HMI systems: Study shows touchscreens are most popular input device

10/17/2006


Natick, MA —Touchscreens were the dominant input device on operator interface terminals shipped to North America in 2005, a recent market report by Venture Development Corp. shows. The study, “The North American Markets for Industrial Electronic Monitors, Operator Interface Terminals, and Associated Software—Sixth Edition,” indicates 62.5% of the industrial electronic operator interface terminals shipped to North American in 2005 were equipped with touchscreens, and that the share will likely increase further through 2010. The 2005 market for terminals totaled $612.5 million.

“Touchscreens have displaced other input devices used on operator interface terminals in recent years,” said VCD analyst Jake Millette. “Input devices have evolved from single switches to keypads or keyboards and now touchscreens.” Keypads are still widely used today, adds Millette, noting that they may be the lone method of input on some terminals, or may be used in conjunction with touchscreens. However, overall, the use of keypads is declining as touchscreens gain in popularity, he said.

The report found that touchscreens provide an easy-to-use graphic interface for data or command inputs, and dramatically reduce the need to use a mouse. They occupy less space than a keypad, providing space savings and cost savings for an enclosure. Resistive touchscreens, at 84.5%, accounted for the vast majority of the 2005 North American OI terminal market in 2005. VDC attributes the dominance of the technology to its cost effectiveness and reliability.

Capacitive touchscreens have gained some market share since 2003 but still account for less than 5% of the market. Capacitive screens are considered highly durable but are more expensive and cannot be used while wearing gloves. Other technologies, such as infrared (IR) and near-field imaging, are used in some units, but are generally considered to be expensive and incapable of withstanding harsh environments. Nonetheless, IR screens account for 9% of the market.

For more about the study, click here .

—Control Engineering Daily News Desk
Jeanine Katzel , senior editor





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