What is a Human Machine Interface?

Electronic machines, systems, and devices have become commonplace in our modern society, allowing us to interact with each other and the wider world with ease as various tools and resources are readily available at our fingertips. While advanced systems have heavily permeated our daily lives, they require the ability for a person to interact with them to be useful. Human-Machine Interfaces (HMI) are interfaces or dashboards present on a system, allowing for an individual to interact with them. Despite accounting for any type of screen that permits interaction, the term “HMI” is most commonly attributed to industrial processes specifically.

There are many names that HMIs go by, and they may be used for varying functions. For example, HMIs in industrial applications may serve to display data in a visual format, track various parameters, oversee KPIs, monitor the input and output values of systems, and much more. An example of an industrial HMI is an interface that allows an operator to monitor the operating temperature of an industrial water tank, allowing them to maintain safe or desired parameters with ease.

Across the world, HMIs find use in countless industrial organizations and applications, allowing for processes to be optimized with increased control and interaction. In general, HMIs find implementation within energy, food and beverage, manufacturing, oil and gas, power, recycling, transportation, water, and wastewater industries alike. Within such industries, personnel like operators, system integrators, and engineers will have close ties to HMIs, utilizing them to visualize data, remedy issues, and generally monitor operations.

For their standard functionality, Human Interface Machines establish communication with Programmable Logic Controllers (PLC) and input/output sensors for the means of procuring and displaying data. While some HMI panels are only used to display statuses with indicator lights and data tracking, others may permit control over machines with speed and power settings. Nevertheless, HMI panels permit an operator to utilize charts, alarms, graphs, and other information on a single console.

HMIs are often confused with Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems due to their relation in serving industrial control systems. Despite this, they serve different functions which should be understood before purchasing such devices. While HMIs take advantage of data and monitoring to convey information to an operator, SCADA systems have an increased ability for data collection and control-system operation. HMIs are also unable to collect and record information, instead serving as a communication tool that either is a part of a SCADA system or functions alongside one.

While Human Machine Interfaces have greatly changed how industrial processes are carried out, they are still being constantly improved to increase their capabilities. For example, HMIs have seen major overhauls over the years, technology such as touch screens, mobile interfaces, and high-performance models becoming more widespread. Depending on whether you are interested in traditional displays, remote monitoring, cloud-based capabilities, or other features, there are many options that one may take advantage of. At Parts Circuit, we are your sourcing solution for all the HMI parts and components you require to carry out your operations with peak efficiency.

Parts Circuit is a premier purchasing platform belonging to the ASAP Semiconductor family of websites, and we are your strategic sourcing partner with over 2 billion items readily available for purchase from our website at any time. As you explore our website, take advantage of our user-friendly search engine and filters to narrow down results with ease. Once you locate the parts you wish to purchase, submit a completed RFQ form as provided on our website, and a dedicated account manager will reach out to you within 15 minutes to provide a customized quote based on your entered information. See why customers continue to rely on Parts Circuit for all their operational needs when you source items from us today!


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