As technology advances over time, the functions and performance of Human-Machine Interface (HMI) systems continue to improve. As organizations continue on their automation journey in the industrial space, HMIs play an important role in securely and accurately controlling a plant and equipment’s operations and providing HMI monitoring.
An Overview of Human-Machine Interfaces
Organizations began using graphical interfaces in the early 20th century to communicate and interact with a facility’s equipment. With improvements in technology, the industry saw the rollout of HMI platforms with more visual command capabilities starting in the late 1980s. And fast forward to today, HMI systems allow for easier operation of equipment through intuitive and visual screens.
What is an HMI platform?
To put it simply, HMIs are a tool for human-machine interaction. In a broad sense, it refers to the screens that visualize and show signals sent by machines in a form that can be understood by humans. At industrial sites such as power plants or manufacturing plants, an HMI is a screen used to monitor a plant’s status or specific data values.
HMIs are systems commonly used with a DCS (Distributed Control System) or PLC (Programmable Logic Controller) to virtually monitor and control operations. The interface communicates with the DCS, PLC, or SCADA platform to send and receive commands. The HMI then displays the feedback data in an accessible and visual format that can be easily controlled. With an HMI platform, it is possible to see a plant’s status in real-time, control processes through the HMI screen, and operate the facility more safely.
Why replace an HMI platform?
Equipment and systems operate with different lifespans and various lengths of time during which they operate normally. The same goes for control systems such as DCS and HMI platforms with DCSs having a longer lifespan than HMIs. As a result, organizations will need to replace the DCS and HMI systems at different times.
When it is time to replace the HMI, what you should look for in an HMI solution?
Your main focus when selecting an HMI should be accurate and secure process control. The solution should offer a control panel window or main dashboard that is easy to use. The platform should be able to provide accurate feedback in a timely manner. And the addition of a control history search is helpful for postmortems and troubleshooting.
HMIs need to manage alarms easily so operators can handle them efficiently. A high-speed HMI is able to centralize multi-site alarms and process up to 5,000 alarms per second. The interface should also be able to display grouping information as well as display alarms with different colors according to priority.
A functional HMI allows you to manage all your facility’s operations from a single location. It provides you with an intuitive process screen display that allows users to easily navigate through systems and sub-systems through a visual graphic design. Be sure to implement a solution that follows your plant’s regulations and fits into your existing environment well.
HMIs should offer built-in automatic report generation capabilities. Any helpful HMI needs to be able to provide custom and various types of reports to share throughout an organization. In addition, an effective HMI even offers past process flow regeneration functions as well.
Data Analysis and Graphic Tools
Be sure to look for an HMI solution that offers real-time and historical trends, so you can analyze both past and present operations. Beyond trends in a dot or line chart format, look for HMIs with additional analysis tools for equipment status diagnoses and accident cause analysis information. Examples include SOE (Sequence of Event) to sort and display events chronologically and SSO (System Status Overview) inputs.
Efficient RTDB (Real-Time Database)
Be on the lookout for an HMI system with fast data processing and synchronization power. A TSDB engine based on a NoSQL interface is easily able to provide you with intuitive control feedback. To maximize your time, operations, and value, select an HMI that supports up to 120,000 tags and can process at least 5,000 events per second in real time.
*NoSQL: As a non-relational database management system for big data processing, it has the strength and flexibility to process large-scale data.
*TSDB (Time-Series Database): A database that can store and query the collected data in chronological order.
*RTDB (Real-Time Database): A database optimized to collect, process, and store data in real-time.
HanHMI: High-Performance Control Solution for Control and Monitoring
Now meet HanHMI, an upgraded high-performance facility HMI control and HMI monitoring solution. The intuitive interface visualizes plant data in a form that allows users to focus on areas of priority and criticality. It is a HMI control solution equipped with high-performing functions to support safe and efficient control of industrial sites.
As an in-house developed HMI, the HanAra team works with individual customers to tailor the control and HMI monitoring systems to fit their operations and requirements. At HanAra, we provide solutions optimized for all of our customer varying environments.
Interested in learning more about our Human-Machine Interface solution, HanHMI, for improved HMI monitoring? Reach out to us today and we can start reliably and securely controlling and monitoring your operations.