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Article Date: 23rd October 2013

Schneider Electric Announces New Innovations in HMI Technology

Automatic Control Systems - Building Management - Building Management Systems

Schneider iPad

Three new first-on-market innovative additions to Schneider Electric’s popular Magelis HMIGTO graphic touchscreen range have been announced, which look set to revolutionise traditional automated control systems. Tightly integrated into the HMI's operating environment, these innovations have a direct impact on the simplification and optimisation of both design-time and run-time operations.

A key innovation for the range includes a USB connectable biometric switch, which manages a database of users and their authorised level of security. As the switch neatly integrates into the HMI’s security configuration, full user traceability can be achieved. Additionally, the user interface on the HMI is simplified, as username and password entry screens are eliminated, as is the need for employees to remember passwords, swipe cards or keys which can be easily lost or forgotten. The switch works by simply taking a scan of the users fingerprint, allowing the correct personnel to gain access to the system at his authorised level of security.

Taking the technology even further, Magelis HMI now offers easy remote access via smart devices, such as an iPhone, android phone or tablet. In order to enable working remotely, two apps are now available to end users from Schneider Electric – Vijeo Design’Air – which allows the user to mirror the HMI system on their smart device, with the added option to take full control or read-only mode. Alternatively, customers can download the Vijeo Design’Air Plus app, which gives users access to a separate set of screens within the HMI which are dedicated to the remote user.

The third innovation is the integration of external USB devices within the HMI application. Two new USB devices eliminate hard-wired control signals that would otherwise be required from a controlling PLC or PAC. Firstly the new XVGU tower light can be connected via an easy ‘plug and play’ USB port, and its colour schemes can be changed in software, thus reducing stock holdings for lens spares, and adding great system flexibility.

Further to this, the HMIZ illuminated switch provides a robust bank of five pushbuttons, with lamps that can be colour coded via software. By minimising the use of the touchscreen for repetitive actions, such as machine control or alarm management, the unit is particularly suited for applications where users may be wearing gloves or working in a particularly dirty environment.

Dave Sutton, product marketing manager at Schneider Electric, comments: “Such innovative additions to the Magelis HMIGTO range push the boundaries of Human-Machine-Interface technology further than ever before.” 

“By understanding what our customer’s need both now and in the future, we are able to develop solutions that will make our customers work more productively, gain a better and deeper understanding of the processes in their working environment, while increasing safety on site.” 

“As UK companies continue to move towards a more digitalised way of working, the need for technology that can fully integrate not only with complimentary accessories, but also legacy equipment, will continue to grow. Schneider Electric is passionate about continuing to develop such solutions, helping our customers to future proof their business.”

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