HMI or Human Machine Interface – everybody has them. From physical pushbutton stations to sophisticated graphical interfaces with 3D representations of equipment – HMIs are the visible part of a controls and/or manufacturing intelligence system. Unlike controller code that is seen by few, anyone and everyone can see the HMI. As the manufacturing industry moves rapidly into the virtual, paperless era, the standardized working environment for managing manufacturing operations require tools like HMI 3D visuals and flat screen monitors in control rooms and at strategic points throughout the facility. It is becoming the norm, not the exception.
What defines standardization as it applies to HMI systems? Standardization involves graphic standards, naming conventions, and application design concepts ― a consistent look and feel to promote greater efficiency on the plant floor. It is the best practice of applying easily recognized visuals to increase the productivity at the point of use. As standards become applied on an Enterprise scale, overall benefits multiply.
The Three Most Important Benefits of Standardized Human Machine Interface (HMI)
- Increase in productivity - The ease of use and functionality of HMI systems will increase your OEE and workforce productivity. The updated control system makes it easier to start, stop, troubleshoot and make changes in production.
- Easy to understand technology – In addition to increased productivity for operators, other tasks improve as well. Training, troubleshooting and line changes are simplified. A trained line operator can walk up to the HMI at any time and easily understand what is going on in a particular stage of production. Applied programming standards make it easy for users to dig deeper into the controls through the HMI to receive more information about a situation.
- Cost Efficiency - The return on investment for HMI standardization is quickly recaptured through the efficiency it brings to operations through reduced downtime for equipment issue resolution and changes, and increased productivity by operators, maintenance and engineering.
Graphic standards - It’s important to focus on an efficient design that functions well and looks good. Polytron, a member of the Control System Integrators Association (CSIA), upholds a high graphics standard among nearly any combination of hardware and software. Flashy animations and software might look impressive in an HMI demonstration, but doesn’t contribute to the HMI’s effectiveness ― in fact it slows down the operator’s navigation to devices and information.