All you need to know about Human Machine Interfaces and its future

Human machine interface

The development of industrial automation processes led to the need for a way for users to interact with the systems in a simple and effective way, which resulted in the creation of HMI or Human Machine Interface systems.

You may not have heard of these systems, but for sure you interact with one or more of them every day. That’s because they can be found everywhere, such as in cell phones, cashiers and industrial machinery. If you want to know more about these important systems and learn about the types of Human Machine Interfaces that exist, we invite you to continue reading this article.

What is an HMI System?

HMI or Human Machine Interface is nothing more than an interface that allows a user to access the functionalities of a device, a machine or a system in a simple way. This term can be applied to any screen or control panel which a person can interact with a device.

These systems operate in different types of devices or machinery, such as, for example, the ATMs we interact with on a regular basis. The interface, in this case, is composed of buttons, pushbuttons and, sometimes, touch screens through which the device’s functions can be accessed.

However, this does not only apply in the domestic or commercial environment. The term is usually used to refer to industrial processes that control and help monitor production machines in companies.

Thus, for example, maintenance staff is able to control the machinery without the need to manipulate the machine’s internal code. This facilitates their work and allows them to observe and alter variables such as temperature, pressure, fill levels, positioning and more.

Types of HMI 

There is no single type of Human Machine Interface, they come in a variety of formats, such as computer monitors, touch screens, mobile device screens, control panels and more. Although the term still applies to each of these, since the purpose of these is to provide information about the device’s performance, as well as to make functions available to the user.

The great technological advances of the last decade have resulted in the development of different types of HMI systems, and today, it is common to see evolved models, which generate many more opportunities for both human-device interaction and equipment analysis.

High performance Human Machine Interface 

 One of the demands of the new systems is for much more efficient human-machine interfaces that ensure interaction with minimal response time and that are effective. This is achieved by paying attention to the most indispensable and critical indicators of the interface, allowing the end user to detect problems and solve them more efficiently, as well as to make well-informed decisions.

They tend to be fairly simple and clean, dispensing with controls or graphics that may complicate visualization. Other relevant design aspects include the use of neutral colors, with visual elements such as icons of a suitable size and conveniently placed for easy access to functions.

Touch screens and mobile devices

Human Machine Interfaces developed for touch screens became popular with the rise of smartphones, but soon spread to a wide range of fields. They dispense with conventional buttons and switches and allow you to interact with machine functions directly by touching them.

The importance of touch screens comes to the forefront when working especially with mobile devices that work with web-based or app-based SCADA systems. Among the wide range of advantages offered by the mobile HMI interface are instant access to control data and remote monitoring.

Remote monitoring

There is also remote monitoring, which achieves greater flexibility and accessibility for operators and managers. They can be used by workers to control the system externally, measuring values such as temperature on a mobile device. This avoids having to constantly monitor the values locally. They are often used in production plants whose facilities are located miles away.

Human Machine Interface for network and cloud

Human-machine interfaces also extend to the Internet, where they become quite important, as they allow operators to access data and visualization from field devices.

Apart from that, it is now very common to use local Human Machine Interfaces to upload data directly to cloud storage, where it is possible to analyze it remotely. The best thing about this is that the control capabilities are maintained locally, so control is completely independent.

At Walter Pack we are dedicated not only to the design and production of functional and decorative parts for vehicles, but also to the integration of electronic circuits and control panels in plastics. 

We are able to integrate electronic components into plastic parts, easily incorporating their electronic functions and creating fully functional, fast, effective HMI solutions. All this through the use of completely revolutionary technologies.