Control systems are at the heart of a glove box and perhaps the
most important feature in user terms, yet generally given the least
attention at the purchase stage. It is critically important for
the user of a glove box system to thoroughly understand the optional
possibilities of system control, in performing tasks repeatedly
over many years, and how this is going to impact on their time,
performance and quality of process. Also the operator ability to
interface with the glove box can range from tedious, mediocre to
simply straightforward and a delight to use.
Control systems can be separated into power modules, logic controllers,
and operator interface units. Power modules accept an available
power source and distribute or change that power source to usable
energy as required by the various components of a glove box. Logic
controllers are microelectronic assemblies that have a connectivity
sequence as determined by the glove box designer to maintain the
system. Operator interface units have the dual function of providing
the operator with glove box performance information, and allowing
the operator to determine the operational parameters of the glove
box within the designers set parameters.
Little need be said about power modules other than for their accessibility
in changing fuses or resetting power trips. Logic controllers can
be similarly dismissed apart from the extent of their functional
programmes. However the operator interface needs critical examination
for the quality of presentation of information, accessibility of
control functions and extent of system monitoring possibilities.
PC Based System Control.
A dedicated PC provides a base upon which both designer and glove
box user can explore the limitations of presentation, accessibility
is readily available in tried and tested form using keyboard and
mouse, and system monitoring is simply added to the PC, mostly from
readily available programmes. Our PC colour monitor presents essential
glove box information in vivid graphic form, using colour for enhanced
definition and readability.
From this default position, gaining access to a menu of operational
routines is simply accomplished by left clicking on the selected
menu operation whilst essential information remains visibly available.
A selected menu routine will further display its essential elements
of functionality, and click on submenus or icons will provide further
operation functions or change of setting. Operator confidence is
uppermost in our mind when designing system control, and logical
clear follow on displays dispense with the need for a hand held
A PC can monitor glove box performance and provide graphic and
numeric history of events in real time. We can provide log on facilities
where any authorised person can gain access to that information
anywhere in the world with compatible equipment. We can even carry
out diagnostic investigation to glove box performance and operation
using the same means. PC based glove box control and monitoring
systems offer the maximum potential, and selected with clear objectivity
and purpose, provide a very cost effective means of gaining the
most from a glove box.
Touch Screen System Control.
An integrated control system using programmable logic and a colour
display screen provides a continuous reference to all glove box
operations and forms the basis of our standard high specification
R&D, Academic, and Optimum control systems.
Essential glove box performance information is displayed in easy
to see colour bar graphs alongside a four-button keypad, which forms
an eye-level interface to monitor and control all system functions.
Historic information can be accessed through the main menu of options
for oxygen and moisture, which are presented in graph form against
time over the immediate past 7 hours and separately over the immediate
past 7 days. This data can also be down loaded to a PC.
A function instruction initiated by touching the FNC key will introduce
the user to a Main Menu of displayed operations selectable by either
touching the desired menu item or using the UP key or DOWN key to
highlight the chosen operation. The fourth keypad button is the
escape ESC key, which returns the screen to the default graphic
Thus the operator follows an easy to see, easy to follow menu-driven
interface for entering all information and initiating all available
programmed operations, allowing inexperienced users to quickly assume
confident control of the glove box facilities dispensing with the
need for a hand held instruction book.
Combined LCD display and push button control.
A cost effective user interface control system for general and
occasional operation of glove boxes. A two line numeric LCD display
provides critical information in default mode, and operational and
set up detail to a menu of routines accessed through eight push
Some of the eight push buttons are reserved for frequently repeated
operations, with the remaining push buttons allocated to accessing
and initiating menu functions programmed into the microprocessor
which remains the same as that used for our standard touch screen
The LCD and push button system follows a logical control routine
which is readily understood and initiated by reading the display
instructions, which after reading the supplied operating and maintenance
instruction manual, users quickly become familiar with.