We recently completed a motor automation project for a paper pulp plant.  Multiple NEMA-4X 19" touch panel control stations were installed, displaying and controlling the status of 65 motors.  This is an example of a very light-weight user interface solving their (quite simple) motor control needs.  This user interface runs on the embedded workstation selected, and is also usable on mobile devices.

These controls are very, very simple -- by design.  Do not be deceived.  This technology is fully capable of rendering on the order of 1,000 visual operations per second, with full SVG rendering, allowing extremely detail-rich (and interactive) visualizations of very complex control scenarios.  This particular demo is so simple and low bandwidth, that we don't even use Websockets (which can maintain a full binary-clean bidirectional high-bandwidth communications channel) between the browser and the controls software -- simple AJAX polling was adequate to yield the interaction required.  The operators wear gloves, and use these touch-based controls in a wet and pulpy industrial setting.

Live Demo

On an iPad or a Google Chrome web browser (or even your iPhone, although the controls will be tiny), visit:

Pulp Plant


Resize your Chrome browser window "vertically" (taller than it is wide; shape it like a monitor oriented sideways), for the best representation of how the controls appear to the actual plant operator.  (You can also go to http://pulp.hardconsulting.com/ to select either the "Chest" or "Holey" area of control.)  An SVG (Scalable Vector Graphic) image of the plant will appear, and then controls for the plants motors will be overlaid on it.

Touch (or click) on a motor control symbol to activate the pop-up controls to Start, Stop or Reset a motor.  Note that the PLC simulator (or other visitors controlling the demo) may alter the state of random motors at any time!

This is a live demo, controlling a running real-time simulation of the plant's motors!  It is actually interacting with a simulated Modbus PLC, which is being polled and updated precisely like the actual plant PLC.  If you open multiple controls windows, you will note that motors started and stopped on one display will be updated on the other display(s).

The SVG plant graphics are taken directly from the design drawings of the plant, and maintain 100% of their original detail -- they are "resolution independent", and will utilize 100% of the precision of the display regardless of what size and/or resolution it is capable of.  The pop-up controls are also implemented dynamically in the browser using SVG.

Browser Requirements

Our Operator User Interfaces uses the latest standard HTML5 browser technologies not available in older/non-compliant browsers.  Do not use Microsoft Internet Explorer; the UI will not work, as these browsers do no implement these standards correctly.  Apple Safari (iPad/iPhone), Firefox or Google Chrome implement these standards correctly, and these browsers can be used to implement industrial controls.