Monday, June 22, 2015

Benefits of Including an Embedded HMI

In many machines, the standard way to access and communicate with a machine revolves around either an isolated, single-purpose interface with limited functionality, or a more robust, but less convenient PC-based SCADA system that not only required an industrial PC, but a separate monitor to interface with it.
As connectivity becomes easier and cheaper, and as embedded operating systems have grown robust enough to support small-footprint HMI software such as Wonderware InTouch Machine Edition, it’s possible to have the benefits of a PC-based HMI with advanced monitoring and control capabilities directly on a machine.
This has proven hugely beneficial to machine builders who want to offer a complete package to customers without requiring the additional setup and integration of a separate system.
There are multiple benefits to employing an embedded HMI on a machine, including:
Multi-touch displays that mimic the user experience of consumer electronics – Embedded operating systems, combined with more powerful hardware, have enabled HMI software platforms to make full use of the capabilities offered by touch-screen technology.  Now, operators can take advantage of HMIs that operate much as their smartphones and other mobile devices to, using the same swipe, pinch, and touch gestures that are part of the way they interface with their own devices.
The ability to quickly customize applications for different machines – An HMI platform like Wonderware InTouch Machine Edition makes it possible to develop template applications, and then rapidly customize them for deployment on different machines. That means machine builders can offer customized functionality for customers, or operators can deploy customized versions of the same HMI to different machines across an entire production line.
Connected embedded systems and mobile access to HMIs  – Connected embedded HMIs are a part of what constitutes an Intelligent system. With an embedded HMI that is connected to a network, it’s possible to easily link one machine to another in a larger SCADA system, or employ Wonderware InTouch Machine Edition's HTML5 capabilities to render HMI screens and widgets on a smartphone or tablet, for easy access wherever an operator happens to be.
Lower cost and energy use than PC-based HMIs – Embedded HMIs consume less energy than a separate PC, and generally cost much less in terms of hardware investment, development time, learning curve for operators, and software cost.
Smaller, and easier to deploy in industrial environments – Embedded HMIs are easier to ruggedize, making them an ideal situation for industrial environments. They are also occupy less space than a traditional PC-based HMI.