Human Machine Interface (HMI) machines are wonderful tools that help power countless plants and processes around the world each day. HMIs have been in use in some form or another for generations. Although each and every HMI represents a fantastic piece of engineering achievement, it’s true not all HMIs are made equal. The difference between HMIs using touch screens versus those that do not can be substantial, and every business should understand the difference.
For analog HMI machines that operate without any digital component, users are reliant upon the limited information that can be conveyed from various lights or buttons. These HMIs cannot display the depth of info such as on screen graphs with previous flow, pressure or level trends like a HMI with touch screen can. Users are also reliant upon the hope such components continue to operate properly, and are not damaged and perhaps displaying inaccurate info!
Digital HMIs create no such issues in this area with their ability to provide digital data that is current and certain. They can also even serve as a full datalogger, outputting data via CSV files to a USB stick or other portable storage device.
While a digital HMIs will always be able to convey more information than a non-digital HMI, any HMI without a touchscreen can still be missing out on certain advantages a touch screen model has. HMIs without a touch screen will typically be used with a standalone computer setup. This can be OK, but also very cumbersome, especially for those without strong computer skills. By contrast, a HMI with a touch screen is intuitive to use just like a touch screen found in a regular tablet or smartphone. It is also ideal for HMIs that’ll be installed in areas with little space, where accommodating a separate computer would be very difficult at best, and impossible at worst.
It’s no secret some HMI machines can be confronting to interact with. This can be the case for new and experienced users. But HMIs with touch screens have an easy-to-read interface. This means attending to tasks like adjusting a pump mode isn’t a challenging process, but instead will just require a few presses of different on-screen buttons to make the adjustment in mind.
Another key advantage of using HMIs with touch screens is the security factor. Operators can create settings akin to a ‘master key’ via use of the supervisor and administrator logins. These settings ensure only authorised users (and others they may authorise) are able to operate the HMI. As well as enhancing the security of a plant or process, this setup also helps negate the risk of any mistake or accident, as only those with authorisation and expertise maintain regular access to the HMI.
Acquiring HMIs with touch screens can offer a terrific solution for businesses currently seeking more capability from their HMIs. Touch screens help make a HMI more informative. Touch screens can make a HMI more user-friendly given the ease of interacting with one. They can also enhance the security of a HMI too. That’s why there’s never been a better time for a business looking to upgrade their output to acquire HMIs with touch screens.