Human Machine Interfaces form the foundation for the way people interact with technology. From a simple button to a complex computer with keyboard input, the range of options is tremendous, and the addition of billions of IoT devices is only increasing the potential complexity. More devices that communicate mean more interfaces to interpret data. Streamlined and user-friendly HMI platforms turn these devices into productivity-enhancing additions to your pipeline.

A Look Under the Hood of Human Machine Interfaces

Any display that allows a human to control or understand a machine can be considered a human-machine interface. The gauges in your car tell you when you need to stop for gas. The keypad you use to turn off your alarm system is another example. What many examples of HMIs have in common is the simple fact that they are siloed devices, installed by the manufacturer to perform a single function.

IoT Devices Add a Multifunctional Approach

From an industrial perspective, the addition of IoT devices can add incalculable value. Which is just one reason why this market is growing so rapidly. Predictions put the IoT market size at $457B by 2020, and $85B is directly linked to the industrial sector. Connected devices are here, and their value on a production floor or other industrial application is clear. More information means more efficiency improvements and more transparency into current business processes.

Better HMI means Better Business

The more information displayed on an HMI, the easier it is for humans to run machines. Going back to the car analogy, when you can see how fast you’re going, and how much gas is left in the tank, you can get a good idea for how much distance you can travel before you need to make a stop. The same is true for any device. When HMIs provide detailed information about their control device, your line can work more efficiently and plan breaks around needed maintenance.

IoT Upgrades Alarms and Device Controls

Alarms showing potential problems before a shutdown is reached are some of the most used HMI displays, but imagine being able to see all alarms for a facility from a centralized location. IoT devices can make this possible. By sending out constant streams of data, you get a constant state of the device. This allows for more scheduled maintenance and less unscheduled downtime. With improved monitoring comes the ability to track workflow more concretely. You can see the time it takes to complete tasks and identify bottlenecks quickly. This improved transparency into your production can help boost productivity.

Upgrading Your HMI Upgrades Your Business

The user interface that guides your machine technology is a major factor in completing work. Interfaces that utilize commonly accepted consumer technology practices have a shorter learning curve and allow employees to reach peak productivity more quickly. Modern HMI incorporates techniques that work more like the smartphones you use every day, including touchscreens and gestures that have become second nature. Upgrades also allow you to add new features, without investing in new physical infrastructure. IoT devices can accept updates over the air, so integrating systems and adding features is easier.

When your technology communicates more clearly and frequently, you exert better control. Avoiding stops on the line, reducing total downtime, and improving every step along your workflow, can all come from simple upgrades to the way machines and humans interact.

By Nadine

Sources:

  1. https://www.machinedesign.com/iot/what-are-human-machine-interfaces-and-why-are-they-becoming-more-important
  2. https://www.forbes.com/sites/louiscolumbus/2017/12/10/2017-roundup-of-internet-of-things-forecasts/#6ca76e381480
  3. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/7860151/