Project Challenges and Requirements

An OEM machine manufacturer needed to redesign an existing machine application adding the ability to control a VideoJet printer.

The machine is designed to weigh potato chips, package the chips into individual bags based on volume, date stamp each bag once filled, and box the individual bags into a case pack for shipping. They were upgrading the machine to accommodate several enhancements requested by their customer. A major enhancement was the use of the VideoJet printer to print the date codes on the packaged products. The VideoJet device has many options that allow the operator to control several aspects of its operation. The OEM’s challenge was to find a simple way to incorporate all these printer features into their existing packaging machine design.

  1. The OEM was looking for a control product that would act as the touch screen for the end user, control the physical equipment, and communicate with their current PLC.
  2. They needed to give their operators access to the controls on the printer from their existing touchscreen design.
  3. Wanted a color touch screen to make the interface more attractive.
  4. Needed the touch screen controller to be low-cost to keep overall cost of goods down so final price of machine was attractive to the end customer.
  5. Allow the user to operate different machine languages and/or modes such as Manual Mode, continuous operation, and programmed sequences such as alternating between short-piece, long-piece, short-piece, or other custom sequences.
  6. Show alarms on screen if mechanical equipment had issues.
  1. Color Touchscreen HMI with large attractive display
  2. VideoJet Printer
  3. Allen Bradley MicroLogix DF1 PLC

The Solution

Since they wanted to move to a larger HMI interface we recommended one of our 9.7″ HMIs.

A key feature of the HMI they chose was the PLC Web Browser object. This allowed the OEM to interact with their new printer, which has a readymade web interface built in. The operators can use the web interface to control all the key features of the printer directly from the HMI. Before discovering this feature, the customer was contemplating having to spend engineering time to manually recreate the printer’s web screens in the HMI program, not to mention using a custom command language to send ASCII commands to the printer when the operator wanted to change something. However, with the PLC Web Browser object, this task was as simple as placing a PLC Web Browser object on a new printer screen in the HMI project, pointing the browser object in the project to the printer’s IP address, and downloading the modified project from the printer.

What could have been a month-long engineering effort was accomplished in a matter of minutes. And the operator gets the exact experience that the printer supplier intended. Additionally, many of our HMIs come with OPC UA which allowed the HMI to connect to the SCADA software, sending alerts and other information.

The OEM downloaded our free HMI programming software EBPro available in our Support Center, and worked with our Application Engineering to validate the functionality.

The OEM was able to program the unit on their own, but we do offer Application Engineering services to program the unit for you if you do not have the time or resources. And if needed, we can program the unit and then train you on the real program so you can make changes to the project once the HMI is integrated with your machine.

Our Value Promise

Long renowned in the Industrial Automation industry for the quality of technical support we have provided for decades, Maple Systems has a reputation for connecting customers with someone who knows our products inside and out. Whether it is one of our trusted System Integrator partners, Distributors, or our own engineering team, we are happy to connect you with a knowledgeable engineer dedicated to understanding your application.

Supported Products

From basic functionality to IIoT advanced features, our touchscreen HMIs provide options worth weighing.

Get up and running today with EBPro, Maple Systems’ HMI Programming Software. No prior controls or programming experience necessary.

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