Product Exclusive: Multi-touch panel PCs ease navigation

Beckhoff Automation’s new control panel and panel PCs offer flexibility, sleek design, and innovative touchscreen technology.


Beckhoff Automation’s new control panel and panel PCs offer flexibility, sleek design, and innovative touchscreen technology. Courtesy: Beckhoff AutomationTo apply the best interactive display technologies for industrial use, Beckhoff Automation has introduced the new CP2~ and CP3~ Control Panel and Panel PC series. The highly functional panels are characterized by a modern operating concept with multi-touch displays as well as a contemporary, elegant device design.

Aluminum and stainless steel panels are said to be extremely robust, designed for use under harsh industrial conditions as “built-in” or mounting arm devices. Widescreen panels in various sizes and resolutions are available in addition to the classic display sizes in 4:3 format. The new panel generation also offers numerous advantages to traditional “single-touch” users, such as an optimized price-to-performance ratio, with savings potential of up to 28% compared to previous devices.

As most users of modern electronics are well aware, multi-finger touchscreens are becoming increasingly popular thanks to smartphones, tablets, and Microsoft Windows 7. To make the benefits of this technology available for industrial applications, Beckhoff has added these units to its Control Panel series, brought to market in 1995. The completely redesigned panels enable new, innovative visualization concepts with intuitive operation while combining elegance with a robust design.

The new Control Panel and Panel PC series are available in various display sizes and formats. All panels are available from Beckhoff in landscape or portrait format (horizontal/vertical). New widescreen displays are available in 7-in. with 800 x 480 pixel resolution, 15.6-in. at 1366 x 768, 18.5-in. at 1366 x 768, and 24-in. at full HD resolution, 1920 x 1080 pixels.

With low installation depth and narrow housing edge, the elegant panels are robust and industrially compatible thanks to the use of aluminum and stainless steel. A narrow, circumferential metal impact protector reliably protects the touchscreen surface against mechanical damage. In addition, the all-glass surface offers maximum resistance to environmental influences. The new panel series successfully fulfills the well-known Beckhoff quality criteria, such as long-term availability and high temperature stability.

For industrial compatibility, Beckhoff uses the projective capacitive touchscreen (PCT) technology in its multi-touch panel series. The high touch-point density enables accurate and reliable operation for industrial users. Even a “flowing” touch operation in minute steps is possible without screen jitter. The front of the display is a glass pane with an anti-reflection coating; operation with work gloves (such as latex gloves) is also possible. Five-finger touch and automation solutions with two-hand operation are equally possible.

The screen enables familiar functions from the world of smartphones and touchpads, such as zooming, scrolling, object turning, flicks, etc. A special touch controller prevents faulty operation, from a water droplet or the ball of the hand; these are recognized and eliminated. Single-touch mode can be set via the Microsoft Windows operating system for applications where multi-touch is not required.

Flexible variants permit arm-mounted control panels or cabinet-mounted panel PCs.

The new panel series is conceived both for control cabinet installation and for mounting arm installation. The CP2~ built-in Panel PC series is implemented with IP65 protection at the front and IP20 at the rear. The CP3~ Control Panels for mounting arm installation feature all-round IP65 protection. The CP29~ and CP39~ series use the well-known DVI/USB Extended Technology from Beckhoff and can be operated up to 50 m away from the industrial PC. The CP22~ built-in devices are also available as panel PCs with an Intel Celeron Core i3, i5, or i7 processor.

Customer-specific adaptations with regard to design, key extensions, or radio frequency identification (RFID) increase the degree of flexibility of the multi-touch series.

Beckhoff Automation LLC 

ONLINE extra

Beckhoff Automation provides advanced, open automation products based upon proven technologies so that customers can implement high-performance control systems faster and at a lower overall cost than traditional PLC and motion control systems. Beckhoff’s “New Automation Technology” product range includes PC-based control, industrial PCs, automation controllers, operator interface, I/O, servo drives, and motors. With representation in more than 60 countries, Beckhoff is well positioned to provide global sales and service to its customers. Beckhoff sales and service are handled directly, with no intermediaries involved for exceptional customer service and consultation.

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