Getting To Know HMI

This article is a basic introduction to HMI.

HMI simply means Human- Machine Interface. It was previously known as the MMI or Man-Machine-Interface. HMI is simply an apparatus or a device which allows operators(humans) to interact with the machine. This is done through graphical interfaces like GUIs or Graphical User Interfaces or through control panels. HMI allows operators to have an overview with a certain system or process and enables operator to monitor it and even control the system.

What is SCADA and what is its difference with HMI?

Usually, SCADA and HMI are often confused about because they have similarities but actually,
they’re not the same. HMI and SCADA both play important role when it comes to process control. Both are typically control systems that are used in a process. The only difference is that SCADA or Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition generally refers to the entire monitory system that includes HMIs, PLCs (Programmable Logic Controllers), RTUs, (Remote Terminal Units), computer system and all the recording process while HMI or Human-Machine-Interface or used to be called Man-Machine-Interface is only a subset of SCADA. Furthermore, HMIs are terminal controls for monitoring and operating a process. It also allows operators to interact in the process usually through graphical display of a system or a process or control buttons.

Advantages of HMI
  • It features easy communication as it allows interfacing through PLC, serial and parallel ports, Ethernet, Remote I/O, Data highway plus and many more.
  • It displays real time or actual measurement of all related elements in a system that includes pressure, temperature, pH, mass, level, etc.
  • It is convenient and less costly because it replaces panels and hundreds of push buttons. Also, most HMIs are touch screens which work efficiently.
  • Another best feature is it provides safety because of its alarms or warning capabilities. It can track disorders in the process.
  • It offers easy simulation and operators can easily simulate or monitor the system in the comfort of their swivel chairs in offices.

Disadvantages of HMI
  • It is expensive in a sense that a certain company tend to spend for more expensive licensed contract with supplier.
  • There are drawbacks when it comes to compatibilities and integrating changes or new features. It has limitations when it comes to adapting with new or general applications.
  • Another one is that HMI is more focused on one particular machine.
How important is HMI in a system?

HMI or human-machine-interface plays an important role in monitoring the production process. In both milk and coffee production, HMI enables operators to interact with the process flow of the production. Every unit of measurement needed to be fixed in a production are made easier with HMI as it show every measurements an operator needs to know about. Aside from that, in cases when there are certain disorders like incorrect level or pressure, HMI automatically displays warnings that help operators determine the fault in the system.


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