What is Human Machine Interface, or HMI?
Human Machine Interface, often known by the acronym HMI, refers to a dashboard or screen used to control machinery. Line operators, managers and supervisors in industry rely on HMIs to translate complex data into useful information.
For example, they use HMIs to monitor machinery to make sure it’s working properly. Easy-to-understand visual displays give meaning and context to near real-time information about tank levels, pressure and vibration measurements, motor and valve status and other variables.
But the advanced capabilities of today’s HMIs enable managers and supervisors to do much more than control processes. Using historical and trending data they offer vast new opportunities to improve product quality and make systems more efficient.
For all these reasons, HMIs play a key role in the smooth and effective running of factories and manufacturing operations.
But not all HMIs are created the same.
Traditional HMIs have downsides
HMIs should be easy to understand, but the reality is they often aren’t. Frequently, they overload operators with information and make their jobs needlessly stressful and demanding. As a result, operators with the skills and expertise to quickly processhandle vast quantities of complex information can be hard to find.
To compound this problem, many HMIs are unable to keep pace with technology or adapt when a business grows. Some HMI software fails to support older operating systems, or only works with a small family of hardware. This means traditional HMIs can become obsolete quickly, and turn out to be expensive short-term investments.
AVEVA’s HMI solutions are unique
We know that HMIs need to be easy to understand and operate. That’s why simplicity sits at the heart of our portfolio of solutions. Our HMIs are also designed to improve the efficiency of your operation, evolve with technology and adapt as the demands of your business grow
Our solutions take the pressure off your operators and help you create an HMI system that’s tailor-made for your organisation.
Our solutions think long term. They evolve with changing technology and grow along with your business, whether it’s large or small.
Our solutions help your HMI operators spot problems quickly and easily, take impactful decisions, make your processes more efficient, and improve the quality of your products and services.
Key features of AVEVA’s HMI solutions
Ease of use
HMI operators have heavy responsibilities and vast amounts of information to handle. That’s why we’ve designed our HMIs to be easy to use. They focus on simplicity; enabling operators to spot and solve problems quickly.
- Drag-and-drop tools
- Rapid application development
- Proven templates, with no scripting required
- Robust training
- Ability to tailor the HMI to your workflow
- View on any device
- Native communication to devices using industry standard protocols
No other HMI software matches AVEVA’s for its ability to grow with your business, whatever its size. Whether you run a single machine or an entire line, we can scale to fit your evolving needs. Our solutions also make it easy to add new capabilities.
- Constantly evolving HMI software
- Keeps pace with technology to support remote connectivity, IoT architectures, and communicate with data stored in the cloud
- Scalable, to meet the needs of growing operations
- Compatible with legacy systems as well as new technology
Our HMIs offer much more than visual information. They connect people, applications and machines across different locations. They’re also platform agnostic, which means you can choose the best hardware, data sources, networks, and software for your needs.
- Designed for effective collaboration
- Unparalleled communication capabilities across applications and protocols such as PLC, MQTT and SCADA
- Backward compatibility
- View and control your machines from anywhere in the world
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HMI stands for Human Machine Interface. Generally, it refers to a screen or dashboard that communicates information, data and metrics using graphics or visual representations of numbers. The screen is controlled by an operator who monitors and controls equipment and processes in factories and plants.
In simple terms, the Human Machine Interface, commonly known as HMI, is the means by which humans engage with machines to monitor, control and/or carry out processes. Simple examples of Human Machine Interfaces are keyboards and touchscreens. These high-tech tools enable the controller to access and utilise computer programmes. Complex examples are found in factories and plants, where Human Machine Interfaces are integral to production and manufacturing processes. They have innumerable uses, but in essence HMIs enable operators to make sure processes run smoothly, identify problems, and maintain and improve efficiencies.
HMIs come with integrated software that allow operators to manage the information that appears on the screen or dashboard. The software is essential to execute commands, control the machinery, and manage manufacturing and production processes. Operators interact with these processes and machinery through a graphic user interface (GUI). A GUI is a visual information system that communicates with HMIs at both supervisor and machine level. HMI software generally allows operators to view information through a series of diagrams, photos and schematics. Depending on its technical capabilities, HMI software can communicate on multiple networks, and enables operators to control processes and machinery in different locations
SCADA, which stands for Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition, is an example of a system where HMI is essential. SCADA generally refers to a centralised control system for a network of processes and devices. In order for SCADA systems to function effectively, they rely on HMI. For example, in water treatment systems various phases take place in different locations using a wide range of plants and equipment. HMI enables operators to monitor and control these disparate parts of the process remotely through one control point. Find out more about SCADA.
HMIs are typically equipment/machine or work cell focused. Their perspective is limited in scope to the immediate area. Whereas SCADA typically takes a wider view of operations. This can include many pieces of equipment, entire plants and processes, or multiple work cells.
Some HMI designated software can be used as a light SCADA, though not all, and most SCADA can be used as HMI.
An HMI works by connecting an operator to a system, device and/or machine via a screen or dashboard. Rather than just displaying data, which can be difficult to analyse quickly and easily, information is presented visually, often in the form of graphs, illustrations and/or photographs. This makes it quick and easy to evaluate data from different machines, processes and locations. Examples of HMIs are machines with touch display, a mobile device, or an alarm.
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