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03-03-2020
5 min. read
Sjors de Kleijn

How to Set Up HMI Remote Access In Under 5 Minutes using VNC

Speedy response anywhere and anytime with remote HMI Control and Web Access using the IXON Cloud platform or the IXON app

This step-by-step guide shows how you can remotely connect to your Human Machine Interface (HMI, touch panel, control panel or operator panel) over VPN using VNC and the IXON Cloud platform.

VNC (virtual network computing) is a technology traditionally used to share desktops remotely. However, this type of remote access can also be used to see what’s being displayed on an HMI screen and control it over a network connection. IXON Cloud has built-in functionality to access and control HMI screens. It is really powerful and also available in the IXON Cloud app for your smartphone. Setup is easy. So let's find out how to configure HMI access.

Tip: Try the HMI remote access feature in our Free Product Tour.

Set up remote HMI access in under 5 minutes Set up remote HMI access in under 5 minutes

 

Guide to setup remote HMI access with IXON Cloud

Within 5 minutes, the HMI panel is accessible for industrial remote access and remote control. Follow these five steps to remotely connect to the HMI panel of your machine from your PC or smartphone.

Step 1: Connect the IXrouter to the IXON Cloud

To get started, all you need is an IXrouter (or a Starter Kit), an IXON Cloud account and internet access. Next, follow these 3 simple steps to connect the IXrouter to your IXON Cloud account using a configuration file and the USB-stick provided. This process is very easy and straightforward and takes about 2 minutes of your time (watch the video).

After step 1 you can setup a secure VPN tunnel from your PC to the IXrouter via the IXON Cloud platform. All devices you connect to the IXrouter (PLC, HMI, Robots, IP-camera etc.) are now securely accessible from remote.

Package contents of the IXrouter Starter Kit Package contents of the IXrouter Starter Kit

Step 2: Connect your HMI panel to the IXrouter

The next step is to connect your HMI operator panel to the IXrouter. Simply plug in a network cable from the HMI panel to one of the Ethernet ports of the IXrouter. If your HMI screen is connected to a PLC, connect the PLC to the IXrouter.

Note: Most HMI brands do have VNC server software embedded. If not, you have to install a free VNC software program like RealVNC or TightVNC on the HMI device.

IXrouter connected to a Beijer HMI operator panel IXrouter connected to a Beijer HMI operator panel

Step 3: Add a VNC service

Now you need to configure a VNC service:

  1. Open your IXrouter device in your IXON account and open the Services tab.
  2. Click on the Plus button
  3. Insert the name and IP address* of the HMI panel and click next
  4. Choose VNC server
  5. Enter a descriptive name, set the port (the default VNC port is 5900) and the password (when it’s protected) and click add
  6. Finally, press Push changes in the config tab to complete the setup.

That’s it, the VNC service is successfully added.

* If you don’t know the IP address of the HMI panel: set up a VPN connection to the IXrouter which is located in the info tab, and run an IP scanner tool (like Advanced IP Scanner) to get it.

Step 4: Web-based access the HMI panel 

Now the VNC service is added, go to the info tab to open the HMI viewer in your web browser. Then click on the button to open the HMI panel. 

Now you can fully view and control the HMI operator panel over VPN. The viewer shows the actual screen contents of the remote HMI computer on your local computer screen and can also send keyboard and mouse signals to it.

Step 5: Install the HMI remote viewer app for iOS and Android

If you, or the customer’s machine operator, want more flexibility to access the HMI touch panel from anywhere, install the IXON Cloud app. This app for iPhone and Android includes all features to access the HMI panels with a single click. You can control and operate the HMI screen smoothly, use pan and zoom from anywhere. 

Download IXON’s HMI Remote Viewer for iOS and Android.

IXON Cloud - Web Access to HMI + HTTP server

Test the HMI remote access feature yourself

You can test IXON’s VNC service in our free product tour. Just browse the machines, access an HMI panel and explore all features such VPN, data logging and dashboards. If you want to gain experience with your own touch panel, please request an IXrouter Starter Kit and start experimenting.

((Free Product Tour))

 

The use of Web Access to operate your HMI remotely is included when you purchase an IXrouter or IXagent license. See our pricing model for an overview of default features and add-ons.

 

Benefits of IXON’s Web-based HMI access for remote service

Enhance operator capabilities

Boost operator confidence, situational awareness, and decision support to reduce errors and machine downtime. Increase production time and give them full HMI control to operate their machines remotely.

Speedy response anywhere, anytime and on any device

Achieve HMI visualisation and control where and when you need it with high speed and performance. Connecting to remote machines with IXON is the best way for operators to maximise performance.

Secure by design, cloud enabled

IXON’s Web HMI feature uses encrypted communication from your web client using SSL and/or VPN certificates. With end-to-end data encryption as well as additional security measures such as a built-in firewall and two-factor authentication, IXON is far superior when it comes to security. Read all about it in our security whitepaper.

Support for any industrial PCs, PLC, HMI using VNC

IXON’s embedded VNC viewer can be used to remotely control any computer running a VNC server that is connected to the IXrouter or on which the embedded IXagent software is installed.

Time winning setup

In this article we have shown how easy it is to establish a remote connection with your HMI or PLC. This will save you a lot of time.

IXON Cloud: Your All-in-One Remote Service Portal

IXON goes far beyond the VNC functionality to work remotely. In addition to remotely controlling a machine interface, you can remote access your machine and data, control and upload PLC software remotely or configure machine dashboards. Sensitive data on your corporate network remains shielded from the internet.

With extensive remote functions, a web-based platform, universal compatibility and a high-speed connection, IXON creates the ideal conditions for hassle-free remote operation. This creates added value for machine builders and system integrators because they can upgrade the service levels for their machines.

IXON Cloud is also a versatile collaboration tool. For example, you can invite your customer’s employees to operate their HMI panel or view a live machine monitoring dashboard. Or you can give access to your service employees to access the machine’s PLC for remote maintenance.

Explore all features of IXON Cloud and contact us, if you want a demonstration or quotation.

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