The manufacturing industry is currently facing increasing pressure to reform and innovate in order to remain viable. On the consumer side, the Internet of Things (IoT) has made smart devices available for all, and new changes and challenges of digitalisation are generating business development possibilities for industries as well. Smart IoT devices enable an industrial internet that usually includes also analytics and user action analysis. These help improve efficiency and offer new services to customers.
Parker has been actively building a new presence in industrial internet platforms and ecosystems by developing a software solutions for advanced and flexible user interface design. Customised and interactive user interface applications enable machine manufacturers to increase machine functionality and efficiency and to create new types of business. Developing smart applications requires a robust software platform for the HMI (Human Machine Interface) device. The development of such HMI user interfaces also becomes more difficult, expensive and time-consuming as software becomes more complex and the amount of machine functions increases. Determining usability also requires a lot of testing and studies.
A software solution for the development of an advanced and uniform user interface
Parker’s UX Toolkit software tool enables easier development of demanding applications for machine instrumentation, control, and adjustment. The applications can include supporting applications for core machine functions, smart control systems, diagnostics or prediction applications that decrease downtime, or GPS monitoring and navigation applications. Solutions helping end users to improve performance and efficiency include applications for mobile hands-free devices, logbooks, usage monitoring, and task management (for example managing bus lines).
Application-based solutions, already commonplace on the consumer side, bring several advantages to machine manufacturers and user interface developers. These include independent development of specific applications or functions for the machine and quick launching of new features. Features can be expanded by downloading additional applications, thus offering more after-sales solutions to the customers.
We have focused on making application development as simple as possible. The UX Toolkit software is based on the open QML scripting language, and it has a WYSIWYG editor and comprehensive drag and drop functions, including:
- ready-to-use UI components
- example applications for a menu system, updates, and settings, and graphical user interface models to support the development
- quick and easy connectivity to machine control system and external actuators with ready-to-use device and protocol packages
- possibility to create user-specific settings
To ensure user-friendliness, developers can also freely modify the example applications and the appearance and use of UI components. Uniform appearance for applications is ensured by applications adhering to the Style Sheet settings of the tool. For example, a manufacturer with multiple brands can customise the graphical user interface to match each brand.
Centralised functions in a single display
When you want to make machines more powerful and simplify cabin functions, the best choice is Parker’s Pro Display HMI display module that can be programmed with our toolkit. The machine manufacturer can centralise desired features into a single display and a uniform user interface, which decreases driver distraction.
It is very difficult for machine manufacturers to integrate functions from other manufacturers to their machine. Such functions usually have a display with its own user interface that is difficult or even impossible to integrate into an existing HMI system in a reliable way. This has been taken into account in the design of Parker’s software tool. As a result, integrating third-party system functions (such as tractor ISOBUS functions) is possible, and extra expenses of an additional display are eliminated. The certification tool of the UX Toolkit ensures that only applications approved by the machine manufacturer are installed in the display.
Flexible platform for a customised system
The UX Toolkit software is suitable for developing a customised HMI system for mobile equipment, such as:
- Agricultural equipment (tractors, combines, self-propelled machines)
- Construction machines (excavators, wheel loaders, Tower cranes)
- Special vehicles (refuse trucks, snow removals, airport equipment, road and rail applications, loaders, freight vehicles, emergency vehicles)
- Forestry machines (harvesters, forwarders)
- Materials handling machines (container handlers, mobile cranes, reach stackers)
- Public transport (buses and coaches)
- Marine (local or remote display in an engine control system)
Parker’s UX Toolkit is an excellent platform for innovative design. The flexibility of the tool allows you to create precisely the kind of product required by the machine manufacturer’s customers, and it offers a superior user experience for the machine operator.
In the era of industrial internet, mobile equipment manufacturers can use sensors to collect vast amounts of data about a machine, but they must be able to analyse and utilise the data. Pro Display has an important role in conveying and analysing the data collected by sensors and converting it into a usable format through the smart user interface applications and flexible communications connections of the display.
This blog was contributed by Anu Tuominen (top), product manager, Mobile Hydraulic Systems Division Europe