Human Machine Interface

Harness data visualisation at the machines locally.

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The HMI solutions available on the market now offer a wide range of creative and design tools as standard.

Facilitating design, adapting to operational requirements, ensuring good scalability and opening up a wide array of potential options… these are just some of the challenges that HMI solutions need to address. These aside, the overriding and principle purpose of these interfaces is to enable operators to fully harness the potential of their SCADA tool.

Modern IT capabilities are going to disrupt HMI design. New technologies and the inclusion of user experience can make them complex to design. Plus if we also factor in bespoke industry and functionspecific features and user profiles, it is easy to see why the development of HMIs is a crucial step in the creation of a powerful SCADA application.

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Management assistance

The primary role of the HMI is to provide users with information on the status of automated plants. Firstly, it must display accurate information in an understandable format, based on the type of user and the industry application, to allow monitoring and effective and safe decision-making. Secondly, it must take the user’s behavior into account and transmit – depending on the type of information and the security rules defined – comprehensive and safe commands from the operator to the equipment. From a technical point of view, optimal management assistance requires feature-rich, secure software tools that are flexible enough to be fully aligned with operational requirements and practices.

A decision-making tool

A modern HMI can present all the relevant and contextual information for a given situation. It can also suggest procedures or methods to support the operator in their decision-making. The most advanced HMIs offer a simulation mode that allows the operator to visualize the result of a series of operations or a (“What-If”) scenario before it is actually performed.

The revolution has begun

HMIs no longer necessarily take the conventional form of screen, keyboard and mouse. The emergence of mobile technologies has generated new requirements in terms of screen size and orientation, interaction with touch screens, dialog through voice recognition, positioning with geolocation, and photography / QR codes for navigation, identification, etc. Navigation and contextualization are already key performance factors for plant management, improving response times and decision-making.

The best is yet to come!

The future of HMIs is closely linked to new communication technologies. Augmented reality glasses, voice recognition, virtual reality, sensory gloves, isolated/exposed occupational health monitoring, cobotics and chatbots are all opening the way to new uses and new needs. These new technologies are already disrupting the modes of operation of conventional HMIs, and are set to pave the way for further advances in the operation and maintenance of automated plants.

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