Large Display PLC - 10 & 12 Inch Colour Touch Screens

 

Unitronics Large Display PLC’s

 

Unitronics large display PLC’s allow manufacturers to include a 10 inch touch screen or 12 inch touch screen into their products at a remarkably low price. These PLC’s are fully integrated with a large touch screen and provide both high capability process control and a rich graphical user interface. In this article we look more closely at the Unitronics 10 inch and 12 inch touch screen PLC models and the benefits to manufacturers and end users of using a large display PLC.

 

Unitronics Vision 1040 – 10 inch Touch Screen PLC

 

The Unitronics Vision 1040 is a powerful PLC with integrated 10 inch touch screen (actual screen size 10.4 inches diagonally). In addition to the large display area, there are nine dedicated buttons underneath (eight programmable and one dedicated ESC button). This makes the Vision 1040 a desirable option in applications where it is appropriate to have constant access to some functions (e.g. quick access to particular screens, rather than navigating through menus). This is most likely to be in an industrial setting where operators will have access to training.

The screen itself has 800x600 resolution with 65,000 colours allowing photographic quality images and graphics to be used. This means that complex task information can be presented to a user in just about any visual representation desired by the manufacturer or appropriate to the end user. The processor can hold up to 1024 user defined screens and up to 500 images per application. Since graphical design and production is a significant part of the implementation process, an image library of several hundred images is supplied.

The PLC itself includes 24 independent PID control loops and is capable of dealing with a large range of digital and analogue inputs and outputs including temperature, weight, speed, shaft encoder and pulse-width modulation.

It includes a host of other software and hardware features as standard, such as built in HMI graphs to help display the status of a process or accumulated process data, and a full range of comms ports including RS232/RS485, Ethernet, Canbus and USB, plus the ability to add an additional port if required. And, as with all Unitronics PLC’s, software tools are provided free of charge.

 

Unitronics Vision 1210 – 12 inch Touch Screen PLC

 

The Unitronics Vision 1210 has very similar PLC capabilities to the Vision 1040, but includes a larger 12 inch touch screen (actual screen size 12.1 inches diagonally). It has no dedicated function buttons, making it suitable for a semi-industrial or non-industrial setting where it is important to tightly control what user inputs are possible at every stage of a process via options presented on screen. The 12 inch touch screen has a much shallower lip around the edge of the screen compared to the 10 inch touch screen model. This gives the Vision 1210 a better Ingress Protection rating and may be useful in environments where hygiene is important and machinery needs to be wiped down, such as food production.

The large display area of the 12 inch touch screen model is also useful in applications where the operator may be some distance away from the screen for some of the time (e.g. in a food processing situation where an operator may need to monitor progress of one task while carrying out some other task elsewhere within a work area). A larger screen means that text and graphics can be more easily made large enough to be seen from a distance.

 

Integrated But Fully Flexible

A PLC with integrated large touch screen HMI means several savings for the manufacturer in terms of labour as well as overall development time. But does this integration mean a designer is then limited to the functionality that is built in? This is certainly not the case with the Unitronics range, which allows additional I/O modules to be added as required by an application. This allows a designer to easily adapt the PLC to a wide range of uses. Some I/O modules are “snap-on” and fit directly into the back of the PLC, while others allow remote I/O.

To see the full range of I/O modules available for the Unitronics 12 and 10 inch touch screen PLCs, view this datasheet

 

Benefits of Using a Large Display PLC

The first major benefit of using a powerful PLC with a large touch screen is the wide range of applications that it can be used for. The huge number of possible I/O combinations and the large number of processes that can be controlled, means that a manufacturer is now able to create products for many different applications. This potentially allows a manufacturer to diversify their product range into different sectors and application types using the same design and programming skills they already have. In other words, where once a manufacturer might have chosen a different PLC and associated HMI components for each product, familiarity with a 10 or 12 inch touch screen Unitronics PLC allows many different products to be created using the same PLC, just with a different set of I/O’s and a different set of user interface screens. It also allows a manufacturer who may, up till now, have specialised in back-end industrial process controllers requiring significant user expertise, to contemplate the creation of products for a wider marketplace.

For a taste of the range of applications that are possible using the Unitronics large touch screenrange, see our example projects page.

 

The second major benefit of a large display PLC is that designers can create rich user interfaces offering both better usability and greater user appeal. The use of a 12 or 10 inch touch screen display, with the high resolution and colour capability of the Vision 1040 and Vision 1210, means that a user interface designer can employ any visual representation to present the information required for a task, including multiple indications. For example, a particular value within a process may be represented as text. But there may also be a colour for that text or its background to help it stand out from other text on the screen, or it may be displayed adjacent to other values to give it context. At the same time there may be a graph showing the current value in relation to time, as well as a photographic representation of the real world objects to which the value applies. These multiple cues all help to ensure that a user has all the information they need to understand the full meaning of the display, make decisions and take actions appropriate to the processes being controlled.

But this richness offers more than just better user understanding. It also allows interfaces to be created which are simply more appealing to users. While this may not be of primary importance in a strictly industrial setting, it offers the prospect of products suitable for semi-industrial or non-industrial settings where the user experience plays a bigger part in the success of a product.

 

Value for Money

With so much functionality and flexibility, combined with sizeable touch screens, you might imagine that all this must come at a high price. But the Unitronics Vision 1040 and Vision 1210 models represent surprising value for money. For instance, the 10 and 12 inch models are around half the cost of some similar sized screens alone, without any PLC capability.

You might also expect that the 12 inch touch screen model would be significantly more expensive than the 10 inch model, but in fact it comes in at only around £40 more. So unless there is a special requirement for the dedicated function keys on the Vision 1040, it makes a lot of sense to choose the Vision 1210. The increase in screen real estate to work with will make the creation of user interface screens that much easier and will help to future proof your product: upgrading your product range will be more likely to involve a software and user interface upgrade, rather than requiring any component changes.

 

As always, the Tecnologic team are available to discuss your requirements and help you identify the best components for your application. Call us today or use our contact form and one of our team will be in touch with you.

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