Human-Machine Interface, also known as HMI is a technology that enables humans to communicate with machines or devices such as computers, industrial equipment, and other appliances. HMI is an essential component of industrial automation as it facilitates efficient control for operators. With advancements in technology, there are three main types of HMI screens available in the market. In this article, we will take a closer look at these three types, their features, and applications.
Definition of HMI screens
Human-Machine Interface screens or displays are the primary means of communication between a human operator and a machine or device. These displays can take the form of a touch screen, keypad, or desktop terminal. The HMI screen's primary function is to display data in a way that is easy to read and interpret by the operator. The operator can then interact with the machine through the HMI screen, sending commands and controlling various variables to achieve their desired outcomes.
Type 1: Touch Screen HMI
The touch screen HMI is a popular type with industrial equipment since operators can quickly and easily navigate through the screens. This type of HMI has a user-friendly interface, and it is available in various sizes and shapes. It also has a high-resolution display that shows precise information.
One significant advantage of touch screen HMI is its intuitive interface, which allows operators to control different features of the machine with ease. For instance, when dealing with a CNC machine, operators can navigate through different screens to change the tool's speed and other features. The touch screen HMI is also ideal where operations need to switch from one machine to another and require a highly flexible interface.
Type 2: Keypad HMI
The keypad HMI is another type of HMI screen that is simple in design but efficient. Its primary function is to allow operators to input data by pressing buttons that correspond to different functions. It is typically used in machines that require minimal input and output functions.
Keypad HMIs' straightforward design makes them reliable, and they can be used in harsh environments where touch screens are not ideal. For instance, in an industrial setup where there is dust, moisture, or other environmental challenges, the keypad HMI is the best option. Comparatively, the touch screen is less durable and may require frequent cleaning.
Type 3: Desktop Terminal HMI
The third type of HMI screen is the desktop terminal HMI, which is a PC-based display. It is ideal for applications that require a more extensive range of functions and more extensive data processing capabilities. The desktop terminal HMI typically runs on advanced software, allowing it to provide a vast array of features, such as graphical representation, trend analysis, and historical data logging.
One significant benefit of desktop terminal HMI is that it provides a wide range of programming and communication options. It can also store and process vast amounts of data, making it useful for industrial applications where data acquisition and management are crucial. Further, since these HMIs run on robust software, the operator can easily customize the interface to suit specific requirements.
As industrial automation continues to evolve, manufacturers are continually looking for better ways to improve efficiency while ensuring safety. Incorporating the right type of HMI screen is vital to achieving these objectives. The three main types of HMI displays - touch screen, keypad, and desktop terminal - offer different features that are suitable for varying industrial setups. Depending on the nature of your application and the environment in which it operates, you can select one of these HMI screens to suit your needs.
Five reasons why you need HMI screens in industrial automation
The evolution of industrial automation has resulted in the development of a wide range of technologies, one of which is the Human-Machine Interface (HMI). An HMI is a technology that enables humans to communicate with machines or devices. HMIs come in different types, but their primary function is to facilitate efficient control for operators. In this article, we highlight five reasons why you need HMI screens in industrial automation.
1. Increased Efficiency
Perhaps the most significant advantage of using HMI screens in industrial automation is the increased efficiency that they bring. HMIs provide an intuitive interface that allows operators to complete tasks easily and quickly. For instance, in a manufacturing plant, workers can use an HMI screen to control different variables such as temperature, pressure, and speed. The ease of use and ability to handle multiple variables simultaneously means that the HMI helps to enhance productivity and reduce production times.
2. Improved Safety
Industrial automation can expose workers to potential hazards such as toxic gases, heat, and loud noises. Using an HMI screen can limit the exposure of workers to these dangers by allowing them to operate machinery remotely. For example, an operator can initiate and monitor a process from a safe distance using an HMI screen. This reduces the likelihood of accidents and injury, making the work environment safer for operators.
3. Better Control
HMIs provide a more efficient way of controlling machines and equipment in industrial setups. With an HMI screen, operators can control all the devices or machines in the system simultaneously. If an issue arises in one machine, the operator can quickly identify and rectify it before it spreads to other devices. The result is a more streamlined and smooth-running operation that produces better quality output.
4. User-friendly Interface
An HMI screen provides a user-friendly interface that makes it easy for operators to control and monitor machines or equipment. The screens are customizable, allowing operators to arrange functions and settings based on preferences. They also provide a graphical display that makes it easy to understand different scenarios. The result is a more engaged and empowered workforce that is better equipped to handle industrial tasks.
5. Minimal Downtime
In industrial setups, downtime can be costly in terms of lost productivity and revenue. HMIs play a critical role in minimizing downtime by providing real-time access to machine information. Operators can get alerts when machines experience issues, reducing the downtime needed to fix machines. This real-time information reduces the likelihood of machine failure and ensures that manufacturing and production lines operate at optimal efficiency.
Incorporating HMI screens into industrial automation is critical to improving operational efficiency, reducing downtime, and keeping workers safe. With the ability to control machines remotely, detect faults in real-time, and provide a user-friendly interface, HMI screens are essential for any industrial operation. The benefits of HMI screens extend beyond industrial automation, with applications also in medical, transportation, and consumer devices..