Operator interfaces—also referred to human machine interfaces (HMIs) or man machine interfaces (MMIs)—allow users to interact with equipment and processes by choosing commands or reviewing data. Well-designed interface systems reduce the risk of user error and make interfacing more efficient. They find use throughout industry in applications ranging from self-serve restaurant kiosks to system controls in manufacturing facilities and hospitals.
The operator interface panel—the physical component that allows for interaction between the human operator and the machine—is a critical component of any operator interface system. It enables human operators to input information that the machine can respond to, allowing for communication between the two. The panels can take the form of touchscreens, screens with buttons, or general-use mobile devices with a specific app that enables interfacing.
Operator Interfaces — Panel-Based
For panel-based operator interfaces, some of the factors that shape the interaction between users and the equipment include:
- Control functionality. Facilities need a scalable solution that offers flexible control. At Turner Integrated Systems, we provide scalable control solutions that your administrator can easily modify, monitor, and build on.
- Custom design and technical operating units. Niche industrial equipment often needs customized control panels. Instead of defaulting to general use screens and devices, we can create custom hardware and devices that best fit the user environment, including devices with buttons, fully enclosed panels, and panels with buttons, physical controls, and touch screens.
- Terminal functionality. Panels should be able to meet all the demands of the facility and easily integrate into the existing infrastructure.
- Touch screens. Touch screens are becoming more widespread in industrial and commercial environments. We can customize the touch screens, exterior protections, and software to fit your facility’s needs best.
Operator Interfaces — HMI
HMI systems focus on collecting data about the equipment or process and allowing the users to access the information on-site (through a physical interface) or remotely in the field. When integrated with standard operator interface systems, they allow for increased control and better visibility of the facility’s equipment and work processes.
Using a single HMI operator interface to control multiple machines or systems increases productivity. Our team at Turner Integrated Systems can create or modify software architectures to fit on one platform, device, or control network, allowing for more flexibility and control from a single device without limiting the extent of a user’s ability to control disparate systems.
HMI operator interfaces that comply with the high-performance HMI standards set forth by the International Society of Automation (ISA) serve as more practical and affordable control solutions. The standards ensure that operators have the tools, graphics, and analytics options to easily navigate and control systems.
Operator Interfaces — Text Message Systems and Graphical Systems
Operator interfaces work best when they allow for two-way communication, such as in text message systems or graphical systems.
Text message systems allow for immediate notification of abnormal conditions or equipment failure to be sent to operators. Additionally, operators can remotely communicate with the system to acknowledge or resolve the issue.
Graphical systems also enhance communication. By using screens similar to those used in computers or mobile devices, they display pictures, process updates, and diagrams. Multiple screens can also work together to display more complex graphical information. The integration of keypads and screen push buttons further enables quick, seamless two-way communication.
Contact Turner Integrated Systems for Custom Operator Interface Design
At Turner Integrated Systems, we excel at creating custom operator interface solutions for control applications across a wide range of industries. We offer comprehensive operator interface design capabilities, as well as engineering and turnkey system integration services.
Our team is familiar with the following platforms:
- Allen-Bradley – Factory Talk View, PanelView
- Induction Automation – Ignition
- Red Lion
- Trihedral – VT Scada
Contact our team to learn more about our customization capabilities and how we can help outfit your facility with the right interface systems for your control applications.