HOW DOES THE CHOICE OF HMI AFFECT HUMAN PRODUCTIVITYWITH REGARD TO THE DESIGN AND OPERATION OF INDUSTRIALMOTION SYSTEMS?Marc • B&R:
The machine designer must be very intimate with the actual operationof the machine from an end-user's perspective. At the end of the day, it's an operator who runs the machine day-in, day-out — not the engineer who designed it. Thedesigner needs to have insight into the mind of the end-user in order to develop amachine and an interface that truly meets the demand for highest value. All too oftenthe end-user is forced to try to recreate the thought process of the designer.
Roy • GE Fanuc:
HMI systems can take many forms, from dedicated panel devicesto higher-level PCs running Windows and HMI software. On PC/Windows platforms, basic HMI functionality may be augmented with high-level analytics and dataacquisition, features more often thought of as SCADA (supervisory control and dataacquisition). In the more general case, where the HMI functions as the machinecontroller and operator interface, the emphasis is more focused on running machinesmore effectively, measuring performance, and managing downtime more efficiently.The greater the role of the HMI, the more important it is to select one with a highdegree of scalability — one that provides operator controls and connectivity tosupervisory systems. In motion applications, HMIs must also be able to respondquickly to commands as well as unanticipated situations requiring complexmaneuvers.To maximize productivity, HMIs should display information in the context of themachine state. It's not the job of an operator to navigate to the correct screen at thecorrect time; it's the job of the HMI to react to machine conditions (the machinecontext) and deliver displays appropriate for the current state.Today's HMIs must also deliver a wealth of information, from operation manuals totroubleshooting guides. They should not only run, but also help maintain a machine.They should track downtime history and capture reason codes, and take responsibilityfor the lifecycle of the equipment.
Eyal • Unitronics:
From the operator's point of view, the HMI is the communicationfocal point, the “ear and mouth” of the machine, accepting commands and directionswhile displaying processes, values, results, errors, and other status messages. Thiscalls for an intelligent interface with built-in diagnostic qualities and immediateaccess to real-time information required to troubleshoot common machine problems.From a PLC hardware perspective, this means having access to internal registers and program variables.The right HMI implementation provides not only built-in diagnostics — eliminatingthe need for external testing equipment during troubleshooting — but also increasesthe operator's overall productivity:
It may replace most printed documents, providing online help, operation“wizards,” and even tutorials