Why can't we have more exciting graphics?

HMIs can have spectacular graphics. Why shouldn't we use them?


Dear Control Engineering: I was reading the article Gray Backgrounds for DCS Operating Displays. Why is operator response so important? Aren’t most problems caused by the equipment?

The Abnormal Situation Management Consortium says that people factors account for 42% of incidents, which is why the group spends so much time on operator training and how individuals interface with the control system. (If you’re curious, equipment factors account for 36% of incidents, and process factors for only 22%.)

If an operator has to look at an HMI screen and ask him or herself what that blinking red thing means, it means that the operator is not adequately trained, or that the HMI graphic is not consistent in its use of color. Any time spent gathering thoughts and interpreting graphics simply slows the response and allows the problem to go on longer, potentially escalating in scale and damage. Worse yet, an operator may take the wrong action if he or she doesn't understand immediately what the display is trying to say. Consistency is critical.

Peter Welander, pwelander@cfemedia.com

No comments
The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by...
The System Integrator Giants program lists the top 100 system integrators among companies listed in CFE Media's Global System Integrator Database.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
This eGuide illustrates solutions, applications and benefits of machine vision systems.
Learn how to increase device reliability in harsh environments and decrease unplanned system downtime.
This eGuide contains a series of articles and videos that considers theoretical and practical; immediate needs and a look into the future.
Choosing controllers: PLCs, PACs, IPCs, DCS? What's best for your application?; Wireless trends; Design, integration; Manufacturing Day; Product Exclusive
Variable speed drives: Smooth, efficient, electrically quite motion control; Process control upgrades; Mobile intelligence; Product finalists: Vote now; Product Exclusives
Machine design tips: Pneumatic or electric; Software upgrades; Ethernet advantages; Additive manufacturing; Engineering Leaders; Product exclusives: PLC, HMI, IO
This article collection contains the 5 most referenced articles on improving the use of PID.
Learn how Industry 4.0 adds supply chain efficiency, optimizes pricing, improves quality, and more.

Find and connect with the most suitable service provider for your unique application. Start searching the Global System Integrator Database Now!

Cyber security cost-efficient for industrial control systems; Extracting full value from operational data; Managing cyber security risks
Drilling for Big Data: Managing the flow of information; Big data drilldown series: Challenge and opportunity; OT to IT: Creating a circle of improvement; Industry loses best workers, again
Pipeline vulnerabilities? Securing hydrocarbon transit; Predictive analytics hit the mainstream; Dirty pipelines decrease flow, production—pig your line; Ensuring pipeline physical and cyber security

(copy 5)