Today you will learn what is HMIs and Advantages of Human Machine Interface
From push buttons to PCs, from text-based to graphical, from CRT to LCD, the shape and
role of what has come to be called “visualization” has changed dramatically over a few
The move from islands of automation to sophisticated control and analytics reflects unprecedented growth, and the journey is far from over
Industry historically has sought to monitor and understand its processes and operations. Its journey from on/off devices to complex, sophisticated systems for monitoring and analysis has been a dramatic and remarkable ride.
What follows is a look at the passage from push button to MMI (man-machine interface) to HMI to visualization, how it has shaped the industrial process, and how it continues to impact the manufacturing world.
You will learn :
1. What is HMI?
2. Advantages of Human Machine Interface
#1. What is HMI?
HMI is short for Human Machine Interface. We use HMIs in the industry to control and monitor machines.
A very common HMI that you all encounter on a regular basis would be an ATM machine.
The screen and pushbuttons allow you to operate the machine to dispense a certain amount of money or to deposit money.
Let’s talk about industrial HMIs now. It would be hard to have a good automated process in the industry without an HMI.
Many times an HMI will be in the form of a screen, kind of like a computer screen,
and more times than not, they are a touch screen.
An operator or maintenance personnel can operate and monitor the machine from the HMI.
They may include information like temperature, pressure, process steps, and material counts.
They can also show very precise levels in tanks and exact positioning of machines.
Where machine information used to be viewed on multiple indicators can now be viewed on one screen.
The possibilities are only limited to the software and hardware used.
But how does the HMI actually connect to the machine to be able to control and monitor it?
Let’s take a look.
First, HMIs use special software so engineers can program them correctly.
Different brands of panels use different software accordingly.
The software allows the engineer to design what the operator will actually see on the screen
what they can monitor on the screen, what “buttons” can be pushed, and how the operator can manipulate the machine.
For example, an HMI may have a large tank displayed on the screen with the level of a liquid displayed.
Next to the tank is a pump to lower the liquid level.
An HMI can also have the start and stop button displayed and usable on the screen next to the pump.
This display would be able to actually turn the pump on and off.
But, it is not as easy as just placing a button on the screen or a tank with a level on the screen.
The person programming the HMI has to program each indicator and button
to a specific input or output address of a PLC.
This brings up another point, the HMI and PLC need to be compatible.
This means they need to be able to “talk” to each other.
They do this on what is called a Protocol. Different companies use different protocols.
Common protocols are Modbus, Ethernet/IP, and Profibus.
These are all just industrial networks, kind of like the network you may have in your home with multiple computers,tv’s or other devices connected to each other.
Industrial protocols connect the different PLCs, HMIs, and other machines to each other.
Protocol information is easily found on each manufacturer’s website.
Once the PLC and the HMI are “talking” then whatever is programmed into the HMI
can be used to monitor and control PLC functions.
Let’s review, today you have learned some of the basics of an HMI or Human Machine Interface.
These are the monitors and controls of a machine that allows the operator to run a machine or monitor a machine.
Engineers can program an HMI to perform almost any function that can be controlled or information that can be monitored by a PLC.
HMIs and PLCs work together to monitor and control the machine.
This means they have to be compatible and they also have to speak the same language so to speak.
This comes in the form of a Protocol which is just an industrial network.
2. Advantages of Human Machine Interface
one of the most significant changes affecting current HMI systems is the rise of multitouch technology.
Systems with integrated multitouch capabilities are already available
Displays use a projective capacitive touchscreen (PCT) to ensure industrial compatibility.
Its high touchpoint density enables accurate and reliable operation for industrial users.
Operation with work gloves is possible. In addition, familiar functions of smartphones and touchpads, such as zooming, scrolling, object turning, and flicks, can be transitioned to industrial applications as well.
Rich HMI software graphics to create dynamic operator interfaces. Wide screens are common-place, and full HD resolution is available from many HMI vendors.”
HMIs with fully embedded communications and maintenance functions. Features like ladder monitor, logic monitor and flowchart monitor for sequence and motion control are time-saving, built-in functions that simplify maintenance and reduce costs