April 11th, 2013 by
By Andy The
The Industrial machines of yesteryear had pretty archaic user interfaces. Older automated machines typically have screens with crude graphics and physical buttons for user interaction. This simplistic interface makes for difficult learning curves and very limited flexibility with the UI.
Today’s automated machines take after the mobile space with sophisticated graphics and touch based HMIs. Having a touch based HMI allows the interface to be reprogrammed to accommodate different users and environments. Users are demanding these feature rich interfaces not only for flexibility but also for functionality as machine data is easier to see and manipulate with a powerful HMI. The demand is so great for powerful touch based interfaces that there are initiatives to use mobile tablets as a portable HMIs for automated machines.
At the center of these sophisticated HMIs is the general purpose operating system. Of all these operating systems, Microsoft Windows possesses the most support for complex HMI development. The availability of these powerful development tools combined with the new releases of Windows 8 and Windows RT creates a powerful development and deployment platform for complex automated machines. Users can develop powerful HMIs with ease while having the option of deploying on x86 or ARM based platforms.
First it was networking now it is touch based HMIs, more and more Industrial Automation is adopting the advances from the consumer space. I am sure it won’t be long before you will be able to purchase a new HMI via an online app store.