HMI Application Development Software Supports a Range of Devices

Pro-face America, the North American subsidiary of Japan-based Digital Electronics Corporation, has announced the release of GP-Pro EX Version 2.2, the latest version of the company's HMI application development software. GP-Pro EX features a combination of HMI functions, including multimedia capability, remote PC access, high-speed device linking and built-in control logic editor.

The software is designed to speed application development for both OEMs and end-users who need to standardize on one HMI package that supports both Microsoft Windows-based systems and dedicated operator interfaces. New features in GP-Pro EX Version 2.2 include enhanced local and remote security and traceability; direct interface to a range of devices, including PLCs, motion controllers, vision systems and bar code scanners; smart simulation and shortcuts; and expanded object animation capabilities.

New security features in GP-Pro EX applications reduce system tampering and provide a safe machine environment by managing access to both the local machine and remote maintenance and control tools. The addition of object-based security at the HMI screen level means key individuals have access to critical controls, greatly reducing development time. Tampering and accountability are reduced using an operation log that tracks operator changes that have occurred via data entry or with the editing of any object on the screen. 

GP-Pro EX's Smart Simulation feature allows developers to test entire projects on their laptops. No external hardware or cabling is required. The software simulates HMI screens, ladder logic and external devices. Once complete, a tested project can then be e-mailed to a customer.
The Object Animation feature changes the appearance of objects on the screen based on plant conditions or the security clearance of the operator. To simplify operator interaction, objects on the screen can disappear when not needed, moving or rotating parts can be animated and tank colors can change in accordance with temperatures.

The expanded set of remote connectivity tools in GP-Pro EX Version 2.2 are designed to monitor, control, upgrade, diagnose and upload logged information on machines around the world without the need to travel on-site. This grants the opportunity to provide fast response customer support services using remote machine diagnostics, while saving thousands of dollars in on-site support and travel costs. The software's remote tools also address the need to minimize field upgrades by providing multiple methods to perform HMI system upgrades without needing development software. These methods include: using a freely distributable application transfer software utility, using a compact flash card or USB device or performing the upgrade over an Ethernet connection.

GP-Pro EX Version 2.2 introduces new communication protocols, adding to the 100+ protocols now available, allowing connections to almost every industry standard factory floor device. New support is provided for vision systems (Banner and Cognex), motion and drive controllers and wired or wireless bar code scanning devices. The direct connectivity uses up to four simultaneous protocols, which removes the communication burden from the PLC and eliminates high dollar specialty analog cards, lowering system costs while improving control performance.

GP-Pro EX Version 2.2 supports multi-platform HMI applications. The same HMI application created in GP-Pro EX can be used on a Microsoft Windows-based operator interface, such as Pro-face PS3000 or APL3000 industrial PCs, or on a dedicated non-Windows-based operator interface, such as the Pro-face AGP3000 series. The software environment includes full control logic capabilities to use with products that include an operator interface plus control as an all-in-one package, such as the Pro-face LT3000 HMI plus control series.