Plastic parts in liver paté, glass splinters in the pickle jar, lubricants or germs in ice cream - recalls of contaminated food occur repeatedly. Consumers are insecure, because a multitude of directives, regulations, standards and laws are actually intended to provide adequate protection. They are binding for processors and manufacturers of food and pharmaceutical products in order to guarantee the health of consumers.
In order to exclude dangers from product contamination, the machines, systems and components used along the production chain must be designed and manufactured accordingly. They should also be easy to clean and disinfect. The legal requirements are a challenge for the manufacturers of devices, machines and components, because the visualization, control and operating elements are also affected. They must be able to withstand strong mechanical stress, such as dust or water pressure, e.g. in washdown applications.
Shielded from dust and moisture
Kontron developed the Panel PC 'FlatClient HYG' and the monitor version 'FlatView HYG' as display and control units for such demanding environments. The development of the new Human Machine Interface (HMI) is based on the EHEDG (European Hygienic Engineering and Design Group) guidelines. The units are completely encapsulated against dust and moisture and are therefore predestined for use directly with a machine. The smooth and seamless display surface prevents dirt and food residues from accumulating. Cleaning is therefore a piece of cake. This qualifies the industrial monitors and Panel PCs for applications in all sensitive areas where hygiene is a top priority.
This includes not only the food and pharmaceutical industries. In fact, the devices are also suitable for clean rooms in semiconductor production, optics and laser technology, life sciences and nanotechnology. The robust design also allows them to be used in environments where it can get really dirty - in other words, right next to the production machines.
FlatClient HYG - Scalable Panel PC with IP69K for hygienically sensitive production environments
Use of materials with a sense of proportion
In sensitive environments, as given in the food, cosmetics or pharmaceutical industries, the materials used play an important role. The materials must work without any problems in the respective environment without being damaged and thus possibly contaminating the end product. It goes without saying that they must tolerate cleaning agents and disinfectants.
The new HMI series purposefully consists of only a few selected materials. These include stainless steel of class 1.4301. The austenitic, acid-resistant 18/10 Cr-Ni steel has proven itself many times over in hygienically sensitive production areas. It is resistant to water, steam, humidity, food acids and weak organic and inorganic acids. The high polishing ability of the materials results in a very smooth surface that is easy to clean. Due to the particularly good formability of the steel used, it was possible to produce the system housings using a deep-drawing process. Welding, which is very costly and possibly provides a surface to attack, is thus obsolete.
The Panel PC FlatClient HYG, developed in accordance with EHEDG guidelines, has a maximum protection class of IP69K and has a seamless display surface for optimum cleanability.
Automatic fault detection
The front with PCAP Multitouch is connected to the housing by internal screw connections. The shatterproof front glass is anti-reflective, which ensures good readability even in difficult lighting conditions. The touch screen can be individually adapted to the operating environment, which is why operation with gloves is also possible without problems. Legitimate control inputs are automatically distinguished from malfunctions, such as the impact of a water drop (water drop rejection) or the accidental pressing of the palm of the hand (palm rejection). This increases operating safety.
Interference and reliability are essential in sensitive production environments. Thanks to their modern design, the new HMIs do not have rotating parts such as fans for air circulation inside the housing. The elimination of these failure-prone components increases their reliability. Efficiency is also a priority for the system components, which is why economic processors from the notebook sector are used.
Due to the direct and efficient heat dissipation, the system temperatures are low, which reduces thermally induced aging. Even in hygienically sensitive environments, long-term, reliable operation is thus possible.
Automation creates transparency
Industry 4.0 scenarios, paperless production and operating units especially designed for the food and pharmaceutical industries open up new opportunities in the modern production environment. By integrating control systems, work plans and formulations can be planned and managed centrally. Automated, comprehensive process data acquisition and evaluation lead to a transparent production that can be documented completely. The software solution FabEagle®LC in combination with the FlatClient HYG offers a homogeneous solution for comprehensive process visualization. FabEagle®LC is a modularly designed host computer solution for production lines. It can be scaled from a single production module to a fully interlinked line. The solution includes numerous configurable functions. These include the administration of production specifications, production control and individual product tracking, the acquisition of product and machine data, visualization, reports and traceability of all goods and products involved in the process.
With this solution, a future-oriented automated environment can be easily implemented into the production process. A change from paper-based checklists to control systems and automated data acquisition also simplifies the implementation of relevant requirements and regulations. In the sensitive production environment of the food and pharmaceutical industry, this can become a decisive competitive factor.
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