It is 4 a.m. at an injection molding shop when the alarm sounds on a press.
With little information available, the operator has few choices beyond shutting it down until someone is on hand who can fix it, even if that means getting someone out of bed.
Eurotherm Ltd. (Booth N5161) has a new set of controllers, though, to put the solution in plain text, allowing operators to know precisely what is needed and bring the press back up as quickly as possible.
``There's no excuse for an operator to be standing there saying he doesn't know what to do,'' said Paul Morgan, group business development manager, at NPE.
The firm's new 3200 and 3500 series of controllers permit the processor to have a scrolling text message across the unit, with up to 700 characters available for the message. In plain language, the machine can inform operators precisely what is wrong - if it is a heating unit that can be replaced easily or something more dire that requires immediate attention from a specialist.
``What this is, is a miniature human-machine interface,'' he said.
The new units can be retrofitted as replacements for existing 1/16 DIN and 1/4 DIN controls.
All of the company's new products being introduced at NPE are geared toward simplifying the connections between human and machine, noted Steven Miller, a market manager at Eurotherm North America. There are improved Ethernet connections to allow for remote monitoring of equipment and infrared connections that permit companies to make changes to the controls with the controls still in place.
Software improvements permit engineers to click, drag and drop information for the press from a personal computer, rather than poring through 50-page instruction manuals to find the proper codes.
``We're simplifying the product for the user,'' Miller said.