching for alternatives that would keep the project within the budget. After researching solutions to replace the HMI, Eletrônica KGEL discovered InduSoft Web Studio, which had a native communication driver with the CL200 PLC.
Figure 2: Detailed 3D models of the machine made it possible to develop an application that operators could understand quickly.
The biggest problem with the old operator interface of the machine was the difficulty in using it, so a new, intuitive interface was a requirement for the project. One aspect that already worked well was the HMI touchscreen feature because it didn’t require the use of a keyboard and mouse, which saved some time. So, how to create an effective interface system that optimized the use of the touch screen?
We live in a world where touchscreen interfaces are both ubiquitous and familiar. Eletrônica KGEL researched and tested different equipment before choosing a sample to offer the client, and found the infrared touchscreen system offered the perfect solution. They designed a system using the Panel PC that supported the touchscreen interface system, processing, and refrigeration in one single panel. With the design and the project budget finalized, they were able to present a cost effective and powerful solution. With the client’s approval, Eletrônica KGEL initiated the project.
The project was divided into two parts: HMI application, and the construction of the panel to accommodate the whole interface of the new machine. They developed the application at the same time they created the panel which was used to accommodate the monitor, small PC and the touchscreen system. The panel was designed to be robust and functional.
Once the project was underway, Eletrônica KGEL immediately recognized that it could be improved beyond a simple retrofit of the previous application. They decided that it would be a waste of investment to use a software like InduSoft Web Studio without taking full advantage of its potential. With all the InduSoft documentation and online information at their disposal, the learning curve was very short, and they were able to quickly implement many of the features in the HMI software. When they had questions, they made use of the online videos available on InduSoft’s website. The videos helped immensely in developing the application.
The application development began with the understanding of how the BUEP communication driver works. Since the project was a retrofit, it was necessary to visit the client some times in order to understand how the communication driver’s variables work. Then Eletrônica KGEL started the development of the application. The first step was to ask for authorization to take images of the machine to create a realistic representation in order to create an operator-machine connection. This took time, but the result was well worth it – it was able to facilitate the machine animation and allowed the operator to easily understand the application.
Figure 3: Alarms can be viewed and ackowledged with a smartphone or mobile device
The final result includes textures and illumination to create a degree of realism in the 3D modeling. After creating the main screen, they started developing the application. Eletrônica KGEL works with the philosophy of bringing as much information as possible for maintenance in a way that does not obstruct the full operation of the machine. They named the interface IKA (KGEL Friendly Interface) because they believe that a user friendly interface is crucial to the project.
The landing screen has operator commands and basic information. Since it is a paper winder machine, some information is extremely important for the application, such as the diameter, the current, and meters per minute of the main engine. The machine has push-button control, leaving the HMI with only with a few commands. On the main screen the operator has important information, such as the status of the drivers, machine status, and machine speed, among others. The main menu gives access to submenus.
In every HMI application Eletrônica KGEL employs the same concept of “more information”. This simply means that an operator or person responsible for maintenance should be able to click on binary information, such as “enable drive”, and automatically have a screen loaded with all the information they need about that data. Because binary information has interlocking, it was important to figure out how to solve a problem without wasting unnecessary time.
To answer this question they created an option for operation maintenance. For example, if the operator tried to enable the machine but it failed, the operator can click on “Enable Machine”. When the operator does that, a screen full of information regarding the issue appears. It is also possible to know who shut down the command to enable the machine. The operator can also click the alarm list, where all errors of the machine are registered. In addition to the diagnostics, the operator can load a notepad to write tips to other machine operators in case a similar error occurs.
Within this application all PLC IOs are accessible without using any other software to visualize the information. It is possible to verify an example of the PLC IO readings using the HMI. This is only a small part of the whole interface; maintenance personnel have access to hydraulic and pneumatic diagrams with connected PLC IOs as well.
Figure 4: Maintenance personnel can identify errors in the machine using images of the electrical panels.
After some on-site testing, Eletrônica KGEL realized the implementation of the HMI application could be used in other applications. They collected the necessary information to begin the development of a new, improved project that uses the same concepts for industrial machine interfaces using InduSoft Web Studio. They began creating an application prototype that could be offered to other KGEL customers.
The application is an automation system for paper machines. They employed many of InduSoft Web Studio’s features in the prototype, and have three models to offer clients. They include integrated interface systems with touchscreen of 42” or 22”, with optional wireless mouse and keyboard, or only an intuitive application for maintenance and operation.
The machine using the InduSoft Web Studio HMI is now easy to operate, and maintenance is much easier, which has improved the machine functionality and uptime dramatically. Soon, Eletrônica KGEL will be offering similar applications to many customers within the paper and pulp industries.
Figure 5: Visible alarms make it very easy to see and acknowledge alarms from any screen.
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