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Touch Panel Computers for automation and IoT applications

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Touch Panel Computers for automation and IoT applicationsAdvantech's new Touch Panel Computer (TPC) devices benefit from fourth-generation Intel processors (Haswell), which results in greater processing power, improved graphics performance and reduced energy consumption. According to Advantech, these fanless TPCs meet the current market trends for distributed systems, the Internet of Things (IoT), and energy efficiency.

New or modernised machines and systems for manufacturing and processing industries have one remarkably consistent characteristic: they are equipped with operating stations (HMIs, human-machine interfaces) that no longer have anything in common with the operating stations of the past. In particular, modern HMIs feature high-performance displays in the traditional 4:3 format with single-touch operation or, increasingly, in the 16:9 widescreen format with multi-touch operation. Moreover, behind the screen, modern HMIs often have high-performance industrial PCs (IPCs) to deliver much-improved performance.

TPC characteristics and applications

Today's Touch Panel Computers (TPCs) combine proven and popular operating functions found in smartphones or tablets with characteristics that make them suitable for industrial applications such as continuous operation, an absence of moving parts, low power consumption, high ingress protection and electromagnetic compatibility. It is easy to see why TPCs are becoming so popular as HMIs, and why they are being viewed as a new generation of automation platform.

TPCs are being used for a wide variety of applications in industrial and process automation:

  • Today's automation systems often feature complex topologies that differ from the traditional structure with a control unit and operating station. Partial systems are gaining in importance, which are distributed across the complete plant with each equipped with its own automation platform to handle control, monitoring, operating and processing functions. The communications paths extend to neighbouring or subordinated partial systems or directly connected field devices, in the same way as they do to the ERP level. This central task (all data runs via the platform) requires high processing capacity and operating reliability, a high-performance operating and visualisation technology, as well as flexibility in terms of interfaces with other systems. These are requirements that can be fulfilled by modern TPCs.
  • In the area of the IoT (Internet of Things or Industrie 4.0) the fast, secure communication among devices and systems and with the internet, while simultaneously processing large volumes of data (big data) plays a central role. This is the only way that the objectives of IoT regarding self-optimising production, batch-of-one or higher product quality can be realised at simultaneously lower costs. High-performance TPCs are highly suitable for this purpose as well.
  • Energy-efficient ('green') production is a further goal of modern industrial systems. TPCs contribute their share to this objective too, wherever their design relies on the latest energy-saving chip technologies.

New Advantech TPCs with 4th Generation i3 processors

Advantech is known for rapid innovation and the market launch of new TPCs with fourth-generation Intel Core i3 processors is yet another example of this. The new processors are based on an optimised micro-architecture (Codename Haswell) and are produced, like the previous series, with a structural width of 22 nanometres. The focus of this new development is a significantly higher graphics performance that supports functions such as faster scrolling while simultaneously reducing power consumption. Both serve to substantially increase the user benefit from TPCs equipped with these new processors.

In a first phase, Advantech is bringing four TPCs to the market, all of which are equipped with the new fourth-generation Core i3 Intel processors, and all are protected to IP65. At the same time, two monitor types are offered:

l{The traditional 4:3 format with single-touch technology, which is especially suitable for SCADA applications because users can benefit from improved graphics performance and low energy consumption without having to change the screen displays already developed for their applications. The corresponding device types are TPC-1582H (15inch) and TPC-1782H (17inch).,The 16:9 format for users who want to enjoy all advantages of the newest processor technologies and also the comfort offered by widescreen and multitouch displays. The corresponding device types are TPC-1581WP (15inch widescreen) and TPC-1881WP (18inch widescreen).

All four TPCs support Advantech's iDoor technology whereby the TPCs receive a large number of interfaces and expansion possibilities by means of pluggable technology modules. This includes analogue and digital I/O, fieldbus and Ethernet protocols, as well as wireless communications modules or connectivity for intelligent sensors.

Follow the link for more information about Advatech's new Touch Panel Computers.

 
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