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Six Ways to Activate Digital Transformation Through New HMI Technologies


Designers need HMI tools that help them quickly create solutions and offer ways for operators to visualize data from the plant floor while making the information available throughout the entire enterprise. In this article, we will explore six ways in which visualization software and HMI technology are assisting digital transformation and revitalizing operations through an open, flexible solution.

Enabling Digital Transformation

Technological advancements have played a major role in the evolution of HMIs. They have resulted in more user-friendly experiences with touch-based interfaces and improved access to data. One of the latest developments in the integration of HMIs with automation and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIOT). This integration allows for greater machine-to-machine communication, remote monitoring and overall control.

The future of HMI will see a seamless integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML). Smart devices and applications will anticipate user needs, adapt to preferences, and improve the user experience based on data analysis. With the growth of IIOT, HMIs will be instrumental in managing and controlling interconnected devices, providing a unified and cohesive user experience.

Empowering the Future

Technology and automation are driving the next generation of manufacturing. The ability to use data for real-time decision-making starts with visualization built on interoperability and openness, which allows your operators to get right to work with an HMI automatically presented in their preferred language, regional settings, date and time format and style. Cloud-based visualization platforms, like FactoryTalk® Optix™ by Rockwell Automation®, are a new approach to HMI. Many features make the design process easier and more collaborative while offering unmatched flexibility to tailor applications to meet operator needs. As HMIs continue to evolve, the barriers between humans and machines will continue to shrink, leading us towards a more connected, empowered future.

Comprehensive Design Environment

A lack of visibility can lead to difficulties in tracking progress, identifying the parties making the changes and understanding the reasoning behind those changes. Modern HMI software tools offer comprehensive project visibility within a collaborative design environment, connecting designers with timely, pertinent information necessary for quick and informed decision-making. HMI’s integration with web-based tools empowers teams to design and deploy applications remotely and implement changes or updates seamlessly within the production environment.

Benefiting from Centralized Repository Integration

HMI design tools can seamlessly integrate into the centralized repository, allowing multiple users to make and merge changes. This integration also helps identify and resolve potential duplication. Centralized integration allows teams to easily identify who made changes and access different versions of individual components as well as the entire application, right within the design tool. This empowers Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) to engage with customers, facilitate application building, share ideas, exchange code snippets, troubleshoot solutions and evaluate objects and demo applications through a shared, centralized repository.

Another advantage of integrated HMI design tools is the creation of reusable code libraries stored within the centralized code repository. The proven performance in the field makes these code modules a valuable resource for designers, allowing them to drag-and-drop them into their code blocks and build the application’s features around them.

Enabling Operators

Remote access tools for maintenance play a pivotal role in empowering operators. They allow the timely flagging of issues and the notification of maintenance engineers. Depending on the complexity, the problem may be resolved through a built-in chat tool, as provided by FactoryTalk® Remote Access™ from Rockwell Automation, with the operator describing the issue while maintenance offers potential solutions. Some issues may require escalation and with remote access in HMI tools, maintenance engineers can view the operator’s screen. This collaboration enables them to make necessary changes remotely. Any maintenance-related changes to a running application are saved in the cloud repository, ensuring the application runs the most up-to-date version.

All-in-One Solution

Across many industries, people are looking for a complete end-to-end HMI solution with a software platform, hardware options and remote access solution that will solve all their daily problems. They are often searching for an all-in-one tool that they can develop a custom HMI solution that will cover all their company’s specific issues. A single, end-to-end solution, like FactoryTalk® Optix™ from Rockwell Automation, offers distinct advantages.

Benefits of an end-to-end solution include:

  • Complete visibility from start to finish on a single project
  • Lower costs by using only one vendor
  • Consistent reliability with software and hardware products designed to work together
  • Increased flexibility and scalability
  • Improved data insights
  • Better customer experiences

Achieve Your HMI Vision Today

A truly modern HMI goes well beyond just connecting operators to data from plant floor control systems. It connects people to data — and people to people — throughout the enterprise. Progress is never-ending and to stay relevant, we must adapt and embrace the latest innovations. Organizations are harnessing technology to further drive their innovation, streamline operations and boost business agility. Manufacturers like Rockwell Automation® are leading the way in providing businesses with end-to-end solutions that empower them with innovation and agility. Their newest addition, the FactoryTalk® Optix™ portfolio, provides an open, scalable HMI visualization platform with options. For more on this latest offering, visit the website.

The article is written in Partnership with Rockwell Automation