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What is a human machine interface (and how to choose the best HMI solution)

Do you want to invest in a high-quality human-machine interface (HMI) but are unsure where to begin? If so, you’re in the right place. Picking the right HMI can be tricky, but with just a few simple steps, you can make the right choice for the company.

What is a human machine interface (HMI)?

An HMI is an interface people use to bridge the gap between humans and machines. Basically, it allows users to communicate directly with machinery. For example, a worker might use an HMI touchscreen to tell an access control door to open. Or, they might use one to change the temperature, control industrial machinery, track production, or scan for errors.

It’s particularly important that HMIs are user-friendly, as these interfaces are a way for humans to communicate with machines in an intuitive way.

Who uses human-machine interfaces?

Many industries and businesses use HMI to instruct machinery, as it’s a simple and effective method for doing so! It’s particularly popular in industrial settings. Here are some of the industries that make the most of this user-friendly tech:

  • Manufacturing
  • Transportation
  • Healthcare
  • Food Processing
  • Mining
  • Oil and Gas

How to choose the best HMI aolution

So, you’re probably wondering how you choose the best HMI solution. Your goal is to pick one that’s fit for purpose for your specific needs while also providing user-friendliness. Ask yourself these questions to ensure that.

1. What type of HMI do you need?

First, you must consider what type of HMI you will need, as there is more than just one out there! These include pushbutton replacer HMIs, overseer HMIs, GUIs, web-based HMIs, and more. The type you’ll need depends on what it will be used for. You can see a range of HMIs and the industrial PCs that use them at, which can help you decide which one you’ll need, as you’ll be able to see all the different specs. Once you know the broad type of HMI you need, you can hone in on other requirements.

2. What environment will the HMI be in?

If the HMI is going to be set up in an industrial environment with harsh conditions, that needs to be considered. For example, if exposed to vibrations, moisture, particles, and extreme temperature changes, you will need a rugged panel to withstand that.

3. Is the HMI compatible?

The HMI will need to work seamlessly with your current machinery, hardware, and software, ensuring that it can be used to take control.

4: How user friendly is the HMI?

The key to a good HMI is user-friendliness. It should be intuitive, allowing workers to control more complex machinery without hassle. That lessens employee training time while ensuring minimal human error.

5: How customisable is the HMI?

Lastly, when browsing for human-machine interfaces, ask yourself: how customizable is it? Ideally, you want a highly customizable HMI that you can adapt to meet your specific purposes. Its adaptability should also extend to scalability, meaning the HMI should be able to handle more complex tasks if necessary.