The future lies with HMIs

EU Automation

Thursday, 06 June, 2019



The future lies with HMIs

John Young, Sales Director at industrial parts supplier EU Automation, explains how modern human-machine interface (HMI) technology can improve output in Asia.

Asia-Pacific industry is increasingly interested in investing in HMIs. Mordor Intelligence, an industry market analyst, predicts that the Asia–Pacific HMI market will be valued at US$1529.39 million by 2023, at a CAGR of 12%. This is due to the growing need of businesses in the Asia–Pacific region to enhance efficiency and flexibility.

HMIs can rapidly communicate complex information by clearly representing status information in real time. However, achieving this requires careful display design, because not only must they accurately show detailed information, they must also be readable at a glance.

Why HMI?

Before the advent of Internet of Things (IoT) enabled devices, most machines in a factory had a dedicated isolated HMI. However, these displays generally only showed simple data and early designs were visually complicated, meaning operators still had to figure out what the information actually meant.

Due to continuous growth, many manufacturers may not be able to switch out old machinery, as any unnecessary production downtime can prove damaging to sales and output — particularly when working in industries such as food and beverage, where perishables are present. Rapid growth of the economy in the Asia–Pacific region is set to continue, with the International Monetary Fund forecasting 5.6% growth in 2019. With no break in sight, getting the most out of older machines is vital.

Raising efficiency by installing a modern HMI system can give businesses the edge over competitors. This is because effective HMIs can reduce time spent on maintenance by allowing operators to clearly understand issues, such as locating which part of a machine is broken. With the escalating costs of downtime, being able to quickly solve breakdowns is crucial in remaining competitive.

This does still leave the issue of what to do once the operator has identified a broken part. In these cases, it helps to have a parts supplier known for fast delivery times. For example, at EU Automation the system sources the part you need while also planning the fastest route to get it on location.

Modern HMI design

Unlike older HMIs, more thought is being put into how modern displays are designed. For example, the introduction of pattern-based displays, such as annotated graphs, allows operators to simply view the context of the data displayed. Clearer designs mean operators can learn systems faster, letting them both get up to speed and make vital decisions quickly.

IoT systems are also allowing HMIs to take on forms previously unthought of, with many modern systems being able to send analysis directly to smart devices such as smartphones and smartwatches. This means that not only are modern HMIs readable at a glance, they can also be read anywhere at any time. This is beneficial for manufacturers with multiple plants, allowing for a side-by-side comparison.

All these developments make the modern HMI a powerful tool for operators. Their time-saving potential and ability to be viewed anywhere can drastically increase workflow flexibility. Simply put, installing a modern HMI will allow businesses to get more out of their operators and streamline maintenance.

The benefits gained from an effective HMI system cannot be overlooked and, with rising demands, raising efficiency is always a clear-cut route to success.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/zapp2photo

Originally published here.

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