HMIs Play Role in Portable Disinfection

Oct. 1, 2019
Evergreen UV expands the functionality and accuracy of its air and surface disinfection devices with the incorporation of HMIs from Lascar Electronics.

Evergreen UV produces a range of air disinfection products used to eliminate biological pathogens. These devices are used in ambulances, rescue vehicles, classrooms, or any area with a high pathogen load.

For the redesign of Evergreen UV’s emergency disinfection unit (EDU) portable disinfection device, which uses four 35W ultraviolet germicidal lamps, the company decided to move away from the use of manual timers with knobs and dip switches and toward the use of human-machine interfaces (HMIs+ from Lascar Electronics.

The manual timers were both very hard to set and their accuracy would diminish over time, said Derrick Sears, CTO at Evergreen UV. “We switched to using Lascar’s PanelPilotAce for several reasons, but mainly for the ease of use it provided since everyone is familiar with touchscreens now because of their smartphones. In addition to more accurate timer capability (the EDU’s timer can be set to run from 10 minutes to 10 hours), we wanted the EDU to also be capable of monitoring motion sensors, have the ability to log data, and offer alarms. All of these capabilities are built into the PanelPilotAce.”

The PanelPilotAce, which features a capacitive touch screen, is available in 4.3- and 7-in screen sizes. Evergreen UV uses the 4.3-in PanelPilotAce in the EDU. Both sizes of the PanelPilotAce feature 16-bit bipolar analog inputs (to a maximum of 40V DC), eight digital I/O pins, two alarm outputs, four 8-bit pulse width modulation outputs, PID control, Ethernet FTP for logged data, multi-channel data logging and trend graphs, serial RS232 and RS485 connections, and temperature measurement capability.

“It (PanelPilotAce) is the most integral part of the EDU,” said Sears. “End users access the HMI to set a delayed start time, run time, log data, and get notifications of when the UV lamps need to be replaced. It is the brains behind the whole EDU system.”

The HMI comes with the PanelPilotAce Design Studio software—a drag-and-drop software package for development of user interfaces and panel meters. “The development team at Evergreen UV wears many hats, so the redesign of the EDU with the PanelPilotAce was not a direct start-to-finish project. We had at least eight different versions we were working on. But the Design Studio programming software is very easy to use and very straightforward. Using this software, I have seen a huge decrease in the time it takes to develop a new project.”

The success Evergreen UV experienced with PanelPilotAce on the EDU has led the company to use the HMI on other projects. One involves using the PanelPilotAce on a disinfecting device to control eight sets of UV bulbs so that they will each burn evenly, said Scott Longenecker with Lascar Electronics. “The PanelPilotAce will monitor an air quality sensor in this device and, as needed, turn on more bulbs. While doing this, it will turn on the bulbs that have been on for the least amount of time so that all bulbs will need to be replaced at the same time. It also monitors the current of the bulbs and alerts the user if one is burned out or needs to be replaced soon based on how much life is left.”

Sears added that Evergreen UV is also developing a new product capable of disinfecting both air and surfaces in which the PanelPilotAce HMI will serve as the controls for that unit. “This device could be very disruptive in the market and, like the EDU, the PanelPilotAce will be the brains behind it,” said Sears.

About the Author

David Greenfield, editor in chief | Editor in Chief

David Greenfield joined Automation World in June 2011. Bringing a wealth of industry knowledge and media experience to his position, David’s contributions can be found in AW’s print and online editions and custom projects. Earlier in his career, David was Editorial Director of Design News at UBM Electronics, and prior to joining UBM, he was Editorial Director of Control Engineering at Reed Business Information, where he also worked on Manufacturing Business Technology as Publisher. 

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