HMI Platforms for Machine Builders
Machine builders and OEMs are increasingly turning to robust HMI (Human Machine Interface) platforms for their machines, in order to offer more value to customers. The need for intuitive HMIs on machines has created a huge market incentive to ship machines with an HMI platform that is easy to use, capable of communicating and integrating with other hardware and software systems, easily customized, and secure. These powerful HMI platforms for OEMs and machine builders also make it possible to standardize HMI applications across product lines, or even across an entire plant.
InduSoft has been helping OEMs and machine builders meet the needs of their customers, with InduSoft Web Studio, InduSoft EmbeddedView, and InduSoft CEView.
Connecting Humans and Machines
The most important feature of an HMI is the ability to help machine operators interact directly with the machines they use. This interaction requires robust, intuitive interfaces that give operators the information they need in a way that can be understood quickly. This interface should also provide the operator with ways to carry out commands, such as starting or stopping a process, acknowledging alarms, or manually adjusting settings on the machine through the HMI.
As industry embraces new technology, this interaction will increasingly be accessible through touch or voice activated interfaces, or even on mobile interfaces that are shared to a portable device via a thin client. Operators may require the capability to monitor or manage their machines without even being physically at the machine.
InduSoft Web Studio is a powerful HMI platform capable of allowing machine builders to offer machines with intuitive operator interfaces, with the capability to share information to mobile devices, or even maintenance staff off-site.
Many machine builders and OEMs have developed template applications with InduSoft Web Studio that allow them to quickly develop HMIs for their machines, and individualize them for customer requirements. InduSoft Web Studio makes it easy to develop an application, and then change color schemes and logos globally within the application. This makes it easy for machine builders to offer powerful HMI solutions that can be easily configured for each customer. The ability to make HMIs consistent across a product line will also familiarize operators with the HMI and reduce the learning curve in using them effectively.
In addition, InduSoft Web Studio offers many opportunities to customize displays for customers, by creating applications that include digital I/O displays, motion capture and voice interfaces for hands-free operation, and menu navigation systems.
Flexibility to Grow
Because technology is not static, customers demand machines that will not leave them stuck with outdated or obsolete software, even when the machine itself is still functioning. To avoid tying machine builders to one operating system or HMI software version, InduSoft developed InduSoft Web Studio with 100% backward compatibility in mind, as well as an open architecture that will allow OEMs to develop applications for their machines with the certainty that their interfaces will not become obsolete if they choose to update to a newer version of InduSoft Web Studio, or develop the application for a newer version of Windows.
Machine builders may also want the capability to change or update machine components over time. For this reason, InduSoft Web Studio offers over 240 native drivers to every major manufacturer of PLC and controller, allowing machine builders to upgrade machines for their customers should they choose to use a new PLC, or components using multiple protocols within the same machine.
OEM customers demand machines that are able to communicate with the software and systems they already have in place. They expect machines to integrate with an ERP, MES, or communicate back and forth from PLCs or an SQL database. InduSoft Web Studio also integrated easily with PLCs for servo motors, stepper motors, Pick and Place PLCs, and more.
To ensure that machine HMIs offer this easy integration to OEM customers, InduSoft has developed HMI software based on open architecture that adheres to multiple standards for communication with other systems. In addition to patented SQL database connectivity, InduSoft Web Studio also offers over 240 native drivers for PLCs, as well as compatibility with OPC protocols. InduSoft EmbeddedView and InduSoft CEView can be deployed on small panel PCs, or applications with a larger footprint can be deployed on machines or mobile HMIs via a secure thin client.
Maintenance as a Service
Machine builders are increasingly offering support beyond the sales of their machines. There is a growing trend in machine support and maintenance, thanks to the possibilities opened up by cloud computing and connectivity capabilities in HMI software. InduSoft Web Studio makes it incredibly easy to develop connected, smart HMIs that can give OEMs and machine builders remote access and monitoring capabilities for machines, allowing them to offer preventative maintenance, quick troubleshooting tips, or the ability to access machines and screens remotely.