Machine Users Log In by RFID

By better controlling access to machine parameters, and by logging the date and time of as well as the changes in parameter values, machine troubleshooting is greatly enhanced.

The RFID scanner mounted to the side of the enclosure holding the HMI is connected to the machine’s Ethernet network for communication to the Logix processor and PanelView Plus HMI. Users log in with an RFID fob.
The RFID scanner mounted to the side of the enclosure holding the HMI is connected to the machine’s Ethernet network for communication to the Logix processor and PanelView Plus HMI. Users log in with an RFID fob.

A new RFID feature available on machines from Douglas Machine lets users of the equipment decide not only who is authorized to access a machine’s operating parameters but also the level of access permitted.

The RFID reader comes from the pcProx® family of readers made by RFIDeas, which is a Rockwell Encompass Partner. Measuring about 3 x 5 in., the reader gets mounted on the side of the enclosure that holds the Rockwell Panelview 1000 HMI. The reader is connected to the machine’s Ethernet network for communication to the Logix processor and PanelView Plus HMI. Software is written to provide Douglas’s customers with on-machine administration for RFID key assignments and access levels. The HMI provides the customer with an interface for assigning RFID “keys” (they’re actually fobs or cards) to individual users, along with security access levels.

“Having individual users log in by way of RFID enhances security for the HMI and also lets customers track parameter changes,” says Steve Lipps, Senior Director of Product Management at Douglas Machine. “Many customers have stories of how uncontrolled access can create operational issues or can make troubleshooting feel like running in circles. As for parameter change tracking, it creates and maintains a log of changes in machine parameter values and identifies the recipe, the parameter, values before and after a change, the date and time a change was made, and the logged-in user making the change. This information can be very helpful in diagnosing issues. For example, if a parameter related to the dimensions of a case is constantly being changed, it could point to an issue with the quality of the corrugated cases being supplied.”

When asked if the software behind the system is written by Douglas or Rockwell, Lipps says “The interface is written using Rockwell software tools.” Set up through the PanelView HMI, the software allows a customer to be its own administrator. Usually a couple people are assigned as administrators, which gives them the right to assign keys to other users. So if the administrator wants John Doe to have access, the administrator scans in a fob as belonging to John Doe and that then gives John Doe authorization to machine access at whatever level is deemed appropriate. If assigned “engineering” level access, for example, with that fob in hand, John Doe gets access into the HMI and the machine parameters. Without the fob, John Doe is denied access to both HMI and parameter settings.

“The combination of RFID login and parameter change tracking provides valuable information that helps customers know where to look when there is an issue,” says Lipps. “It ties into much of what we’re hearing from customers about helping the workforce be productive, simplifying machines, and using data to help them become more capable of diagnosing issues themselves.”

The option from Douglas includes memory to store user and parameter change information, simple-to-use PanelView screens, and RFID readers.

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