Thursday, 1 July 2021

HMI safety for tablets.

IDEC Corporation has developed the HT3P Safety Commander to address a growing need for users who want to incorporate modern tablets into their industrial automation systems, but also need to include hardwired emergency stop (e-stop) and enabled functionality. The Safety Commander makes it easy to hold a tablet securely in an industrial setting, for applications like machinery, robotics, automatic guided vehicles (AGVs), and production lines.

Tablets offer more

Traditionally, industrial operations personnel have needed to stand in front of fixed control panels, or use dedicated handheld touch panels or teaching pendants. Each of these methods have their place, but for many applications operators need much more detailed human-machine interface (HMI) capabilities at their fingertips, even as they move about the system. Industrial internet of things (IIoT) initiatives and capable HMI options are now prompting designers to select mobile tablets as visualization and control devices because of their convenience and productivity benefits.

Tablets offer high display resolutions, powerful computational abilities, extensive memory, Wi-Fi networking, and Bluetooth wireless connectivity—all at a low cost. Beyond HMI functionality, they can offer instant viewing of drawings and manuals, videoconferencing, and report creation. But how can consumer- or commercial-grade tablets deliver industrial-grade safety?

Adding industrial-grade safety to typical tablets
Recognizing industry’s need, IDEC has developed a unique device for adding industrial-grade safety to typical tablets. The Safety Commander is a hand-held device with a slider and adjustable grippers to accommodate tablets ranging from 8- to 11-inch diagonal size. A tablet mounted into the Safety Commander thus provides:

  • Key-locking provisions to keep the tablet secure in the device.
  • A sturdy and ergonomic hand grip and strap, for both right- and left-handed users, and an optional neck strap.
  • The ability to rotate the tablet to any vertical/portrait or horizontal/landscape orientation using a patented design.
  • One hardwired e-stop button with LED indicator.
  • One hardwired 3-position enable switch.
  • A 5-meter cable.
  • USB Type-C port for tablet charging.
  • IP54 protection from water splashes and dirt, and drop resistance tested to 1.2 meters.

Unique HMI capabilities
In many cases, using a modern tablet avoids the need to locate a PC on the plant floor and provides an option to add IIoT functionality to industrial systems. Tablets can offer many more capabilities than dedicated industrial teaching pendants, which are expensive and can be difficult to use. However, users have struggled with custom but awkward designs for incorporating tablets with industrial automation, or they have compromised on safety considerations.

The IDEC HT3P Safety Commander overcomes these physical integration challenges. Using the Safety Commander, AGV and robotics designers can take advantage of the hold-to-run button to integrate tablets into their automation in compliance with ISO/IEC safety standards and requirements. Manufacturing and processing operations can provide the best visibility for their operators, while providing them with the flexibility to safely move about the equipment.


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