Key Panels for use in Tough and Safety-Related Industrial Applications

Siemens Industry has released a pair of new key panels for its HMI (human machine interface) systems that promise to deliver enhanced functionality to users on the shop floor. The new Simatic HMI KP8 and KP8F feature eight large, programmable, backlit keys that Alan Cone, Siemens spokesperson, says will make machine control on the shop floor easier than ever before.

“These panels are backlit so you can see them easily and clearly no matter what the ambient lighting in your environment,” says Cone, adding that the screens can be adjusted for both brightness and color. “Anyone who has tried to work on a screen in direct sunlight will immediately understand why this is an important feature. Background colors are configurable in red, yellow, green, white or blue which can be used, for example, to indicate different machine states at a glance. You can even configure the individual keys to flash and alert you that interaction is required on the machine. All keys can be individually designated and adapted to the application.”

The new panels are ruggedized with IP65 protection at the front for hostile industrial applications and come equipped with a 2-port PROFINET interface and an integral switch and are easy to use with tactile feedback on operation of the keys. The HMI KP8F comes with two safety-related inputs, making it particularly suitable for safety-related applications.

In single-channel use, the panel achieves a SIL 2 (safety integrity level), while in dual-channel mode SIL 3 is attained. Depending on the SIL rating required by the application, users can connect up to two emergency-off switches and using PROFINET Shared Device the panels can address two controllers simultaneously.

“Most operator panels on the market require assembly and wiring, but we did away with that to make deployment as easy and time friendly as possible,” says Cone. “These devices come assembled and ready to deploy. Finally, these devices have eight configurable I/O slots so you can add additional operating elements, such as pushbuttons, as required. These devices should make the lives of the end user a lot easier, thus making a significant contribution to the Siemens HMI offering.”

For more information on the SIMATIC HMI Key Panel KP 8 and KP 8F, please click here.

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