IDEC Releases a Safety Commander for Industrial HMIs

July 12, 2021 by Shawn Dietrich

IDEC’s Safety Commander holds industrial HMIs and includes safety features such as a switch and emergency stop button.

IDEC is an automation device and software supplier. The company offers a wide range of PLCs, HMIs, and safe/nonsafe control devices such as relays and switches. 


The Safety Commander in action. Image used courtesy of IDEC [PDF]


Its mission statement, “to make the point of contact where people interface with machines easy, safe, and secure,” is well reflected in its library of products. A recent addition to IDEC’s product line is the HT3P Safety Commander, a forward-thinking device to incorporate a tablet into an industrial system safely and securely.    


HT3P Safety Commander

HMI software is becoming more and more like a typical web page. There are already some industrial automation suppliers utilizing the power of HTML5 and Javascript in their HMI applications. 


IDEC HT3P Safety Commander

The front and back of the HMI holder. Image used courtesy of IDEC


Industry 4.0 and IIoT (industrial internet of things) are becoming a stronger force, driving the industry to utilize more advanced technology that a typical consumer might find at home. IDEC is trying to stay ahead of the game by developing a versatile holder for a tablet that could have an HMI application running on it, which can then be used to teach positions while the machine or robot is active.  


HT3P’s Safety Features

The HT3P is not just a typical tablet cover; it has an integrated emergency stop button and a three-position hold-to-run switch. These safety features are important to machine builders who need to provide a system with any safety rating and allow a maintenance person inside the machine while it is active.


An overview of the emergency stop button. Image used courtesy of IDEC [PDF]


The three-position hold-to-run is a feature that any mobile pendant should have. The switch requires the operator to hold the switch position in the middle position to maintain an active switch status. If the operator lets go of the switch, all motion stops; or if the operator squeezes the switch too much, all motion stops. 


An overview of the three-position enabling switch. Image used courtesy of IDEC [PDF]


The HT3P also has a keyed lock to secure the tablet, a USB-C charging port to keep the tablet charged while installed in the holder, and fit any size tablet from 8 to 11 inches.


Safety Commander’s Application

More automation suppliers are now offering their own robot kinematic package, allowing machine builders to develop their own robotic systems. The problem is some of those companies do not offer an inexpensive mobile pendant option. With Industry 4.0 and IIoT pushing HMI software companies to move to a web-browser-based HMI application, the machine builder would need to acquire a tablet with a web browser.  

With the HT3P Safety Commander, servo motor position teaching and pneumatic cylinder testing can occur with a trained maintenance person inside the machine using the three-position switch and emergency stop button. Once testing and teaching are complete, the tablet can be returned to a storage position or returned to a machine HMI operation. 

Since a typical machine contains robots, there would be a pendent for each robot, which would require training, plus an HMI for each cell within the machine. Using a tablet and the HT3P Safety Commander allows the machine builder to develop an HMI application capable of not only machine control but also remote testing and position teaching.