Skip to Main Content
This paper presents a novel approach for the configuration and runtime usage of user interfaces or human machine interface (HMI) systems based on research being conducted at the MSI Research Institute, Loughborough University. In collaboration with Krause GmbH and Lamb Technicon UK Ltd two full size demonstrator machines have been commissioned to evaluate a component based control system and its associated design environment. The Krause machine consists of a transport system and a tappet assembly station, the Lamb Technicon machine consists of a single station from a transfer line machine for cylinder head machining. The framework for HMI system's described in this paper meets the requirements that automated manufacturing production machines face from the emerging agile manufacturing paradigm. Machines must be able to respond quickly to continuous change by many globally distributed engineering partners. This facilitates visibility of the system common model to all the globally distributed engineering partners involved in a given project. Within the C-B framework, HMI systems are composed from instances of reusable software templates that are targeted at specific user types. User targeted operator interfaces offer a common look and feel that improves usability. The machine's configuration is achieved by populating a series of HMI templates to produce a complete machine HMI system. A thin client architecture is used based on server/client Internet technologies that allow the machine HMI to be executed on any Internet enabled computer using a standard Web browser. It is possible to drive both the real machine and a simulated 3D virtual machine model via the HMI, enabling engineers to be trained on the operation of the HMI prior to the real machine being completed.