Customer in mind: the new HMI 3 user interface

With its IPC08 machine control and HMI 3 user interface, MULTIVAC is heralding the start of a new era of operating convenience for packaging machines. The focus of this development was on all machine users and their needs. The innovative concept, together with a new generation of machines, will be presented at interpack 2017.

In future it will be very easy for all machine users, since the new human-machine interface on MULTIVAC thermoforming packaging machines is essentially orientated towards the user’s needs, and it was specially developed by MULTIVAC with the customer in mind. The aim: a complex packaging machine or line should be capable of being operated as easily as a smart device. It is no longer possible to imagine one’s daily personal or working life without mobile devices such as smartphones or tablets. Their operation is simple, intuitive and clear – and practically every user can navigate around them without problems.


Multitouch operation like the smartphone

Large, complex thermoforming packaging machines of the RX 4.0 type will in future be systematically equipped with the IPC 08 Multitouch machine control. Compared to the IPC 06 machine control, which has a 12.1 inch touchscreen, the new IPC 08 Multitouch machine control offers a significantly larger display with 18.5 inch as well as a high-performance multicore processor. In addition to this, the machine control is equipped with Multitouch, which can be operated with up to five fingers. It was the new technical opportunities that brought about the development of HMI 3, the third generation of machine operating interface.

Just as with HMI 2.0, the new interface enables users to set up the machine, monitor the machine status, parameterise the machine modules and follow the whole packaging procedure in real time. Additionally in the case of HMI 3 however, users are aided by functions such as wiping, zooming, animations and an overview page (dashboard) that can be superimposed. These functions make it easier to operate the packaging machine and find information quickly.

“The HMI 3 can be operated like a smartphone or tablet, and it therefore meets all the expectations of users today when it comes to operating machines and equipment,” explains Claus Botzenhardt, Senior Manager of the Control Technology Development at MULTIVAC. “This makes it particularly easy to master the first steps in operating the machine.”

Personalisation of the user interface

Another new feature is that the user interface can be personalised. A RFID card is required as standard for the particular user to log in with the HMI 3. After the user has logged in, the appropriate user profile is loaded, and here personal settings such as type of display, preferred language and even authorisation level are stored. The current parameters are clearly displayed in the cockpit. The information shown on the dashboard can be configured by the user. As is already featured on the second-generation HMI 2.0, all the functions are displayed grouped together for a better overview. They can be visualised in detail by touching the icon. The clear structuring of the user interface and the self-explanatory icons make it easy to navigate around the screen.


Convenient setting-up of the machine with the customer in mind

When setting up the machine, users are assisted step-by-step and therefore safely guided through the process. When the control concept was being developed, it was not only MULTIVAC’s comprehensive expert knowledge that flowed into it – it was above all the suggestions from operators that crucially influenced the design concept. Claus Botzenhardt explains: “With the assistance of a well-known UI design company, we carried out intensive observation and surveys with machine users. This knowledge helped us to focus the concept on the needs of our customers. This also means the pack being produced and all its particular properties are the centre of attention.”

Another benefit of the new user interface: creating a new recipe can be carried out in a few steps by means of Touch Display. The user can put together the recipe for the desired pack by simply using some clearly marked buttons for Films, Labels, Printing etc. MULTIVAC Pack Pilot then automatically accesses external information such as film specifications or expert knowledge. The parameters of the machine are then determined by detecting the die and selecting the packaging procedure.

This enables new recipes to be created more quickly by the operators themselves. In the case of existing recipes, special filters make the selection easier; this means filters can simply be set for product, item and customer.

All the parameters can be adjusted during production, and the user is informed about changes in the recipe; it is also possible in the Context menu to take direct action to “Overwrite recipe”, “Save recipe under new name” or “Discard changes”. Where there are recurring production orders, more than 200 recipes can be stored in the HMI.

Other benefits

A total of more than 30 operating languages are available in the HMI 3, and this means any application errors, which may be due to lack of language skills among the operators, are minimised in advance. Diagnostic messages point out immediately, if there are problems and what the cause may be. The user also receives at the same time qualified directions for eliminating the problem.

The HMI 3 display can also be shown on current PC browsers or on smart devices with HD resolution. This increases the operating convenience and the flexibility of the packaging procedure. The new Multitouch machine control also allows for remote assistance by MULTIVAC via VPN, assuring maximum availability of the machine.