We all have come across a human-machine interface (HMI) in some way or another. On a day-to-day basis, we use it to send messages and watch videos (smartphones and tablets), formulate documents and drawings (laptop computers) and find our way through navigation (GPS systems). HMI is even appearing in household devices like coffee makers, large appliances, and other consumer goods.
In the era of industrial automation, applying HMI to regulate and monitor machines, processes and even smart buildings has been a standard practice for many years. These industrial HMIs, sometimes referred to as operator interface terminals (OITs), are good in performing functions that regularly require massive effort in terms of development, deployment, and maintenance. They also include heavy expenditure for software and licensing.
Closely linked to HMIs are Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems. SCADA systems, in general, cover a much wider physical area, such as remote control of multiple pumping stations through a central facility, while HMIs are usually linked closely to the processes for which they offer visualization. SCADA systems offer a wider reach for facilitating control and monitoring, and usually offer database capabilities for logging data points and facilitating analysis. But like HMIs, they are usually proprietary and costly to support over time.
Today, automation engineers are reaping the benefits of “smart” systems, including Industrial Internet of Things (IoT) devices. These devices have lots of insightful data to offer and frequently need monitoring and they are sometimes used as inputs to real-time control systems. But the traditional methods of connecting these remote devices through standard industrial systems are difficult and costly.
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However, the next generation of HMI software and SCADA innovation-driven hardware and software confronts these and other challenges. By implementing the latest commercial and open-source technologies, these products enable users to focus on linking with smart systems, getting data, transforming it into actionable information, and visualising it when and where we want. The future generation of Human Machine Interface and Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition will benefit us in the following ways:
- Device Maintenance – Alarms and warnings
- Easier Management – High-quality interface and communication
- Simulations – Easy testing of devices and appliances
- Reduced costs – Negates the need for outdated and heavy machinery
#SchneiderElectric is one of the largest global players in this field, having established itself as a leading provider in the domains of energy distribution and power management ensuring that #LifeIsOn.
Related Article: 4 Key Differences Between SCADA and Industrial IoT