Automation has been on the rise since the invention of microprocessors and their widespread implementation in electronic devices starting in the 1970’s. Their ability to measure, monitor, and control industrial processes continues to propel innovations that seek to increase efficiency and productivity. Traditionally, highly trained personnel interacted with these devices using mechanical dials, switches, buttons, and levers. Over the years, as the complexity of tasks and data requirements went up, graphical screens started to be employed more frequently. This forced manufacturers to adopt keyboards and point and click devices to interact with such systems. The problem is that these devices have poor reliability in industrial applications. Enter touch screen technology.
Touch screen technology is all around us and has been making an impact on industry for years. Industrial tasks and processes that were once managed by bulky computers, low-resolution monitors, complicated interfaces, and a team of highly trained personnel are now being streamlined with industrial touch screen monitors and interactive production displays. A survey conducted by Ansell found that 65% of companies across the U.S. have implemented touch screens, and the global market for automation technology will post a turnover of $200 billion this year alone.
As the price of touch screen displays continues to decrease, you can leverage them to automate industrial tasks, decrease equipment costs, and provide personnel with an intuitive interface to control costly machinery and equipment.
Touch in Automotive Manufacturing
Industrial monitors, computers, and equipment have to operate continuously in the harshest conditions. A great example of this is how touch can be used to improve factory productivity in automotive manufacturing assembly lines. As the automobile industry continues to expand into new markets there has been a strong demand for highly precise manufacturing machines to streamline tasks. One of the most important tasks during assembly at an automotive plant is proper bolt tightening. This task requires precision control of torque and rotation angle, as well as intelligent monitoring of the hardness and softness of bolt material to adjust speed.
Performing this task manually is arduous, so manufacturers have implemented a number of human machine interfaces (HMI) consisting of large computers and monitors to reduce human error and improve productivity. However, the operating environment in an assembly factory poses many challenges to these systems. There are many airborne pollutants that can cause computers to crash unexpectedly. When combined with machine vibrations, dust, humidity, and electromagnetic interference, these systems have significant reliability issues.
With new touch screen technology, automobile manufacturers are overcoming these issues and facilitating more intuitive controls over complex industrial tasks, reducing labor input by up to 70%. In the bolt tightening example, industrial touch screen monitors were successfully implemented to replace slow computers, monitors, and keyboards. The implementation of these screens allowed personnel overseeing the tightening machine to accurately control angle transducers, torque monitors, and fine parameters with a high resolution multi-touch display.
If you are looking to automate tasks at your facility but are concerned about reliability and performance, touch screens are a robust solution. New advances are durable enough to withstand exposure to harsh chemicals, debris, moisture, heat and other industrial contaminants. For some technologies, even metal particulate in the air can immobilize their functionality. Touch screens can also act as both an input and output device, recognizing touch inputs from gloved fingers, so there’s no need to house bulky computer components such as a mouse, CPU, and keyboards on your factory floor. This will help you optimize space and improve safety. A recent survey finds that 91.1% of manufacturers say that integration and automation will increase operator safety.
Touch in Food Processing
Food processing is another challenging industrial task that requires strict adherence to hygiene and safety guidelines. These guidelines not only extend to personnel but also to the machinery and systems that control production. Traditional industrial computers and monitors in this setting face many tough challenges. Aside from having to withstand rigorous cleaning protocols, production systems have to be durable enough to handle intense heat and cold, liquid, scratching, and must operate continuously without any hesitation.
In order to comply with the strict hygiene and safety regulations of industrial-scale food processing, many manufacturers are replacing their old production displays and computers with industrial touch screen monitors. In the meat-processing line, touch screens have to be impact resistant, because personnel work with knives, heavy boxes, and chain gloves that can damage the surface. In addition, these touch screens have to be waterproof to allow for easy cleanup during the sanitation process.
New advancements in touch monitors are helping food-processors control production with intuitive interfaces that are easy for personnel to operate in the processing line. This is because touch screens present personnel with a more functional graphic user interface that makes it easy to learn procedures and command sequences.
If you are looking to reduce equipment costs at your facility, touch screen industrial monitors are the best solution. Keyboards rated for industrial use have to be made of tough, often waterproof materials, a process that could up costing more than a comparable touch panel.
Baanto’s ShadowSense technology is taking industrial touch screen panels even further. Our solutions offer your business reliable 24/7 operation in any environment and are sealed to prevent contamination from dust, liquids, debris, and industrial contaminants, so that your personnel and systems can keep up with the continuous demands of production lines. To find out more about industrial touch screen monitors and other related trends that can impact your bottom line, contact us today and join our growing community.