What is Human Machine Interface ?

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The Human Machine Interface (HMI) is the primary tool by which operators and line supervisors coordinate and control the industrial and manufacturing processes in the plant.

A Human-Machine Interface (HMI) is a user interface or dashboard that connects a person to a machine, system, or device. While the term can technically be applied to any screen that allows a user to interact with a device, HMI is most commonly used in the context of an industrial process.

Although HMI is the most common term for this technology, it is sometimes referred to as Man- Machine Interface (MMI), Operator Interface Terminal (OIT), Local Operator Interface (LOI), or Operator Terminal (OT). HMI and Graphical User Interface (GUI) are similar but not synonymous: GUIs are often leveraged within HMIs for visualization capabilities.

HMIs come in a variety of forms, from built-in screens on machines, to computer monitors, to tablets, but regardless of their format or which term you use to refer to them, their purpose is to provide insight into mechanical performance and progress.

Human Machine Interface
Human Machine Interface

What Is an HMI system?

The Human Machine Interface (HMI) is the interface between the process and the operators – in essence an operator’s dashboard. This is the primary tool by which operators and line supervisors coordinate and control the industrial and manufacturing processes in the plant. HMIs serve to translate complex process variables into usable and actionable information.

Displaying near real-time operational information is the domain of the HMI. Visual process graphics give meaning and context to motor and valve status, tank levels and other process parameters. HMIs give operational insight into the process and enable control and optimization by regulating production and process targets.

Who Uses HMI?

HMI technology is used by almost all industrial organizations, as well as a wide range of other
companies, to interact with their machines and optimize their industrial processes.
Industries using HMI include:

  • Energy
  • Food and beverage
  • Manufacturing
  • Oil and gas
  • Power
  • Recycling
  • Transportation
  • Water and waste water
  • And many more

The most common roles that interact with HMIs are operators, system integrators, and engineers, particularly control system engineers. HMIs are essential resources for these professionals, who use them to review and monitor processes, diagnose problems, and visualize data.

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