Hardware Comparison: PanelView Plus 7 vs PanelView 5500

Each passing year brings greater and greater need for visualization within control systems.  The ability to visualize machine states, errors, running conditions, quality, and other data is critical to today’s control environments within manufacturing, warehousing and other industries.

Allen Bradley’s line of HMI solutions offers a wide range of products for end users or control system designers to build out the system that works best for their application.  With state-of-the-art features, Allen Bradley’s current line of HMIs givers builders and users the tools to optimize any system. 

Here is a look at the differences and similarities between the PanelView Plus 7 and Allen Bradley’s newer solution, the PanelView 5500.

PanelView Plus 7 Standard and Performance

Before looking at direct comparisons, it should be noted that there are some differences between the PanelView Plus 7 Standard and the PanelView Plus 7 Performance.  Understanding these differences will also help inform users when choosing between the Plus 7 and the 5500. 

The Plus 7 Standard has 5 screen sizes including the 4”, 6”, 7”, 9”, 10”, 12” and 15” screen.  By contrast, the Plus 7 Performance includes the 7”, 9”, 10”, 12”, 15” and 19”.  All Standard models are touch while the Performance offers some sizes in both touch and keypad.

Another difference between the two is in processing power.  The Standard is limited to application support for 25 screens and up to 200 alarms.  The Performance version includes a larger number of both screen applications and alarms, allowing up to 100 screens and as many as 500 alarm messages.

The Performance also has enhanced connectivity as well with two EtherNet ports compared to the Standard version’s single port.  The Performance also has an embedded Ethernet switch.  With expanded connectivity, technicians, users and managers can remotely connect to the HMI to view machine state and troubleshoot problems, review alarms and manage other functions.

Generally, the Plus 7 Standard is best suited for small control systems or standalone systems while the Performance can be utilized in medium to large system builds.  But with those distinctions in mind, how does the Plus 7 compare to the PanelView 5500 series?

PanelView Plus 7 vs PanelView 5500

Screens

The PanelView 7 hosts 25 screens and 500 alarms on the Standard.  By contrast, the PanelView 5500 has an upper limit of 100 screen applications and 1000 Logix-based alarms.  However, for those looking for extended screen and alarm counts for complex control system builds or for deep integration with IoT data capture and cloud-based data analysis, the PanelView Plus 7 Performance has no limit on screen count or alarms.  The screen and alarm count on the PanelView Plus 7 Performance is that imposed by the memory and CPU chosen.

Both the Plus 7 and the 5500 offer high resolution graphics.  Both series also allow animation graphics and display reuse.  The capability for graphics reuse on the 5500 means that programmers and builders can create their own graphics and customize the system to meet specific application needs.  These customized graphics can be reused across the system. However, only the 5500 has vector graphic capability, allowing scaled up or down imaging.  The Plus 7 does not support vector graphics while the 5500 does.  The 5500 does not support display import/export or display portrait/landscape. (Although a future version 5 to be called the 5520 is expected to add these features.)

 Connectivity

There are some big differences between the Plus 7 series and the PanelView 5500 in terms of connectivity.  Both series can only connect to a single PLC or device.  But the 5500 is more limited in which controllers it can connect to.  The 5500 can only connect to CompactLogix 5370 and 5380 controllers that have V29 or higher of Studio 5000.  It can also connect to ControlLogix 5570 and 5580 for V27 and higher of the Studio 500 software.  And it can connect to CompactLogix 5480 with V30 or higher.

By contrast, except for the 5480 CompactLogix, the PanelView Plus 7 has the same ability to connect to CompactLogix 5370 and 5380 and ControlLogix 5570 and 5580 that the PanelView 5500 does.  However, the Plus 7 series can also connect to PLC—5/SLC controllers for EtherNet and to Micro800 controllers.  The Plus 7 can also connect to third party controllers giving it greater flexibility and cost-effectiveness for designers dealing with legacy systems or in the middle of a phased migration.    

Software

Another key difference between the Pus 7 and 5500 series is in the software used for development of applications.  The Plus 7 uses the FactoryTalk ME software.  FactoryTalk ME was created with IoT applications in mind to allow data from the HMIs and other components of the control system to be captured and analyzed for enhanced machine state monitoring as well as predictive and analytical application.

The PanelView 5500 utilizes the Studio 5000 programming environment.  This platform is designed to reduce commissioning time and standardize user experience in all Studio 5000 applications.  The Studio 5000 environment relies on rapid design of control systems and HMI functionality and allows reuse, and virtual design to drive system optimization before deployment.  This also means that configurations entered into a PanelView 5500 can be replicated across the entire control system speeding rollout and reducing programming and configuration time.

