In most cases, industrial HMI software is designed to run in a full-screen mode, where all the user sees (and can therefore click on using a touch screen) is the HMI application itself. This prevents the user from interacting with the operating system directly and accidentally closing the HMI application, rebooting Windows, or worse.
In our last post we introduced our Raspberry Pi proof-of-concept project and outlined the physical components and setup required for using the Raspberry Pi as an industrial touch screen PC in a harsh environment. Please see our previous post for important information to consider before integrating a Raspberry Pi with our industrial touch screens.
The Raspberry Pi is a small single-board computer originally created by the Raspberry Pi Foundation as an affordable tool for teaching computer science. Due to its low cost, ease of use, and broad community support, the Raspberry Pi is now being used in a variety of diverse settings with users installing them in everything from home automation systems to autonomous aircraft.
Recently Hope Industrial sent several of our key products – our Panel Mount Monitors, Universal Mount Monitors, monitor-mounted KVM products, keyboards, and cover plates – through third-party IP66 environmental certification testing, and all of the products completed and passed the testing. Although our products had previously been tested and confirmed as NEMA 4X certified in years past, which also implied IP66 ratings were met, we wanted to ensure they fully meet the IP66 rating by using Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (UL), a trusted independent product safety certification organization, for the testing.
At Hope Industrial Systems we recognize the important role safety and performance play in our ability to deliver the high quality products our customers expect. As an extra step in quality assurance to ensure our products adhere both to the standards we assert and to the quality our customers deserve, we’ve adopted International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) standards for the testing of several of our key products.
Our industrial touch screens use resistive touch sensors (discussed here), which are well suited for harsh industrial environments. The outer layer of these sensors is made of a polyester sheet that is coated with an acrylic “hard-coat” film for added scratch prevention. As a result, our touch screen sensors have a hard-wearing surface that is suitable for most environments.
More and more often, our industrial touch screen customers are taking advantage of the open source Linux operating system, Ubuntu. Ubuntu has evolved into a versatile, easy-to-configure environment with a large community following and massive support from the company Canonical. We have seen a steady increase in calls from customers leveraging Linux in industrial environments, and in recent years Ubuntu has been leading the charge. In addition to the standard Elo-provided Linux driver, Ubuntu users now have a very simple touch screen driver solution that requires no new software.
The RoHS directive is a set of European Union regulations that relates to restriction of hazardous materials in electronic and electrical equipment. This directive came into force in 2006 and covers a wide range of electrical and electronic products.
Like most electronics vendors, we at Hope Industrial have worked with our suppliers over the years to ensure that our products are RoHS compliant (as detailed here).
For many years, our line of Industrial KVM Extenders has been a critical part of our product line-up, allowing our customers to forego the expense and hassle of a fully ruggedized PC by extending keyboard, video, and touch screen signals from a ruggedized industrial workstation back to a standard PC or server located in a clean, safe IT closet.