The patent's assignee for patent application serial number 753835 is
News editors obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "The present invention generally relates to human-machine-interface (HMI) devices and, more particularly, to scalable architecture for an HMI device.
"Industrial automation systems are based on designing, implementing, and monitoring control systems using specific data processing systems, such as programmable logic controllers. Programmable logic controllers are special computing devices that are commonly used for synchronizing the flow of inputs from sensors with the flow of outputs to actuators based on a programming logic deployed on the programmable logic controllers.
"In order to reduce the load on these programmable logic controllers, the industrial automation systems have further specific devices, which provide an interface to operating personnel. These are referred to as control and monitoring devices or Human Machine Interface (HMI) devices.
"The term HMI device is a generic term covering all components associated with this group of devices, which can be stationary or mobile. One example is operator panels.
"HMI devices are used in industrial automation systems to display and control process data related to industrial equipment and, hence, act as important aids for the operating personnel. This function is generally referred to as Supervisor Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA). To this end the HMI device generally has specific hardware, e.g., a touch-screen, and is specifically screened from environmental influences. Specific software is also operated therein. This provides functions, which enhance user-friendliness, quality and safety of operation by an operator. Thus, HMI devices can be used to visualize, control, configure, and generate interactive process maps related to the industrial equipment. On the one hand, this allows the selective display of responses of the industrial equipment, generally in the form of measured values and messages. On the other hand, the customized predefinition of control operations and data inputs allows the industrial equipment to be switched to required states.
"Owing to various reasons, such as increasing business needs and ever-evolving safety, security, and regulatory requirements, an upgrade of legacy automation infrastructure is often required to match the increased performance requirements. In particular, HMI devices need such upgrades such that performance thereof might keep pace with increasing demands in view of expanding scale of operations. However, discarding legacy hardware and replacing them with new hardware involves huge capital investment and does not always provide a justifiable return-on-investment and, hence, acts as a significant deterrent. As a result, despite a strong requirement for better capabilities, often the industrial automation systems are not upgraded.
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