Touchscreens enable safe refuelling at remote sites

30 December 2021

When developing a new field controller for its fuel management system, Banlaw, a supplier for off-road liquid transfer, measurement, and control solutions, wanted a user interface that could cope with harsh industrial work environments anywhere in remote places.

The touchscreen needed to be able to work with gloved hands, provide reliable, year-round, low maintenance operation, and be readable in both direct sunlight and at night. The solution specified for this application was a high-brightness industrial-grade display fitted with a rugged, custom-designed Zytronic ZyBrid touch sensor and a bespoke serial touch controller.

The Banlaw Xpress Field Controller is the central component in a complete fuel management system and is built to withstand harsh operating environments, provide ease of use, and deliver secure fuel inventory monitoring and control. The compact unit manages user and equipment identification, pump control, ball-valve control, and flow metering for up to four refuelling nozzles. It also provides precise, real-time tank gauging for four fuel tanks. 

"Component pricing and longevity are important when deployed on industrial worksites," explained Sebastian Hoppe, Engineering & Development Manager at Banlaw. 

Zytronic designed a bespoke, printed glass 7in ZyBrid projected capacitive touch sensor incorporating UV and IR filters to aid system thermal management and protect the underlying display from damaging exposure to sunlight. A 6mm thick, thermally toughened antiglare etched glass was chosen to ensure optimum impact resistance, and reduce sunlight reflection.

In addition to the dynamically changeable touchscreen, a fixed keypad was also needed to allow frequently used information such as driver secure PIN codes, truck mileage or odometer readings to be quickly entered into the Banlaw Xpress Controller. Zytronic designed the rugged touchscreen from a larger piece of glass and then printed the required viewable area together with 'hard coded' capacitive keys and an RFID reading point beneath a 10.2in touch active zone. In addition, Zytronic modified its standard ZXY100 serial controller to incorporate both dynamic touch and fixed keys managed through the same device. The overall benefit was to reduce the complexity of integrating multiple components and the size of the high brightness industrial-grade display required, and therefore overall system cost.

"This combination and integration of a projected capacitive keypad together with a touchscreen in a single user interface really helped our product development process," said Hoppe. 

Utilising Zytronic's complete in-house ‘ownership’ of touch control electronics coupled with its ability to quickly design and manufacture highly customised touchscreen designs, even in low quantities, Banlaw and its technology partners have already completed the first 20 Xpress deployments. These implementations have predominantly been for mines and quarries, and the company expects to build around 170 in 2022. 

Contact Details and Archive...

Print this page | E-mail this page