A User Interface (UI) is required to control and automate machines effectively. Human-Machine Interface: HMI is part of a UI that may consist of physical input or output hardware such as a keyboard, mouse, monitor, printer, etc.
Various forms of UI, such as visual, tactile, auditory, olfactory, etc., basically respond to different human senses. When a single HMI interacts with multiple human senses, we call them Composite User Interfaces (CUIs).
Recently, like panel PCs, CUIs such as Touch Screens have become very popular. Touch screens have a Graphical User Interface (GUI) capable of displaying graphics that utilize both tactile and visual UI. A GUI with sound feedback is called a Multimedia User Interface (MUI).
HMI touch screens and displays are widely used for industrial automation. Operators can easily control machines and monitor manufacturing processes through them. Touch screen HMIs also have numerous other applications in medical devices, automotive dashboards, digital signage, building automation and more.
Touch screen HMI has largely replaced push-button and LED-based control systems. They have simplified the controls and made it possible to supervise an entire operation from a single display.
Depending on their functionality, HMIs can be classified into three different types.
Data Handler: HMI displays are great for data visualization. They can display charts and graphical representations of data. You can perform tasks such as data trending, data logging and recipes. Data handlers usually have a large memory capacity and are ideal for applications that need consistent monitoring and feedback.
Pushbutton Replacer: The most common type of HMI. It has been replacing traditional push-button and LED-based control systems. The graphical user interface replaces the need for numerous mechanical buttons, switches, and LEDs, streamlining the entire control system into a single display, simplifying operation.
Overseer: Large manufacturing plants, treatment facilities, and power plants have a SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition) or MES system to control the processes and equipment. An overseer human-machine interface utilizes the data obtained from the SCADA’s database and provides insights into the entire system.
There are several things to consider when choosing an HMI panel for the control and automation of a system. Let’s have a look at them.
Display Size: A typical HMI panel consists of a LED display for graphical representation of data. The dimensions will differ based on their use. The display should have enough space to clearly visualize all necessary data and controls.
Processor and Memory: The HMI must have sufficient processing power and RAM to perform the desired tasks. Larger systems require more memory to store and process data.
Operating System: Many HMI devices are simply a PC in a different form factor. However, most industrial HMI have customized operating systems for a particular operation. Choose the one that suits your requirements.
IP Rating: The International Protection (IP) Rating is a standard to measure the durability or performance of a device in a particular environment. HMI panels used in industrial settings are often subjected to harsh conditions. So, an IP66 rating or higher is desirable to avoid damage to the HMI panel due to water or other debris getting in.
Yes, HMI touch panels are usually made dust and waterproof. Most touch panels you find on the market are IP66 rated. Enclosures with an IP66 rating ensure the following protective features:
However, they are usually not designed for total submersion in water. In that case, the HMI panels must be IP68 rated to survive.
HMI touch screens and displays have a variety of applications in different industries, mostly used by engineers, system integrators, and operators. Some of the notable applications are:
Power Generation: HMI is a key component in power plants. Engineers and operators control and monitor the equipment in coal or hydroelectric power plants through a human-machine interface.HMI is also used in diagnosing system errors or faults.
Treatment Plants: The treatment process in water and wastewater treatment plants is integrated using HMI panels. The HMI monitor is connected with the systems SCADA or MES systems. It can visualize the data and list the key performance indicators.
Manufacturing: A Human machine interface is required when monitoring automation processes or controlling machinery and equipment. It can visually display data, oversee KPIs in a process, and track production time, tags, and trends.
Human-machine interfaces are implemented in various general applications including:
Vehicle Dashboards: Almost any car you see nowadays will feature an HMI display. Recent models also come with touch screen capability. The HMI display is primarily used to play media and view GPS navigation. More advanced HMI may also include features to control various other systems such as cruise control or 4x4 settings.
Building Automation: Modern smart homes can use an HMI display to centrally control all appliances and systems in a house. The Heating and ventilation system, lighting, security systems, etc., can all be controlled from a single HMI.
Stage Management: HMI panels have become an excellent alternative to traditional analogous control systems we find in stage events, theatres, or concerts. An HMI display makes it convenient to centrally control all speakers, microphones, or video cameras in a venue.
HMI panels size can range from 3 inches to 25 inches. A bigger display will provide more space for you to work with and will be more suited for large factories with lots of equipment.
The cost will significantly increase as you opt for an HMI with a bigger display and higher resolution. Therefore, you should buy one that satisfies your requirements. Here are some recommended resolutions of HMI displays based on their scope of applications,
SCADA stands for Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition. It is closely related to a Human Machine Interface. While both of them are an integral part of industrial control systems, they are not the same. They play complementary roles in the control and supervision of an industrial process.
A SCADA system focuses on data collection and control of the processes. They are connected to a database and can record data for further use.
HMI provides real-time visualization of the data collected through the SCADA system. HMI helps users supervise the entire process from a single interface. So, it can be considered a communication tool for the SCADA system.
If you are looking to a buy a HMI Touch Screen & Display for sale, suppliers on IndustrySearch include Advantech Australia, Mechtric, Ti2 Pty Ltd, Backplane Systems Technology, Uticor AVG, Itech Corporation, Autech Control Group, Omniflex, ICP Electronics, A&D Weighing & Inspection Specialists