Industrial Human Machine Interface (HMI) panels have become an integral part of modern industries, making it possible for operators to control and monitor machinery with ease. HMIs come in different sizes, interfaces, and functions, making it vital to choose the right panel for your specific industrial application. In this article, we will discuss how to choose the right Industrial HMI Panel for your application.
Understanding the application
The first step in choosing the right HMI panel is to understand the application. What are the inputs and outputs required? What is the size of the system you are controlling? What is the operator's environment like? Answering these questions will help you identify what features the HMI panel should have.
Size of the panel
The size of the panel depends on the application, operator's environment, and the information that needs to be displayed on the screen. For instance, if the panel is meant for a single operator, a 7-inch panel may suffice, but if multiple operators are required to use the panel, you may need a larger screen. Moreover, if the system requires a lot of data to be displayed on the screen, a larger panel would be recommended.
The environment that the HMI panel will operate in is also a crucial factor to consider when choosing the right panel. If the panel will be used in a harsh or hazardous environment, you will need a panel that is tough enough to withstand such conditions. For instance, you may need a panel that is dustproof, waterproof, or shockproof.
The interface of the HMI panel is also an essential factor to consider when choosing the right panel. The interface should be user-friendly and easy to understand. Ensure that the panel allows the operators to interact easily with the system and provide feedback. Additionally, the panel should support various communication protocols, including Ethernet, serial communication, USB, and others.
The functions that the HMI panel is expected to perform are also a crucial factor to consider when selecting the right panel. The panel should be capable of performing all the functions that are required in your specific application. This includes machine control, data display, alarms, and others.
Choosing the right HMI panel for your application
After understanding the application, size, environment, interface, and functions required, it is time to choose the right HMI panel. Generally, HMI panels come in three types: standalone, embedded, and panel PC.
Standalone HMI panel
A standalone HMI panel is a device that is specifically designed for machine control, and it operates independently of other devices. This type of HMI panel is mostly used in small control systems and for specific applications.
Embedded HMI panel
Embedded HMI panels are integrated into the machinery to provide an interface for machine control. These panels are installed and programmed by the machinery manufacturers and require little or no programming on the user's end.
A panel PC is a type of HMI panel that is integrated with a computer. This type of panel is highly versatile and can be used for a wide range of applications, including control and machine monitoring.
Factors to consider when choosing the type of HMI panel
When choosing between the three types of HMI panels, several factors need to be considered, including cost, ease of installation, maintenance, and accessibility.
Standalone and embedded HMI panels are usually cheaper than panel PCs. However, they may require additional hardware and software components to perform specific functions. Panel PCs may be cost-effective in the long run since they combine both the HMI panel and a computer, eliminating the need for extra components.
Ease of installation
Embedded HMI panels are usually the easiest to install since they are integrated into the machinery by the manufacturer. Standalone HMI panels and panel PCs may require additional installation since they are installed externally to the machinery.
Standalone and panel PC HMI panels may require more maintenance than embedded HMI panels since they are installed externally. However, the maintenance requirement depends on the environment and application.
Panel PCs are more accessible than standalone and embedded HMI panels since they are based on a computer interface. This makes it easier to integrate them with other systems. Standalone and embedded HMI panels may have limited accessibility to an external system.
Choosing the right HMI panel for your industrial application requires careful consideration of various factors, including the application, size, environment, interface, and functions. Once these factors are understood, you can select the right type of HMI panel that suits your needs. Always remember to consider the cost, ease of installation, maintenance, and accessibility when choosing the type of HMI panel. Ultimately, choosing the right HMI panel will help you achieve efficient and effective machine control and monitoring..