The Importance of Human Machine Interface Solutions in Industrial Automation

The Importance of Human Machine Interface Solutions in Industrial Automation

With increased Industrial Automation, there is less physical interaction between operators and machinery. However, as industrial plants and processes have become more automated, the requirements for operator display and control have become more complex.

A good and reliable human machine interface is necessary to ensure that an operator has all the information he needs at his fingertips. Human Machine Interface (HMI) has evolved into one of the most vital aspects of Industrial Automation.

What is Human Machine Interface ?

In the simplest form, any way that a human being interacts with a machine can be an HMI. The touch pad you use to control your microwave or dishwasher is an HMI.

In industrial plants, a human machine interface is a device that enables an operator to visualize, manage and control processes. Readouts and controls are displayed on a screen to indicate exactly what is going on in every part of a process. The operator can use either a touch screen or external buttons to control the machinery.

The Importance of HMI in Industrial Automation

Companies use industrial automation to improve operational efficiency, reduce labor costs, reduce costly operator error, more accurately measure and record data, and to save process times. All industrial automated processes are designed with some degree of self-correction capacity. However, the operator needs to know what is happening at all times so he can take steps to correct any deviations or anomalies that may occur. This is where the human machine interface becomes a vital part of industrial automation.

During industrial processes, the HMI acts as a portal for information exchange between the machinery/equipment and the operator. It not only enables the operator to see precisely what is happening in the process, but also allows him to complete commands and adjustments through images or keys on a touch screen.

HMI makes use of a programmable controller to automate the process. This offers a fast, accurate and convenient method of controlling the process. It has also replaced traditional electro-mechanical control panels which take up much more space and need extensive wiring.

Design of HMI Displays

The LCD Monitors used for HMI display need to be rugged to withstand harsh operating environments. Experienced specialist electronic engineers can assist in customizing designs according to specific needs.

The following aspects need to be taken into consideration during the design of HMI displays:

>> Shock and Vibration resistance.
>> Dust proofing.
>> Water proofing.
>> High Brightness and Contrast for easy readability.
>> Displays should provide an accurate representation of all processes and data.
>> Inclusion of real time data panels, alarm screens and key panels.
>> Buttons should be grouped for ease of operation.
>> Ergonomics of the HMI display should be designed for optimal operation.
>> Graphics, colors, buttons and icons should conform to standard industry codes.

Electronic engineers will also ensure that the overall design of an HMI display is visually pleasing and easy to follow. Even color combinations need to be considered to maximize operator concentration and reduce eye strain.

The HMI is one of the most important investments you can make in the efficiency and success of your company’s operation. Consult our Digital-Imaging experts to ensure that investment is done right the first time.


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Permission is granted to repost this article in its entirety with credit to Highness Microelectronics Pvt. Ltd.


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