Flat-Panel Computers Pack Power
(As appeared in June 2006 Control Design Magazine)
In this Product Exclusive for CONTROL DESIGN, Sealevel Systems has introduced a family of touchscreen flat-panel computers designed to operate over a wide temperature range without fans or other moving parts.
APPLICATION density, to coin a term, is increasing. Manufacturers in nearly every industrial segment now expect their machine builders to build more power, increased capability, and improved reliability into smaller footprints. Space is at a premium for machines and processes alike, and every machine component is a target for improvement. This clearly applies to the operator interface as well.
The need for this type of product evolution isn’t lost on Sealevel Systems. Sealevel designed its SeaPac family of touchscreen computers as an addition to an industrial computer line that originated four years ago.
Known primarily for serial and digital I/O solutions, Sealevel says it expanded into the industrial computer space as a result of customer requests for computing platforms with the reliability, revision control, long-term availability, and support they expect from the company’s I/O products. SeaPac adds those additional operator interface capabilities required by many machine control and factory-floor applications.
The SeaPac family of flat-panel touchscreen computers is designed to operate over a wide temperature range without fans or other moving parts. Available with bright, AMTFT LCDs ranging in size from 6.4 to 17 in., SeaPac systems are, says the company, well-suited for a variety of industrial control and machine interface applications where small size and reliability are a must, according to Sealevel.
"The newest SeaPacs are powered by a high-performance, low-power 1 GHz Intel Celeron M processor, and are equipped with standard I/O features including 10/100BaseT Ethernet, two serial ports, and three high-speed USB 2.0 ports," says Earle Foster, Sealevel’s vice president of sales and marketing. "For flexible local and remote I/O expansion, SeaPacs can be expanded using our SeaI/O data acquisition modules." Users can choose from Reed and Form C relays, optically isolated inputs, TTL interface to industry-standard solid-state relay racks, A/D, and D/A options. "The processor subsystem communicates with SeaI/O devices using Modbus RTU, allowing one or more SeaI/O modules to be physically attached to the SeaPac or located remotely up to 4,000 ft. away," adds Foster. "Both the processor and I/O modules can be added and removed from the display assembly easily, making field upgrades easy."
SeaPac systems mount using a panel-mount bezel that provides NEMA 4/IP65 protection from sprayed liquids on the front surface. The optional resistive touchscreen allows a durable, intuitive operator interface. SeaPacs are 12 VDC-powered, and power is provided to SeaI/O expansion modules using convenient pass-through connectors. The system is rated for 0-50 °C operation, and an optional VESA mounting bracket is available for attaching the system to a mounting arm.
"Windows XP Embedded is a perfect operating system choice for SeaPac systems," says Foster. "Based on the proven-reliable Windows 2000 kernel, XP Embedded offers the choice of including only the operating system features and services required for the application. This allows a customized build optimized for size and speed. The componentized OS and application program then can be transferred to CompactFlash disk, eliminating the need for a hard drive in most applications. The result is a more reliable system with no moving parts that is capable of operating over a wider temperature range."
To speed time to market, Foster says Sealevel offers application assistance for efficiently transferring customer applications to the XP Embedded platform.
Additional supported embedded operating systems include Windows CE .NET and embedded Linux builds. For users who require disk storage, an optional high-temperature hard drive is available.
Previously released SeaPac versions are available with a 600 MHz Intel Celeron M processor. Foster says all systems ship with a power supply, prices begin at $1,795, and product is available immediately from stock.
You can get more information on our SeaPAC and Relio computers on our Industrial Computing / HMI webpage.