Why can't we have more exciting graphics?

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

02/18/2011


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(at)cfemedia.com



No comments
The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by...
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
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.
Learn how to create value with re-use; gain productivity with lean automation and connectivity, and optimize panel design and construction.
Go deep: Automation tackles offshore oil challenges; Ethernet advice; Wireless robotics; Product exclusives; Digital edition exclusives
Lost in the gray scale? How to get effective HMIs; Best practices: Integrate old and new wireless systems; Smart software, networks; Service provider certifications
Fixing PID: Part 2: Tweaking controller strategy; Machine safety networks; Salary survey and career advice; Smart I/O architecture; Product exclusives
The Ask Control Engineering blog covers all aspects of automation, including motors, drives, sensors, motion control, machine control, and embedded systems.
Look at the basics of industrial wireless technologies, wireless concepts, wireless standards, and wireless best practices with Daniel E. Capano of Diversified Technical Services Inc.
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
This is a blog from the trenches – written by engineers who are implementing and upgrading control systems every day across every industry.
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.

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

Case Study Database

Case Study Database

Get more exposure for your case study by uploading it to the Control Engineering case study database, where end-users can identify relevant solutions and explore what the experts are doing to effectively implement a variety of technology and productivity related projects.

These case studies provide examples of how knowledgeable solution providers have used technology, processes and people to create effective and successful implementations in real-world situations. Case studies can be completed by filling out a simple online form where you can outline the project title, abstract, and full story in 1500 words or less; upload photos, videos and a logo.

Click here to visit the Case Study Database and upload your case study.