Control systems have been designed with two primary goals:
The first goal is "simplicity" for the operator. This has been accomplished through not providing the large number of buttons found on many pieces of equipment. Intuitive operator interfaces have been accomplished through designing "smart" control software. Functions such as automatic calibration/ verification, the ability to automatically detect and clear "jams", and others have been very effective.
The second approach has been to divide the controls into three distinct levels of access. The first level is for the operator and only has the bare minimum of switches, buttons and indicators necessary. The second level includes the controls necessary for set-up. The third level of access is for maintenance and engineering and usually includes access to most equipment functions.
The picture to the right demonstrates these levels of access. The first is the "Emergency Stop" button for the operator. The second level allows setup through the HMI. The simplicity of the control panel makes it very easy for operators to begin using this machine without being intimidated or needing very much training.
Another primary goal for each of the projects has been safety. In addition to being specified to be built and labeled per UL 508 Standards, safety modules, (usually Banner brand) have been integrated into the control systems. These systems insure that when the Emergency Stop is activated that all functions stop.