Nearly every automated machine or system in today’s world has some sort of interface that allows a human worker to interact with it and that is where an HMI comes in. These human-machine interfaces (HMIs) are crucial because they allow for more precise control over the system, increased safety, and greater productivity. HMIs are easier user interfaces than most automation components. They are compatible with a wide range of equipment and rugged enough to withstand harsh industrial environments.
If you are looking for an HMI for your automation system, this is what you should be evaluating as far as performance and features.
There are four major uses for HMIs in an automation system:
With these four uses in mind, decide which are the most important to you and see which HMI best fits how you will be using it.
The ruggedness of HMIs can vary greatly, so consider the performance environment for the HMI. The HMI must not only be able to operate in this environment, but it must continue to do so for years (unless you want to replace it quite frequently).
Many of the environmental conditions that could affect the performance and usability of an HMI include:
While it doesn’t affect the lifespan of the HMI, it’s also important to consider the lighting of the environment. Is it a low lighting or low visibility setting? Will the HMI be outside where direct sunlight can impact your ability to read the screen? It’s important to look into the brightness and backlighting settings of your chosen HMI to see if you will be able to see the touchscreen and operate it based on the available lighting.
HMI displays vary greatly in size, from very small to quite large. While some operators may prefer a larger display for easier use and better viewing from a distance, consider the real estate that larger displays will take up in exchange for these abilities (they also tend to come with a higher price tag). Smaller screen sizes are more optimal if space is an issue, but it means touchscreen controls will be smaller and harder to view from farther away. Also, consider the resolution of the display. More pixels mean clearer pictures and graphics, especially as the size of the screen increases.
There are two main types of touchscreen control.
Depending on the manufacturer, HMIs often support hundreds of communication protocols for various PLCs and Motion Control systems.
The memory constraints of different HMIs can vary, and some are equipped with extra slots for memory capacity to be upgraded. Memory can affect everything from processing power and performance to more advanced features and calculations.
Need help choosing an HMI panel for your automation system? We can help. Get in touch with Motion Ai automation experts today.