What Considerations Should be Given to Human Machine Interface Selection?
One of those is the type of environment it is to be located in.
Stainless steel is typically the material of cabinet choice for areas of abuse and exposure to problematic elements.
Elements such as moisture or invasive dust are common causes of electronics failure in industrial settings.
Although equipment protection is a vital criteria, you should include the aspect of long term maintainability and accessibility with protection.
As technology changes occur, such as in the area of touchscreens, good cabinet design should be able to adapt to such changes and needs in the fight against built in obsolescence and provide the same level of environmental protection.
Care should be given to the ease of access to the internal workings of the Human Machine Interface (HMI).
Most commonly, incorporation of an industrial rated personal computer is the brain behind the curtain (or colored touchscreen).
The inclusion of a battery power back up and power surge protection are also integral items for consideration.
Where necessary, all access points, to include the necessary electrical or electronic cabling should be water tight to inhibit the possibility of such ingress.
Having considered desirable structural features next, direct you attention to the facts of operational goals and needs.
The purpose of an HMI is to increase functionality, control, and ease of plant operations.
For example, a Scale Data System can be designed to provide instructions and directions on the screen either through graphical display, text, or a combination of both.
The great advantage of graphical displays is the bypass of language problems sometimes associated with employee training.
Graphical display of actions and equipment response indications provide a user friendly environment.
Needed eminent attention or problem resolution or suggestions can be introduced as well.
In the case of text direction, HMI screens can be configured with the touch of a button.
Operators can be prompted and action directed by a scale data system HMI as resulting weight measurements accomplished.
No process would be complete with out a good trail of documentation. Here again, give consideration to what you desire in the way of reports .
Keep in mind that what is decided today could require changes tomorrow. Thus, one of the most valuable considerations in the end, is serviceability after the sale.
A Human Machine Interface (HMI) is a crucial tool for controlling the processes in many plants today. With so much at stake, here are some basic tips to get the most efficiency from your HMI.
Touchscreen Display – The easier it is for an on-floor operator to use an HMI, the more efficient it will be. That’s why we use large 15-inch monitors for input and display.
The use of color also helps clarify information and choices that are presented to operators.
Specific Prompts – The more specific and intuitive an HMI is, the less time is wasted by operators in thinking, writing, and decision-making.
The compact embedded industrial computers we use hold thousands of records that are organized for easy retrieval. For inputs, operators are prompted for specific data, which removes guess work. And the Windows® 7 Embedded operating system we use means fast boot ups and no worries about viruses.
Connectivity – Depending on your application, you might need to be interfaced with a host of equipment such as scanners, printers, fingerprint readers, digital I/O, keyboards, and/or Trolley Vision® readers.
The internal industrial computer that we utilize has plenty of power to keep you connected to the rest of your operation.
Compatibility Tomorrow – We’ve all felt the frustration of technology updates that make equipment obsolete!
That practice is so common with computer equipment that we’ve come to expect it.
To help alleviate some of that frustration, we created an anti-obsolescence (above), intermediate sealed touchscreen mounting plate.
That way, if the computer industry stops making and supporting the touchscreen monitor used in our SDS-TS-5000-15 HMI, you would not have to replace your entire HMI!
You could simply get the new monitor and have us build a new mounting plate for that new size.
You’d be good to go once again, but at a fraction of the cost of complete replacement!