The HMI can be as important as the PLC
It’s an on-going story. Many companies are investing in the PLC skills of their people but, in a lot of cases, if there is an HMI on the machine & the HMI fails, the machine may well be down anyway.
In some cases it is as simple as the machine is Started from a button on a screen. If the screen isn’t working, the chances are that the machine cannot be started.
Or, in other cases, operating parameters are loaded into the machine via the HMI. If the HMI is not working, the parameters cannot be loaded & so the machine will not run.
What to watch out for?
It’s not just that people may lack the knowledge & skills to sort out any problems, there are other issues too. What other issues?
- Well, for example, just like you have a back-up of your PLC programs, do you have a back-up of your HMI programs?
- If you do have back-ups, do you know what type of back-up file you have? If you have a source code back-up, that sounds great. If you have a run-time file, beware.
- Have you ever checked your back-ups? Do you know whether they are good? Do you know if you can count on them if you had a failure?
- Do you have spares for your HMIs? Are your HMIs still current models or are they on the obsolete list? Do you know if you can get a spare if required?
- If there is a problem with a faulty HMI & you have to convert the HMI programs to match a different HMI model (i.e. the upgrade path), can any of your people do this & do you know how long it will take?
A popular misconception is that the HMI is “part of” the PLC or covered on the same course as the PLC. Neither are true.
The HMI is a complex piece of kit just like the PLC. The HMIs come in a range of different models, can sit on different networks & may well have a range of different software maintenance tools.
INTACS HMI training
Just as with PLCs, INTACS offer training on a range of HMIs.
Things for you to think about in advance.
- Do you have a range of HMIs (even within the same product family) as this may mean you need to have several different software tools?
- Do your people just need to be able to deal with hardware issues (cables, connections & faulty HMI hardware)?
- Or, do you need your people to be able to perhaps update screen items & objects, add further links to the PLCs perhaps to improve diagnostics or simply to correct or update product names &/or descriptions?
HMI training is available for a range of different manufacturer’s HMI Models.
Title: Siemens HMIs with Protool & WinCC Flex/ WinCC Comfort/ WinCC Professional (covers Siemens HMIs for the last 8 - 10 years)
Duration: 5 days
Dates: 23 - 27 Apr; 18 – 22 Jun
Allen Bradley/Rockwell HMIs
Title: PanelView PLUS HMIs
Duration: 3 days
Dates: 4 - 6 Apr; 30 May – 01 Jun
Note: Older PanelView HMIs with PanelBuilder 32 software training is also available
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