White Paper: Manufacturing & Prototyping

Combining Hardware and Software to Create an Effective Human Machine Interface

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It’s well known that human beings are visual creatures and we would all choose a pretty picture over boring text any day. But on the scientific side, it’s believed that our brains can process visual information 60,000 times faster than text, with 90 percent of information transmitted to the brain being visual and over half of the brain being devoted directly or indirectly to vision. Knowing that, one can conclude that using a visual representation of a machine or automated system would allow for faster recognition and understanding of system variables. And that’s where the HMI comes in to play.

The HMI, or Human Machine Interface, allows operators to “interface” with the system they oversee. It provides a visual overview of the automated system’s status and direct control of its operation. An HMI’s graphical screens can be programmed to display important status and control information to the operator. Pictures, icons, sounds, and colors can all be used by HMIs to visually represent different operating conditions. And many HMIs deploy touchscreen technology for user interaction with elements displayed on the screen. When searching for a touch panel HMI, there are lots of options. And while there are certainly differences, many of the available panels on the market have similar hardware capabilities. But the capabilities of the HMI software, and how easy it is to use, can make a huge difference for a project and its development timeline.

The HMI Handbook delves into selecting, designing, and installing HMIs – and includes a step-by-step tutorial on designing a functional AC drive control interface. This HMI Handbook is a resource for those new to HMIs, C-more HMIs, or those looking for helpful tips for designing HMI screens. After addressing what an HMI is and what it can do, the handbook assists in selecting the right HMI software, remote monitoring with embedded HMIs, security concerns, and more.

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