Template Conditional Visibility in PanelMate


Thread Starter

Scott M.

I have just begun to get acquainted with the features of the PanelMate Plus HMI and due to page limitations; I have no choice but to learn how to use the feature known as conditional visibility. Now a page typically consists of templates (as the literature refers to them), which have numerous functions. These functional templates may be used as readouts, indicators, and are also used to enter a numeric value or prompt the operator to press a momentary-contact control button. In my interface, I am using primarily readout templates because they display a value measured from a transducer as well as allow the operator to enter a numeric input and use the momentary-contact control buttons. By the way, these control buttons are actually physical buttons to the right of the screen. The interface simply displays large arrows, which point to them. The PanelMate HMI is not only the GUI but also the hardware, which includes the monitor the frame, the physical buttons, etc. My responsibility is to understand the software and how this interface is going to respond to the constant scanning of the ladder logic by the PLC. Now, after all that, let me explain conditional visibility...please be patient. Each template has an option, which allows it to be displayed if a specified conditional expression evaluates to true, and conversely. My dilemma is that I do not at this time have the means to simulate my interface and I am afraid that the way I have the conditional expressions setup, the templates may flicker. As I said before, I have to use conditional visibility because I have a page limitation. So I have essentially had to layer readout templates; I have two layers on each page. My specific question is this: I am at the point now where both readout templates (layered with one on top of the other) have conditional visibilities that evaluate to true meaning that they will both display, or not? This I do not know. From my limited understanding, a PLC will continuously scan the code and I am assuming the interface is always at the mercy of what the PLC senses and decides. Meaning, the interface will update whenever the PLC determines a change that will effect what is being displayed. My problem in detail is that I have a readout template that displays when a contact with a bit reference address is on. This readout template is by default, layered on top of another readout template. That readout template which is underneath by default, displays when a storage register is greater than or equal to zero. I believe that once the very first value that the storage register eats is stored and it is greater than or equal to zero, that storage register will always be greater than or equal to zero. Nowhere in my particular ladder logic is this storage register zeroed out. On the other hand, the other readout with a bit reference address as a conditional expression is usually true. What I want to happen is the operator enters a value greater than or equal to zero, which causes the first readout template to disappear, and the template behind it to appear as a result of the input being greater than or equal to zero. But I doubt that it will happen this way because it is possible both templates will be true. So since a PLC processor continuously scans the logic rung-by-rung top to bottom and left to right, will these readouts flicker back and forth? What behavior will these two-layered readouts exhibit? Can anyone with perhaps experience with this particular software or one similar to it prognosticate a plausible effect?

Thank you greatly for drudging through this inordinately long message. I will stop now.

Steve Bailey


First, you probably didn't need to write so much. Anybody capable of answering your question already knows all that stuff about PanelMates.

I have set up two overlapping readout templates with conditional visibility. When the visibility conditions for both are true at the same time, the display alternates between the two, with no obvious pattern. Sometimes one value will display for several seconds, then switch to the other. Sometimes they will alternate more rapidly.

I've got to ask why you feel compelled to overlay two templates like this. The current crop of PanelMates have fifty screens. If you're using an older version with only ten screens, I'd suggest you buy a new one. The aggravation you save will be well worth the cost.

There are other alternatives to overlaying templates. Have you tried Vari-sized templates, table templates, maintenance templates, embedding your data into messages? Any of these techniques can be used to show more data in a smaller area of the screen.

BTW, there is a website at http://www.mypanelmate.com for questions like yours. Cutler-Hammer opened it a few months ago, but there have been very few posts to date. I'm sure they would love to hear from an actual user.


Trevor Ousey

You could use one set of templates using a common set of registers, and have the PLC do the moves, either use indirect addresses or copy/moves.

Kerry Sparks

I agree with Steve's evaluation (though I'm probably a little late to add to this discussion) that there are lots of ways of solving the
problem depending on which exact PanelMate model you're using since all current PanelMate's allow up to 100 pages of information (and the newest ones go up to 200 pages). But to clarify the answer on Template Visibility, first it is bad practice to have two templates in the same location both having true conditional visibility expressions because depending on another setting ("Refresh Affected Graphics") you may not be able to predict which template will show on top. With "Refresh Affected Graphics" unchecked the last change to a reference in the conditional visibility expression will cause it's template to update last, and since PanelMate's operating system is muti-tasking and mult-threaded and the PanelMate scans of the PLC can be asynchronous it is difficult to predict what bit or register change will be read last. If you check "Refresh Affected Graphics" for the template that is "below" the other template, then after that template updates it will check the state of the template on "top" and if that template is also visible it will redraw the "top" template to insure proper visual priority. For more information try Cutler-Hammer tech support at (800)809-2772 (Options 5,5) and they'll answer support questions on both PanelMate and PanelMate Plus units (even though they are the Modicon private labe versions).

Kerry Sparks
PanelMate Product Manager
Just to add another late suggestion, the Variable Size Readout Template is a great way to display numerous values on a single page and also provides the option of displaying the value horizontally or vertically. The value can also
be imbedded in a text message to give further clarification to the operator.