Exploring Integrated Solutions Using Information, Operation and Human Connectivity with HMIs

Modern solutions are smarter solutions.

By: Reuben Siebenga
February 5, 2020

When it comes to discussing systems integration; the Human-Machine Interface is the visible component of industrial automation processes.

The HMI details the vital machine features, instrumentation and controls, diagnostics, monitoring and data logging.

integrated solutions

The role of current HMIs in the market

The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is all about merging technologies from the Information domain with data and process technology from the Operational domain. When these systems are integrated, we’re able to gain a depth of knowledge about the process or machine.

Ultimately, these complex technologies enable the line manager or plant supervisor to optimize a specific task through data analysis. Therefore, when we install and integrate systems with the most advanced technologies, we must provide users with a simple and single way to visualize the real-time information.

As we look for industrial software solutions to power the evolution of the IIoT, we need to look at where the information and operations are intersecting, and where humans are interacting with these analyses. This will place the managers at the centre of the digital revolution, while enabling them to get the best out of their workers using new digital technologies through instrumentation and control. Keep in mind, this is not limited to production departments — it can also apply to marketing, technical, human resources, service, or administrative; as all areas of business can be positively impacted by empowering their teams.

Considering the future of HMIs for a younger workforce

If we look at line supervisors or plant managers who are continuously observing, monitoring and operating machines, it’s evident that they require an interface for those processes to allow for simple and convenient, workable interaction. These indicators come from real-time operational technologies integrated with information technology, analytics and models.

As operators and management staff become increasingly younger in age, the set of roles and responsibilities will naturally also continue to change - and one could argue that this less experienced workforce will expect more standardized intelligence from the interfaces of these process systems. To keep pace and utilize the digital revolutions of operational instrumentation and control, the collected complex data must have a way to be transformed into contextualized information that can be accessed by various users from any place, and at any time.

There are three requirements of modern HMI installations today. They are:

Simple visibility:

The display of information in an HMI needs to be simple and intuitive by design. The interface should deliver the computing services to the user in real-time to better contextualize the information from the electrical equipment.

High flexibility:

The HMI should behave as a highly connectable automation component that not only connects to the programmable logic controller, integrated into the sensors and monitoring equipment, but should seamlessly work into the appropriate operating IT networks of the company.

The HMI’s interface must be customizable and scalable to be used as a window into any type of IIoT architecture. It must also be capable of displaying information in several different ways and should promote collaboration between all individuals using the information from the electrical equipment.

Strong reliability:

The merging of information technology, operation technology and human interaction must be robust, secure and supported. Today, humans require state-of-the-art visualization technologies that maintain compatibility with the older automation or mechanical technologies they may also be using.

As the IIoT empowers operations across a range of industries, we must be able to connect to the core of their smart machines, manufacturing lines or control processes — and at any time and place.

Having these technologies available to us helps to simplify the decision making process, while enhancing maintenance and broadening collaboration within the workplace. In order to fully complete these ongoing tasks, an HMI system that generates simple status updates and commands for any type of operator is required.

HMI systems are the way of bringing the technologies and capabilities of information, operation, and mankind together.

Start optimizing your industrial processes with modern solutions today

At T&T, we have a team of automation and control experts that work with our clients to develop custom systems that can operate in any environment looking to modernize and join the digital revolution.

Does that sound like you? Contact T&T Power Group today to get started.

 

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