OEM Turck Expands HMI Capabilities for Food and Beverage IndustriesApril 26, 2021 by Robin Mitchell
Turck recently released its latest HMI designed for harsh outdoor environments in the food and beverage industry.
Who is Turck?
Turck is an engineering company specializing in multiple industrial fields, including components, connectivity, and HMIs. Turck first started manufacturing switching amplifiers and proximity sensors in a small shed in 1965. Since then, the company has created a global presence with over 4,000 employees operating in 30 countries.
The TX700FB HMI Device
The TX707HB series is a 7 inch HMI suited for outdoor and food and beverage industries. The HMI is readable in direct sunlight, constructed using a metal housing, and has a glass capacitive touchscreen for interfacing. The metal housing has an additional coating to provide more protection to the internal PCB.
The TX700FB HMI. Image used courtesy of Turck
The HMI system itself is essentially an ARM computer in a rugged design. At the heart of the HMI is a dual-core ARM Cortext A9 clocked at 800MHz with 1024MB of RAM and 4096MB of memory (FLASH). Additional memory is available via an external SD card slot, and the onboard RTC is battery-backed to ensure that the system can track time even when power is unavailable. Further connectivity for devices is provided via 2 USB host ports.
Network connectivity of the TX700FB is provided via 3 x RJ45 Ethernet connectors that offer a range of speeds from 10Mbits to 1000Mbits. The HMI can support many network protocols, including PROFINET, EtherNET, Modbus TCP, Modbus RTU, and CANopen. RS232, RS485, and RS422 are also provided for connecting to via serial comms, and two slots are provided for additional expansion.
The extended temperature range of the HMI includes -20°C to +60°C, and environmental sealing on the front of the HMI is IP69K. The HMI should be installed so that the backside is sealed from the surrounding environment, as it only has an IP rating of IP20.
The Challenges of Extreme and Demanding Environments
HMIs are essentially small touchscreen tablets. As such, people often assume you can use any touch screen in harsh industrial environments. While such a device could theoretically be used, it would most likely fail within days (if not hours) in an industrial environment.
The TX700FB HMI is designed for the food and beverage industry. Image used courtesy of Turck
While some industrial environments may be similar to a residential space, many are not. From wide temperature swings to the presence of dust, devices that are designed to operate in industrial environments must survive such harsh conditions.
The metal housing and polyester coating on the TX707HB provide a rugged design that can resist physical impacts (such as tools and equipment) and help resist damage from sunlight and potentially corrosive compounds.
This is important in safety applications where outdoor equipment needs to be closely monitored.
The food and beverage industry is somewhat more problematic than typical industrial environments due to the presence of products consumed by the general public. Therefore, any equipment used in such environments must be resistant to pathogen growth. The polyester coating on the front of the HMI enables plant operators to wash down the display using a high-pressure jet, thereby guaranteeing cleanliness.