Human Machine Interface

The ABCs of HMIs

Understanding the problems associated with HMIs and learning how to fix them.

By Nancy Bartels

Problems abound in most human-machine interface (HMIs) designs in use today, many of which are the result of powerful software that made it perhaps too easy to create overly complex graphics that don't connect with the operator as effectively as they might.

John Krajewski, director of product management, HMI/supervisory, for Invensys' Wonderware brand, began his presentation on how to improve operator situational awareness by outlining more of the problems typical of today's HMIs: alarm strategies that are poorly defined and managed; screens based on piping and instrumentation diagrams (P&IDs) that don't support troubleshooting of upset conditions; screens that convey little awareness of how well the process is running and little warning if the process happens to be drifting toward a disruptive alarm.

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