Human-Machine Interface Options for Industrial Thin Films


Precision Team


Max 4 minutes read

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    Our entire lineup of InCon Process Systems LLC (IPS) thin/wiped film systems have powerful and precise Human-Machine Interfaces (HMIs). 

    The various HMIs deliver a variety of semi-automated to fully-automated solutions which allow for greater control of system parameters and reduce the physical interaction between operators and the system itself. The result is more consistency and repeatability while simplifying the operation of the entire system.

    HMIs (or Human-Machine Interfaces) allow us, as humans, to engage and interact with machines or specific components of mechanical systems. As you will see below, HMIs in the case of our industrial thin/wiped film systems include a variety of exciting features and new levels of automation and control.

    We will explore each of the available HMI options in detail to understand how they benefit operators and overall system operation.

    EliteLab® Core HMI

    The EliteLab® Core HMI is included with all base-level systems and is built around a 15.5” touchscreen with a mounted Tiny PC.

    The Tiny PC features an Intel Quad Core I5-6500T 2.5GHz up to 3.1GHz, with 16GB DDR4 RAM, and a 512GB SSD run by Windows 10 Professional 64 Bit with the latest EliteLab® Kiosk version.

    The EliteLab® Core HMI integrates all Temperature Control Units (TCUs), Pressure Controllers, and Pressure Monitors into one simple to use interface, together with data-logging capabilities. Operators have the ability to create presets, review previous run data, and set alarms to notify them of specific changes in temperature or pressure all from the 15.5” touchscreen.

    EliteLab® is a yearly subscription-based software platform and a 1-year subscription is automatically included with each EliteLab® Core HMI. 

    Individual Variable Frequency Drives (VFDs) are mounted to the electrical control panel on the side of the system and control respective gear pumps and wiper basket motors.

    These VFD’s are separate from the EliteLab® Core HMI and thus require more operator interaction with the system itself, such as valve manipulation and control-pad operation.

    Base Level Programmable Logic Controller (PLC)

    The Base Level Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) can be added to any system for an increased fee from the base HMI.

    The Base Level PLC (from Allen-Bradley) consolidates all the VFD controllers into one, simple-to-use 22” touchscreen, which is mounted to the electrical panel on the side of the system.

    This allows users to control all the gear pump VFDs on the touchscreen as well as from a variety of portable devices such as Apple or Android phones and tablets.

    The Base Level PLC also allows for data-logging and remote management of the unit beyond the standard HMI.

    The Base Level PLC includes temperature and pressure sensors mounted into process lines, which make operation easier and allow for complete analysis and control of the system parameters from a single screen.

    Remote operation is also simplified through software added to the specific remote tablet, PC, or phone. Users can set a variety of alarms for pressure and temperature as well as other parameters to maintain system stability. 

    The Base Level PLC still includes the EliteLab® Core HMI to give users even more control of (and analysis capabilities for) the various temperature control units and pressure control units. With the Base Level PLC, valve manipulation is still done through human interaction, but the HMI gives users greater control and analysis options through a single touchscreen interface.

    Automated Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) with Level Sensors

    For an additional fee beyond the price of the Base Level PLC, an automated Allen-Bradley PLC can be added to the system and mounted to the electrical panel.

    This Automated PLC is connected to a variety of level sensors within various process lines to monitor flow rate, creating a seamless operating experience for the entire system. 

    The Automated PLC creates repeatability, reduces long-term operating costs, and greatly increases the efficiency and ease of use of the system.

    This is especially useful in industrial-scale, multi-stage distillation plants which would be difficult to monitor and control without the use of a fully-automated PLC.

    The Automated PLC utilizes the same 22” touchscreen interface as the Base Level PLC, mounted into the control panel and integrating all VFDs. Here too we have data-logging and overall management of the entire distillation system.

    The advanced PLC also includes temperature and pressure sensors mounted into process lines for complete temperature and pressure logging. Not only that, but you also get complete analysis and all the remote-device-control options included in the Base Level PLC.

    The EliteLab® Core HMI is included to give users even more control and analysis capabilities of the various temperature and pressure control units.


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