System Integration & Control Systems Design


HMI systems for marine engine room operation

August 2017 System Integration & Control Systems Design

The operating conditions in an engine room posed a particular challenge to the design of an HMI system. These conditions necessitated a closed explosion-protected system that would also be able to withstand the tough marine environment. Flexible panel PC systems using R. Stahl’s Eagle platform will now be used onsite as the ship’s new operating and monitoring systems. With the right interfaces for the application and useful connection options, the series is an asset to both the current and future communication solutions.

These devices also make automation technology easier to use. If the sensors in the engine room below decks need to be recalibrated, for example, this can be carried out onsite on the new operating device.

Designed for maritime use

Panel PCs using the Eagle device platform, with display sizes ranging from 10” to 19”, have DNV, Lloyd’s Register, ATEX, IECEX and ABS certification for use worldwide in hazardous areas and on ships. They are resistant to corrosive gases in accordance with ISA 71.4 G3, have IP66 protection, as well as being vibration-resistant and shockproof.

Their state-of-the-art quad-core processors make them universally suitable for the operation of machinery and processes, as well as in filling stations. All HMIs come with a touchscreen as standard. The 15” device can optionally be fitted with an innovative, sunlight-readable display. The control panel’s add-on modules are able to withstand ambient temperatures ranging from -20 to 55°C. The operating stations, integrated in enclosures, are able to withstand ambient temperatures of between -30 and 50°C, and can be configured in numerous ways.

The seawater resistant materials and the vibration resistant design of the HMI systems, coupled with adequate EMI resistance, make these systems a reliable, durable choice for maritime applications. Owing to the tough conditions in these operating environments, solid state drives (SSDs) are used because they are physically more rugged.

Modular explosion protection

Unlike some standard version panel PCs, the Eagle platform is composed of modules that are individually protected against explosions, allowing users to maintain the devices themselves by swapping out specific individual assemblies as needed. The optimal type of protection for each module has been used: the display module has Ex m protection, others such as CPUs and power supplies have Ex d protection, and connection PCBs feature either Ex e or Ex i protection.

An Ex e ‘increased safety’ terminal box has connection ports for USB 2.0 flash drives, mass storage devices which are very easy to swap out on these boxes. In addition to two standard USB 2.0 interfaces and two intrinsically safe USB 2.0 interfaces, these devices feature two serial ports, a copper or Fibre Optic/Ethernet interface, a connection for keyboards and trackballs (joysticks), and optional interfaces for barcode and card readers. The devices boast all-round IP66 protection and can also be installed as front panel add-on devices without additional protective measures, directly in hazardous areas.

For more information contact Preshan Moodliar, Stahl Esaco, +27 (0)11 608 3120, preshan@esaco.co.za, www.esaco.co.za


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