Alarm Structure

The PanelView 5500 utilizes Logix-based alarms.  Designed to work with the Studio 5000 environment, this tag-based alarm system allows builders to add alarms to existing structures.  This saves time in programming.  This type of alarming carries real-time timestamping as the alarm occurs, potentially saving time as well as lowering risk of damage to the machine or product.

The PanelView 7 series uses HMI-Based alarms.  HMI-based alarms allow flexibility such as mobile notifications.  These HMI-based alarms work with the FactoryTalk software to help provide greater utilization of IoT analytics and prediction.  One limiting factor of HMI alarms is the delay in timestamping depending on the system and level of integration with a company’s production system.

Remote Access

The PanelView 5500 series is also at a disadvantage when it comes to remote access.  Stemming from its utility for IoT systems and the FactoryTalk platform, the Plus 7 series is capable of a variety of remote access applications.  These include web HMI servers, VNC and FTP servers, VNC clients and remote desktop client.  By contrast, the 5500 series only allows remote access through a VNC server using New Designer software version 4 or higher.

Viewers

Continuing the Plus 7 series’ focus on IoT capability, the Plus 7 series supports a wide array of viewers increasing its versatility for those viewing and troubleshooting or programming the system.  While the PanelView 5500 only supports PDF viewing, the Plus 7 supports several options including:

  • PDF
  • Excel
  • PowerPoint
  • Word
  • Web Browser
  • Media Player

There are plans to add both a web browser as well as a video player for version 5 for the 5500.

Scalability

The PanelView Plus 7 Standard is designed for standalone and small to mid-sized environments.  The Plus 7 Performance and the PanelView 5500 are designed for mid-sized as well as large applications.

High Performance Features

The PanelView 5500 was designed with operator ease of use in mind and in improving operator experience.  As a result, the 5500 offers several high-performance features not available in the Plus 7 Standard or Performance versions.  High performance features of the 5500 include:

  • High Speed Buttons On-Screen
  • Scalable Vector Graphics
  • Auto Rescaling
  • Event and Command Guides
  • Navigation Buttons
  • Predefined Status Screens

General Similarities and Differences

There are many similarities as well as some minor differences between the Plus 7 series and the 5500 series.  Whether these play a role in HMI selection will depend on the size, scale, and scope of the control system and its required HMI performance. 

Similarities Between the Plus 7 and 5500

There are a few features available on both the Plus 7 and 5500 series.  These include:

  • Language Switching
  • Emulator
  • Backup/Restore (both series allow this through access via removable media)
  • Device Level Ring
  • Real-Time Trending
  • Historical Trending
  • Class 1 Div. 2 Hazard Location Certification
  • cULus, CE, KCC, RCM and RoHS Certifications
  • EtherNet/IP
  • USB Ports (The Plus 7 series has a single USB port while the 5500 offers 2)
  • SD Card

Differences Between the Plus 7 and 5500 include:

Power – The 5500 and Plus 7 Performance can utilize either AC or DC while the Plus 7 Standard is DC only.

Desktop Access – The Plus 7 Standard and Plus 7 Performance allow secure desktop access.  The 5500 series do not allow desktop access.

Operating System – The Plus 7 Standard and Performance uses Windows CE 6.0 while there is no operating system needed for the 5500 series.

Troubleshooting – The PanelView 5500 allows smart runtime error notifications as well as diagnostic screens at the device level.  The Plus 7 series enables troubleshooting using faceplates and ActiveX.

Recipes – The Plus 7 Standard and Performance both allow recipe management and macros while neither are available on the 5500 series.  However, recipe handling is expected to be added onto the 5500 series for version 5 and higher.

Datalogging – The PanelView 5500 allows HMI-based datalogging while the Plus 7 series only does so using CSV exporting, slowing down catalog analysis and requiring a reader or print out.

Upgrades and Changes to the PanelView 5500

In 2018, Allen Bradley revamped the PanelView 5500 and renamed it the PanelView 5510.  This version 5 iteration incorporated some changes although basics remained the same.  The upgraded 5510 added the web browser and the video player mentioned above.  It also added Logix tag-based alarming and an alarm log viewer. 

Perhaps the biggest change in version 5 to the 5510 was the capability for multi-controller support.  Both the Plus 7 Standard and Performance as well as the original PanelView 5500 supported only one controller.  This feature alone is a major distinction and one that should factor into any decision when selecting an HMI. 


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