What Is A Human-Machine Interface ?

Human–machine interface (HMI) software is a computer-based graphical user interface (GUI) that enables operators to manage industrial and process control machinery. As a rule, the information in the HMI is displayed in a graphical form. The HMI systems use various icons, sounds, pictures, and colors to illustrate machinery’s current status and operating conditions. 

There are two basic types of HMI software: supervisory level and machine level. The supervisory level is designed for control room environment and used for system control and data acquisition (SCADA), a process control application which collects data from sensors on the shop floor and sends the information to a central computer for processing. 

The machine level uses embedded, machine-level devices within the production facility itself. Most human–machine interface software is designed for either supervisory level or machine level; however, applications that are suitable for both types of HMI are also available. These software applications are more expensive but can eliminate redundancies and reduce long-term costs.

Apart from allowing to monitor the state of the processes in industrial environments, the HMI software also provides the ability to modify the control settings, change operating parameters of the machine and modify the process sequences in case of emergencies. It can also depict the history data and reports to the authorized operators, managers, administrators, etc. 

Since the human-machine interface systems are mostly used in industrial settings, they have to withstand such environments. Therefore, they are usually designed to resist water, dust, moisture, extremely high or low temperatures, and even dangerous chemicals.

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