Pepperl+Fuchs Blog

Ask an Expert! Industrial HMI Questions - Episode 1

Posted by Andy LaMar on Fri, Oct 18, 2013

HMI workstations, Panel PCs, and touchscreens for a paint booth

This is our first installment of Ask an Expert - where we sit down with a product expert and answer questions from customers. Today's expert is Lou Szabo, who is our Business Development Manager for our HMI portfolio.

Panel PCsThis includes products like:

  • Industrial operator workstations
  • Panel PCs
  • Custom industrial workstations designed to your specifications
  • Hazardous area barcode scanners
  • Industrial keyboards
  • Div. 2 KVMs
  • Mounting systems

Podcast transcript

Andy: Welcome Lou, let's get started...

Our first question is regarding Div.2 operator workstations. The customer asks:

"When installing an HMI workstation in an area classified as a Class I, Div. 2 location, what are some of the considerations in the design?"

Lou: In the area classified as Class I, Division 2, there are two cases. If all the components in the enclosure are Division 2 rated, then no purge or pressurization system is required, provided that:

A) Division 2 wiring methods are followed, and
B) The system is certified for use in Division 2

The second case is if at least one component is rated general purpose, then a Type Z purge system will be required to reduce the atmosphere inside the enclosure to general purpose levels. And Division 2 wiring methods are followed, and the system is certified for use in Division 2.

Andy: Alright Lou, our second question is:

"What are some key considerations for selecting a Panel PC?"

Lou: Area classification for installation is my top answer. If the mounting is in a hazardous area and the unit is able to sustain a purge/pressurization system, and the touchscreen is suitable for the hazardous area, those are the questions to ask.

Number two, what is the software and the control system? The HMI software is going to have to run on this solution.

The third category is, what are the hardware requirements for the PC itself? So, is your processor fast enough, do you have enough memory, is it a fanless design? Fanless designs typically have greater availability than designs that include fans. More information is available at a magazine called Control Design, in their July 2013 issue on page 43.

Andy: Alright Lou, the last question is:

"I have a customer needing a touch screen display within a Class I, Div. 1 area. It's a paint booth. He would locate a separate PC outside the area within 150 feet of the display. Can a touchscreen be used in that type of area, and how would he communicate with the PC?"

Lou: That's a great question, Andy. There's a couple ways to tackle this one. Since we're using a paint booth, the temperature will be room temperature, or higher if baking occurs in this environment. Also, since a touchscreen is required, an intrinsically safe touch screen will be the key to this solution. Last, a purge and pressurization system will be required for operation in a Division 1 area.

If we agree on these points, and no keyboard is required, we can use a KVM (keyboard, video, mouse interface), or a thin client utilizing RDP or VNC protocols. Either solution will work.

Andy: Well that concludes this segment of Ask an Expert. I want to thank Lou for joining us today as our expert, and I want to thank everyone that sent in their questions. If you have a question, go to our Ask an Expert link or give us a call. We'd be happy to help you out. Thanks again...


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Topics: Ask an Expert, Industrial Monitors/ HMI

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