Friday, September 13, 2013

The Problems with today's HMIs and How to Fix Them

An article featured in Control Magazine covering issues with today's HMIs as well as some proposed solutions.
“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.
Image credit: Develco
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.
  • Increasingly complex HMI screens are confusing, uninformative and contribute to human error.
  • And human error in turn is responsible for 35% to 58% of process disturbances—those events that cause plant operations to deviate from their normal operational state, wasting energy and raw materials in the process.
A well-designed set of screens contains the following elements, Krajewski explained:
  • It is goal-oriented.
  • It uses a hierarchical information organization.
  • It uses color properly.
  • It creates actionable alarm awareness.
  • It uses effective design elements.”

To read the whole article, click here for  the Control  link.
For more information on HMI check out the The Wonderare HMI/SCADA Times at http://situation-awareness.com/.