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Using a PC as an HMI?

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  • Using a PC as an HMI?

    I am theorizing a project where there would be between 20 and 60 PLC's in the plant, and there would be an HMI near each one, but I also need to access their information from the managers office of the plant. I can get an ethernet cable to the office so I am wondering if it would be possible to use a standard PC to act as an HMI for data logging and instant review of current data collection. Ideally I would be able to view information from all the PLC's together without needing to disconnect and reconnect to a different IP address on that local network.

    First off, is this something that is feasible with this hardware? I currently am using CLICK plc's and CMORE HMI's for my other projects and like them, but I have never tried to do anything like this before.

    Secondly, where would anyone recommend learning about this type of communication? I have surfed around youtube a bit but haven't found what I need.

    I'm thinking what I may need to do is to have many slave PLC's, and one master that communicates with the managers PC somehow.

    Thanks in advance for any assistance in where to find my answers.

  • #2
    There are probably quite a few options for this type of thing without a data acquisition package.

    One HMI could read certain data from each PLC and store it.
    That HMI could be remote controlled by a PC on the network.

    One Master PLC could read the data from the slave PLC's and store it to a USB or Flash.
    That PLC could email the file to be used by a PC.

    The one Master PLC method is what I use currently.
    Have had up to 15 PLC's that have data that is read via modbus from once per second to once per 10 seconds.
    The Master PLC stores the data and also displays it on the Viewmarq moving signs.
    Dont know what having 60 PLC's would do for bandwith.


    • #3
      Look at SCADA software. That is exactly what you want. It runs on a PC and is effectively an HMI in software that pulls data from many PLCs for display and logging.


      • #4
        SCADA package all thew way. They used to sell a package called Point of View that is retired now. Schneider bought the maker of the software and is selling it as Blue Open Studio under the Proface brand. It's a good package and is well supported with constant updates. It has a lot of options and can talk to many devices. Send me a message if you want a link.


        • #5
          I have done something similar, but use modbusphp to access the data from multiple PLC's. I don't care for data logging on a PC, as a PC always does silly things like install windows updates in the middle of the night, user installs something and crashes the PC, etc. I prefer a web server to keep the uptime % higher. Also, I would suggest a BRX PLC, they have many more capabilities with logging/sending data, queuing the data, accessing data via web protocols, etc.

          Advanced HMI also might be an an option if you want to create HMI's on the PC.


          • #6
            You can use Remote Access from C-more EA9 HMI to yours Manager PC. It is a simple application that shows in the PC what is in the HMI.
            It is free and comes already with C-more EA9. Nothing to buy.
            I guess you don't want to show different 60 plcs in the manager's office PC. So for this you can choose one main HMI, to concentrate the data. You can read from this Main C-more, thru the others C-more's the information from each PLC , just choose "Connection through another Panel"