ACD’s Mobile HMI Devices Guarantee Safe Machine Operation

Development of New HMIs with Enhanced Safety Functions!

The ACD Group, headquartered in Achstetten, Baden-Württemberg, south of Ulm, is a specialist in electronics. A major focus is on the development of mobile HMI devices. Industrial companies use these to operate machines, plants, automated guided vehicles and robots. An infinite number of systems can be controlled safely with just one device.

NFC Pairing Enables Mobile Operation in Industry

“We often find that industrial companies use stationary control panels or wired systems,” explains Thorsten Kächele, Sales, ACD Elektronik. “One machine may be connected to five or even ten panels. This is space-, cost- and also time-intensive. Operators have to constantly commute between the work area and the panels.”

Mobile HMI devices are the solution. Plant operators can connect one device to any number of machines or plants. They pair it with a gateway that is connected to a machine. The NFC pairing protocol is used for this. Operators use the HMI device to go directly to the operating area and control the machine functions from there.

Mobile HMI Devices Prevent Operating Errors & Increase Safety

When it comes to plant operation, safety is the top priority, emphasizes Uwe Mahler, Head of Sales Industrial Solutions, ACD Elektronik: “Machine safety means, firstly, that the signals transmitted from the HMI device to the plant are definitely intended by the operator. Secondly, the transmission of an emergency stop signal must be safe, reliable and must occur within a few milliseconds. Hardware and software must safeguard these functions.”

ACD’s HMI devices feature both an emergency stop function and a three-stage enabling switch. The panels transmit operating signals via WLAN and safety signals via Bluetooth radio. In the latter case, the device sends an encrypted data packet via a black channel. Incorrect operation, machine downtime and accidents are prevented.

The Development of Customized HMI Devices

The mobile HMI devices are available with five-inch or ten-inch displays. Both standard and custom-developed panels are part of the portfolio.

“From customizing to individualized complete development, everything is possible,” explains Uwe Mahler. “Customers can also use the HMI devices as industrial tablets for data readouts, for example. NFC pairing with a machine unlocks the operating functions for use.”

In addition, all devices use ACD’s proprietary Android™ Industrial+ operating system. This prevents data leakage to third parties.

“The operating system and the radio technologies used ensure functional safety and data security,” emphasizes Thorsten Kächele, adding, “In the future, the use of 5G with the HMI devices is also conceivable.”