Engineered Systems Magazine

Control panels: Beckhoff Automation Reveals New Multi-touch Panel Series

June 13, 2012

Beckhoff-01312-feature.jpgIn order to continue applying the best interactive display technologies for industrial use, Beckhoff Automation has introduced the new CP2xxx and CP3xxx Control Panel and Panel PC series. These highly functional panels feature a modern operating concept with multi-touch technology as well as a contemporary, elegant device design.

The aluminum and stainless steel panels are extremely robust and are designed for use under harsh industrial conditions as “built-in” or mounting arm devices. Widescreen panels in various sizes and resolutions are available in addition to the classic display sizes in 4:3 format. The new panel generation also offers numerous advantages to traditional “single-touch” users, such as an optimized price-to-performance ratio, with savings potential of up to 28% compared to previous devices.

As most users of modern electronics are well aware, multi-finger touch screens are becoming increasingly popular thanks to smartphones, tablets and Windows 7. In order to make the benefits of this technology available for industrial applications, Beckhoff has added the CP2xxx and CP3xxx series to its successful Control Panel series, which were brought to the market in 1995. The completely redesigned panels enable new, innovative visualization concepts with intuitive operation while combining elegance with a durable design.

Flexibility in display size and format

The new Control Panel and Panel PC series are available in various display sizes and formats. All panels are available from Beckhoff in landscape or portrait format (horizontal/vertical). In addition to the classic 4:3 format display sizes, the new widescreen displays are available in: 7-inch with a resolution of 800 x 480, 15.6-in. with 1366 x 768, 18.5-inch with 1366 x 768 and 24-inch with the full HD resolution of 1920 x 1080.

Elegant design: translated for industry

Due to their low installation depth and narrow housing edges, the CP2xxx and CP3xxx device series have a truly elegant appearance. The panels are robust and industrially compatible thanks to the use of aluminum and stainless steel. A narrow, circumferential metal impact protector reliably protects the touch screen surface against mechanical damage. In addition, the all-glass surface offers maximum resistance to environmental influences. The new panel series successfully fulfills the well-known Beckhoff quality criteria, such as long-term availability and high temperature stability.

Modern multi-finger operation for industrial applications

In order to ensure industrial compatibility, Beckhoff uses the Projective Capacitive Touchscreen (PCT) technology in its multi-touch panel series. The high touch-point density enables accurate and reliable operation for industrial users. Even a ‘flowing’ touch operation in minute steps is possible without screen jitter. The front of the display is a glass pane with an anti-reflection coating; operation with work gloves (e.g. latex gloves) is also possible. Five-finger touch and automation solutions with 2-hand operation are equally possible.

Familiar functions from the world of smartphones and touchpads, such as zooming, scrolling, object turning, flicks, etc. are now also usable for industrial applications with the Beckhoff multi-touch panels. A special touch controller prevents faulty operation, e.g. due to a water droplet or the ball of the hand; these are recognized and eliminated. Single-touch mode can be set via the Windows operating system for applications where multi-touch is not required.

Flexible variants permit arm-mounted or cabinet-mounted panels

The new panel series is conceived both for control cabinet installation and for mounting arm installation. The CP2xxx built-in Panel PC series is implemented with IP 65 protection at the front and IP 20 at the rear. The CP3xxx Control Panels for mounting arm installation feature all-round IP 65 protection. The CP29xx and CP39xx series use the well-known DVI/USB Extended Technology from Beckhoff and can be operated up to 50 m away from the Industrial PC. The CP22xx built-in devices are also available as Panel PCs with Intel® Celeron® Core™ i3, i5 or i7 processor.

Customer-specific adaptations with regard to design, key extensions or RFID increase the degree of flexibility of the multi-touch series.