Human, Meet Machine

As the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) continues to expand, with 
sensors offering remote views into areas of process operations never 
before available, system operators are having to make sense of a volume 
of data that’s increasing at exponential rates. This evolution is 
bringing new attention to the design of human machine interfaces (HMIs),
 which provide a window into just how well systems are running. Schneider Electric

Chuck Ross

As the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) continues to expand, with sensors offering remote views into areas of process operations never before available, system operators are having to make sense of a volume of data that’s increasing at exponential rates. This evolution is bringing new attention to the design of human machine interfaces (HMIs), which provide a window into just how well systems are running.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking of an HMI as just a PC or touchscreen, because those are the devices through which humans actually “interface” with the machines and systems being monitored and controlled. Sure, PCs and touchscreens need to be rugged enough to operate in an industrial environment and support the graphics needed to communicate operational conditions. But how that information is presented to users can be an even more significant factor in an HMIs long-term success.

HMI developers depend on special design software to create both the architecture and content users will need to visualize how equipment is currently operating and where potential problems could arise. The key in these efforts is to make information easily accessible in an order that makes sense for users.

Of course, selecting the right touchscreen display for any specific application also is a critical element in HMI design. In some cases, simple text-based touchscreens can suffice. However, the latest terminals offer multimedia capabilities that can help operators better visualize process operations, with smartphone-like touchscreen interfaces. Connectivity is another important factor to consider, and newer models incorporate Ethernet and USB ports to allow authorized users easier access with remote mobile devices.


Photo courtesy of Schneider Electric

Newsletters Sign-up
Slide left

Welcome to ElectricSmarts

You're in good company!
More than 225,000 electrical professionals use ElectricSmarts to access our eCatalog of 2 million plus products, the latest new product information, videos, spec sheets and more.
Smart eCat - Fully Interactive Electrical Industry Product Catalogs
Email:
We care about your privacy, see our privacy policy.