In response to an industry trend toward server-based systems - driven by the security and visualisation benefits of greater IT functionality on the plant-floor - Siemens Industry has added highly efficient industrial thin clients to its range of robust Human Machine Interface (HMI) devices in widescreen format.
SIMATIC Industrial Thin Clients (ITCs) are rugged panel-mount devices that allow the operator use of SCADA, office or IT functionalities directly at the machine. In this way, they offer an improved overview, operability, and productivity of machinery or process plants. SIMATIC ITCs also reduce the total cost of ownership (TCO) by virtue of their straightforward commissioning, efficient Ethernet networking, reduced software expenditure and minimal service costs.
Equipped with high-resolution, high-contrast widescreen displays with diagonals of 12", 15", 19" or 22", SIMATIC ITCs are connected to one or, in multi-session mode, up to five servers, such as SIMATIC IPCs. This flexibility supports multiple ways to achieve efficient operator functionality.
Paul Herron, from Siemens Industry, explains: "Examples of effective use could include cost-effective second operator stations at large or distributed machines in connection with another SIMATIC Panel or Industrial PC, providing flexibility for OEM machine builders, or use as remote operator terminals in client or server applications, such as SCADA, for process control."
Having no wearing mechanical parts (fan or hard disk) makes SIMATIC ITC especially robust and maintenance free. They are designed for 24-hour continuous operation, and also meet high-temperature, vibration, shock and electromagnetic compatibility requirements.
SIMATIC Thin Clients are operated using a touch screen or via an external keyboard or mouse connected to the USB interface. There is an intuitive setup wizard to make commissioning and integration into existing networks quick and easy. Remote configuration software enables the Thin Clients to be managed centrally via a network, for example for a parallel firmware update.
A large number of functions and interfaces are integrated into the device: a gigabit LAN interface for fast communication with the server, two USB interfaces for saving data on a USB stick or external hard disk, as well as for connecting a mouse and keyboard; a web-browser and multiple protocols for flexible connection to other systems, such as Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP), Sm@rtAccess for SIMATIC WinCC Sm@rtServer and VNC. The mirroring function is used for efficient diagnostics, for example to display the contents of the screen in the control room or to control it from there.
The energy-saving LED background lighting can be continuously dimmed by up to 100 per cent and is especially long-lasting and luminous when used in brightly lit working environments. The widescreen monitors allow a clear display and user interface design as well as offering high resolution and excellent readability from all angles.
Some further use case examples include: display and control web-based contents from a network-accessible web server (e.g. SIMATIC S7 PLC) by means of the integrated web browser, control WinCC projects on other operator devices or panel PCs by means of Sm@rtServer, control HMI applications (e.g. WinCC) and office applications (e.g. MS Excel or SAP) directly on the machine by means of Microsoft Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP). Plus, remotely control a PC by means of VNC (similar to RDP) and connect to a virtualised client application on a central server to allow centralised administration and security.
For more information about SIMATIC Industrial Thin Clients, please go to www.industry.siemens.co.uk/.