What There is to Know About the PLCs and HMIs of Industrial Automation


Get familiar with these two key components of automated systems


These are quite exciting times we find ourselves in. There’s a new wave of technological development driven by industrial automation that strives to create more optimized and efficient processes across a wide range of industries.

Two technologies that are leading this technological revolution in conjunction with SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) industrial software systems are PLCs (Programmable Logic Controllers) and HMIs (Human Machine Interfaces), which we’ll be exploring in this article.

To begin with the basics: PLCs monitor the performance of a machine, thus making managing processes more efficient. HMIs, on the other hand, work as a communication tool between the system and the operator or manager.

Breaking Down PLCs

PLCs monitor and collect information from sensors or other process devices. They take this raw data, analyze it and sends it to the SCADA host system to produce actionable information via the HMI. PLCs are highly flexible and capable of automating specific machine functions and processes, or even complete production lines.

Industries that utilize PLCs include manufacturing, processing industries (oil, gas, chemical, etc.), building industries (elevators, cooling towers, pumps, water fountains), municipalities (waste and water, power, traffic lights), transportation (ships, trains, air), and others (heavy equipment, car compactor, car washes, amusement rides).

Breaking Down HMIs

Sometimes referred to as a Man-Machine Interface (MMI), the HMI essentially works as an interaction or communication platform between the system and the user operating the machines, to allow for better insight and control over processes.

The information displayed by HMI systems should be simple, clear and easy to understand for the manager or operator to allow for more efficient process control. When it comes to HMI visualization, there are a few key components at work to ensure the correct actions are carried out by the user.

HMI visualization identifies actionable information, where there needs to be changes in operations — and in order to make this as apparent as possible, especially in the case of a potential threat, various attention-grabbing alerts may arise using sounds, colours or flashing imagery. HMI visualization also ensures any data displayed is accurate and precise, so that it can be promptly interpreted and understood by the user.

With the complexities of today’s systems and processes, HMI display functions must be strategically designed to communicate in the most accurate, efficient and effective way possible; enabling the user to clearly understand the events at hand and take the appropriate actions to avoid any potential disruptions or threats to operations.

A smarter, safer and more flexible way to operate

The application of SCADA along with HMI and PLC systems is revolutionizing the way manufacturers of multiple industries operate and manage processes today. Will you be optimizing and bettering your processes with these technologies?

At T&T Power Group, our certified SCADA engineers work with our clients to develop custom systems capable of operating in any manufacturing environment.

Contact T&T Power Group today to learn more about integrating SCADA systems including PLCs and HMIs into your manufacturing processes.

 

 

Posted by Reuben Siebenga | Feb 3, 2020 | Categories: Automation & Controls