Legacy equipment in plants can make it difficult, time-consuming and costly to extract data from the machines to help improve performance. Red Lion’s newly launched graphical panel meter, PM-50, is designed to change that. Available now through Allied Electronics & Automation, the new wireless, smart panel meter makes it easier for machine operators to unlock and use data from their factory floor.
The PM-50 can be used in industrial factories, food and beverage, water/wastewater and packaging plants, and anywhere else panel meters are currently used. Harvesting plant data is as simple as unplugging the old meter, inserting the PM-50 and connecting it to Wi-Fi. Its graphical interface is intuitive and similar to personal smart devices most operators are comfortable using every day. Built-in Wi-Fi connectivity delivers data from the panel meter to the operator’s smartphone or tablet using the Red Lion app. The app provides a simple upgrade path for future improvements. Wired connectivity is also available via Ethernet and Modbus.
“We spent a lot of time talking to customers to understand their challenges and, based on that, we feel we have built the right product with the right feature set at the right time,” said Jeff Thornton, product manager, Red Lion. “Most panel meters in use today are essentially stranded assets; they’re simply serving as displays and leaving the data on the factory floor. Our new PM-50 panel meter and app unlock that data in an extremely cost-effective way, so manufacturers and machine operators can put that data to use in real time.”
The PM-50 comes with various display options, providing operators with multiple displays about the process to help drive efficiencies. The display changes colors based on needs so workers can react accordingly, including a red panel indicating that immediate attention is required. Additional screens with the smart panel meter provide more data within one meter, enabling the machine operator to be better connected to the machine and each job’s requirements. Smart device connectivity allows the operator more freedom to move around and monitor additional equipment while still being connected to the status and output of their machine. The app allows this monitoring and provides alarm indication when the machine is not running correctly or the job is completed.
“What we’re doing with the PM-50 is giving OEM machine builders a way to offer a better product with wireless communication and offering plant managers a very simple, future-minded way to create a ‘smart’ workspace, connecting even older technology so that more data can be captured and acted upon to improve productivity and responsiveness,” said Thornton.
Adding additional equipment, like a human-machine interface (HMI), could allow a single operator to manage a bank of machines, which increases efficiency and allows factory owners to reduce their labor footprint.
“As the production industry struggles with labor shortages worldwide, smart panel meters may become a key piece of technology to keep production lines running,” added Thornton.
In addition to the PM-50 smart panel meter, Red Lion offers a complete line of analog and digital meters through Allied Electronics & Automation, ranging from a small 1/32 DIN counter to a large-digit display readable to almost 300 feet.