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Intuitive User Interface for Mechatronic Systems

Intuitive User Interface for Mechatronic Systems

Taking a cue from smart phones, Weiss develops HMI application software

WAS program
The WAS program is “an intelligent, Windows-based user interface for generating and configuring motion control programs for all Weiss user-programmable products.”

Weiss GmbH develops automation systems for various industrial applications, such as CAM indexing devices and part handling and transport machines. It identifies itself as a supplier of mechatronic systems — i.e., machinery that combines mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and information technology for production efficiency — and as it pursues this mechatronic development strategy the group explains it is seeking to emphasize “intuitive operation and easy configuration of its components and systems.”

The focus on mechatronics is regarded as “a logical extension” of its product line, which evolved from manufacturers’ need for high yields, efficiency, versatility, and adaptability in their production systems and devices. The need for quick and simple reconfiguration as product lines change is a convenient example of these objectives, which required an interdisciplinary development effort.

“Right from the start, we focused on developing intelligent components, with products that can properly handle one-off lots while at the same time offering ease of use for operators lacking interdisciplinary skills and easy integration into operational processes,” according to Uwe Weiss, managing partner. “With regard to a self-explanatory, intuitive operator interface for a complex technology, we more or less took our cue from smart phones.”

The result is the WAS (Weiss Application Software) program that the developer created as the human-machine interface for its automation systems — “an intelligent, Windows-based user interface for generating and configuring motion control programs for all Weiss user-programmable products.” It adds that the typical effort to integrate the devices is provided by the software.

WAS is recommended for small and medium-size manufacturers that may otherwise outsource the development of control programs, due to the absence of in-house expertise in this complex subject. WAS simplifies the process of setting up the Weiss automation components, either by entering paths, angles and ramps directly or by using the handy teach-in mode.

The application also supports larger operations using Weiss components by helping them to reduce programming and thereby the lifecycle cost of the system. Weiss reports that its user-programmable components reduce the engineering effort necessary for initial configuration or reconfiguration to one-to-two man/days.

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