4 ways in which today's HMIs are better than ever: Part 1

Today's HMIs promise unprecedented ease of use and improved access to critical data and controls.

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Tim Stone, an engineer turned product manager at Advantech Corp., remembers the days when a human-machine interface (HMI) meant an “ugly LCD screen and push buttons and all that stuff.” “To be frank about it,” he says, “it wasn’t all that functional, but it served a purpose, which was, ‘I’m going to get to the next level of controlling a manufacturing process by having something that I can look at and respond to.’ ” Fast-forward a few decades, and users can control industrial processes ranging from machine operation to parts purchasing from virtually anywhere in a facility in much the same way they’d interact with their personal tablet computer. The…

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