HMI – HUMAN MACHINE INTERFACE

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HMI – HUMAN MACHINE INTERFACE  

Though HMI seems to be a generic topic given the ensuing days of automation, in reality it pertains to the industrial control systems of any manufacturing production plant, reasonably big and complex. How HMI as a concept will unfold across sectors in a world where Man – Machine interface would become the order for the day is still unknown. The quality, intensity, maturity and robustness of the of the HMI will decide the quantum of benefits that can be derived out of automation. One look at the HMI dashboard and the functions it performs will give you a clarity on the real level of automation in that manufacturing unit.

From the hard wired controls to the programmable logic controller has been a great stride in the management of industries and production units. This moved the production / assembly line to the digital level. All further developments have been facilitated because of this change. Then the SCADA, Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition, came into being and now it  has become the gold standard of operating any industry, plant or generation unit. The PLCs got connected to it, that is where the data comes from, enabling SCADA systems to function.

The Human Machine Interface, HMI, can be a part of SCADA but SCADA cannot be a part of HMI. This is the operator window of the supervisory system. In simple terms, the benefit of this system entails complete automation of the plant and thus necessarily passing on the normal operations through this system. The drastic cutting down of the workforce does not lead to any loss in production or efficiency, on the contrary, it leads to much better performance through better productivity. It makes the plant safer too.

The High Performance HMI is becoming the order of the day for production units  getting wedded to Industry 4.0. ”A ‘historian’, is a software service within the HMI which accumulates time-stamped data,events and alarms in a database which can be queried / used to populate graphic trends in the HMI.” With Machine Learning / AI getting inbuilt into these systems, the on site specific process based learning is put into practice automatically.

HMI IMPROVING THE PROCESS ON ITS OWN IS A GAINT LEAP IN INDUSTRIAL CONTROL SYSTEMS.

Sanjay Sahay

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